And so it came to pass that I participated in my first ever Grand Prix of Magic The Gathering. Travelling for a 5 day citytrip to London, the goals where simple, try to win at least one single match up.
It was at the (for me) well known venue of the Excel in the Docklands, and on pre-registration day, I was amazed (and by hearing left and right, so where many others that played more GPs) by the amount of people queing already. This was seemingly going to become a very big tournament.
This was confirmed at the start by the (barely understandable) spanish headjudge, as no less then 1970 players had registred for the main event alone.
I also was one of the 'lucky few' to score a Games Day mat, as they opened the last box right at the moment when it was my turn to register, my tournament had been a success now already.
On the day of the tournament, I knew I couldn't go the whole nine yards anyway, as my mate and I had our girlfriends on a shopping trip, so the time limit would be around 1800 for us.
I put together a pool of Orzhov like cards, with not really 'big bombs' in the rares, but did get a value pool as it contained no less then 3 dual lands (Godless Shrine, Breeding Pool and Stomping Grounds). I played the Shrine and an Alms Beast, together with a small red splash to play Assemble the Legion. Good card in sealed, but it needs time to become very effective.
My first round was against Samo Muhic, a very aimable frenchman and we talked more about what to see's in London and planned buys for our respective little munchkins then actually play the game. The main reason for this was that it barely lasted 15 mins with me color and mana screwing respectively. 0-1 in the red.
After that, I went up against a 16 or something local kid, George Butler. Now, if he was my son, he would be standing a lot in corners. This was like my only none enjoyable match of the day, as he was really showing attitude when he won round 1 by me once more mana screwing. Unfortunatly for him, then my deck started rolling and he went down 2-1, including an Assemble the Legion that ticked up to 23 tokens because I refused to attack and leaving him on 20 life or so (he played a sort of evolve / lifegain deck, but not with extort) before knocking him down in one go. I was at 1-1 then and objective achieved.
My third opponent was another local, Kieran Persaud, and he beat me 2-1 fair and square. I screwed it up here. Two times he top-decked me, but in the final round I forgot to sacrifice my blocker wheenies to my Undercity Spy and mill him through his deck, which was not much anymore in the late game.
Up next another united kingdom'mer; Kevin Blake, who hadn't had the best of days either. He also dropped after our match, another 2-1 this time for me. First round I got mana screwed, second round he got color screwed, but in the third round, with him playing Simic, teh combination Alms Beast / Shadow Alley Denizen / whatever black critter I had was deadly, as he couldn't block my 6/6 Intimidater and went down in the end.
At that moment, I was still mathematically in the running for day 2 at a 2-2 ratio, better then I hoped, so went on to game 5. I faced a Dimir deck played by James Russell, and only managed to out Extort his milling in the first of three rounds. A 2-1 defeat later and I was mathematicaly out of the running.
Since my mate also had been knocked out already after 1-3, we decided to play one more round before dropping, as the rendez-vous seemingly was planned at 1900 up and about.
The final round I lost by playmistakes like over enthousiastically already tapping attackers before waiting what the Angelic Skirmisher would do, but the game against Swede Albin Jacobsson was great fun to leave the tournament with a nice feeling. And I played on the coolest table of all:
In the end I scored 112 Planeswalker points, being 64 participation points (the maximum at a GP is 72) and two wins that netted 24 points each, catapulting me in the all-time Belgium ranking to currently spot 1448 out of 13361 registerd players, but more importantly I have secured the needed points to be allowed to participate in the World Magic Cup Qualifiers.
I did buy some memorabilia, but those I'll show off in a post later this week with some more stuffsies I bought over the weekend. Hulk Smash!!!
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