You Had to Be There: Gran Prix Minneapolis 2016 Day Two
It’s been said that being at a Magic the Gathering Grand Prix is very much like attending an anime or comic book convention, and I find that Day Two of this event is not different. After having sold some of my extra cards for $15 and signing up for another “small” draft, walking around the play area, I saw many of the same faces I’d seen yesterday. There’s a comforting familiarity in seeing people you recognize at such a big event like this, even if it’s only someone you saw in passing or someone you saw while sitting on the #GPMinn Twitter hashtag.
The players are gathering at their tables. The Super Sunday registration has closed. The pager which will call me to a draft table is waiting for a signal.
Welcome to Day Two of GP Minneapolis.
11:15 am: I drafted a red-black Zombie Vampires deck, but only the Vampires really wanted to come out to play. I ran only 14 creatures because I really wanted to keep things tight (and that’s all I could find in the draft), but instead of filling the rest with spells, I probably should have just put more land in because I don’t think I ever got beyond 5 mana once. I even had to mulligan down to 4 in G1 and though the second game felt a little better and a more even match, I ended up losing that one, too. At least I was able to hate-draft a Westphale Abbey.
12:06 pm: Round 12 resulted in a loss for Meghan Wolff (8-3-1) from Magic the Amateuring, and I was able to get a little bit of time before her next round for a brief interview; hopefully, I’ll be able to edit it soon and get it up on the website. Our conversation focused a lot on her role as a recently elevated ambassador to the game after their invitation to the 2015 Community Cup where she gave a fantastic speech defending their Avarice Amulet Ironroot Chef brew which charmed not only the live Twitch audience, but the flavor judges as well. Her main takeaways for anyone who also wants to contribute to the community is to find an angle or niche which you feel is underrepresented and to find a co-host (or more) with whom you have a lot of chemistry but also who will help creating content be less of a chore for you. Another thing she mentioned is that being a competitor on Day 2 is manifesting a little bit of Impostor Syndrome; however, judging from the reaction of a mother and her two girls who had also come up to say hello before the next round, Wolff is definitely the real deal.
1:39 pm: South Dakota player Brooke Schieffer had just turned around to see that time for Round 13 was drawing to a close, so she did the only thing that she could do at that point: she played her Great Aurora. This move effectively reset the game and put herself onto a huge mana advantage with 21 cards to draw to her opponent’s 17. In the interview I had with her (which will hopefully go up later), Schieffer said that she had always wanted to build a deck around the card, and after Tireless Tracker and some other cards came out in later sets, she realized she could find a way to make a RG Ramping Humans deck work. She runs Chandra, Nissa, and the new Arlinn Kord in her deck and during the round, I saw all three come out to play. A casual player since Shadowmoor, Schieffer only started getting serious with Standard decks, but stressed that she is not a fan of net-decking–and with her now 9-3-1 record, that strategy seems to be working pretty well for her today.
2:34 pm: Ben Wood, whom I met yesterday, is 4-1 for today, 11-3 overall and playing a 4-color Rites deck. Though he doesn’t play the card a lot, he managed to bring out Ulamog to exile a bunch of his opponents’ cards.
After picking up a “Good Luck, High Five!” bracelet from Wolff and Maria Bartholdi (who was sadly defeated by her co-host during Round 14), I realized that my Day Two was slowly coming to an end because I have to leave in a bit to drive a friend back to the airport. As I sit in the middle of a hall where the number of attendees playing in the Main Event is decreasing, I can’t help but think of the amazing people I’ve met today and yesterday. No doubt, there are also a few non-great people here whose saltiness I’ve either overheard or read on Twitter. But for the most part, everyone at this Gran Prix has been nice, friendly, sporting, and welcoming.
I know I’m a casual player, and until something in my financial situation changes, I’m likely to stay a casual player. But I’m glad to know that should I ever decide to get more serious as a player, there’s a great community waiting for me.