I had been enthused over the upcoming Manchester Grand Prix – my first ever proper magic tournament. The weeks leading up I played around with a few decks and then Pro Tour happened. The meta completely shifted and pretty much every deck I had been trialling was now dead in the water. Black Aggro seemed the most viable but relies on good draws and folds to the strong decks post-board. I completely lost enthusiasm but decided to go ahead anyway.
The 5+ hours travel to Manchester got us to the hotel and Event City with a few hours to spare. Ferg and I headed to the grinders. I got pounded while he made it to the final of one of them. He eventually lost to a guy we saw in the day 2 Grand Prix.
Block Constructed Grand Prix
I was already bored of block so wasn’t really in the right mind set not expecting to do well.
Round 1 vs Andrew Salkeld, Blue White
I can’t remember much of my first round but it was a 2-1 victory. First game I beat down taking nothing. Third game I stabilise at 15 and eat away at life.
Round 2 vs Daniel De Swarte, Red Green (1-0)
Awesome, round 2 and I’m already facing a Scottish player. One who is better than me, a judge and got to the final of the Game Day. I believe this is one of the many games where I flood out to nothing losing 2-1.
Round 3 vs Gary Baker (1-1), Chapin
I can’t remember any misplays from this game so must have just lost to the better deck and player. Ho-hum, *glances at side events*.
Round 4 vs Craig Banach (1-2)
Oh hey there Scottish player number 2. I expected a mirror match and he doesn’t disappoint. What does disappoint is the main deck [c]Hall of Triumph[/c] and [c]Feast of Dreams[/c]. It sits at 1-1 and he has tapped out to attack. He’s on 5 life. I have a [c]Tormented Hero[/c] on board and only a [c]Boon of Erebos[/c] in hand. Now I saw a route to victory last turn but now can’t see what it is. I attack with the [c]Tormented Hero[/c] and blank on what to do to win, seeing only 2 more damage in hand. Idiot.
The time is ticking down taking ages between rounds. I see the schedule. If I win the next round great. If I lose I don’t have time to drop and go to the Modern event. I drop and go to write up the decklist for Modern.
Slightly disappointed but not unexpected for the GP. I should have been 2-2 but was just not into it and didn’t concentrate. I don’t know if I would do another block GP. The games were boring with about 2 decks which worked and everything else a mile behind. With a new set out just a couple of weeks before the GP, changing deck became super expensive or reliant on borrowing lots off friends.
Modern Treasure Chest
I had brought my Modern Goblin deck with me on the slight change I wouldn’t Day 2 *cough*. Joining another 52 players I was really looking forward to playing a silly deck.
What stands out is that in 6 rounds I played 6 different decks. Yay, lot’s of practice with
Gobbos do the Jobbo.
Round One vs Alexander Mortimer, Red Blue Storm
I manage to win the match 2-0 with Alex stumbling in his storm. We play a couple of fun games after so I get to see how it goes off.
Round Two vs Matthew Thomson (1-0), Green White Hexproof
I win the first match but fold under a giant hexproof, vigilant, lifelink dude. Sure, I can side in Krenko and spam tokens to block but if you drop a [c]Rancor[/c] I’m trading dozens of cards to stall you. I try and race in game 2 and 3 and don’t succeed.
Round Three vs Joshua Buchan (1-1), Blue White Red Control
All those remands, mana leaks and so on take their toll and I lose. Having great fun doing so. It really can’t be stressed enough. I have more fun getting stomped with Goblins in Modern than I do winning with Mono Black in Standard. I think the first game was flashing in a [c]Restoration Angel[/c] to block and then bolt my dorks. I don’t get his life to single figures in either match.
Round Four vs Branoc Richards (1-2), Ninja Bear Delver
I’m on the play, drop a mountain and a [c]Legion Loyalist[/c].
I can’t believe I’ve lost to fucking goblins states my opponent with his head in his hands. Er, I assume that’s not a concession, we play on. He gets extra card draw but not enough to make a difference. I have tears streaming at one point from us laughing at a silly topdeck. I win the match 2-0. His friend comes over after playing Travis Woo and he tell him the story of the match.
It’s getting late and I’m really feeling tired now. I can’t stress enough how much the
bring snacks and drinks advice was useful. Given the heat in the hall it’s great to nip outside between matches too.
Round Five vs Matt Wakeford (2-2) Red Green Tron
It’s all to play for, sitting at 2-2 with 2 rounds to go, got to get in the prizes.
He is on the play and assembles Tron on turn 3. Passing turn, I play the land and [c]Blood Moon[/c] I have in my hand. It always surprises people if they see it game one. Considering some decks play 2-3 basics it’s a no-brainer to me. The few occasions it’s not needed or that I top deck that instead of burn are far outweighed by the number of times you can basically lock your opponent.
Game 2 my opening hand contains 3 [c]Mountain[/c]s and a [c]Blood Moon[/c]. First time I’ve seen it all day and turns up at the perfect time. Fair enough he’s not the biggest target for it, but every little helps.
