Draft Modern

Grand Prix Omaha 2015

I had been looking forward to Grand Prix Omaha 2015 since it was first announced. It fell on my birthday (January 10) so I decided to treat myself by taking Friday and Monday off of work and getting a room in the hotel connected to the event site. I meandered into the tourney hall on Friday evening to pick up my playmat and foil Griselbrand promo. The playmat is pretty sweet, I guess it’s supposed to be a cornfield? We do have hella corn here, so that’s fair enough.

GP Omaha Playmat

My pal Chris is usually up for a good durdle so he rode along for the weekend. We checked into the hotel and then entered a “Standard Sealed” event on Friday night. You got two Khans packs, one M15 and one each of Theros, Born and Journey. It was a lot of fun; I love silly jerkoff formats like this. My deck had a Surrak Dragonclaw and a Pearl Lake Ancient. I did okay-ish, going 3-2. My losses were first to an aggressive deck full of quality two-drops, and then to eventual Grand Prix Champion Erik Peters (he had some help from Daxos of Meletis). Big ups to Erik; I think it’s really cool that an Omaha guy won his hometown GP.

Across all of the side events, Legion was giving out these skeeball ticket things that you could go redeem at their booth for all sorts of crap. The baseline value metric was that one ticket = one booster pack. It was actually a pretty good way of doing things. We scooped up a few pity tickets for our 3-2 records and then Googled for nearby restaurants.

The tournament site was within easy walking distance of lots of options, but it was bitterly cold out so we figured closer was better. We ended up at a pizza joint called Goodnights and I had some beer, pizza and wings, all of which were delicious.


Saturday was the actual grand prix and I put in a very mediocre performance with my beloved Blue Tron deck:


I dropped after going 2-3-1. I got paired up against a fellow Lincoln guy in round one, he was playing Jeskai Ascendancy with a sideboard Splinter Twin transformation. Unfortunately, we went to time and drew. Starting off with a round one draw is pretty ooky, but there I was. Opponent was a very nice guy who I enjoy playing with down at the local store, so no hard feelings or anything. Still hate the Ascendancy deck, though – no offense! I lost to a Birthing Pod deck, and to a UWR Kiki Control thing that I misplayed against. I beat a GW hatebears and a Mardu burn pile. Turns out that Crackling Dooming a Wurmcoil Engine doesn’t accomplish a whole lot.

In between rounds, I ate one of these Quest Bar things and it was pretty legit. Searching and shuffling off of Expedition Maps over and over takes a lot of energy so splurging on some premium backpackable foodstuffs is a good idea at these events. I will run it back on the Quest Bars in the future. I’m not a food snob, really, but the concession stands at these arenas are awful. It’s like $17 for a shitty pretzel and the optional cup of Sysco cheese is an additional $12.95.

By round six, I was very dead but still playing for funsies and I got paired up against a mono blue Time Warp deck. It was utterly miserable. The deck wins by taking infinte extra turns and then milling you out with Jace Beleren, of all things. It’s not a demonstrable infinite loop like, say, MINDSLAVER LOCK FSCK YOU IT’S A REAL THING. So, this guy is taking all the turns and I’m like, “Yep. Yep. Okay. Sure. Alright.” I’m interested to investigate whether there’s any sort of recourse against a “solitaire” deck like this. I mean, they’re doing something, so I guess that’s fine… but if they eat up the whole clock while they go off, that seems kind of unfair. I blame myself for losing to it but I’m skeptical that this guy could have ever won anything if he was on a chess clock.

Oh well!

After scrubbing out of the main event, I was free to just wander around and check out all the booths and junk. I got cards signed by all of the artists in attendance, as well as the playmat.

GP Omaha Artists

Violet Pall and Bubbling Beebles by Jeff Miracola
Future Sight by Dan Scott (playmat artist)
Dragon Roost by Jim Pavelec
Victim of Night by Winona Nelson
Krasis Incubation by Marco Nelor
Firedrinker Satyr by Anthony Palumbo
Bloodsoaked Champion by Aaron Miller

I also bought a rad signed/numbered Mars Attacks poster from, Jeff Miracola. It’s got a guy’s head exploding and his eyeball is spraying out; totally great.

Mars Attacks by Jeff Miracola

After toting all of these shiny dorkus-malorkus treasures back to the hotel room, we went to a nearby sports bar type of joint, The Old Mattress Factory, to get some grub and catch up on the football games. I had a burger and a big plate of hot wings. The food was mediocre but I scarfed it down; all that tron assembling makes a guy hungry.

We stayed through the end of the Patriots-Ravens and into just a little of the beginning of the Seahawks-Panthers, then puttered back over to the event site to squeeze in one more draft before they shut it down for the night. I ended up with a sort of two-thirds good Sultai deck with Dead Drop and Kheru Lich Lord and some graveyard stuff. Oh, and I was also splashing a Siege Rhino off of like two off-color duals. I didn’t have the brass to also splash the Mantis Rider in my pool. I should have kept the pile together so I could have listed it out for posterity.

Now, remember the Legion Events skeeball tickets? Well, about this time I noticed people were actively hustling for these things, in order to acquire some of the premium items in the prize market such as uncut foil sheets. There was this group of dudes, a couple of whom were in this draft with us, who were aggressively trying to shake everybody down for the skeeball tickets. “We’ll pay cash, trade you cards, etc.” This particular crew had European accents, making it feel like you were dealing with the first-tier lackeys in a Taken sequel. I got paired up against one of them in the first round and homeboy was cursing a blue streak, “effing this and effing that.” Just super obnoxious. Now, to be fair to him, he was actually friendly when speaking to me and interacting in-game – but the douchewaves just radiated off of these dudes.

