The last time we talked, I wrote about all the great things that Star City Games has in store for the 2011 Open Series. With Kansas City in the books, you’ve since had a little taste of what I was talking about! We hit nearly 500 players for our Standard Open, which was way above our expectationsâ€”I’d like to thank all of our players for making that event so special. We’ve never been so glad to work so hard, and I hope everyone enjoys our coverage. If you’re attending our San Jose Open Series in a few days, then I look forward to seeing you at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Until then, I’ve got some food for thought following the battles in Kansas City. Once we’ve processed the fallout following this past weekend’s events, I expect some shifts in both formats.
Players will need to adapt to contend with the
hyper-aggressive Boros strategy
in Standardâ€”being the best Jace deck isn’t worth much when you’re taking lethal on turn 4, and the opponent is laughing as you “Brainstorm.” Koth of the
Hammer proved his Standard mettle, boosting Pat McGregor to a trophy finish. I also think that
Christian Valenti list
deserves a good look. Christian had a strong start with B/R Vampires at the Invitational, but he dropped the red for a more stable mana base and Captivating Vampire. His sideboard is quite peculiar and probably has a bit of chaff in it, but I’m sure that some of those cards belong. Vampires continues to be a major player in Standard, and anyone traveling to San Jose this weekend would be wise to sit up and take note. Last but not least, Conley Woods did it again with his
usual flare, posting a finals finish with a
U/G Genesis Wave
build that incorporated a mana denial plan.
I suspect that Legacy hasn’t found its footing in Survival’s wake just yet. Most players reverted to the classics, but there’s still room
to evolve. I expect that Time Spiral deserves further exploration. Jacob Baugh took the first few steps in Kansas City, as explained in his
He had an undefeated start, but the wheels fell off when he bumped into AJ Sacher Counterbalance build. Of course, Lewis Laskin thought he’d found the deck of the tournament at 6
am, and he put his money where his mouth was with a Top 4 finish, playing
“Green” and Taxes.
Both of those decks could wind up becoming major players in tournaments to come, so get familiar with each strategy.
At the end of the day, the Open concluded with a typical
Merfolk vs. Goblins finals,
and it was the red tribe that emerged triumphant. Chris Osinski and Corbin Hosler proved that it doesn’t take an extensive Legacy background to smash a tournamentâ€”it just takes tenacity, a good list, and a little bit of luck. Their road through the Top 8 is available in feature match form within the Legacy coverage, as are the
It might interest you to know that Corbin had in fact gone undefeated until that final showdownâ€”unfortunately for him, Goblin Piledriver had other plans.
The whole weekend was a blast, and by far the best part was the debut of SCGLive. Adrian Sullivan and Jacob Van Lunen brought us a new standard in commentary, and you’ll be seeing them again in a few weeks for our Indianapolis Open. In the meantime, Joey Pasco and Gavin Verhey will be making their debut this weekend in San Jose, and I’m sure they’ll be up to the task of filling Adrian and Jacob’s shoes. Tune into SCGLive starting at noon on Saturday and at 8 am on Sunday, and you could even win free Premium! If you’d like to get a hold of myself or either commentator during the event, you can use our Twitter, @SCGLive. We’d love to hear your juicy gossip or ask your favorite players the questions you’re dying to have answered, so drop us a line.
The Power and Light District in Kansas City lived up to the hype, but I’m now facing the trip to San Jose and once again in search of the finest in food. I turned to Yelp and Facebook and will once again be presenting you with my findings. If you only need a quick biteâ€”say, between rounds after a particularly savage beatdownâ€”there are a couple good options.
for those not in the know, is an excellent sandwich chain on the West Coast, and one of the best locations happens to be just down the road. If Taco Bell is more your thingâ€”well, I won’t insult you with a link. There is one. If you’re in town earlier in the week or looking to go out at night, then downtown is just a bit southeast. My good friend Michael Basa advised me that
are all great picks, with the last topping the heapâ€”I’ll trust him!
If you’re in the mood for something more exotic like me, then Vietnamese and Indian appear to be the best choices on the menu. There’s a variety of Pho to be found near the Santa Clara Convention Center, with
as the closest. Don’t
feel obligated to stick to the Pho, thoughâ€”the rest of the food received plenty of high marks as well.
Pho Thanh Long
is farther south, but offers similar food at affordable prices. I’m sure there are even more choices nearby, so feel free to browse around.
Indian food occupies a special place of ambivalence in my heart. I nearly died following an Indian dinner party when I was a kid, due to some undisclosed ingredients that I happen to be fatally allergic to, but in the years since then, I’ve come to enjoy it a lot. Our own web editor, Ryan
O’Connor, was actually responsible for reintroducing me to the cuisine.
Sangam Chaat Cafe
won’t be open on Sunday, but it will provide you with some fantastic food on every other day of the week, with lunch and dinner specials that have earned high marks.
For dessert, two locations stand out.
Cupcakes by Gigi
has earned sterling reviews and reminds me of a few similar gourmet bakeries that I’ve had the joy of feasting on. If you like custom cupcakes built with presentation in
mindâ€”ah, who am I kidding? We’ll all eat a cupcake when presented with the option; that’s just Megan’s Law of Baked Goods.
is nearby and has received equivalent praise from passersby. I can only hope I’ll be lucky enough to sample one of them during my time in San Jose!
If you’re in town with a significant other, or if you just happen to be a wine enthusiast, the best attraction on Yelp appears to be the
California Wine Hikes.
If you’re interested in learning a bit more about the
journey from vine to vino, then Russ and his tour appear to be a great bet. I’d advise any roller coaster enthusiasts to check out
California’s Great America,
but the thing appears to be closed for the rest of January. Can’t win them all, I suppose.
I haven’t been to California in several years, so it goes without saying that I’m excited for this weekend. Considering the way the 2011 Open Series kicked off in Kansas City, San Jose has the potential to knock everyone’s socks off. If you can’t make the trip, then tune into our coverage page via the link that will appear on
To get in touch with myself, Gavin, or Joey, just hop on Twitter and
give us a shout.
See you in San Jose!
Until next time,
Coverage Content Manager