Well, it's in the books.
The largest Legacy tournament ever.
The second largest Constructed tournament ever.
The third largest tournament ever!
Grand Prix New Jersey was a blast. I cashed another Grand Prix (albeit min cash, and I self-destructed yet another day 2), and a lot of my friends got back on the Pro Tour. It was a Tom Ross versus BBD final! Dad Nelson couldn't have been happier.
On top of having a blast playing Treasure Cruise in Legacy, I also just enjoyed the event itself. The VIP area was miles better than any other VIP area that I've seen at any Grand Prix so far. Having a completely separate room, and even some comfy chairs and couches to lounge on, really made the VIP experience feel like you were a real VIP.
My only qualm about the event was how late Day 1 ended. Unfortunately, there were just a bunch of different things that caused the day to be long, from the 300-ish people who dropped pre-round one after they got their awesome Brainstorm swag causing a huge delay, to minor delays on our (SCG's) part, and then lots of matches with big extensions going to time.
Legacy is a large format with tons of complex cards that are seeing a lot of play and can cause a bunch of issues. Sylvan Library and Chains of Mephistopheles are just two of them, but we also have decks like Lands and Landstill that just take forever to actually win. On top of all of that, we have Treasure Cruise, which facilitates playing more and more fetchlands. More fetchlands means more shuffling, which again, leads to longer matches.
Outside of that, the event was fabulous. I really appreciated even the small things like the table number "signposts" and the speakers set up around the room so that you could hear all of the announcements from just about anywhere. The food trucks were awesome, and the port-a-pottys that were set up outside were an awesome idea (although it was so freaking cold outside).
StarCityGames really cares about doing everything that they can to make their events the best, and I am extremely proud to be a part of that culture here.
Did I mention the Italian Revised Draft and Sealed event at the GP?
As for the tournament, I almost didn't play. I came up a day early to spend some time with a special someone but had some terrible news. My grandparents weren't doing very well (they live in Yuma, AZ), and my mom was catching a flight on Thursday to see them and bring my grandma back up to Tacoma. If things were in rough shape, like they had been for the last few days, I was going to hop a flight there from JFK so that I could help get her back up north. This meant that I was going to be able to do the live VS Video with Brian, but I wouldn't actually play in the GP. Thankfully, her condition was much better when my mom got there so I wasn't needed for the move. I will get to see her when I go back to Tacoma for the Season Four Invitational in December and I can't wait!
I decided early on that I would just play U/R Delver in New Jersey. I already had some experience with it, and since there was a chance I couldn't play in the GP, it was a good choice if I ended up getting to play at the last minute.
On the ride to Jersey, Brian asked me if I had seen Caleb Durwards latest U/R Delver list. It was littered with a bunch of burn spells and wanted to be as aggressive as possible. One look and I was hooked. I chatted with him a bit and after talking with BBD about the list here is what I ended up registering.
The only change I ended up making from Caleb's original list was to swap the Submerge in the sideboard for a Dismember since I wanted some action against Kor Firewalker that was still good against Tarmogoyf.
I really liked how the deck performed. Everyone played around Daze even though I didn't have it, and I got to Fireblast a lot of people. I was unhappy with the Price of Progress and wished that I had the fourth Force of Will in the main. The Eidolons seemed like a great idea on paper but ended up just being terrible. There were even times that I could play one on two in the mirror (where we wanted them on the play), and it was always just better to cast two spells instead of the Eidolon. I also had it in against Storm but just never saw it. I would just rather they be more 'blasts or something of the sort.
I played against a myriad of decks and ended up using every single sideboard card, which is awesome.
My losses were to Storm, Miracles, and Imperial Painter. I drew with Michael Majors on BBD's Jeskai Stoneblade deck, which was a definite mistake. With both of our decks being pretty poor against the decks that would be in the draw brackets (he got paired against Lands, and I lost two in a row to Miracles and Imperial Painter), on top of the Pro Points being the same for X-4 and X-3-1, and X-2-1 not qualifying, a loss was basically the same as a draw. Unfortunately, we didn't realize this at the time, and there really wasn't anyway to figure out who would concede since we didn't even start the fourth game (game 1 was a draw due to Price of Progress). We just drew.
If I could have done it again, I would have just conceded. I wouldn't ever expect someone to concede to me in that position, but I feel like someone conceding is the right thing to do with all the tangible information, and I should have just stepped up and done it.
I think that U/R Delver is still a very powerful deck, but I really liked BBD's deck and if I could do it all over again, I would have just played it (even without the knowledge that he wins the whole freaking thing). Stoneforge Mystic is a great place to be if everyone is playing U/R Delver and Young Pyromancer. Batterskull and Umezawa's Jitte are such powerful Magic cards, and invalidate a lot of the popular strategies.
Actually, to be honest, if I could do it all over again, I would have just worked on Jund and figured out a sideboard to beat some of the combo decks. I don't know if you watched the live VS Video, but Punishing Fire and Liliana of the Veil are pretty great against the Delver of Secrets and Stoneforge Mystic decks, and since there are less Wastelands being played, Grove of the Burnwillows should stick around just a little bit longer.
Here is the Jund list that I played that I've received plenty of messages asking about.
I really liked this deck, and if I would have put in more time with it before the event figuring out a sideboard configuration to fight combo decks, then I may have just played it at the GP.
Thoughtseize/Hymn to Tourach decks have this reputation of being invalidated by Treasure Cruise, and while Cruise is very good against those cards, Punishing Fire, Abrupt Decay, and Liliana of the Veil are all very good cards against the decks that are using Treasure Cruise. In fact, there was a game during the live VS video where BBD cast three Treasure Cruise in one turn (!) and still lost. I was ahead at the time already, but your cards have to be pretty robust to still get the job done when your opponent draws nine cards in one turn.
The next Legacy event that I have is this weekend in Richmond for the Open Series, but I still have one Legacy deck left to play from my Kickstarter, and I'm planning on doing that. As long as I can get ahold of all the cards, you can expect to see me battling with the Leylines Combo deck this weekend in Richmond.
As for Standard, there are a couple frontrunners for what I may play. I have been having a lot of success (and fun) with Tom Ross's U/W Heroic deck that I won an Elite IQ with a few weekends ago, but I fear that it may become a known quantity. I am also really liking Mardu and may try my hand at that. In fact, I really like the Mardu deck that BBD piloted in his video with Todd earlier this week. I really like that the Mardu deck can be extremely proactive with cards like Seeker of the Way, Goblin Rabblemaster, Butcher of the Horde, as well as planeswalkers like Sorin, Solemn Visitor, Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker, and Elspeth, Sun's Champion. Crackling Doom is another card that I think is very well-positioned right now. It takes care of Siege Rhino and Polukranos, World Eater, but it is also good against Sorin, Solemn Visitor, Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker, all of the U/W Heroic deck, and Prognostic Sphinx.
I'm beginning to respect Glare of Heresy more and more as a sideboard card as the format starts to sort itself out, and when combined with fast threats like Seeker of the Way, Goblin Rabblemaster, and cheap removal like Chained to the Rocks, I really like Mardu's ability to leverage Glare of Heresy post-board.
David's list from SCG Columbus is something that I am strongly considering for Richmond, and I plan on playing both U/W Heroic and Mardu Midrange this week on my stream so make sure you come and hang out and help me figure out what I want to play!
Before I close things out for this week, I just wanted to touch on a couple things.
I am pretty far removed from anything on social networks that doesn't have to do directly with Magic or my personal close friends or my friends playing Magic, but recently I keep seeing some heated comments popping up and a lot of them just degenerate into name calling and just plain being rude. I'm not one to share my opinion much on anything outside of Magic, but I think it's always just best to be nice and treat others the same way you want to be treated. Give everyone, regardless of race, sex, religion, etc, the same respect that you would want.
Also, try not to use hurtful words in public forum even if they are meant for your "friends" to interpret the meanings.
Lastly, I want to thank everyone for being so patient with my Kickstarter. The scale of support I received ended up pushing the project into the realm of something that just ended up taking a lot more time to complete than I had originally hoped. The good news though, is that we are in the home stretch, and the playmat will be finished by the end of the week.
Thank you everyone for all of your support, and I will leave you with the final preview before the finished product.