Grand Prix Washington DC was held in scenic Chantilly, Virginia. The weekend did not go so well for me. I went 4-3 in the main event and then 4-2 in the Super Sunday Series sealed event. Both days I had solid but not incredible decks. I felt that I played very well but the cards just didn’t break my way. So it goes.

Rather than extensive deck analysis and play-by-play, this week I offer to your snapshots of four moments from the weekend.

raphael_toon

Not my opponent. My neighbor.

Moment One—The Joker

Round four of the main event was my toughest challenge of the weekend. Not my opponent, who was fine but had an awkward/powerful three-color deck that I managed to beat in three games off the power of my Prognostic Sphinx. Seated next to me was the biggest jackass I’ve ever been beside in a tournament. I sat next to Alex Bertoncini in a PTQ recently, so that’s saying a lot.

This guy started off really chatty and loud. He was already distracting to me (and surely a pain to play against) but then he went totally off the rails. He attacked his opponent, who blocked and then asked the jerk if he had any effects before damage. The guy then starts wailing that his opponent was “fishing for information” and called a judge. The judge calmly explained how priority works (the attacking player has to act first, so it is natural as the defending player to ask if the attacker has any effects before damage). The jerk was having none of it, insisting that he had been sanctioned in the past by a judge for doing the same thing. He claimed not to be accusing his opponent of cheating, but he was obviously doing so. He then called for the head judge, despite no rulings having been given.

The situation declined from there, as the jerk got in a loud argument with the head judge. Then after finally being quieted down and seemlingly accepting the facts of the situation, the jerk attacks on his next turn and after blocks were declared, asked his opponent if he had any effects before damage. When the opponent said no, he then tried to cast a trick. This was exactly what the jerk had been accusing his opponent of doing. More judge calls and more yelling.I don’t know what eventually happened but it was a total disgrace. The jerk claimed to be a “pro-level player” who knew the rules, but he was either a total idiot or a cheater. I lean toward the latter.

It was absolutely horrible to sit next to this and I could barely concentrate on my own match. Try to figure out how to deal with an opposing Hydra Broodmaster while some idiot is yelling at a judge one foot away from you. Good luck. Thankfully I had better draws and won the next two games to go to 4-0. But I felt sick to my stomach from the negative energy and assholery of my neighbor. Yuck! I guess that’s just part of big tournaments but I wish it weren’t. The real low point of my weekend.

mike

That being me.

Moment Two—The Cool Loser

Sitting at a cool 4-0, I faced off against Jadine Klomparens, who came in second in last week’s Grand Prix Chicago playing mono-black in Standard. I congratulated her on her awesome performance the week prior and we had a very pleasant match. In game one, I was ahead on board and getting in damage. All I needed to do was draw another spell to force through the final points.

But for six turns I drew all lands except for a Gods Willing that was useful but not enough to win. It was one of those painful games where the pocket of lands shows up at the worst possible time. When Jadine finally raced my topdecks she expressed surprise that she had somehow won that game. I smiled and showed the four lands in my hand, which was pretty obvious but still cathartic. We laughed and it was about as cool as it can be to lose in that way.

Game two I kept a speculative two-lander. Jadine had the turn two Brain Maggot and we laughed at my keep. She agreed it was worth keeping because I had Dictate of Heliod and a few three drops, along with the Divination that she took. I never drew more lands and just like that I was 4-1. Still, it was a a pleasure to play Jadine and I wished her luck going forward.

leonardo-toon

Let me show you how it’s done.

Moment Three—The Leader

At 4-2 going into round seven, my back was against the wall. I went up against Jacob Turner with an incredible red-white deck featuring Iroas, God of Victory, Hero of Iroas, and Dawnbringer Charioteers along with a ton of great support cards. I had my work cut out for me. Ultimately I lost the match, but I was able to maneuver game one for my final victory before dropping.

We had a well-developed board with both of us around 12 life when Jacob cast Iroas. He had five devotion already on board. I had Prognostic Sphinx getting in for damage but I would never be able to race if Iroas became a creature. In response, I used Hubris on his Forgeborn Oreads.

Then I untapped and cast Perplexing Chimera. Ole Plexi was probably the only card other than Elspeth (which I did not have) that could have won me the game. It was amazing. I passed the turn and Jacob tried to summon a Wingsteed Rider. I quickly swapped with the Perplexing Chimera and adding another flier to my board. Then on my next turn I went to bestow Observant Alseid on the Rider. Jacob took the bait (maybe he had to) and swapped back, putting the Alseid on his Hopeful Eidolon. This was perfect as I still got the heroic counter and more importantly got back Ole Plexi to steal the Forgeborn Oreads Jacob would cast again the next turn.

Taking the Oreads, I got to ping Jacob for one and swing in the air again for six, scrying all the while. Here was the crucial moment, though, because I had to cast another spell that Jacob would swap with Chimera so I had protection again. My two choices were Ghostblade Eidolon and Benthic Giant. At this point I was at two life and needed to survive his next turn to win the race. Ghostblade would have won the game on the attack so he surely would have swapped it, but it would also give him the seventh devotion (the sixth being my Alseid) to turn on Iroas and overwhelm my chump blockers. So I ran out the Benthic Giant and hoped.

He took the bait, and I was able to swap back with the Purphoros’s Emissary that would have won the game for Jacob. Whew! Of course Jacob proceeded to crush me with insane curve-outs the next two games and that was that for my tournament. I went back to the hotel and went to sleep.

donatello

I think we can get there.

Moment Four—The Builder

Finally, we come to round three of the Super Sunday Series sealed event. I have a decent black-white deck with two Akroan Mastiffs, Hopeful Eidolon (aka the best card in sealed), Doomwake Giant, Hundred-Handed One, and Silent Sentinel.

My opponent had a fairly grindy blue-white deck of his own, with one Mastiff and topping off with Hypnotic Siren. We played a very long game one, a real dog show, with tapping back and forth. Eventually I excoriated his mastiff, got Silent Sentinel going, and forced through enough damage to win. Game two was a quick affair when he stole my Hundred-Handed One on turn seven.

Game three started out much like game one, with me using two mastiffs to stop his assault and stabilize on five life as I continued to draw a ton of lands. Eventually I got Gold-Forged Sentinel on board and bestowed it with Hopeful Eidolon. Again I excoriated his hound and started to get in to recover my life total. Unfortunately we ran out of time and I had only two more attacks until we would tie. On turn two of turns, I hit him down to seven life, but only had my 5/5 able to get in the next turn.

At this point I had a Necrobite I could use on my as-yet unused Phalanx Leader, and four cards left in my library, including Supply-Line Cranes and Dreadbringer Lampads. If I drew either of those, I could get through lethal damage. So at the end of turn three, I used Necrobite just to get counters on my team, then tapped the top of my deck which revealed the Cranes for the last minute victory. Some fellow hipsters were nearby watching this slogfest so it felt great to pull it out on my last turn.

I ended up getting to 4-1 before losing round six to drop so we could head back home to Brooklyn. Overall it was a great weekend with friends and some good play even if I didn’t manage to put up any strong results.

Come back next week when I say goodbye to Theros Block with my ever-popular top ten column!

Brendan McNamara (MTGO: eestlinc, Twitter: @brendanistan) used to play Magic in the old days. His favorite combo was Armageddon plus Zuran Orb. After running out of money to buy cards and friends who were willing to put up with that combo, he left the game. But like disco, he was bound to come back eventually. Now he’s a lawyer by day and a Dimir agent by night.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.