Since I returned to the hobby a few years ago, Grand Prix’s (or ‘Magic Fests’ as I should now call them) have been a fixture of my yearly Magic life. Getting to play high-level competitive formats with a wide range of people from the community is a great laugh (even if I don’t always perform well). I also get to see artists, Magic personalities, and do a lot of trading with a wide variety of vendors over the course of a few days. Not only that, but I get to meet up with friends and fellow content creators, many of whom I rarely get to see because of one reason or another.
Usually I only get to make it to one large-scale event a year due to my commitments as a parent and a husband. As a result, I often feel compelled to enter the Main Event as I will be unlikely to have another chance to compete for a whole year. This year, though, a welcome brush of luck (and the good will of my lovely wife) meant I was able to not only go to the double event in Birmingham this year, but also this last weekend’s Magic Fest Liverpool. As I had already filled my quota of Main Event competition this year, I decided I would attend this event as more of a casual convention goer – in other words, it was time to hit up the side events and crack out my Commander deck.
After a long and wet drive over the Pennines I arrived early on the Saturday morning and set my eyes on my first event of the weekend, the modern double up. Modern has long been one of my two favourite formats (the other being standard, and) modern was everywhere during the weekend. Between the Main Event, Sunday PTQ and three Double Ups, it seemed that every new archetype and brew was represented in one form or another. There was even a couple of interesting rogue builds I saw in action, which I’ll have to talk about another time. I decided my deck of choice for the weekend would be my beloved Naya Burn.
I was joined at the Modern table by my fellow Team MoM member, Samuel Peters. Unlike myself (who had chosen a fair and respectable deck) Samuel decided to tackle the competition with favourite archetype, G/R Ponza. All joking aside, the event was a lot of fun for both of us. I managed a respectable 2-1, only losing to Bant Spirits by the slimmest of margins and earning myself 200 prize tix. Samuel did even better, winning his first two matches and then ID-ing the last round for 400 tix. He decided to cash in a large chunk of them there and then in order to get a box of Guilds of Ravnica, while I held on to mine for the time being.
— James 'The Owl' Wise #TeamMoM (@MTGTengu) December 9, 2018
The rest of the day was spent meeting up with people and playing Commander. I got to try out my new Pleasant Kenobi inspired Marrow-Gnawer deck, making many rats and swinging in with a healthy number of Rat Colony. After everyone had had their fill of events, the remaining members of the Master of Magics crew gathered for a meal and much merriment. This was a great time to meet up with everyone, as in recent months we have been scattered geographically. After we had finished eating some of us went to bed, while the rest of us played some more Commander until the early morning.
After being rudely awoken by some very loud neighbours in my dominical, I decided that a sleep in was probably not going to be on the cards. “Oh well. Guess I should go and play some more Magic.” I was early enough to make it to the last Modern Double up and decided to have another crack at the format since Saturday went quite well. How did I do? In a word, BAD. It wasn’t that I played poorly or anything, it was just that luck wasn’t on my side. The amount of mulliganing I had to do due to a lack of mana was terrible, often leaving me with a starting hand of five. I still managed to walk away with a couple of tix, but it was hardly the result I was hoping for.
At this time Samuel turned up and convinced me to have one more go at the format and join him in the 13:30 Modern Event. Unfortunately, Samuel had a much worst time of it compared to Saturdays Double Up, playing some difficult matches and missing out on prizes. I, in contrast, had another decent showing managing another 2-1 and getting 100 more tix. I was a couple of tix shy of a booster box but had enough to get myself an Ultimate Masters box topper. If I was lucky, I could possibly get a decent pull and come out ahead. Or I could open a Lavaclaw Reaches and cry in the corner. With bated breath I opened the pack and saw…
Jackpot ? pic.twitter.com/JwI5OWFtV2
— James 'The Owl' Wise #TeamMoM (@MTGTengu) December 10, 2018
The remainder of my time in Liverpool was relaxing and playing some Pai Gow and Commander, as well as getting a preview of The Mana Source’s upcoming content (you won’t want to miss this video, believe me). All in all, my weekend in Liverpool was a great laugh and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I’ve said it before, but GP’s are one of the best Magic experiences you can attend. Not only do you get to play the best game in the world, but you also get to do it with loads of like-minded people from all over the world. Everyone I talked to was upbeat and positive, and it felt like I was talking to an old friend even if I had only just met the person.
This is the power of Magic. It is a hobby that unites us no matter our background or experiences. Sometimes we can lose sight of that, especially when something negative happens in our little community. But events like these just go to show how much we have in common, and how one little card game can bring us closer together in our shared love of it. The name might have changed, but if GPs/Magic Fests continue to bring us together then that’s what truly matters.
I just wanted to finish off this little event write up with a couple of shout-outs and thanks to some to the great people I met and caught up with over the weekend. Obviously my fellow partners in crime here at Master of Magics Samuel, Sean, Matt, Chris, Sam and Abbie were, and always have been, wonderful, supportive people. My fellow content creators Pleasant Kenobi, Rob White, and Wedge from The Mana Source. Dennis and the other fine people from Channel Fireball Events for putting on a great convention, as well as Kirsty and the other Judges, whether they were working or not. All of you are great people and my life is richer for knowing you.
Well that’s going to about wrap it up for me today, but not for our Magic Fest coverage here at Master of Magics. Both Chris Vincent and Matt Brown braved the Main Event last weekend, and I believe one of them will be providing their own viewpoint on the event this coming Thursday. If you don’t want to miss out on that I would recommend subscribing to us here on the site to keep up to date with our latest Magic the Gathering content. Until then remember – Good Luck, and Have Fun!