Saturday, March 2, 2013

[JT] Making History while Making Magic

I'm just going to come right out and say that I just had the best week of my life.  As you all know, at least you do if you paid attention to my last post and my Twitter, I went to Grand Prix Charlotte.

Yes, I know it goes beyond the page frame.  It's fitting, as you will see...          

This is what 2,693 dorks look like from just above my eye level.  Yes... just under 2,700 people came to play in the GP this past weekend (and that is not counting the people who only came to do side events, but more on those later).  Not only was GP Charlotte the largest GP ever in the U.S., it was the largest Magic tournament in history!

... I mean ever... like...  evvvvverrrrrr. 

That alone made it worth the trip, but so much else happened this week that just elevated things to a whole new level of amazing.

Reki, the History of Kamigawa

Let's start this tale from the beginning.  Thursday, I drove down to Charlotte.  That in and of itself was fun.  The whole time I listened to the 8.5 hours of set review that was done by Marshall Sutcliffe and Jon Loucks from Limited Resources...  the trip was only 7.5 hours, by the way.  After I got there, I met up with my best friend and fellow author here on NerdPop, Caitlin!  This was the first time in a year and a half we got to hang out, so the trip was already off to the best possible start it could have had.

[This is the somewhat larger CGC section...]

Friday, I went to the Charlotte Convention Center for the first day of the GP.  Since I had pre-registered, after checking in I had nothing I really to do, so I just sort of wandered around, checking out the dealers' tables (read as: drooling like a madman), and checking out the side events.  There was a large selection of events to try out:  8-man win-a-box tournaments in Standard, Modern, and Legacy (you literally win a box of Gatecrash); GP grinders (earn byes for the first rounds of the main tournament); 8-man draft pods; and even 4-man Commander/EDH pods.

The first event I did was the Commander pod where I played 3 really cool guys playing Memnarch; Darien, King of Kjeldor; and Scion of the Ur-Dragon with me playing Patron of the Moon.  The Memnarch player was knocked out by the Scion player early (with the Memnarch player declaring that as the right choice).  I hung on as long as I could (thanks to a Kami of the Crescent Moon, Howling Mine, and Graceful Adept), but was knocked out next because my Riptide Labortaory got Wasteland'ed before I could Hinder the Scion I had Boomerang'ed, which then went on to knock out the Darien player.

After the Commander game, I set about to try and get some new cards, which was a rousing success.  I got some sic foils (~$100) for NO money; i.e. just trading in random standard cards I didn't need.  I usually hate bragging, but this is a special occasion.  I also played in a 8-person Standard win-a-box with my Deadeye Control deck, which was a mistake because I hadn't touched the deck in almost a month.  I lost in the first round to an Aristocrats deck.

Next started the best part of the GP.  Soon after getting my foils, I met up with Chewie and Mike from the podcast, The Mana Pool, as well as Bill, also somewhat of The Mana Pool.  I got to hang out with them for a decent part of the night, and it was AWESOME.  We played some EDH (or at least Mike, another listener of TMP, and I did) before I had to bail and get some sleep before the main event.

Day 2 of the GP started off very slowly as they tried to accommodate the sheer number of players.  While we waited, I got to meet Brian, the third host of TMP that was competing (who ended the weekend in 123rd freaking place!  Holy crap!).  Once we got things set up and ready to go, I looked at my pool and was slightly underwhelmed.  I had a pretty solid "Borzhov" pool that topped out with Angelic Skirmisher, but it was nothing outstanding... and it showed.  I went 1-3 before finally dropping.  I was going to give you a round by round recap, but nothing too sensational happened with the exception of being on both sides of an insurmountable life total.  Of course, both times I ended up on the wrong end of a zero total.

A little later on I did a side draft, ending up in my favorite archetype for this format: Esper.  There is something very satisfying in getting back the Gridlock you had hidden away under a Bane Alley Broker to swing in with a Shadow Slice encoded creature for exactly lethal.  Unfortunately. I lost in the second round thanks to the dream Simic curve of Cloudfin Raptor into Shambleshark into Crocanura into Crowned Ceratok O_o.  The rest of the day was spent hanging out and rooting on Brian.

Day 3 started off with another Commander pod with my Grimgrin against Fumiko, the Lowblood (piloted by Mike); Lazav, Dimir Mastermind (piloted by Bill); and Sedris, the Traitor King (piloted by a fourth player who I don't remember the name of).  It was a fun game which included an Insurrection, taking control of both Sedris' and my own Undead Warchief and my Diregraf Captain... and my Grimgrin -_-  The game ended though when Sedris went infinite with Triskelion and Mikaeus, the Unhallowed to machine gun the three of us to death.

We then played another game with a Karn, Silver Golem player.  Bill kept Lazav while Mike switched to Dakkon Blackblade and I to Bruna, Light of Alabaster.  At one point I had a 30+/30+ Bruna with protection from creatures and double Totem Armor, but I didn't swing with her because I decided to give everyone one more round around the table before swinging, and she promptly got Phyrexian Metamorph'ed away *le sigh*.  We were eventually all milled out by the Karn player's Rings of Brighthearth and Otherworld Atlas to make us all draw 36 cards, and of course I only had 35 cards left in my library -_-.  It was a really fun set of games though.  After, we hung out and waited to see how Brian did, which I already spoiled.  After that we dispersed.  It was amazing to meet those guys, and to do so at such an epic (I really do not think there is any other word more fitting) event such as GP Charlotte.

After the GP, I got to hang out with Caitlin a bit more [and here is where the Casual Daze sort of begins...].  We saw "Warm Bodies".  It's definitely cute, but very...  unorthodox?  Or should I just say odd?  Basically, it took me a bit of time to get comfortable with the movie breaking a lot of zombie conventions that I grew up with.  It was definitely worth the price of admission though (OK, I'm a little biased since we got a matinee fee ,,v. ~_^).

Unfortunately our time was cut short just because of classes and work, so we didn't get to do much else.  We did however get to grab some food at Bubba's Barbeque, which is an awesome little dive in Charlotte with real barbeque.  I even got to chat with the owner for a bit, and he made me take a test to see whether I was a boy, or a man.  I'm going to leave you with a picture of the test, and the words he told me that pretty much summed up the entirety of the amazing week I had down South...

"Thing's are a bit different in the South...

See y'all later!

P.S. No, I am not going to be typing with Southern mannerisms from now on :P

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