Sunday morning, we rose early to scarf down some microwaved continental breakfast before driving back over to the tournament site. I registered for the PTQ, and at 9:00 three hundred and thirty-two players sat down to register and build the decks with which they would seek a bid to Pro Tour: Paris in February. Nine rounds of play would see a cut to the top eight records, and with a field that large, an 8-1 record would undoubtedly not be good enough for several players.
My pool was pretty lackluster, a Sunblast Angel the only highlight. I had a tough time choosing between blue and green to compliment my white, and I’m still not sure I made the right choice. Green offered up 2x Carapace Forger, Tangle Angler, 2x Molder Beast, and Alpha Tyrannax; blue had Lumengrid Drake, Darksteel Drake, Sky-School Eel, and Volition Reins. I went with the green mostly for the Molder Beasts, since I was running three Spellbombs and a Culling Dais to go with four mana Myr. I ended up siding in the blue against three of my four opponents; about eighty percent of matches I watched featured at least one RW or UW metalcraft deck with multiple Glint Hawks/Idols, and they outpaced my fatties. I started 0-2 and stuck in it to win my next two matches and salvage some rating points.
I think I played well in both events. My pool for the Grand Prix could have gotten me there, but my opponents generally had better decks and topdecked quite well. All but two of my opponents were delightful, a much higher percentage than I’m accustomed to.
Quick story that made me LOL a few times: one of the players who opened a really busted pool in the Grand Prix decided to write things like “nice one” and “enjoy Day Two” next to Wurmcoil Engine and Contagion Engine on the registration sheet. The judges took note of this and awarded him a match loss for providing outside information in the first round. Rough. Beats.
All in all, a great Magic weekend. I had a blast in both events, the format’s a ton of fun to build and play. I picked up a bunch of foils for EDH, I rendezvoused with a few guys I haven’t seen since last year, and I had artist Eric Deschamps alter some stuff for me (after a ninety-minute wait):
After leaving the Opryland, we quickly located the nearest buffet and attacked it with ferocity. Ryan’s Steakhouse actually disappointed me; I was ready to gorge on infinite Southern cooking, and visions of potroast and home fries danced in my head, but I found neither in the buffet line and had to satisfy myself with large helpings of roasted chicken, Julienne potatoes, and corn bread. Meat coma — check.
In the morning, Lance and I set off for the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. We met up with Paul Nesta for some lunch and a brief tour of the campus, which is impressive. I’m not certain as to my future education, but if I were interested in relocating for seminary, Louisville wouldn’t be a bad option.
– Lance, for being the most patient and awesome weekend companion in the history of the world, despite finishing in 1,452nd of 1,483 competitors
– Wizards and NextLevelGames, for choosing an incredible venue and hosting a very well-run event
– The South, for perfecting the sweet tea recipe
– Highway patrol, for pulling over everyone else this time
– The weekend’s judge team, which was surprisingly obnoxious for a GP. I had exactly one pleasant encounter with a judge (the venerable Peter Jahn, an amazing person) all weekend, and virtually every story I heard involved a snarky, condescending judge making life difficult for players and thus for himself.
– Interstate 65, for posting a ridiculous 55 mph speed limit for a 160-mile stretch of THREE-LANE HIGHWAY.
– Fairfield Inn & Suites, for being intentionally deceptive when quoting prices.