GP Vegas: From the outside.

From the #GPVegas twitter stream. So many people!

From the #GPVegas twitter stream. So many people!

The biggest Magic: The Gathering tournament ever. The biggest trading card tournament ever. And the first GP I watched coverage of online.

As I mentioned on my last post, several of my close friends from my LGS attended GP Vegas. I probably bugged them a lot with all of my texts, but I’d be damned if I didn’t hear how they were doing.  And after doing my girly things on Saturday (seeing Emma Watson’s new movie and going shopping) I got home, tuned into the online coverage and went into full nermaid mode.

I only stopped when my friends arrived for game night, close to midnight (they all work late). And that still probably counts as nerdmaid mode, now that I think about it. (Settlers of Catan!)

I’d never really gotten into the whole online coverage for magic; I didn’t see how it could be THAT entertaining. But boy, was I proven wrong. I tuned in as they were explaining the archetypes of Modern Masters, and was immediately hooked. I’d drafted Modern Masters once, when a guy at my LGS had a box he needed to open, but I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.  But through watching the coverage, I learned I’d actually drafted one of the archetypes of Modern Masters: R/W Giants. Imagine that!

When they finally showed an actual match, I felt like I sort of had an idea of what was going on. Plus, the commentators were actually really good at explaining what was happening. When a card came into play that was really interesting, they’d show it on screen, and I looked up a lot of cards on my own as well so I could understand what the plays and decisions made. I learned more about Modern Masters watching the coverage of the GP than I thought I ever would.

Paired with that, I was also getting text updates from my buddies actually in Vegas. It sounded like they were having a blast, and I was insanely jealous. But I was rooting for them as best I could from my futon several states away. And when I found out that my boyfriend, Steve  (whom I met at my first FNM), was on a winning streak, I was so excited I could hardly sit still. After watching the featured match of the round, I’d wait not-so-patiently for an update to hear how everyone was doing. Steve didn’t lose a match until round seven!

Steve ended up 8-1 after day one, qualifying for day two of the largest GP ever. I was incredibly proud. In his seventh round, he was even placed at table 1 of his flight (the tournament was separated into four smaller groups), meaning he had one of the two best records of his group!! And to top that off, it was his first GP ever. But I’ll let him tell more of his story for himself later.

Let’s pause for a sec. In case you didn’t know, GP Vegas was a limited tournament. The first day players got a sealed pool of cards they had to make a deck out of. Players had to have a record of 7-2 or better to make it to day two. On day two all the qualifying players got to participate in two 3-round drafts. So basically it was two days of lots of deck-building and magic-playing greatness. (I would imagine, obviously I don’t know first-hand.)

So anyways, I watched some really good players on the featured matches. It was really interesting watching how they played, and listening to the commentators. I feel like I learned a lot just through observing, so I can only imagine how actually playing would have been.

On day two I got to watch Sam Black and Melissa DeTora draft, which was also very interesting. I also got to watch them both win their first matches after the drafts, so I got to see their decks in action. It was neat following their draft and then getting to see how all their picks ended up working.

Most of the time I ignored the stream chat, but I couldn’t help but notice that a lot of people on the stream chat would complain about having to watch Melissa. I don’t know why, but I actually think it might be because she’s a girl. It seemed like some of the people had an attitude of “oh, we have to watch a girl play… there are so many better choices!”. So lame. But whatever, Melissa still did great, and remains one of my biggest Magic inspirations. Only a handful of girls made day 2, and Melissa ended up 22nd. And for a tournament of 4500 people, that’s awesome.

And for that matter, the whole Top 8 group inspired me. A lot of them hadn’t had any notable Magic achievements. The overall winner, Neal Oliver, actually went into the tournament without any byes (I think most pros had at least three… even a couple guys from my LGS had that many!) and lost his first round. He said he almost dropped! But instead he kept going and ended up winning 15 matches in a row, with an intentional draw into Top 8… it’s just crazy.  It made me feel like there is actually hope for me (or Steve) to make Top 8 at a big tournament and “go pro” with Magic. I’m not sure that’s in the cards, but I’m at least going to attend some GPs… that’s for sure. It seems like such a good time, and a great way to get more Magic experience.

But all I really want to do right now is play some Modern Masters!

All for now,


3 thoughts on “GP Vegas: From the outside.

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