Our European Friends

He had a legitimate Abzan deck and beat me in game one, but I managed to take the match and it did feel pretty sweet to knock this dude out. Guess that’s no skeeball tix this time, bruh. Then I got paired up against Chris in round two and he beat me handily. THANKS CHRIS. I sucked down a couple drinks at the hotel bar before calling it a night.

Sunday, not having any Day Two GP obligations, I woke up casually and went down to the event hall to mess around. Lo and behold, as I stroll past the feature match area I see one of the Lincoln locals, JT Davis, battling none other than Owen Turtenwald. JT killed the pro 2-0, so that was rad. I mean, I like Owen Turtenwald as a player and as a personality in the game, but what a cool story for JT to have. Stuff like that is why Magic is magical.

I wanted to try some of the more unusual formats that had been advertised, weirdo draft variants and junk, but none of those were anywhere close to firing so I just hit up a regular Khans draft. My first pack had a Surrak Dragonclaw so I took the mythic legend and ended up with a pretty legit Temur deck.

I think Temur is my favorite color combination in the format. I’m not saying it’s the best; I think all of them are pretty reasonable (Jeskai being my least favorite) but I have the most fun when I’m playing Temur.

Round one was versus another Temur deck, except his didn’t have Surrak Dragonclaw and two Temur Charms so I won. His deck was fine, it had at least 3x Snowhorn Rider, for example; it’s just hard when you get mugged by a flash 6/6.

Round two was against an excellent Mardu deck with 3x Mardu Hordechief, some Rush of Battles and a High Sentinels of Arashin that I thankfully had the Arrow Storm for, right on time.

There was a spot in round two, game one where my hand was Mardu Heart-Piercer and Canyon Lurkers. I play the morph face down and pass the turn, opponent doesn’t do much on his turn and passes back. I draw my new card (Alpine Grizzly) and go to combat… and realize that I have erroneously played the Mardu Heart-Piercer as my morph last turn. I alert my opponent and conveniently there is a judge literally sitting next to us, administering a judge test to some dude. She seems happy to use this as an opportunity to go through a real scenario with the guy who’s taking the test.

Ultimately, the situation is easy enough to rewind and everything gets sorted out correctly. Opponent is a good sport about it: He doesn’t accuse me of anything shady, yet is firm about making sure my mistake is addressed according to the rules. I go on to lose that specific game – which I actually feel good about since I caused this mess with my morph mistake. I go on to win the match, though, and proceed to split the skeeball tickets in the finals.

We see some other Lincoln guys who are hanging around and go chat with them for a while. They ask me what my favorite Magic card is, and I say Sire of Insanity because A.) that is my favorite Magic card and B.) sucka MCs should call me sire. A short while later one of the dudes brings me over a Sire of Insanity altered by Dan Scott to have a little birthday cake on it. Holy cow, what a cool gift! I got a little frame for it and put it up on my wall next to some other Magic art I had gotten a couple years back at Grand Prix Lincoln. Thanks a lot, Neil!

An insane birthday!

It was now somewhere in the mid-afternoon and we were starting to think about wrapping up. I wanted to get in one last draft so we jumped in the queue. I can’t remember what my pack 1 pick 1 was, but I know I got a pack 1 pick 2 Polluted Delta, so that was nice. I took note that all 3 uncommons were also in that pack so I have no idea what the gentleman to my right had taken. I ended up with a trio of Icefeather Aven headlining yet another solid Temur deck. Oh, and my pack 3 pick 1 was a Flooded Strand. Just sayin’.

Round one was versus some guy who had ants in his pants to finish quickly so that he could go sign up for the Team Sealed event, which I must say did sound super fun and I might have tried to play in that if I had planned my day a little differently. But, anyway, dude wasn’t being a jackwagon about it or anything so I did try to accomodate him by killing him as fast as I could.

Round two was versus a 4 or 5 color control thing with a Sagu Mauler and at least 2 Dead Drops. I sussed out that he was a pretty slow deck and employed the Icefeather beatdown plan. Assuming you have the correct mana, just droping a face-up Icefeather Aven on turn two can put a lot of pressure on a durdle deck. Bird was, indeed, the word and I split the finals for a few more skeeball tix.

I cashed out at the Legion booth for some fetchlands I was missing. I was not playing back in Onslaught so the Khans reprints are great for me; same was true of the Ravnica shockland reprints. I much appreciate being able to get some of this staple stuff easily. Chris is a certified foilmonger so he made a last pass around the dealers to get, like, I dunno a Chinese foil Ramirez DePietro or something? I wasn’t paying much attention at that point.

As we’re about to walk out the door, our pals Gus & Jamee show up. Gus wanted to check out some of the dealers’ buylist prices but we’re dickholes so we unceremoniously said “hi-bye” and chirped out, going along with Jamee for some dinner. We settled on a nearby Mexican place called Roja Grill. I had some combo plate and a big bowl of guacamole, everything was very good.

Full of beans (literally and figuratively?), we dropped Jamee back at the event site and then headed home to Lincoln. I can’t claim to have accomplished all that much on the weekend, other than just having a good time – then again, as Poison taught us, sometimes you don’t need nothin’ but.

Till next time!

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