This is the second part of a two part article. If you haven’t yet read part 1, you can find it here.

Grand Prix Vegas Legacy—Day 2

BR Reanimator 2-1

My first match on day two was against Black Red Reanimator. Reanimator is typically an unfavorable matchup for Goblins, so it’s always a little scary to play against. I lost game one quite quickly, but my opening hand let me pretend I was on Death & Taxes by playing only Wasteland, Karakas, and Aether Vial. I don’t know if this had any impact on the match this time, but I sure have had Storm opponents bring in Dread of Night against me before.

In the second and third game I was lucky enough to draw a lot of my sideboard cards, which is particularly important in this matchup. A key decision on my part was leading on Grafdigger’s Cage rather than Goblin Lackey in game three. Normally you want to get on the board with cards like Aether Vial and Lackey before playing your disruption, but BR Reanimator is just such a fast deck that surviving until turn three on the draw is very unlikely.

Tom Ross on Infect 2-1

Once again I was very excited to play against a pro player, though I did my best to set that fact aside and focus on playing the game. Infect is not a bad matchup for Goblins, but it is both scary and tricky to play. Game one I had a few removal spells for his creatures and was able to kill him with a bunch of 1/1 tokens before he was able to rebuild.

In game two I made a serious misplay that cost me the game. I had, among other things, an Aether Vial on two and two Goblin Lackeys in play. My hand was a Stingscourger that Tom knew about and a Goblin Matron I had just drawn for the turn. Tom had a bunch of lands, one of which was an Inkmoth Nexus. I attacked with everything and got to connect with both Lackeys. At this point I should have just gotten Siege-Gang Commander, as it would have provided me with a faster clock, repeatable removal, and removal I could use right away. Instead I went for Goblin Sharpshooter. This is a result of me not being used to having access to Siege-Gang Commander (I’ve omitted it from my lists in the past), and I lost the game because of it.

But there’s more to it than that. Had I simply looked through my deck when searching with Matron I would have given myself a better chance at figuring out which line to take. There was no reason to rely solely on memory there. In the future, when I’m uncertain, I’ll do better.

In game three I made a couple of smaller misplays, all as a result of me playing too quickly. I’m not sure if it’s because I was playing against the world’s best Infect player, or because of something else, but I need to remind myself to slow things down sometimes. I got lucky though, as Tom was short on lands, and so I won the game despite my missteps.

Grixis Control 1-2

Game one I kept a one lander with multiple copies of Goblin Lackey on the play. My opponent had the turn one answer, but I still got very close to stealing the game. A well timed Pyrokinesis traded for three of my opponent’s creatures, allowing me to swing in with my two Lackeys. Unfortunately, my opponent had a Snapcaster Mage ready to block and flash back Lightning Bolt, so it wasn’t quite enough. Games two and three involved more trading and both players trying to pull ahead on card advantage. In game three however my opponent had not one, but two copies of True-Name Nemesis, which was very difficult for me to race.

Shardless BUG 0-2

This is a tough matchup that I was hoping not to play against. In game two my opponent had the answer for my Aether Vial, and my hand was far too slow without it.

Sneak and Show 1-2

This was one of the most interactive matches I’ve ever played against Sneak and Show. I managed to win game one by racing. In game two I survived multiple Sneak Attack activations before finally losing. In the third game I played Goblin Lackey into Chalice of the Void for one and started racing. An Emrakul, the Aeons Torn annihilator trigger ate up most of my permanents, but I quickly started racing again by immediately playing another Lackey.

On the last turn of the game my opponent was at two life and I had a Goblin Sharpshooter in play. Emrakul was no longer an out, as the annihilator trigger would let me untap Sharpshooter multiple times and win before the combat damage step. My opponent untapped and drew for the turn, then promptly slammed a topdecked Griselbrand onto the table. Good games. I would of course have preferred to win, but that was a pretty amazing topdeck, and my opponent and I both had a good laugh about it.


I ended up dropping at 9-5 because at this point I was completely exhausted. Despite losing a lot on day two I was very happy with my performance overall. My list felt incredibly well tuned, and there was not a card in the deck I was unhappy with. My losses were to combo, True-Name Nemesis, and Shardless BUG. Combo decks are supposed to be a difficult matchup for me, and I still went 2-2 against them. The reason I lost to Sneak & Show might be that they are less vulnerable to a lot of the cards I have to fight combo, so I have fewer tools to disrupt them with. I’m not sure. Either way, I still felt as though I had some game against them.

True-Name Nemesis is a tough one. It’s difficult to interact with, and hard to race if you don’t already have a significant board presence. You could play a second copy of Warren Weirding if you really wanted to beat it, but right now I don’t think that’s correct.

My Thoughts on Grand Prix Vegas

I had an incredible time at GP Las Vegas, and not just because I got to play my favorite format a bunch. Having multiple large scale tournaments at the same event was nice. I like playing tournament Magic, so it felt like I got more bang for my buck this way. It was also quite freeing to know that I had another tournament the next day. Doing poorly in an event doesn’t feel as bad to me if I know I get another shot at it later.

But Grand Prix Vegas was more than a tournament. I’ve heard many people describe it as a Magic: The Gathering Convention, and I agree with that description. There was so much going on all the time that I’m convinced I could have not played a single tournament and still have had a great time. The Magic Art Show was a brilliant initiative, and it was amazing to watch both the amazing artwork and the way in which the community had come together to create something.

I had a lot of cards signed over the weekend, and as a result I talked to a lot of the artists. Everyone was very nice, and it was a pleasure to hear the stories behind the art for various Magic cards.

I wish I had had more time to chat with all the cosplayers, but I was impressed every time I saw one of them walk by. All the work and the love for the game that they put into their costumes is astonishing, and they really made this event something special. Seeing a cosplayer taking pictures with a fan—especially when that fan is a little kid—is pretty amazing, and just makes me love this community even more.

Last but not least I’m very happy that I got to meet so many amazing people in real life. As someone who lives across the pond, most of my interactions with my Magic player friends in the US happen via Twitter, so it was nice to finally meet so many of them in person. Whether it was talking to each other between rounds or going out to dinner together I had a great time, and I can’t wait for the next Magic event of this size.

Sandro is a Magic player from Stockholm, Sweden. He’s been playing Goblins in Legacy for years. Follow him on Twitter @SandroRajalin

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