The Grudge Match series was in trouble. Despite its strong start (with attendance in the thirties for the weekly events) and huge prizes, interest had waned and multiple events had been canceled due to lack of attendance. The problem was that there was a long wait from any individual Grudge Match qualifier to the Grudge Match finals, where the prize money was handed out. People were just not associating playing in a Q with winning the big money.
Neutral Ground had already finished their series, and I still had twenty one-slot tournaments to run. I had to change something, and it had to be soon.
The answer came in the form of the $3,000 Magic Open. Anyone could show up in the morning and walk out at night with $1,000. Now that’s the kind of instant gratification that works for New England Magic players.
The tournament was run as five rounds of swiss, cut to the top 20. We then added the twelve players who qualified from the one-slot qualifiers and ran a five-round single-elimination event.
As the event’s name suggested, there was $3000 up for grabs.
1st Place $1,000 plus play against Neutral Ground champ for another $1,000
2nd Place $400
3rd – 4th $150
5th – 8th $75
We also had other cool prizes like boxes of cards, the 4’x 8′ Regionals Call of the Herd banner, free PTQs for a year, and more.
For me, the tournament began in classic fashion. Players were busy buying cards and filling out their deck lists when the phone rang. It was Brian David-Marshall. He and his car load of New Yorkers (Mike Flores, Mike Short, and Dan Olmo) had taken a wrong turn on there way to the event, and there was no way they would make it by the scheduled start time. We gave them updated directions and held the tournament till they showed up.
Three of them (everyone but Dan) were playing the same Blue/Green threshold deck they had discussed over e-mail. In the car, BDM pulls out a print out of the e-mail containing the most recent version of the deck list, suggesting they save the time of writing out decklists by just putting all three of their names on the e-mailed list and hand that in.
NYC Blue Green Threshold
4 Careful Study
4 Mental Note
4 Nimble Mongoose
4 Roar of the Wurm
3 Seton’s Scout
4 Wild Mongrel
1 Ray of Revelation
1 City of Brass
4 Flooded Strand
4 Windswept Heath
In his last trip up to Brighton, Flores let a friend fill out his deck list for him and ended up with a round 2 game loss for a misregistered deck. He wasn’t about to let that happen again, so he grabbed the e-mail and check the list to be sure it was correct. After carefully scrutinizing the list, he gave it back to BDM who put it in his bag.
When they arrived on the site, they were pressed for time. The whole tournament was waiting on them. BDM whipped out the list from his bag and scrawled the three names on it; he then gave the list a last check and realized it was an older e-mail with an outdated sideboard.
The old board had 3 Rays, 1 Worship, 2 Upheaval, 4 Compost, 4 Phantom Centaur, 1 Plains. BDM quickly scratched out Phantom Centaur and the 3 in front of the Ray, changed the 1 in front of Worship to a 2, and added the 2 Reclamations and 2 Turbulent Dreams.
Round 1, a judge was checking all the deck lists. By the end of the round, he discovered that the three New York players’ lists had a fourteen-card sideboard (BDM had forgotten to add the two in front of the Ray).
All three players received a warning and a game loss. Boy was, Flores happy.”I checked the list! What happened!” As it turns, out the list Flores had checked was still in BDM’s bag. The game losses knocked both Flores and BDM out of contention.
In order to give the www.starcitygames.com readers the maximum deck tech, Matt Villamaino and I typed up all of the top 32 deck list (that was loads of fun). You can also see in what round each player was eliminated in. Keep in mind, however, like the Masters, the top 32 was single elimination. Don’t put too much weight on the exact round a deck was eliminated. Just making it to the top 32 was an accomplishment, so obviously all these players had something going for them.
Eliminated in Round of 32:
Chris W Chin
Brian M Lynch
Brian W Sysun
Andrew T Stokinger
charles f conti
Daniel J McDonough
james a hanson
Alex M O’Connell
Paul R Rietzl
Scott E Panzini
Anthony P Bayer
Jonathan N Morawski
Eliminated in Round of 16:
Brian J Robinson
Britt D Fitch
Robert M Wyatt
Mark A Tocci
nicolas J Cuenca
Daniel F Olmo
Andrew M Mandes
Eliminated in Round of 8 ($75):
Greg S Schwartz
Matthew G Rubin
Eliminated in Round of 4 ($150):
Jake C Ryder
Anthony J Patronick
I interviewed the finalist and tournament champion.
Finalist ($400): Peter Guevin
Dougherty: Why did you play Blue/Green Madness?
Peter: I think it’s one of the best decks. Tog is probably better, but U/G fits my style of play. It’s very proactive, and I’m big on mana utilization. I want to use all my mana every turn, and I think this deck does that.
Dougherty: How so?
Peter: Well, it’s got a great curve. The other thing about mana utilization is always having something to play. If you’re mana flooded, you have nothing to use all your mana on. This deck almost never runs out of gas.
Peter: Also Specs. I only had one Deep Analysis; the Specs are the big thing.
Dougherty: Do you feel you made any unusual card choices?
Peter: I made the deck by studying the net and doing lots of statistics to compare: What did the U/G decks that did well have in common, and what did the ones that did poorly have in common? So in that sense, nothing in my deck was unusual. My main deck ray was some tech from Peter Szigeti; it seemed that some people have been moving away from Looters. I decided not to do that. I felt Looter is incredible in the deck. It’s one of the reasons to play the deck.
Dougherty: So you would be better off playing a different deck rather than playing this deck without the Looters?
Peter: I wouldn’t play it without the Looters.
Dougherty: How do you feel about the current Standard environment?
Peter: Tog is clearly the best deck. If it fits your style, play it. The field is diverse, though, and there is room for decks like mine. Obviously, I enjoy this deck.
Dougherty: Did you make any changes between the grinder (swiss) tournament and the single elimination tournament?
Peter: I had three Composts in the grinder. I decided to take them out for anti-U/G cards for the single elimination event.
Peter: Justin Gary, Gerrard Fabiano, Matt Rubin, and I had a secret meeting just after the swiss event. We compared notes and decided the field would have a lot of U/G and not much black. I adjusted my sideboard to deal with the expected field.
Dougherty: What do you think will be big in Standard when Legions is in?
Peter: Sligh might be back with those new Goblins.
Peter: Thank you!
Champion ($1,000) Lucas Glavin
Dougherty: So you played Tog, right?
Dougherty: Why Tog?
Lucas: I tested a lot for the Masters Gateway. I liked Tog a lot. I’ve liked it since the last type 2.
Dougherty: You mean back when you could play Fact or Fiction?
Lucas: Yeah; I tested the new version and liked that, too. I’ve tested a lot on Magic Online. I had a lot of success with Tog, so I stuck by it.
Dougherty: That seems to have worked out well for you.
Lucas: That’s true.
Dougherty: What makes your version of Tog good?
Dougherty: You were undefeated today, right?
Lucas: Yes. 10-0.
Dougherty: Any game losses?
Lucas: Here and there. I dropped two to U/G, one to Sligh, and one to the mirror. That’s about it.
Dougherty: What do you think of Legions?
Lucas: I haven’t looked much at the set. Prerelease was about it. My 1st impression is that it’s a good set for draft, but I don’t know about Constructed.
Dougherty: Would you recommend Tog to others?
Lucas: Definitely. You have to get used to it, know what to wish for, that sort of thing. It takes practice.
Dougherty: One last question. Can you beat New York?
Lucas: Good question. I’m going to do my best. I’ve got a lot of people helping me. That’s all I know.
Editor’s Note: Thanks to a technical glitch, the decklists will take longer than we anticipated to enter. They should be up shortly.