Power and Toughness—Grand Prix Vegas and the Las Vegas 51s (#GPVegas Part Two)
(Continued from Part One.)
We all headed to the Cashman Center early, again, for day one of the Grand Prix. Two byes meant a little sitting around before building my pool. Most people I was there with had one, two, or (Sean) three byes.
Eventually it was go time. I love having byes. I only had to check over my judge-registered cards and go to town putting the bastard together. I noticed Oona right off the bat and was stoked. Then Kira! Then … nothing. Ok, what else did I have? THREE BONE SPLITTERS. I built a mostly aggro red/white bears deck topping out at Cloudgoat Ranger (with some Lightning Helixes in between). Oona deserved more attention, I think that was the deck to build. Oh well. I went for consistency over bomby. Really bad decision. I didn’t win a single game of the Grand Prix.
– a poem by Matt Jones
Chewie and I had a great time during our match. I asked him for a photo to accompany this article and he asked if he could interview me after our match. I gladly agreed. He is a big part of www.mtgcast.com. He kicked my ass fairly quickly. Game one I could’ve won if one of my last three draws was any number of goblins or burn spells in my deck while he was at two life. I drew three straight lands. Game two I was stuck on white mana and didn’t get to red mana until it didn’t matter anymore. The beating was severe. “You still wanna do the interview?” he asked. Of course! I love talking about myself.
We then had this great talk about Magic, our mutual excitement for the game and for community building and good-dude-ness (not being sharks or dicks, etc.). He invited me to be on one of the Monday Night Magic podcasts in the future and I said “Heck yeah.” A solid dude for a totally shaky match.
At no point in the day did I wish my Oona and Kira had some decent support in blue and black. Red/white low casting cost dudes plus three Bonesplitters and two Lightning Helixes weren’t gonna do it by themselves it didn’t seem. That was the real rub. My options were two fold: red/white beats or u/b faeries with very little support and even littler dudes. I probably should’ve sucked it up and gone the faeries route but figured it was a really bad idea because I needed to be super aggro with all these Bonespitters. Oh well. It’s just too hard for me to play blue sometimes and I can’t really beat myself up about it any more than I already have.
Donny made an all in attack saying “Well, I guess I have to swing with everyone because I’m dead either way next turn.” I figured he was up to something but, well, he’s Canadian so I took him at his word. Silly me. He did have a trick and my losing streak continued. All his dudes untapped and gained lifelink or some shit. Blah. Who cares at this point? I couldn’t wait for the GP to be over. I wish there was something else I could’ve been doing and hadn’t blown $3 gillion dollars on this trip.
I dropped from the tournament, threw most of my pool in the trash, and went to Cape Fear Games to sell the remaining money cards (for around $70). John Fung saw me do this and asked how my day was going. Thanks John, it went great.
Without saying a word to anyone I left the convention center, walked around back to the baseball stadium, and got in line at the box office for the AAA Mets affiliate Las Vegas 51s. I asked a young woman in front of me to recommend where to sit in the stadium. She said they were all good seats but to stay out of the sun and asked me why I was in Las Vegas. I told her about the GP and Magic (“It’s like poker, chess, and Dungeons & Dragons all in one game.” – my standard description) and said I’d done poorly and love baseball so I quit to watch this game. She said “You’re too good looking to play that game.” Then her boyfriend switched lines to stand with her and I said, “That’s nice of you to say.” She bought her ticket with her boyfriend and she said “I meant every word of it,” and winked at me. I awkwardly laughed and told her to stop embarrassing me in front of all of my friends. Her words, true or not, were a very kind pick-me-up when I was pretty down. I stepped up to the window, bought a $15 ticket, and walked inside.
It was nice of the Cashman Center to have Cashman Stadium attached to it. Very considerate.
The 51s won. Someone hit a home run. It was a mostly exciting game. I sat next to a guy and his lady and talked to them about the history of Las Vegas (did you know that Las Vegas means “the meadow”?) and what the two of them thought were fun and or awesome things to do in town. They gave me tons of suggestions. On the way out of the stadium I bought an inflatable alien from 1997 for $5.
Having 0-1 dropped form the MM sealed tourney (increasing my MM record to 1-15 overall), I signed up for the Super Series Standard tournament where I quickly dropped at 1-3. I broke my losing streak against a Bant deck which felt great. Then I lost hard to Red Deck Wins. Drrrrrrop. I would’ve signed up for a draft but they were taking hours to fire so I decided to go on a shopping spree and picked up some cards I was missing.
This is what I played. Kadar said yesterday that I should swap the Bonfires for Huntmasters but I think I’ll go back to Junk Aristocrats if I play Standard again before rotation. That deck was fun.
4 Voice of Resurgence
4 Ghor-Clan Rampager
4 Boros Reckoner
4 Loxodon Smiter
4 Thundermaw Hellkite
2 Restoration Angel
3 Clifftop Retreat
4 Avacyn’s Pilgrim
2 Arbor Elf
4 Domri Rade
4 Bonfire of the Damned
1 Gavony Township
3 Rootbound Crag
3 Sunpetal Grove
4 Stomping Ground
4 Temple Garden
4 Sacred Foundry
1 Assemble the Legion
2 Mizzium Mortars
2 Selesnya Charm
3 Rest in Peace
3 Pillar of Flame
2 Garruk Relentless
2 Ray of Revelation
I was very excited to get home, see my girlfriend, make some paintings, and not think or talk about Magic for a bit. Here’s a quick round up an hour before I’m due to fly to Milan for work:
I am still not a fan of limited Magic and need to get better at it.
When in doubt I need to ask questions about what is the current state of affairs so I’m not stuck in line for 200 hours.
Whenever I’m tilting it’s a good idea to stop what I’m doing and go see a baseball game (or possibly go play basketball).
I really like traveling with my Magic friends but sometimes don’t like the reason we’re traveling. Everyone in the Hipsters and 20ss crew I belong too is awesome. Friends like these make up for mana screw and losing in a big way.
PS – Congrats to Reid “I Had My Photo Taken With Matt Jones” Duke on winning GP Miami this weekend. What a guy!