Round Six vs Simon Smith (3-2), Robots
Simon was sitting next to me in the previous match so I know what to expect. A [c]Blood Moon[/c] shows up again, not the best card against the deck, but still stops the Nexuses being used to kill me with infect. I win through ending up 4-2 overall gaining 4 packs. The winner and runner up get phat loot including fetchlands, legacy lands and a From the Vaults.
Day 2 – Modern Championship
I find out that Brad has made it to Day 2. Fantastic result. Some Scot we haven’t heard of is sitting 9-0 too. We have some time in the morning so we all sit tuning decks. Ray Doyle manages to cut my curve by a buttload after remembering a silly combo that used to exist.
Round One vs Nicolas Debacker, Green White Flash
I win the first match with a [c]Kitchen Finks[/c] being his only play, so I’m not 100% sure what deck he is playing. We wins game 2 after playing [c]Obstinate Baloth[/c] and flickering it twice with a [c]Restoration Angel[/c] so it’s all down to the third match. I eventually get the board state to where he has 2 life, 3 open mana and a [c]Restoration Angel[/c] in hand. Looking at the board I have enough to deal 12 damage, even if he flickers the Baloth and goes to 6 I can get through for 6 damage. Just win on the nose.
Round Two vs Charlie Ringer (1-0), Jund
I haven’t played against the new version of Jund yet so am looking forward to it. A turn one [c]Goblin Guide[/c] reveals a [c]Dark Confidant[/c]. The look on his face tells me he won’t be playing it…
He eventually manages to kill all my guys and in game 2 ends up with Dead Alan time.
Round Three vs Leonard Smith (1-1), The Rock
I hadn’t seen anyone play this deck before, so when he plays nothing but black spells in game 1 I figure he is some kind of control deck. Turns out he’s just mana screwed. So I have no idea what to expect. Game 2 he plays a [c]Phyrexian Obliterator[/c]. Hmm, I have two mountains and three Goblins in play. It’s time for game 3. We go back and forth a bit and I get him to two life with a stalled board. Eventually draw a [c]Goblin Grenade[/c] after chumping with my last Goblin. If any of the last 5 draws had been a burn spell of some kind… Oh well.
Round Four vs Olivier Lejeune (1-2), Blue White
So I’m 2-1 down but getting a lot of practice against decks I don’t normally play. These two side events have been totally worth it.
Game 1 I manage to get a Turn 4 win.
Game 2, turn 1 I play a Goblin Guide, he bolts it. Turn 2 I drop a [c]Legion Loyalist[/c] and a [c]Goblin Guide[/c], double [c]Lightning Bolt[/c]. Hmm what a pain, at least that’s 9 damage not at my face and only stopping him taking 6, but still. I get him to 1 life. He then double [c]Lightning Helix[/c] to clear my board and stabilise beating me to death with a [c]Restoration Angel[/c].
Game 3 I manage to fight through a [c]Wrath of God[/c]
Round Five vs Aaron Lipshitz (2-2), Green White Black
Game 1 treats me to another turn 4 kill, with him being on 12 life at start of turn.
Game 2 is probably a story he can tell. He gets me down to 2 life, clears my board and he is on 29 after a poor removal decision by me following a [c]Blood Moon[/c]. How does he kill me, well with a [c]Noble Hierarch[/c]. How does it get through my Goblins? It doesn’t, it grants exalted to a [c]Birds of Paradise[/c]. Raced and beaten by a 0/1 flyer. Only playing goblins do you get such nonsense.
Game 3 I get him down from 18 to 2 on turn 3. He scoops.
The disappointing news has come through that Brad has lost in the quarter finals. I’m now the only person in our car in a tournament. I figure it will be quick so I’ll play one more round, conceding if it looks like I may be in a winning position so that I don’t knock someone out of prizes then drop.
Round Six vs Jonas Wienand (3-2), Storm
I sit down opposite a guy who has come all the way from Cologne for the weekend.
In game 1 I get him to 2 before he storms off and hits me for lethal with [c]Grapeshot[/c].
Game 2, he slowly eats away at my life with tokens from [c]Empty the Warrens[/c] but I win out.
For Game 3 I get the travel buddies around us to watch. I slowly eat away at live. He salvages the match by killing a [c]Legion Loyalist[/c] I top deck, which would have let me push through his tokens for lethal. I am on 17 and he is stalled on 2 for turn after turn. I just need a burn spell of some kind. He manages to storm off, casting [c]Lightning Bolt[/c] and copying twice, down to 8. He then flashes it back and copies it twice. Oh well. Close though. I sign the slip, drop and wish him well.
Overall a fun weekend. I do wish I had not bothered with the main event though and played a Chaos Draft or something on the Saturday morning instead. I wasn’t up for it and my playing reflected it. Oh well. I really enjoyed all the modern matches and some of the block. I don’t think I met anyone I took a dislike too either which was a bonus.