GP Toronto

What’s happening saltines? So this past weekend yours truly took the extraordinarily long trek, of two hours, to Toronto, Ontario, Canada to participate in Grand Prix Toronto’s main sealed event.

Saturday and the Main

Straight out of the gate we are getting right into the sweet stuff. I entered the main event and decided to dish out a wee bit extra to get the sleep-in special. For those of you whom have never done a sealed competitive REL event before, once you open your six packs of sealed product, a random person sitting across the table from you registers your pool and you do the same for theirs. A sleep-in special is when a judge registers your pool and you don’t have to register anyone’s. Now I know some reading this would call this ‘lazy’, but I feel it is quite worth it. I have done sealed competitive REL events before and it can be quite stressful if you incorrectly register your opponent’s pool.

Regardless, my pool was pretty weak. Sporting rare cards like Imminent Doom, Kefnet the Mindful, and Kefnet’s Last Word, it wasn’t exactly a 9-0 pool. I managed to run with a grixis, blue/black/red, list featuring Kefnet, his last word, the black and blue cartouches, and other value commons.

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My first three rounds of sealed were all wins in three. Quite a few of my games I finished with three or four cards left in my library. I had quite a few cards which drew me extra cards, in addition to Kefnet’s ability of drawing cards, I nearly decked myself every round.

There were quite a few Jack‘s regulars participating in the main event and we all met up after every round to give each other updates and feedback. After round three we all met up and I informed them I was 3-0, one of the other gentlemen in the group, Mike Lewis, mentioned he was also 3-0 and I cracked a joke about how funny it would be that out of 1391 attendees if we got matched up. Low and behold.

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My round four opponent was none other than Mr. Mike Lewis. The first two games were super close, with Lewis taking the first, and myself using Kefnet’s Last Word to take control of his Locust God to secure the second. Game three consisted of Mr. Lewis running into some land issues and yours truly managing to take the W. As an aside, Mike went on to finish his day one 8-1, his only loss being myself.

Round five and six featured my first two losses of the day. Round five my opponent had a really good pool with some solid rares, and round six my opponent had two copies of Glorybringer. Glorybringer is already a super good card in sealed, if someone gets two copies, then you have to ask where they are hiding their golden horse shoe.

So at this point in the day I am 4-2 and the tilt is on. I managed to dominate my round seven opponent to make 5-2 with two rounds left. I need to win one of my next two rounds in order to make day two. My palms were sweaty, knees weak, arms were heavy. Round seven game one I took handily, game two was more of a struggle. Board state was kind of stalled until my opponent dropped a Sifter Wurm, which I thought was the perfect target for the Kefnet’s Last Word I had in my hand, until my opponent completed the ETB trigger for the Wurm and revealed The Locust God gained six life. New plan, used Kefnet’s Last Word on the Locust God and used it to generate overwhelming amounts of flying insects to conquer my opponent. AND WITH THAT MAGICAL WIN, WE MAKE DAY 2. My last round my opponent and I just messed around and I decided to take one land hands and needless to say I lost and finished 6-3.

Sunday = Day 2

MY FIRST GP DAY TWO, OH MY GRACIOUS. I’ve participated in two Grand Prix main events previous to this; a sealed in Montreal in 2015 and last years standard GP in Toronto.

So how day two works is they separate the remaining players, anyone with a 6-3 record or better, into eight man pods, and they do a draft! Then there is three rounds of swiss with your pod, and then there is another eight man draft followed by three more rounds of swiss. In my first draft I managed to put together quite the spicey -1/-1 B/G counters list. I took round ten very easily, but round eleven I made the dumbest rookie mistake ever. Game three I took a hand of; swamp, four two drop creatures (two of them had deathtouch), a three drop Obelisk Spider, and a four drop kill spell in the form of Torment of Venom. Can’t you see how tempting this hand was? If I drew a single land even for three to four turns I would have been set. But everything that can go wrong will go wrong and I didn’t draw a land card for seven turns. My last round opponent squarely put the boot in my rear and with a final record of 7-5 I decided to drop from the main event.

With a final placing of 320th out of 1391 participants I managed to secure a spot in the top 23% of the event.

As a way to list my spirits after dropping I signed up for a on-demand standard event. I got paired against an opponent playing mono-blue Paradoxical Outcome. On my turn four I cast Reason, and proceeded to scry three. I saw Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and two land, so I decided to put one land on the bottom, Ulamog second from the top, and a land on top. Next turn I drew the land, which meant Ulamog was sitting nice and snug on top of my library. I cast Believe and my opponent let it resolve. I slammed Ulamog and my opponent scooped on the spot. Game two I sideboarded in the almighty Manglehorn to destroy all of my opponent’s zero mana artifacts. Manglehorn is also awesome as my opponent’s artifacts enter tapped so he can’t tap them for anything that has the Improvise mechanic. Manglehorn single handily took my opponent from twenty life to ten before I had enough resources to ramp into Kozilek, the Great Distortion which my opponent just scooped to. The top four decided to draw and all of us got 100 tickets which I used to get eight packs of Hour of Devastation and two Amonkhet. I got foil Bontu’s Last Reckoning out of the HOU packs but I got a Hazoret and foil Hazoret out of the Amonkhet packs.

All in all a fantastic weekend, and I can’t wait to hit my next GP!

Until next time, stay salty my friends.

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