Weekend Windfall – 1/11/13 – Who Invited You?
Each Friday afternoon, Still Had All These gets you ready for your Magic weekend by looking back at the past seven days of topdecks, mises, misplays, and whatever tweets are driving people crazy this week!
Look Who's Here, How You Doin? Why Don't You Tell Me Who Let You In?
This week was all about invites.The fun started over the weekend with Grand Prix Denver, where exactly 700 players sleeved up their favorite Legacy decks to battle for the four PT Dragon's Maze invites and the title of Grand Prix champion. Friend of the Still Had All These family, Daniel Duterte started out 9-0, but faded in the final rounds. In the end, it was a pretty loaded top 8, with GP Oakland winner Matt Nass, Josh Ravitz, Pat Cox, and this guy, who looks like he's taken liberal advantage of Colorado's marijuana legalization.
In the end, Pat Cox's Legacy Jund got one seat in the finals, faced up against Vidianto Wijaya playing Esper Stoneblade. When the dust cleared, Stoneforge Mystic and company went the distance for Wijaya, bringing him the big check and the GP trophy!
Meanwhile, across the Rockies, Star City sent the open circuit to Columbus. As usual, Standard was the star of day 1, and an interesting new take on aggro battled its way to the top. Would you like some Mono-Red in your multicolor format?
Red Deck Wins This Time - Kevin Brumley - SCG Columbus 2013
Kevin brought the fire to the top 8, beating Andrew Shrout in the finals. You can see the top 8 decklists here, but good luck finding coverage of the event a week after the fact!
On Sunday, the Legacy decks took center stage, and the top 8 featured 8 different archetypes. BUG, RUG, Jund, Belcher, Omni-Tell, Stoneblade, and Reanimator helped make one of the most diverse top 8s in quite some time, but they all fell by the wayside at the hands of Riley Curran and his little green men. While the Elf combo deck was getting Luis Scott-Vargas a game loss on camera at GP Denver, Riley powered it to victory in Columbus.
We Don't Care If You Think Our Party's Cool, Cause We Do
It's week 2 of spoilers for Gatecrash, and in two weeks, I'll be going in-depth into the spoilers just before your pre-release weekend! (A spoiler alert of my own - in two weeks, I'll be on Magic Cruise 5 exploring the Caribbean! Jealous, I know. The Weekend Windfall for the 25th will be written the weekend prior with all the known spoiler information to that point dissected and analyzed for you.) There have been some spicy numbers released over the past week, though. Let's take a look at one for each guild.
- What does it take to make a Fireball mythic? Let's make it instant speed, to start. Then let's turn it into Rolling Thunder so you can distribute the damage wherever you want. Now, let's make it a Blinding Beam for any creature it hits that lives. Good enough yet? BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE. You also get an Abeyance for each player you hit with it! Bask in Aurelia's Fury.
- You may not know this, but I'm a sucker for subtlety, as rare as it appears in my writing. While Magic is full of over the top creatures and absurdly powerful spells (see above), it's the little things that tie it all together. Little things like the perfect weapon for Simic draft decks. Little things like mutant shark crabs. SyFy has Sharktopus, the Simic have Shambleshark.
This rejected Onslaught art will be ruining combat math for opponents of Simic players all limited season. Oh look! for 2 mana, I get to play Ambush Viper AND pump up the rest of my 0-1 power guys? And then the rest of my deck will likely pump this guy up? Yeah. While the bar for Simic GU commons is still the very unsubtle Coiling Oracle, this cute little monstrosity will be ruining many an opponent. Now if only there was a Gatecrash sealed PTQ season...
- Marshall Sutcliffe talked about 'value bears' in his spoiler article this week. While previewing one of those value bears, he talked about how Orzhov's extort mechanic rewards you for keeping a lower curve so you can pay for more extort triggers. Thrull Parasite would like to reward you some more.
This guy gets to extort people, then turn that life into some hardcore Simic/Rakdos/Golgari hating. Gone grab bag drafting? Imagine this guy munching some counters off of Tumble Magnet or some of the vanishing creatures from Planar Chaos? Generally, it takes a lot for a 1/1 for 1 mana to be playable in limited, but I think this guy makes the grade. Extort has the feeling of a very powerful mechanic in terms of bleeding someone to death while you essentially get to play control.
- You would think that the Dimir, lovers of stealth and subtlety, would have a charm that wouldn't hit their opponent like a house of bricks. You'd be wrong.
