I wasn’t planning on going to GP Baltimore. While I love Sealed, and think that Khans limited is still the bee’s knees, it’s hard for me to justify the cost of going to event and the time lost in the 14-hour drive there and back. My plan was to stay home, catch up on laundry, make some edits to my Horobi EDH deck, and maybe finally get a chance to go see Interstellar (I know, I’m fucking up). Then I got this text from my friend Nik:


Just like that and I reconsidered my plans. Erica was able to find a hotel she could use her hotel points on, we rented a car, and then we recruited my brother and his other roommate Garrett to drive down with us and split costs. Interstellar will have to wait until next weekend.

For the last GP within driving distance, GP New Jersey, I wrote about stuff a non-Legacy player could do at the event. For this one, I’m going to write about stuff you could do if you’re not into sealed, though I personally am stoked on the format.

The Artist Galleries

A while ago I backed “The Gathering” Kickstarter to help fund a book that compiled the work of more than thirty original Magic Artists. The concept behind the book was that each artist would revisit one of their own paintings and create a new re-imagined version while also discussing their personal history with Magic artwork. The thing I loved most about the book is how unfettered the original Magic artists were stylistically, at the time Wizards threw out a couple of descriptive words and let the artists, you know, create art. While I understand the move to a more polished product where Wizards gives exhaustive artistic descriptions to their artists, I am nostalgic for the wild west days of Magic art with cards like Presence of the Master, Stasis, and Hurloon Minotaur.

Anyway, the reason I bring up “The Gathering” is that original Magic artists Richard Kane Ferguson and Bryon Wackwitz will be there.

Ferguson has illustrated 62 Magic Cards including Arcane Denial, Dakkon Blackblade, Desertion, and Sol’Kanar the Swamp King.

Arcane Dakkon Desertion Sol

There’s something fantastically dreamy about Ferguson’s work. In contrast to the slick computer illustrated Magic art of today, Ferguson’s watercolor work has noticeable visual texture. When I think about Magic art, I think of Ferguson’s colliding colors, fantastic imagery, and iconic figures.

Bryon Wackwitz has 21 cards to his name and illustrated at the same time as Ferguson. Both did a substantial amount of work for the Legends expansion and Wackwitz is perhaps most famous for painting the EDH staple Angus Mackenzie.


On a side note, I’m pretty sure that an Angus Mackenzie Tiny Leaders deck is my next Commander project. If you haven’t heard of Tiny Leaders, check it out here. It’s a 50 card singleton format, where the Commander and all cards contained within the deck must cost three mana or less.

Also in attendance will be Matt Stewart, who recently did a commission for me. I can’t speak about the comission (it’s a Christmas present) but I can tell you that he is awesome, super friendly, and remarkably talented. Also when signing cards, he uses colored sharpies that correspond with the color identity of the card. It’s a little detail, but I really appreciate the green signature in the text box of my Primal Vigor.

Lastly, Eric Deschamps will be in attendance. Dechamps has created a ton of identifiable art including some noteable planeswalkers in Nahiri, the Lithomancer, Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, and Dack Fayden as well as EDH favorites Oloro, Ageless Ascetic and Karametra, God of Harvests.

The Side Events

The full event schedule is posted here. It looks like most of the side events pay out in points as opposed to specific booster packs. The single player “showdown” events held throughout the weekend pay out 360 points for all 5-0’s and go all the way down to 60 points for 2-0-3 records. You can use the points to purchase booster packs from Theros to Khans for 10 points each. While this is a similar prize payout to other GP side events, the option to choose exactly what boosters you want is attractive to those who may be Khans’ed out at this point. The kicker here is that Card Titan has promised to have other additional prizes that can be purchased with points. I’m hoping that they adopt a similar prize wall to the one at GP Portland which allowed you to buy supplies, Magic toys, out of print boosters, and hard to find singles. Instead of another box of Khans it would be cool to have the option of a Beatdown box set, or some packs of Modern Masters, or maybe a Badlands. Hopefully they release the additional prizes available before the GP.

Aside from the “showdown” Modern, Standard, Legacy, and Vintage events, Card Titan is running a few high profile events as well. On Saturday there is Vintage Championship trial where the winner gets an expense-paid trip to Eternal weekend in Philadephia. On Sunday there is a Standard and Sealed Super Series event where the winner gets an expense paid trip to the Super Sunday Series at Wizards Headquarters in Washington and the chance to battle it out for a share of $20,000 in prize support.


I’ve visited Baltimore once before, last year, to watch an indie wrestling event. While I am certainly not an expert with the city, I did have a really awesome experience last year at the Brewer’s Cask which is about a mile out from the convention center. Cask has a reasonable brew selection with just enough beer snobbery to appear knowledgeable rather than pretentious. Aside from a bunch of different local brews they also have a case of domestic lawnmower beers (Miller, Bud, Coors) that you can purchase for a cool $0.99 each. When I went last year the bartender was really friendly and taught us how to shell and eat a crab which I had never done before.


So there you have it, some stuff to do if you’re not in the mood to play a million rounds of sealed. Next week I’ll be writing about my tournament experience at the GP.

At age 15, while standing in a record store with his high school bandmates, Shawn Massak made the uncool decision to spend the last of his money on a 7th edition starter deck (the one with foil Thorn Elemental). Since that fateful day 11 years ago, Shawn has decorated rooms of his apartment with MTG posters, cosplayed as Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and competes with LSV for the record of most islands played (lifetime). When he’s not playing Magic, Shawn works as a job coach for people with disabilities and plays guitar in an indie-pop band.

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