This weekend the never-ending stream of Magic team tournaments rolled near the nation’s capitol for team limited Grand Prix Washington DC. The event was out in Chantilly, Virginia near Dulles airport, which is not really close to DC. But it is easy to fly in, even if the area is nondescript. I’ve played two previous GP DCs: one out here for Legacy half a decade ago, and another team tournament downtown where I teamed with Hunter Slaton and Gabe Reale for a top 50 cash finish. Being back in Chantilly was vaguely familiar.

For this tournament I teamed up with two awesome women of Magic: Simone Aiken and Teresa Pho. We did some prep beforehand and went into the event prepared to do well. Unfortunately, we got an underwhelming pool of cards. There were highlights: Multani, Yavimaya’s Avatar and Verdant Force in green; Siege-Gang Commander, Goblin Chainwhiler, and Squee, the Immortal in red; and four Eviscerates in black. White and blue were pitifully thin, leaving us with little choice but to build three decks around green, red, and black, sliding the other two colors in where we could. We may have been able to find a better distribution than we ended up with, but our decks were all solid and we had a strong plan.

For our team setup, we decided that I would sit in the middle and play the slowest deck. That way, I could tie up the middle player on the other team while Simone and Teresa bashed their hapless opponents without help from their presumably best teammate. That meant I would pilot our black all-removal deck, which is right in my wheelhouse. I added a few blue cards and ran a super-grindy deck with no rares or mythics. Simone took our army of goblins and the tempo blue. Teresa played green-white, using our plentiful ramp alongside two copies of Shana, Sisay’s Legacy and a semi-awkward Benalish Marshal. Her deck looked strongest, though she was light on removal and mostly just bashing on the ground.

Somehow, we ended up with no equipment in our pool otherthan Shield of the Realm, yet we had Danitha Capashen, Paragon, Tiana, Ship’s Caretaker, Valduk, Keeper of the Flame, and Daring Archaeologist. Teresa definitely could have made good use of Jousting Lance, and ended up losing a few mirror matches to decks with equipment to break through.

My deck was nothing impressive, but it got the job done.

Occupy Middle Seat

Creatures (13)
Caligo Skin-Witch
Deathbloom Thallid
Skittering Surveyor
Academy Drake
Thallid Omnivore
Homarid Explorer
Academy Journeymage
Urgoros, the Empty One
Cold-Water Snapper

Spells (10)
The Eldest Reborn
Cast Down
Vicious Offering
Wizard’s Retort
Soul Salvage
Lands (17)
Memorial to Folly

Sideboard (20)
Merfolk Trickster
Cold-Water Snapper
Soul Salvage
Dark Bargain
Fungal Infection
Arcane Flight
Pardic Wanderer
Voltaic Servant
Precognition Field
Urza’s Tome
Arvad the Cursed
Daring Archaeologist
Cabal Stronghold

We took the first round easily, but stumbled in the second. I lost that round solely to Knight of Grace, which seems about right. I sided in Merfolk Trickster but stumbled on land game two, and we were 1-1. We won round three, but fell in close matches the next two rounds to be eliminated. Twice Simone was one land draw away from winning with Keldon Overseer or Fight with Fire, and our tournament ended with her goblin army coming up one damage short in the race against a giant equipped Pardic Wanderer. It was a tough early exit, but w built our decks and played well, so there wasn’t much to be upset about.

After we dropped, I took a break for a bit then wandered the main event tables watching teams of friends. It was great to see so many of my old friends from New York. I find it hard to socialize much at big tournaments, but even the brief reunions were great. I hope to see a lot more folks out in Vegas next month. Dominaria limited is pretty fun.

During round seven, I got to watch my old teammates Gabe and Sean battle for their tournament lives. Sean had a string of fliers along with Jousting Lance and Blackblade Reforged, but In Bolas’s Clutches from his opponent ended Sean’s effort. It was down to Gabe’s game three, piloting Sultai saprolings against a blue-red deck. One of Gabe’s key creatures took a Fight with Fire to the face, and then the fateful moment happened: his opponent cast The Mirari Conjecture for the first time in the match. I could feel Gabe’s heart sink. He had 18 life and Tatyova, Benthic Druid in hand, so he could theoretically try to get above 20 life before he got Hidetsugu’s Second Rited out of the tournament. But his lands didn;t cooperate and he came up short.

It was tough to watch two of my friends and former teammates go down to the epic combo, but it was still a cool moment. The Mirari Conjecture plus Fight with Fire is pretty much what I want to do every game. Maybe Vegas will hook me up.

Carrie O’Hara is Editor-in-Chief of Hipsters of the Coast.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.