A couple of weeks ago I attended Grand Prix Baltimore. I drove down with a great crew that included Jamie Parke, Colette LeRoux, Matt Ferrando (whose first name I had to look up since I’ve never called him Matt), and our driver Gerard Fabiano. The drive was smooth since we left at night and missed all of the traffic. We even stopped at a Cracker Barrel for dinner, which was very pleasant.


Come for the Country Fried Steak, stay for the Peg Game.

After our stomachs were filled with comfort food we continued our drive to Maryland. On the way Gerard and I went over all the non-creature spells in Khans of Tarkir to get ready for the sealed deck event. We pretty much agreed on everything, except Gerard was surprised I thought Sultai Ascendancy was good in sealed and I was surprised on how highly he valued Rakshasa’s Secret, especially in draft. Gerard said he would take a Secret over almost anything else in a pack. The fact that it might wheel (and in my experience usually did) didn’t matter to him.


“I want to first, second and third pick this.” – Gerard Fabiano the night before the Day 2 draft.


The following morning I had a wonderful breakfast and went to the site to build my sealed deck. I was unhappy with my pool because it was lacking removal and evasive creatures, but what it lacked in power it made up for with two Rakshasa’s Secret and a Treasure Cruise. My plan was to grind out my opponents into the long game and win on card advantage. With this in mind I built a Sultai deck with an easy splash for a Crater’s Claws.

Although I feel played well and built my deck correctly, I was unable to make day two after getting my third loss in the ninth and final round. The GP was over for me, but not for three of my traveling companions. It put me in that uncomfortable position (which I think everyone has been in at some point in their Magic career) where I wanted them to all do well, but I also kind of wanted them to scrub out so we could leave early.


However, my feelings changed when Gerard 3-0’d both of his draft pods. He had two loses early on day one, but after an impressive 10 wins in a row he landed in the Top 8. Now time didn’t matter to me—I would stay all night to watch him draft and play for the trophy.

As luck would have it, the coverage team decided to record his draft so the rest of the world was able to see how highly Gerard valued Rakshasa’s Secret. His picks were baffling the announcers; they couldn’t believe that he was taking Secrets on their first pass. Gerard really played up his picks for the camera too, which was a spectacle in and of itself. You can watch his full draft below—I highly recommend doing so.

Gerard managed to dispatch his opponents so quickly that he had to wait almost an hour before the remaining matches finished. His plan of Mind Rotting his opponents to death with a little assistance from Sagu Mauler was working well. The good man that Gerard is, he conceded a game that he didn’t have to because of a game state error that the judges ruled wasn’t going to be reversed. This was in the finals mind you and I don’t think most other players would do such a thing. Good things happen to good people and Gerard not only took home a trophy, but also a gigantic Sagu Mauler card. The thing was so big it had to lay across everyone’s laps in the back seat on the way home. But who cares about a little inconvenience when you have a champion driving you home?


The winner and our driver Gerard Fabiano.

Andrew Longo has been playing Magic the Gathering at a mediocre level since 1994. He managed to get lucky on the backs of his teammates to win Grand Prix Providence Rhode Island. When not playing magic he runs a D&D campaign, plays video games, and reads comics (a real triple threat for the ladies).

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