PREMIUM LOG OUT
»Advanced Deck Search
»Advanced Article Search
»The New Type II
»Current Type II
»Old Type II
»Rules & Mechanics
Grand Prix New Jersey Report *2nd*
Itís Friday afternoon. Since the Grand Prix is only four miles from
midtown, I decided to stay at home Friday night and take the bus to the
tournament. Iíve called teammate Alex Shvartsmanís cell phone twice
to figure out when I have to get there, and eventually he finds out
registration ends at ten. That means I have to get there at 9:30 or so
order to sit there and complain about the delay. This is not what I
when I got there, itís what I thought when I was sitting there at home.
Hurry up and wait.
So the next step is to get directions. I call the hotel and tell them
need directions, and I am immediately transferred to a recording that
me how to drive to the hotel. Thanks. I call back, and this time they
transfer me to a real person because obviously the first person I talk
has no idea what bus youíre supposed to take to get to the hotel. Itís
arcane knowledge. So they tell me to take bus number 129, and Iím ready
go the next day.
I wake up earlier than I should, have breakfast and head down to the
Authority Bus Terminal. There I stand in line to buy the ticket,
in the slowest line ever, switch, switch again and eventually get my
Then I realize that bus 129 does not stop at the place marked 129,
there is no place marked 129. There are only numbers under 100 and over
Luckily thereís an information booth nearby, but thatís the kind of
information that theyíre not cleared for. Instead I have to stand in
again, bravely defending my position from a man behind me who tried
trick in the book to get ahead of me, and got back to the ticket
I knew where to go, although it didnít occur to me to ask what stop to
Youíd think Iíd be good at this by now.
Alas, it seems that I am not. I canít do the simplest things. I canít
my internet connection up, although I blame that on the people at Time
Warner. Now I find that the disk I had saved the original report on
contain the data, although it looked like it loaded it just fine on the
other computer that still has some sort of connection to the internet.
the e-mail containing the information turned out to be gibberish.
all attempts to convince this computer that I did just in fact insert a
into the drive a minute ago are coming up short. The drive is empty.
So remember, the theme is people being unable to get things done
right or done on time. If you want it done right, you have to do it
yourself, and even then it doesnít look good.
That should give you an idea of how long I had to wait for the bus.
see, what I took was something called the "First Bus". This is a unique
strange concept to me, a resident of New York City, especially while
within that cityís limits. What is a first bus? There is no first.
only next, and in some situations the one you just missed or the other
that are driving right along side the previous two. You show up, you
soon the bus comes. Why would anyone stop service entirely? People have
get from Point A to Point B, and sometimes they even want to go the
way. But apparently this part of the city does in fact sleep, so I
leave until 8:20. To give you a preview, when all is said and done all
things being equal I will be fine with the results of the cityís
transportation services, but I donít want to give too much away.
Accidentally meeting me on the bus were Matt Wang, Joe Vas and a few
present and former Neutral Grounders. We spoke of Magic Online, of new
markets and clans and tournament structures. We exchanged nicknames and
ideas. I donít think we once discussed the tournament format at hand,
because everyone knows how to play Team Sealed and almost no one has
idea how to draft. Thatís ok, because almost no one will even get the
chance. We also had Brook North scoop to the bus, with his teammates
there on time but him coming up short. Buses do not wait for anyone,
even for five seconds. They just donít care.
We get to the stop where weíre supposed to get off, and after trying
ways than we should have to we find a way to the tournament hall. The
tournament hall is just barely big enough for a tournament of this
even though my nose has been clogged since about 1983 I still noticed
problem. The logistics did not go well. Several times during the
teammate Alex was approached to see if he could provide more product,
because the tournament was in danger of running out. They never
there would be over two hundred teams. Other people did expect even
than that and thought two hundred was in fact a little low, but they
book the site. It was a distinct letdown. I guess the lesson in this is
stop giving everything New York to New Jersey. Itís not a good thing.
want our stuff back.
I locate Alex Shvartsman after a few minutes, and a little later
Gary is awake and I find him. Weíre all set to go.
Several hours laterÖ
We get to register someone elseís deck. Then (gasp) we get to build!
Thereís too many teams, weíll never finish this way. What time is it?
ItísÖ way too early for that, sir!
Queue the decks.
