With the second Richmond Open Weekend of the season square in our sights, the StarCityGames.com Open Series returns. Richmond, the site of our first Invitational, has been an excellent location for Star City Games over the past few years, hosting a variety of tournaments and events with success. The Greater Richmond Convention Center welcomes us once again as the Series makes its final lap in the 2011 season.
Of course, the big buzz this week has been the fallout from US Nationals at Gen Con. Our own Ali Aintraziâ€”deckbuilder to the stars and brewmaster extraordinaireâ€”took down the title and the accompanying trophy with U/B Control, shattering pundits’ claims that the format was Caw-Blade’s exclusive stomping ground. Ali boasted of a favorable matchup against the winged menace, and he put his money where his mouth was with an undefeated Standard outing, losing only a few games to the format’s most hated foe.
With Ali’s victory, Standard appears to have broadened significantly. Caw-Blade’s success at National is not to be underestimated, but examining the top Standard listsâ€”the decks that performed the best in just the Standard portion of the eventâ€”reveals that Caw-Blade was only one of several good decks in the format. Many of the Top 8 players leaned on a strong Draft record to make the elimination rounds, and players would be wise to consider the strongest Constructed performances in choosing their decklists for Richmond, rather than just the US Nationals Top 8.
While not as high profile as our National Championship, Gen Con hosts a Legacy Championship each year and 2011 was no different. The Legacy Championship saw a varied Top 8 featuring many of the format’s modern pillars: Reanimator, U/W, NO RUG, Merfolk, Dredge, and Team America all earned representation at one of the year’s larger US Legacy events. The finals pitted Jared Kohler’s Merfolk against Reed Hartman’s NO RUG, and Jared proved that rumors of the fishmen’s demise had been greatly exaggerated. It’s been a while since Merfolk took down a Legacy tournament, but that’s exactly what happened this weekend. Should we expect a changing of the guard in Richmond?
One of the most interesting things I’ve witnessed in Legacy over the past couple weeks has easily been the format’s shifting reaction to Hive Mind. The combo deck grew from novel sensation at Grand Prix Providence to full-fledged metagame giant at the Seattle Legacy Open, and has since spent two tournaments warming the bench during the elimination rounds. Players have adapted quickly, but Hive Mind has proven itself an able and adaptable competitorâ€”I wouldn’t count it out yet.
Richmond will continue on what Gen Con has contributed: defining both formats as the year closes out, with the World Championships in November looming.
If you’re interested in attending the Richmond Open Weekend, hotel rooms are still available. The Hilton Garden Inn Richmond Downtown (1-877-782-9444) and the Days Inn West Broad (1-804-282-3300). If you mention “Star City Games” then you may be able to procure the discounted room rate, but the official deadline has passed: mileage may vary on that one. The Hilton Garden is very close to the venue, but the Days Inn, while cheaper, is too far away to walk.
We’ll enjoy the company of three fine alterists in Richmond, as per usual. An Open Series regular in her own right, Hannah Murray of Hannah Alters (www.hannahalters.com) will be back at the tables crafting her custom alters. Hannah’s work features a range of styles and diverse offerings, and she’s been game to try just about anything I’ve heard suggested this yearâ€”within reason. Among my favorites were her Angry Birds Squadron Hawks and her Fireflower-Mario Koth, but to each their own! For custom orders and commissions, email [email protected]!
Lindsay Burley will be selling and slicing her unique 3-D cards and tokens, with focus on tokens and Commander staples. She has the new Commander cards and a wide variety of your favorite legendary creatures in her stock, but you’re welcome to bring along special requests. You can see some of her cards and the creative process on her YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/useâ€’r/dixiebornandbred147. She’s truly found her own community niche with these alters, and you won’t see much like them elsewhere, so check her out. For special commissions before the event, you can contact Lindsay at [email protected].
Brandon Brown of Modfly Alters is back for more after a successful outing in Pittsburgh. He’ll continue selling and accepting requests for his painted alters, which he completes with style and professionalism. If someone doesn’t buy his Wizard of Oz-themed Qasali Pridemages, I’m going to go insaneâ€”they are so cool! Brandon is perfectly willing to barter on price with copies of the cards he has altered, so bringing your own Sun Titan to trade for his Guru-altered one may be able to earn you a discount. Check out some of his great work at http://modflyalters.blogspot.com, and drop him an email for prices and custom orders at [email protected].
Naturally, I’ll be in attendance with the rest of the weekend’s SCGLive crew. With Jeremy Noell manning the director’s chair, Brad Nelson and Jacob Van Lunen will be covering the tournament live! We’re still developing new initiatives and procedures, and we’re also looking into some technological upgrades. It’s been a bumpy couple of weeks thanks to some unforeseen snafus, but I’m looking forward to seeing the fruits of our continued improvement going forward. We’ll begin coverage with Round 1 of the Standard Open and go nonstop from start to finish, concluding with the Legacy finals on Sunday.
You can follow us via @SCGLive on Twitter and by tracking the hashtag #SCGRich all weekend long. Feel free to send suggestions and features you’d like to seeâ€”we’ll be watching!
Coverage Content Manager