Kicking Off 2011 in Kansas City

We’re kicking off 2011 with a bang! The first SCG Open of the year is located in Kansas City, Missouri, and will be debuting our long-awaited SCGLive production. Glenn Jones will be managing coverage and has the low-down.

This weekend marks the
first event of the 2011
StarCityGames.com Open Series in Kansas City, Missouri!
It’s been over a month since our Invitational in Richmond—an eternity in tournament Magic—but we’ll be coming at you all year long, and we’ve got some big changes in store.

The announcement of our massive schedule of events and
the Players’ Club

met considerable attention last year, and this year we’ll start seeing players reap those rewards. I’m sure that Alex Bertoncini, Gerry Thompson, and Ben Wienburg will make good use of their two byes at each and every Open event, but our ringer cast of Level 4 mages are right behind them. There’s been considerable debate over whether anyone will reach Level 8, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see more than a few of the aforementioned players collecting playsets of Standard.

In addition to our Legacy and Standard Opens, the Draft Opens are back this weekend. Firing at 9 am and 1 pm on Sunday, the Draft Opens offer players a Limited alternative to the pricy and complicated Legacy format. In fact, you can’t fail to find a format you love this weekend, thanks to the 2HG Sealed queues and the Commander tournaments happening alongside each main event. If you’re not making it to Kansas City, then fret not—we’ve got something special in store for you, too.

This week,

went live with a full announcement revealing all of our plans and machinations. This weekend, they’ll come to fruition. SCGLive is officially debuting in Kansas City, with director Rashad Miller and commentators Adrian Sullivan and Jacob Van Lunen broadcasting live all weekend long. SCGLive is the next wave in tournament coverage—unifying our written, broadcast, and Twitter content all under one name and one website. Our awesome new home will be ready soon, but our team is already in place and fully prepared to bring each and every event to a monitor near you.

One of the best parts about developing SCGLive has been getting the opportunity to work with some of the smartest and most entertaining magicians around. While only Adrian and Jacob will be with us this weekend, Gavin Verhey, Joey Pasco and Joe “Bigheadjoe” Panuska will be joining in throughout the year, with Rashad Miller directing. They are masters of their crafts—if you don’t already read their articles, or in the case of Pasco and Panuska, listen to their podcasts, then I’d encourage you to fix that as quickly as possible. These guys will be bringing you high-quality content all weekend long.

Another year brings a new Player of the Year race, and I’m already looking forward to it. Christian Calcano sits atop the standings thanks to his victory in the Richmond Standard Open but will he remain there for long? 2011 is sure to bring challengers new and old. Alex Bertoncini has already sworn to defend his title, while fellow Level 5 Gerry Thompson plans to attend as many Opens as possible. If you’re interested in a bid at Player of the Year, then you’ve got your work cut out for you.

As an additional expansion to our Player’s Club, we’ve decided to toss in another new prize. If 2011 is your first year playing in a StarCityGames.com Open, then you’re going to want to make it your best. That’s right—we’re proud to introduce the Rookie of the Year award for 2011! The player with the most Open points who has not played in a StarCityGames.com Open prior to our 2010 Invitational weekend will earn the one title you can only win once.

The StarCityGames.com Rookie of the Year will lay claim to a very unique prize. In addition to the trophy and accompanying bragging rights, our Rookie of the Year will also be awarded a lifetime subscription to StarCityGames.com Premium. The Premium side of our website is where you’ll find an even more diverse selection of content for your viewing pleasure, updated daily. All week long, we feature Draft and Constructed videos alongside articles written by celebrated Magic professionals, including Patrick Chapin and Gerry Thompson. This prize won’t just make someone a better Magic player—it’ll also provide them with entertainment and technology that you just can’t find anywhere else.

If you can’t attend enough Opens to throw your hat in the ring on either prize, have no fear—SCGLive is here! Our commentators will be awarding over two years of Premium
per day

to viewers via our chat. If you’re interested in winning access to some of the finest Magic content on the web, then simply tune in to SCGLive during either of our Open tournaments. You’ll want to keep watching all Sunday long, as we’re upping the ante during the elimination rounds, culminating in a year of Premium access given away during each final match.

And once those final matches are done . . . we’ll all get a chance to cut loose. My favorite part about traveling is always getting to know a new city at each stop. I’ve never been to Kansas City before, but I’ve been poking around a few websites (namely Yelp) in search of some entertainment tips.

While many players might wind up taking any food for granted at tournaments, finding at least one good restaurant to have a quality meal is always a high priority for me. Local eateries always have a truly unique flavor, and by all reports, Kansas City is no exception. There are a couple quality places not far from our venue, if you’re looking for fine dining.
The Webter House,

at 1644
Wyandotte, is a veritable mansion that has been converted into a top-notch restaurant.
Main Street’s Michael Smith Restaurant

is just as impressive, offering a diverse and varied menu. If you’ve got time to sit down and appreciate some fantastic food, both of these appear to be great choices.

I’m personally quite interested in giving the
Blue Nile Café

a shot. I’ve never had Ethiopian food before, but the reviews have made it sound like a trip. Spicy dishes served with bread as utensils—the place has been described as “one of the best places to go for both vegetarians and unrepentant carnivores.” If you’ve got the guts to sink your teeth into some raw hamburger, then I’d say head on over to 20 East 5th Street, in Rivermarket.

Once the day is done, everyone loves to cut loose. You can’t think nightlife in Kansas City without thinking of the
Power & Light District.

The PLD is over a half-million square feet of bars, restaurants, and various entertainment venues in the heart of downtown, and I’d encourage you to browse their site for your options. The odds look pretty good that you’ll find me at the
Flying Saucer Draught Emporium

on East 13th
Street—the place is famous for its vast abundance of brews and very reasonable pricing.
Zoo Bar (at 1220 McGee Street)

The Brick (at 1727 McGee Street)

are popular dives that might be right up your alley if you’re looking to make some friends and have a good time.

When I first started planning Kansas City, two things came immediately to mind: riverboats and jazz. I’m going to be a little bit too busy to look up a cruise—although you’re welcome to find one in your free time—but the jazz should be easy. So far, most reviews have pointed me towards the
Phoenix Jazz Club

, although it caters to an older crowd. There are a variety of similar establishments scattered throughout downtown, so perk up your ears if you’re looking for the blues.

As far as attractions go, you’re mostly limited to museums. The
World War I Museum

Steamboat Arabia Museum,

and the
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

are all
highly ranked on TripAdvisor. If walking isn’t your speed, then you can tour the city at about 10 mph via the Segway Experience.
Worlds of Fun

is the local amusement park, complete with the Mamba rollercoaster. Personally, the
Harley Davidson Factory Tour

looks pretty interesting and has received positive buzz online. If you’re interested in checking out that little piece of Americana, you’ll be glad to know that it’s not far from the airport.

Whether it’s on-site or around the town, Kansas City promises to be a rocking time. I’ll be chronicling it from start to finish every day, bringing you the hottest tech and the most entertaining tales I can find. Jacob and Adrian will be on the feed, narrating matches with their keen insight and razor-sharp wit.

We are SCGLive, and we’re here to take tournament coverage to the next level.
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our URL

in your bookmarks—you’re going to need it!