At any rate, our card pool turns out to be rather impressive. I grab
first, and it is solid but defensive and needs threshold badly. That
it needs to go with blue. Red is rich enough to split, and the card
deep enough to have the White/Blue deck not use a large number of
cards and still have three good decks. The other two are a Red/Green
Red/Black. The Red/Black has an amazing curve starting with five two
including a Nantuko Shade. While weíre doing this and frantically
trying to figure out how to tune the three decks the team next to us is
open mock mode, since theyíd kill for most of the cards we have on the
chopping block. My deck comes this close to cutting the second
The Red/Green was slower and controlish, but very solid. Justin loves
drops more than anyone else I know, so we gave him that deck. Justin is
the best player I know other than Kai Budde at winning games when the
seem to have given him nothing to work with. Somehow he makes things
He crushes my deck without much trouble in practice, since Alex was
minding his dealer station.
Several hours laterÖ
The judges have ordered and eaten pizza. From Dominos. Itís only round
and without the tournament organizer the judges themselves decided they
werenít just desperate enough to get pizza ordered, they were desperate
enough to get it from Dominos. Things are not looking good, although
coming up on 4:00 so itís almost time for us to play with the magical
Perish the thought.
Yes, thatís right folks, we get to play some Magic. Our opponents are
Human Tequila Shots. Whenever your opponents have a name that involves
imbibing large quantities of alcoholic beverages, it tends to be a good
thing. I offer to pay for some shots if theyíre interested, but I donít
any takers. It turns out to have been unnecessary, as I get Compulsion
and my deck comes out and dominates. My opponent is playing White/Red,
itís not the hyper offensive White/Red that can be big trouble. Itís
like the annoyance-filled White/Red, but I have the tools to get
everything he puts down. The matchup doesnít seem to be at all
Alex also wins. Justinís match looks like itís running low on time as
shuffle up for game three, so they just agree to draw since the
are unlikely to be important.
This time our opponents are named Mudhole for the Win. Weíre at tables
through three, which leads of course to complaining about how me and
never get to play at table one. Again Iím facing White/Red, and again
not particularly offensive. I start to wonder if weíve missed
since our opponents have been a combined 5-0 before facing us. Whatís
with these weaker White/Red decks? I guess other opponents didnít have the
did. Game one was a big disaster, because I got Compulsion down on turn
didnít get into serious trouble and still didnít win. Somehow he
deal with the Vigilant Sentry, the Mystic Zealot, play more utility
creatures and flyers than I had removal and suddenly I couldnít figure
how to kill him. The Shelter and Unquestioned Authority were both so
near the bottom of the deck that I couldnít afford to cast them, and I
up getting decked. The bottom card of course was the Aven Windreader.
The second game doesnít have such problems, as the Cephalid Looter
out on turn three and survives. At that point, I get threshold without
trouble and get to cycle away extra lands while he does nothing of
importance. I run him over as soon as I hit threshold. Still, the first
took a while to play and the other two matches are done as weíre
up for game three. I get permission to offer the draw, and we get to
to the next set of sealed decks.
This was covered by old friend Ben Bleiweiss. He sits down to cover us, and the
ever-helpful Glen tells us he canít sit in the aisle. Perhaps heís a
hazard. Since he needs to do his coverage, we get moved to the royal
feature match table. That means we have actual breathing room, which is
excellent. Thanks, Glen! I grab the white cards again, and this time
have four two drops and plenty of offensive cards. Now this white had
options. Quickly I suggest we look at playing White/Red, and the deck
great. It doesnít look great to Alex, who canít even understand wanting
run Suntail Hawk. It looks good to Justin on principle, but heís new to
idea. To me, though, it looks great. Patchwork Gnomes gets put into the
because it needs more creatures of distinct annoyance and more ways to
discard. The first thing we had to realize was the White/Red, and the
was to switch off the colors of the other two decks and split the
There was still some defensive white, and we almost didnít realize to
the Vigilant Sentry to the defensive white in exchange for the Militant
Monk. That helped both decks a lot. At that point, we were just about
In the meantime, it turns out thereís already been some important
that didnít involve teams being mathematically eliminated. Baby Hueyís
got a loss and a draw and decided theyíd had enough. The tournament was
unpleasant, an evening of poker was probably more profitable, and they
packed it in and left. Then there was Turianís team. Our national
and hopeful future world championship hero Eugene Harvey had to go.
just flat out had to go. He had a concert to perform, and that was more
important than Magic. They thought thereíd be more than four rounds
before that happened. Itís good to know he has his priorities straight.
donít let it happen at worlds.
