In January, I was locked to attend GP Detroit. I never pass up a Modern grand prix, especially when airfare is cheap and the flight is relatively short. Then I ended up booking a show for my band that weekend since I’m terrible at maintaining a personal calendar. I thought briefly about trying to reschedule the show but I ended up filling up the bill and couldn’t finagle another date that worked for everyone.
I’m really glad I didn’t attend GP Detroit.
I won’t harp too much on Eldrazi domination in Modern since it’s been said before and because we only have another month or so of it according to Aaron Forsythe. I’m upset that Modern wasn’t considered when printing the new Eldrazi but relieved it will be over soon. My interest in Modern will have only waned for two months or so by the time of the B&R announcement, so in the scheme of things it’s hard to be too upset.
Instead of attending GP Detroit with its Eldrazi-infested field, I spent this past Sunday playing the next installment of the Wolfpack Invitational. I’ve written about past invitationals here and here but for those unfamiliar it’s an all day cubing event conceptualized by my brother, Eric Massak. This time it was decided that we would do a team event, with the top four players from the last invitational becoming team captains and choosing their teammates. Since I won the last one, I got the first and last pick of the draft, taking my buddy Rodrigo and friend Adam respectively. We would do battle against other teams in a variety of formats including wacky draft, power cube, Ravnica cube, and pauper cube. After 6 rounds, there would be a cut to top six with the best team and three individuals with the best records not on that team would play it out. Sound confusing? Here are the visuals from the event (it doesn’t make it less confusing):
The event didn’t start out great for me or my team. Me, Adam, and birthday boy Stewart Ulm (replacing Rodrigo who bailed earlier in the week) were swept in the power cube draft. Despite getting rolled over, I did get to witness a phenomenal game between Stewart and Eric where Eric was down to 3 cards in his libary before slamming an Emrakul. Stewart was able to flash in Restoration Angel to block and then follow up with Fleshbag Marauder. Unfortunately, this lead to Eric shuffling his deck and coming back after almost an hour of back and forth. Stewart even had the Armageddon in his hand which seemed wrong at the time, given that Eric had a signet and a Thran Dynamo, but would have certainly won the game for Stewart.
Despite my own loss to Nik in three close games, I took a photo to prove that I drafted a spicy one:
We were able to rally back the following round with a wacky draft win. Our draft didn’t have anything too crazy in it—a mix of Khans, Conspiracy, M12-Origins, Dark Ascension, Scourge, and Dragon’s Maze—but it was pretty enjoyable all the same. I put together a Red/Green ramp deck with a blue splash for Temur Ascendancy to go off with my eight creatures with power four or greater. I won my game against Eric and ended up watching another epic Stewart Ulm match where he fought back from one life to clinch the game on turn five of turns.
The next round, pauper cube, had us face off against another team. I managed to beat my opponent, Ian, with a sweet UB Control deck with Pestilence and Capsize but both of my teammates were vanquished. After just one round of Pauper, we had to make the switch to Rav cube where I 0-2’ed and my team was banished to the dark.
After six rounds, I had a 2-4 record and my team was 1-5 for round wins. This was my worst performance at a Wolfpack Invitational and my worst performance in general at a tournament in the last few months. Despite an initial rain of salt, I felt really good about the day. I had spent the entire day cubing with my friends, drinking beers, eating delicious Chinese food, and even got to celebrate Stewart’s birthday with the best vegan ice cream cake I’ve ever eaten. The unlikely trio of Garrett, Erica, and Ian (who jumped in the morning of when Max cancelled) managed to go 4-2 and win the trophy for best team finish.
At this point it was almost 11PM and we had been playing Magic for the better part of eleven hours. The top six met for a four pack power cube draft. For a quick summation I refer to my brother:
Just like that, Garrett was the Wolfpack Invitational champion with his Naya aggro deck. Thanks to the Backup Plan conspiracy he was able to find an Ethersworn Canonist and a Ancient Grudge (his only relevant sideboard spells) to clinch the match. He was so excited he slept with the trophy:
Next weekend, I get to run it back on team events when Erica, Nik, and I head down to GP DC. I’m looking forward to this, and looking forward to the B&R annoucement so I can start writing about Modern again.
Also, no stream this week, instead of staying home I’m going to see Tinashe in concert. No, I’m not joking.
In terms of Magic, Shawn Massak is a Modern enthusiast, with a penchant for tier two decks, counterspells, and pre Eighth Edition frames. In terms of life, Shawn lives in Brighton, MA where he works as an employment coordinator for people with disabilities, plays guitar in an indie-pop band, and spends his free time reading comics, complaining about pro-wrestling, and wishing his apartment allowed dogs as pets.