Dimir Charm has all the subtlety of Seth MacFarlane, and the finished product is just as miserable for the recipient. When Mizzium Mortars, Terminus, and Bonfire of the Damned rule the Standard roost, Envelop is king. Is that not good enough for you? How about I kill your Avacyn's Pilgrim or your aggro creature? Still not good enough? Need to dig for a better answer or strip the opponent of options? How about I just seal your fate? If there's a blue/black control deck to be had in this aggro-heavy Standard format, this card should play a big part in that deck.
- Gruul. Rargh, smash. RARGH, SMASH. I TOLD YOU. RARGH. SMASH.
This guy is as beefy as it gets. Remember how sweet Rhox Brute was in Alara Reborn? Let's take that guy and give him trample. Pretty good! We can do better, though. Why don't we make him also be Colossal Might? That seems fine! The Gruul play one way, and they're OK with that. One trampling, face-punching way.
Who Invited You? Who Invited You?
The big news of the week was the finalized list of invites for Pro Tour Gatecrash in Montreal. In addition to the winners of various PTQs, top 4 finishers at GPs, and Gold and Platinum level pro players, 5 players were offered Sponsor's Exemptions based on strong finishes in multiple qualifying events, and 5 Special Invitations to players for various reasons. Those 10 players are:
Harry Corvese - Sponsor's Exemption*
Pierre Dagen - Sponsor's Exemption*
Louis Deltour - Sponsor's Exemption*
Jon Stern - Sponsor's Exemption*
Eric Froehlich - Sponsor's Exemption*
Dado Antunovic - Special Invitation
Reinaldo da Silva Jr - Special Invitation
Melissa DeTora - Special Invitation
Paul Renie - Special Invitation
Adam Yurchick - Special Invitation
Melissa got her invite for what Director of Organized Play Helene Bergeot described as "her contribution to the #mtg game and community." The other four Special Invitations relate to players who earned invites to previous Pro Tour events and due to circumstances out of their control weren't able to attend. You should check out Bergeot's Twitter as she's engaged in discussion with all sorts of critics of the special invite policy. One of the big critics of the Sponsor's Exemption invites is Cedric Phillips, who wrote a fantastic article on Star City about the subject.
Personally, I don't like the DeTora invite because 'contribution to the game and community' is so nebulous. There are dozens of people who write about Magic, travel to tournaments, promote that travel, etc. is Melissa a very good Magic player? Yes. But so are hundreds of people who didn't qualify for the Pro Tour. I don't agree with WoTC's stance on a smaller Pro Tour, so 'fixes' like the Sponsor's Exemptions are fine by me. The whole mess has demonstrated that the qualifying system for the Pro Tour is: heavily biased towards North America and Europe (How is a player outside of those two regions going to travel to enough events to put up the results that would get them noticed by OP?); and still broken, but not to the extent that it was during the Planeswalker Points = Invite time frame. If anything, I hope this discussion makes some of the invite policies more transparent, even if we're not going to get a bigger Pro Tour in the future.
You Say You're Everyone's Best Friend, But Last Night You Made Fun Of Them All
Even if you can't make it to this weekend's big tournaments, you can make fun of their plays on Facebook and Twitter as you follow live coverage!
- Atlantic City is the site of one of this week's two Grand Prix. The format is Standard and turnout should be huge. You can follow the video coverage on the mothership's Twitch channel and relive three rounds ago on the text coverage. Did I say three? I meant four.
- Singapore is having a Grand Prix as well, as long as you don't break any laws. The format there is RTR Sealed/Draft. If you thought text coverage for domestic GPs was bad, just you wait! You probably won't see results on this GP until Tuesday. Pack Rat will be a strong finisher, though.
- The Star City Open Series is in sunny San Diego, with its usual Standard/Legacy formats. This will be the tournament coverage to watch, since Cedric Phillips and Patrick Sullivan are hosting. They're also suiting up, according to Cedric's Twitter feed, so that'll be sweet too. You can follow along on their Twitch site and never see coverage of the tournament again two days afterwards. You won't see tomorrow's stars today, but hey, at least you've got a good shot at playing in a SCG Invitational!
And We Don't Care if You Had More Fun In Sunday School
That's it for this week! Go out, enjoy your weekend, smash faces at Friday Night Magic, etc. I'll be right here for you next Friday with more Weekend Windfall. Until then,you can catch me on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch!