Birmingham GP : In the Eyes of a Newbie

Not to overwhelm everyone with Grand Prix content; but I thought I’d give my thoughts as someone who had never been to an event bigger than a PPTQ as a player. Attending a huge event with members from our awesome team (Abbie, Chris, James and later by Chris and Jonny) as well as a huge group of friends from Sheffield was an experience I will never forget – and want to repeat as often as my wallet, and my job, will allow me to do so!

 

— Day One (Thursday) —

This was when the anxiety and nerves really hit me; up until this point, I’d felt perfectly fine – just pure excitement for what would be not only my first GP, but my first time meeting the UKMTG guys, the Channel Fireball team, the guys at the vendors and all of Master of Magics readers and supporters! It really was a lot of people, who were all so friendly!

We started our Grand Prix by heading straight to Spellslinging; this was all new to me, and Thursday was pretty quiet on this front. The few people I personally played against had brought top tier decks to play against my Dimir Mill (modern) and Wizards (Standard). These were the only games I managed to get in unfortunately; as there was one side event I was adamant on wanting to join – the Sealed Charity event in aid of the British Heart Foundation.

As it happens, I played a lot of sealed over the weekend; not quite what I had in mind, but I really enjoyed it – maybe due to not being able to frequently play the format as much as I’d like. It turns out this event was the one where I built my favourite deck in Sealed over the GP weekend!

Creatures (15)

1 Marwyn, the Nurturer
1 Steel Leaf Champion
1 Sylvan Awakening
1 Yavimaya Sapherd
1 Deathbloom Thallid
1 Baloth Gorger
1 Knight of Malice
1 Sporecrown Thallid
1 Untamed Kavu
1 Slimefoot, the Stowaway
1 Grunn, the Lonely King
2 Llanowar Envoy
2 Llanowar Elves

Lands (14)

8 Forest
6 Swamp

Instants (6)

1 Blessing of Belzenlok
1 Vicious Offering
1 Fungal Infection
1 Fungal Infection
1 Gift of Growth
1 Spore Swarm

Sorceries (3)

1 Saproling Migration
1 Adventurous Impulse
1 Eviscerate

Enchantments (1)

1 Fungal Plots

Artifacts (1)

1 Helm of the Host

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This deck turned out to be incredibly fun to pilot; and was the most consistent deck I ended up playing all weekend! The most memorable game being one where I had played Helm of the Host on turn four, and awaited drawing what turned out to be a very silly combo. Attaching a Helm of the Host to Marwyn, the Nurturer creates a very ridiculous scenario where every combat I create a copy of Marwyn; which then triggers any other Marwyn’s ability, making them all bigger each turn! My opponent quickly noticed what was happening, but could do nothing about the army of Marwyn’s that faced them!

My Charity deck performed surprisingly well; losing only to another ridiculous combo – they had played a Traxos, Scourge of Kroog which they then psuedo-vigilance, being able to untap at the end of every turn with either a Voltaic Servant or a Forebear’s Blade. Let me tell you, a 10/7 vigilant death machine is not something I would like to stare down again any time soon!

 

— Day Two (Friday) —

Much the same as day two here at the venue! We started out with Spellslinging once again, with James taking center stage – and having plenty of fun doing so! I took this opportunity to look around at what a Grand Prix has to offer. I found some amazing tokens on my journeys around the hall, and met a couple of the artists; one of which signed one of my beloved Turtles!

Next, I was given the opportunity to enter the Bounty event which James and Abbie had entered on Thursday! Putting our Sealed skills to the test to see if anyone could pry the Tix out of our clutches! It does feel like a double-edged sword though, on one hand you want to just give out the Tix, on the other, you want to win the games! Two of my matches in this event were against others in the Channel Fireball Team, with one even being another of the Bounties! I stood no chance in the end, going 1/1/1. This was a fantastic opportunity to show people of the UKMTG community in a different light, and I would love to do more of this with the UKMTG community whenever possible!

After this Bounty event, our little group of Master of Magics and other UKMTG community members headed over to a VIP party we were kindly invited to attend. This was a really fun event too, not just because I crushed James in pack wars (mostly due to luck than anything else – Primeval Titans tend to have that effect…), but because we were able to sit and interact with a show called “Hit or Myth”!

 

— Day Three (Saturday) —

The less I say about this the better in all honesty. As James mentions in his post; this day was not my friend. My Izzet Wizards deck betrayed me right up until the final round, managing to mana flood in around 70% of my matches in the Standard Main event. I’ll insert my Deck list in this post, so you can see – as I still struggle to now – just how possible it should be to flood out with 20 lands, and just how unlucky I managed to get.

Creatures (21)

3 Bomat Courier
4 Ghitu Lavarunner
4 Siren Stormtamer
4 Soul-Scar Mage
4 Adeliz, the Cinder Wind
2 Nimble Obstructionist

Lands (20)

5 Island
7 Mountain
4 Spirebluff Canal
4 Sulfur Falls

 

 

 

Instants (19)

4 Opt
4 Shock
2 Spell Pierce
2 Abrade
4 Wizard’s Lightning
3 Wizard’s Retort

Sideboard (15)

1 Nimble Obstructionist
1 Blazing Volley
1 By Force
2 Magma Spray
1 Sentinel Totem
2 Unsummon
2 Negate
2 Aethersphere Harvester
2 Kari Zev’s Expertise
1 Refuse // Cooperate

 

As I said, my point of view on the main event, at least from a performance perspective, was a little but less exciting than that of the other members of Team MoM who entered. The event was really well run though, the judge team were amazing, and I can’t fault anything but my deck on the day!

— Day Four (Sunday) —

Disheartened from what my deck did to me the day before, I traveled to the venue fairly early on the Sunday with nothing but side events and sealed on my mind. Upon arrival, the group I had arranged to meet up with had found a way to convince me to enter a Standard Double-Up event. I had my reservations; but with redemption for the Wizards on the line I agreed to enter with them. Now, as to be expected, I swiftly lost the first round to a very good opponent, and a fair share of flooding on my part once again… seemingly to be expected at this point. For the rest of the event however, the deck performed mostly how it was supposed to do, not being greedy on the amount of lands it needs to cast the few spells I would usually see, but allowing me to play aggressively and swing for the W. I ended on a 2/1 record, the deck earning a shred of redemption with the betrayal of the main event fresh in my memory.

My final event was the side event which I enjoyed the most, and it came as a surprise to me just how much fun I had with it! I’d entered 2 Headed Giant Sealed with one of my friends Chris Cockburn; and even though our pool was, on the whole, not worth much at all we, had managed to construct what we thought were the most solid decks we could from what we had. Although we built these together, Chris was playing the Green/Black Deck we had built (containing Helm of the Host, the Weatherlight, and all the removal we could find. Mine however, was a White/Blue Control deck relying on Time of Ice, plenty of bounce spells and a Bloodtallow Candle to give me something to do.

The first match was a real battle of attrition, with Torgaar, Famine Incarnate having to be played twice – once by our opponent, and a second time by us, with The Eldest Reborn. We lost this one by a hair, having our opponents down to 2 life, and only needing one more piece of removal for our opponents’ fliers to make the dream come true. In the second match, Torgaar made another appearance, we were unable to steal this one, but did end up winning the game, which seemed an up hill battle from the start.

Our final match however, was such an incredible game, with some of the friendliest people I had met the whole weekend! Team Unicorn (Matt & Georgie) were such a laugh to be around, and play Magic with, despite the Arificer’s Assistant pecking away at us slowly for what seemed to be eternity! My only regret was killing each of their namesakes every time one would hit the field, but Mesa Unicorn just could sit there looking pretty! In the end my Bloodtallow Candle that had been sitting on the table since turn one managed to pave the way to victory in a game I was only happy to end my Grand Prix experience on!

I’m certainly looking forward to future shenanigans with the MoM family and our community at larger events as well as closer to home!

@InfernoeSean

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