I administered Hollowhenge beats with Hollowhenge Beasts this past weekend at Grand Prix Seattle and if that says something about the quality of my sealed pools, well, so be it. I still love that lumpy, green meathead.
Here are some nuggets from the action-packed GP weekend:
In the main event I wrangled an unspectacular pool into an R/G deck that consistently lurched across the battlefield with zero sex appeal. "Beast, go." I showed the deck to Channel Fireball's Tristan Shaun Gregson and his appraisal was, "That's going to be ... rough." I picked up my crucial third loss in round 7 (no byes due to hardly ever playing paper sanctioned events) so no day 2 for me but I still enjoyed some sealed matches and, hey, I'm 160 planeswalker points closer to Magus Maximus status.
Other sanctioned events I played: a sealed grinder, a two-headed giant draft and a regular draft. It was my first crack at 2HG draft, in which each team looks at the packs together and then takes 2 cards before passing. Good fun, though my teammate and I could have been better about gesturing and crossing our arms in unison. I won packs in each draft to power up the late-night Winchester sessions (photo of me playing out a draft in a lonely corner of the room snapped by Chad Havas).
I served up Filth Casserole between rounds and was delighted to play the format against R&D's Ethan Fleischer at the spellslinging table. Ethan had a "make it harder for you to cast stuff" thing going on that I totally dug. I also dusted off and tweaked my cheapo Standard goblin-ish deck to take on Ryan Spain (ugly loss at the pointy end of Sword of War and Peace) and Ryan Miller (a lightning match with goblins triumphant).
The GP was chock full of Wizards folks on hand to witness the popularity of their many-tentacled creation. Mark Rosewater showed up on Sunday just to peep the scene and interact with fans. I had a nice chat with MaRo and then, to my shame, I immediately tweeted that he’d told me Innistrad’s Hel Vault is full of delicious creme filling. Please, people! It was a joke! Stop blowing up MaRo’s inbox! What he actually said is that it’s full of nacho cheese.
I also chatted with Pete Venters which is the first time I’ve spoken to a real, live Magic artist. When I talk to artists I admire I imagine it sounds like, “I like yer purty drawrings durrrrr,” but this was OK, Pete was patient, and he even signed the foil Kiki-Jiki I’ve had since forever.
There’s probably a legitimate reason why the GP is in Tacoma rather than Seattle but there was palpable downside. The Seattle locals down at the GP for the day fled north before nightfall like they knew the streets of Tacoma belonged to wild dogs after dark. Us chumps stuck in Tacoma cursed at their joyful tweets from the magical Card Kingdom. And the smattering of restaurants around the event site mainly specialized in “Sorry guys, we’re closing in five,” though this was mitigated by the fact that any food you can get after playing Magic in a convention center all day is the BEST FOOD EVER. I had what I thought was some pretty good fettucine alfredo that I later realized was actually a free cookie from the front desk of the Marriott. I don’t know, Tacoma is probably cool or whatever but next time we have a GP Seattle can we pretty please have it closer to Seattle?
Enough griping though -- it was a blast. When I got home I made a list of all the cool people I'd met, either for the first time or who I’d internet-met previously, and let me tell ya, long list! I would have liked to have more time to hang out with 'em. I look forward to more of this action.