Our backs are literally to the wall as we go back to tables one
three. The other two matches go well for us and we win the round, but
trouble. Game one I have mana issues. After a while the Dwarven Driller
come down, and just when Iím starting to get established he drops
He doesnít utilize the Aboshan to maximum effect for whatever reason,
still manage to get some damage in with my creatures in addition to the
pressure from Dwarven Driller. He plays an army of flyers and Iím very
rapidly approaching death. I discard to threshold and cast Shower of
to get him down to four and kill the Aboshan, but he Shelters to save
untap and kill me.
Game two my deck comes out quickly and he canít
defenses fast enough to stop it. Game three doesnít look good. I have a
decent hand, but it doesnít have any two drops and I donít draw one in
first two turns either. I canít get much pressure up and he starts
flyers. The Driller does a bunch of damage, but only the Ember Beast
safely attack and that meant I could never attack without losing at
creature. I ask Seth Burn why this matchup is supposed to be so good,
tells me that he never misses his two drops. I must be a bad player.
It comes down to this: He has many tapped flyers well up to the task
finishing me off, and an untapped Possessed Nomad left to block. He also
a card in hand, a Hypochondria and two untapped Plains. Those are
because heís at four and all I have are a Scorching Missile and a land in
hand. I have seven lands in play. I untap and drawÖ Swelter. That does
nothing. He doesnít even have anything it kills. I sit there and think
if thereís any way to convince him to let me kill him. It doesnít seem
possible. But thereís no harm in attacking, so I send my creatures in.
blocks the Ember Beast and takes two. I still have no idea how Iím
win, but casting Scorching Missile wonít work. I cast Swelter on the
Sentinel and the Nomad. He reaches for his mana, reaches back. He asks
Iíve played a land. I say no. He fingers his lands again. A friend
not to do it, that Iíll play a land and kill him with Scorching
taps his land and casts Shelter! I play the land, toss out the
Missile and inform him heís been swept.
We get a feature match, which is played on an imperial purple table.
again my deck of speed decides that turn two isnít all that interesting
it in game one, and once again the game slowly goes from bad to worse.
shuffling up for game two, and both Alex and Justin have also lost
first games. I look at my hand for a bit with two Mountains as the
no two drops, and decide that I must mulligan. Justin is shuffling as
and he also draws a hand and thinks a lot before shuffling. His is a
closer than mine. I get my hand back, and it only has a Plains for land
is otherwise as good as I could ask. I keep it and prey. Turn one I
1/1. Turn two I drop a Nomad. Turn three I drop Patchwork Gnomes. Turn
I play a Crackling Club, trade off his creature and drop another 2/2.
five I drop the Dwarven Driller. He dies.
ďWell,Ē said Justin, ďthat certainly gave me a confidence boost.Ē
Game three is more normal, but even going second without a stellar
this deck is super fast. Heís playing Black/Blue, and from what Iíve
those decks are virtually helpless against this type of strategy if
donít get one of a few specific cards like Aquamoeba down, and even
itís tough for them. We pull out another match, and weíre still
At this point, day one is over. Thatís not because weíve made the cut
day two, because we havenít. What we have done is make it past
day two begin!
This round weíre up against Cardsharks, who are in fourth place with a
and no losses. I remember one of them, I think from Nice, where we had
good match and an interesting discussion, but Iím not playing against
My first game draw doesnít have speed, and suddenly his cards get to
out and play. I still manage to kill a Windreader and a large
cast, and things are looking reasonable. He drops Caustic Tar and I
see how I get the clock working in time. Then he taps the Tar for mana.
That canít be good. It turns out to be very, very bad, because he
12/12 Stitched Ghoul. For some reason I canít quite deal with a 12/12
trampler at this time. Game two my land doesnít behave, and I pull out
too late to finish him off. We drop another match, and we are no longer
Itís the last round before what sleep weíre allowed to get. Thereís a
little talk of drawing, but we decide not to because it would be
for our chances to make top four. Then we notice weíd be in if we lost
the whole point is moot. Weíre again playing against a team we donít
recognize, and this time things go smoothly. The deck does the job it
supposed to, and it keeps the pressure on the whole time. We carry a
match and get the hell out of there as soon as possible on a quest for
sleep. We also need to start worrying about what our draft strategy
since we hadnít even talked about it yet. But that all happens in part
- Zvi Mowshowitz
All original content herein is Copyright 2002 Brainburst.com
No portion of this web site may be used in any way without expressed written consent.
Magic the Gathering is owned and Copyrighted by Wizards of the Coast Inc.
All rights reserved.
Magic the Gathering, online, PC, game, card, wizards of the coast, WOTC, brainburst, odyssey, price, store, report, deck, winning, article, news, forum