Grand Prix: Sydney Report

It’s Finally Here

The Grand Prix is finally here and I can’t wait to get started. I have been testing with friends during the week and feel pretty confidant with my understanding of the format. I head to the venue on the Friday with some friends, and we join a few drafts (which I am lucky enough to win) and also spend a lot of time looking around at all the nice foils in the dealer booths. My luck continues when we find out that our hotel has offered us a free upgrade, so instead of staying at the budget hotel we get to enjoy the much more expensive (and closer to the venue) hotel.

I have a sleep in, special thanks to earning two byes a few months ago, so I head in to the venue about 10am. I am feeling nice and refreshed. Before I go to build my sealed pool, I help out with some media commitments with the website and even manage to score an interview (watch out for that in the next few days)!

GP Sydney Attendance - 1077

The Sealed Pool

Now it’s time to build my pool and… it’s the worst pool I have seen so far. I am devastated. I don’t think this pool is capable of giving me the four wins I need to make day two. I stop and take a closer look, but blue and red only have six creatures between them, making them basically unplayable. Black is easily my best colour, mainly because it has an OK curve of creatures and a few spells. Now to work out what to pair it with. Green has some average creatures, but the curve is too high for my liking. Also, green doesn’t add anything in terms of spells. I look at white and it also has an OK looking curve of creatures, which will help with my black. It also has some spells to help out. Unfortunately, I still think this is one of the weakest decks I have ever played in sealed and it’s gonna take a lot of luck to get me there. Here is what I registered:

Creatures (17)
Thraben Inspector
Vampire Cutthroat
Field Creeper
Lone Rider
Heir of Falkenrath
Guardian of Pilgrims
Sigardian Priest
Ironclad Slayer
Farbog Revenant
Tooth Collector
Thraben Foulbloods
Weirded Vampire
Courageous Outrider
Midnight Scavengers
Faithbearer Paladin
Abundant Maw

Spells (6)
Blessed Alliance
Cemetery Recruitment
Borrowed Grace
Spectral Reserves
Certain Death
Unknown Card *
Lands (17)

*For some reason I can’t find whatever was my 40th card. I’m sure it was a spell but not 100% on what it was. Sorry about this.

Let’s Play some Games

Ben building his sealed pool

I start at 2-0 thanks to my two byes. The record needed to make it to day two is 6-3 or better, so I just need to win four rounds to make my goal.

Round 3: Yu Sun, Green White
Game 1: I have an aggressive start but it’s quickly halted by his Sigardian Priest which holds off my best threat. Eventually I am able to overwhelm him with my creatures and swing in for lethal.
Game 2: This time I don’t have much to play early in the game. He plays a Stitcher’s Graft which he’s able to use to push in for large amounts of damage. I never really get onto the board and move to the next game.
Game 3: I manage to transform my Lone Rider on turn three but I can’t find any black mana. He finds a removal spell for my creature before I find my first swamp and I start the day with a loss.
Record: 2-1

Round 4: Troy, Blue White Flyers
Game 1: Once again, I manage to transform a Lone Rider early in the game. It keeps my life total high. My opponent keeps attacking very aggressively instead of staying back and making me have bad attacks. Lifelink means that my life total never dips below twenty though. He can’t win this race and we go to game two.
Game 2: He has a few flyers that start working on my life total, however a Sigardian Priest for me manages to keep his best threat tapped down until I can form my own swarm of creatures. He still continues to attack me even though I will win the race on board. He has nothing and I am very confused to pick up the win.
Record: 3-1

Round 5: Lee Shi Tian, White Blue Flyers
I am a big fan of Lee. He has made multiple Pro Tour Top 8’s, so its a huge honour for me to actually test my skills against a world class player.
Game 1: We both start building a rather large board, and neither can get any attacks in. However, I am able to use Borrowed Grace to swing and put him down to three life. He then plays Always Watching and puts me down to six life and dead on the next turn. I am able to use Cemetery Recruitment to return my Abundant Maw and cast it for exactly lethal.
Game 2: I transform my Heir of Falkenrath and start getting in for damage, but Lee is also adding to the ground and swinging in for damage. It is the tightest race I have ever had, and an Always Watching off the top for Lee means that I have to start chump blocking just to stay alive. I have one turn to draw a Certain Death or Abundant Maw for lethal, but can’t find either. I die to his large vigilant army.
Game 3: I am on the play. I keep three lands and good curve of creatures. We start playing things to the board, but I am only able to draw lands. In the end, I draw six lands straight and just run out of things to play. Lee overwhelms me and I scoop. I have a nice chat to him about magic which cheers me up after an unfortunate ending to some of the best magic I’ve ever had the chance to play.
Record 3-2

Lee Shi Tian facing off against Ben

Round 6 Simon, Blue Red splash Green
Game 1: I have an average curve of creatures in the early game but he doesn’t have any plays. Eventually he cracks a Terrarion to play Ulrich of the Krallenhorde, but I am too far ahead and swing for lethal anyway.
Game 2: I am still unsure on what he is playing and I have to keep a rather weak hand of six cards. He comes out with a very aggressive start of werewolves and removal for what little I can actually play, and I quickly die.
Game 3: Once again I keep a weak hand and can seem to only draw lands. He has a quick start and I can’t deal with all his threats.
Record 3-3

I lose and my confidence is shattered. I know that there is no way for me to win my next three rounds to make day two, so I decide to drop and go cheer myself up by buying some cards I really need for my cube.

Maybe Next Time….

I am feeling rather down after doing so poorly, but luckily I have some great friends that cheer me up and put things in perspective. There is always another tournament and unfortunately today was not my day. This ends my amazing streak of nine Top 8’s in a row, but now I just have a new personal best that I have to beat. This weekend I will be covering the Pro Tour with Matt and we will be putting lots of interesting things up on the website for you to enjoy.

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