GP: Vegas Stories – *144th*

[Editor’s Note: If you would like to share your GP: Vegas story, shoot me an email at jason.abong (at) Thanks to Gary for sharing his story!]

GP Vegas has come and gone, but it definitely made Magic history. This past weekend is the reason why I enjoy Magic so much. I traveled to Sin City for the chance to get back on the Pro Tour and claim fame. While I didn’t get to achieve my goal, I’m glad that someone from Arizona got there.

My adventure started off on Thursday morning, my buddy Chris had the pleasure of picking everyone up. After a slight delay where one of our friends lost their wallet the night before and had to go get a new driver’s license, we were off to the GP. I really enjoy road trips, you just put on some music and drive off. Having a good car where you have people just shoot the bull with just makes the time fly by. Five hours later and we are entering Las Vegas and excited to check out the convention center. It was quite the spectacle, on Thursday the convention center already looks like the size of an average GP. I’ve been to my fair share of big events, but I was not prepared for this. Thursday and Friday were pretty much meet up with old friends that you haven’t seen in a long time and chill. You make so many friends playing this game and it’s at events like this where everyone congregates to one destination that you realize just how much it is part of your life. I managed to get in a practice draft and sealed building exercise but calling it a night on Friday.

On Saturday morning, my group split up in two. We had some people that went to the event site at 9 am and I had the Sleep-In Special. Eddie Caudill and I cabbed it to the event site for our 11:30 am check in time, only to find out that the event had barely started. This was going to be the start of a long day. Obviously with the largest tournament ever being hosted, there were going to be hiccups, even if you expect the attendance to be approximately 10,000 players and plan accordingly. After what seemed like forever, our group got their pools and started registration.

I opened my pool and immediately flipped through my rares to see what I should build around. Alas I did not find the mythic unicorn, or in this case a foil Tarmogoyf. I definitely had some good ones, but they were nowhere near the broken power level of Karn, or Elesh Norn but it was playable. Out of my 7 rares (1 foil) I played with 4 and managed to assemble this list.

Creatures (10)
Precursor Golem
Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder
Lodestone Myr
Air Servant
Rune Servitor
Cloud Servant
Ulamog’s Crusher

Spells (14)
Agony Warp
Sphere of the Suns
Everflowing Chalice
Flayer Husk
Sickle Slicer
Glint Hawk Idol
Cranial Plating
All is Dust

Lands (16)
Izzet Boilerworks
Simic Growth Chamber
Evolving Wilds
Azorius Chancery

I managed to go 7-2 on Day 1, losing to Pascal Maynard’s Karn, Ant Queen and Comet Storm deck, and a very aggressive G/W deck. I didn’t think my deck was amazing, but Endrek was the mvp of the weekend. Every time I untapped with him, I won the game. I did misbuild my deck by 2-3 cards, but got it pretty close the first time around as my sealed pool wasn’t deep in anyone particular color. I should have ran a maindeck Terashi’s Grasp and a Gust-Skimmer since I boarded in grasp in nearly every match. The Crusher was too slow in my deck and I should have lowered my curve for the Gust-Skimmer and it’s an artifact for my deck.

After a long grueling Day 1 I had managed to Day 2, by the time we got back to our hotel room it was already 11 o’clock. Our car went and grabbed some delicious Jollibee for dinner and then promptly went to bed [Editor’s Note: Yes!].

For Day 2 we made it promptly to the event site and waited for instructions before we started drafting. Limited day twos are set up into pods based on your record. As I sat down I recognized a familiar face, a player whose name escapes me at the moment, but we had played at the Pro Tour before. We chit chatted a bit and then began our draft. The judges are pacing the draft to make ensure we finish in time.

I drafted a pretty sweet Wb deck, but it wasn’t an archetype. It was just an aggressive white creature equipment deck that splashed black for removal. I ended up going to 2-1 with the deck in my pod.

In the second pod I drafted another BW deck but this time it was of the spirit variety. My deck was reasonable and hoped it could finish 2-1. I unfortunately lost to an insane UW affinity deck where it was so good that he had sideboard Arrest and Swans of Bryn Argoll! After that defeat I knew I needed to win my next two to have a chance to cash the event. I managed to beat my next opponent 2-0 due to him having some mana issues. After viewing standings before the last round I was in the 123rd spot of the GP. At this point I’m locked for minimum cash and a win would most likely not bump me to the next pay scale so my opponent and I wisely drew.

My final placing in the GP was 144th, which wasn’t too bad. I did not have high hopes for finishing well Day 1 since I didn’t think my sealed pool was very good. I was also surprised I did so well in my pods considering I had a losing record in this limited draft format. Overall I was pretty happy with my performance for the weekend. I saw many old friends, won some money, and got to participate in magic history. What more could I have asked for? Well onto the next event, hopefully I’ll get to see some of you in next big tournament.