Patriot Games

Thursday, 14 February 2013

The Grand Prix Experience.

So it's been a while but I'm back and with my third GP under my belt after a weekend at GP London 2013, but lets not get ahead of myself.  A lot has happened in the last couple of weeks and needs to be addressed.  Firstly the following cards are now banned in Modern:

  • Bloodbraid Elf.
  • Seething Song.
I am a great fan of Bloodbraid Elf but have no feelings at all with regards storm.  I think Wizards are still missing the point that banning the good cards does not actually make the crap ones better.  On top of these the following are banned in pauper;

  • Empty the Warrens.
  • Grapeshot.
  • Invigorate.
So storm is just not a thing ever in Pauper and infect got it's turn 2 win condition removed. Not sure we needed to nerf storm but obviously Wizard's see it differently.

A No, No for Infect in Pauper...

We have also had some rules changes with regard to triggers.  These have had a number of changes recently as they try to get it right and basically now says a trigger remains on the stack until it becomes relevant for things like Jace, Architect of thought and Pyreheart Wolf.

No you can't block me with your Resto Angel just cause I didn't say "Trigger"!

We also now have the date for the next Patriot Games Sheffield Invitational Qualifier.  There are 3 more of these to go before the invitational in October and the next one will be on 23rd March 2013.  Yet again there will be two tournaments with a standard event at 10:30 and a Modern event starting at 12:30.  Entry to each will be £5 with 2 boosters into the prize pool for each participant.  The top 4 will each get an invite to the invitational in October as well as booster prizes.  If you are one of the people already qualified you are still more than welcome to come and play as the entries will cascade down to lower places if players in the top 4 have already qualified.  There will also be qualifiers in June 2013 and September 2013 but the exact dates for these will be announced at a later date.

This guy has dropped to $10 - let's see where he is after Pro Tour...

Anyway back to Grand Prix London 2013.  I have a great love for GP in London, firstly because London is my home town and secondly because GP London 2011 was my first GP and it was a great experience.  I wish I could say the same for GP London 2013.  Before I devolve into a massive rant about the GP I would like to mention the really great things about it.  The company was excellent hanging out with Rob Tinsley and all the Sheffield and Hull MTG crews (I started to make a list of everybody but it was stupidly long - you know who you are) was great.  We had some fantastic laughs ("Khannnnnnn!") and cheered on Jimmy Wild, Ben Pearson and Mike Riedhead as they tried to take down some actual players - and nearly succeeded in Ben's case.  The hotel was very comfortable and the breakfast very good.

Other than that the feeling for the GP was one of less for more.  2 Years ago the main event at GP London was £30, this year it was £40, the prize payout from Wizards has remained the same and no ones wages have gone up so why the 34% rise in price for the event?  There was no prize support in the way of boosters and the venue, although bigger (which considering the 1,970 people that attended was a good thing), was not great and was a long way out of central London.  In 2011 a last chance GPT for sealed was £15 (which was very reasonable).  In 2013 it is £28,  yeah I'm trying to work that one out too.  The free spell slinging event is gone and the Judge Booth didn't give away foils any more unlike 2011.  There was no free duelling allowing you to win foils for getting so many points and all of the fees for side events had gone up.

One of the sadly few cards by Richard Wright.

One of my favourite parts of GP in the past has been getting the artists to sign my cards.  In 2011 we had Mark Tedin and Daren Bader.  These artists were great and I had various conversations with them and they signed loads of cards.  In consideration of others I took 20 cards at a time to be signed and went up multiple times.  In 2013 we had Richard Wright and Svetlin Velinov; Richard Wright was great and we had a chat while he signed cards for both myself and Mark Smith who could not make it to the GP  Richard has only 12 Magic cards to his name so it wasn't a big thing to sign all of the cards I had in one shot. Svetlin Velinov was sadly quite different,  I had to line up for 30 minutes in order to see him for one thing, but this is generally fine and I accept this as part of the whole GP artists thing. However, after waiting this time I was informed that he would only sign 5 cards for free and if I wanted more I would have to buy something in the form of a post card or picture.  At this point I did not really have any money spare and explained that I could not afford to buy anything as I had no money, so he refused to sign more than 5 cards.  I had a foil copy of Obzedat, the Ghost Council which Stephen Kay had asked me to get signed and 4 Memnites for Mr Smith so I got him to sign these and decided that I didn't really want this guy signing any of my cards under the circumstances.

Art by Snivelling Bellyflop or something...

I had a chat with Rob on Sunday morning and between us the weekend had cost around £500 including travel, accommodation, food/drink and tournament entry.  We decided that we could actually have had a lot of other things which would have felt a much more worthwhile expense than GP London 2013 did.

Anyway back to Sheffield Magic and this Friday is Standard with all the new gatecrash cards included.  This weekend is Pro Tour Gatecrash and we will be back with the blog next week looking at what Pro Tour has done for Standard and with a big announcement for competitive play in Sheffield.  Have fun and see you at FNM...

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