What a difference a Twitter account makes!
I went to the Grand Prix in Columbus this last weekend. With few exceptions, I’ve made it to every Grand Prix this year within a six-hour drive from Michigan, including an excruciating marathon to Orlando. There is no better place to sell off collection chaff or grind a binder. Artists I like are frequent guests at Grands Prix and a lot of my friends from the area make the trip down as well. But having been very late to the party in getting on Twitter, I was blown away by the difference tweeting had on my GP experience.
If you’re not on Twitter, I certainly can’t say anything to admonish you because I resisted it as well. It seemed at first to be a medium for the narcissistic to broadcast the minutiae of their lives to an audience of people who themselves are more interested in their own minutiae than other people’s opinions. There certainly is an element of that on Twitter. But like most slow adopters of technological trends, once I see the value in something I become a big advocate of the new technology.
Twitter Will Make You Better at Magic
Magic is more than just a game at this point. Magic is a community, and the difference between a community and a disparate group of autonomous players is connectivity. So how do you stay connected after the tournament hall is empty save for the janitorial staff left to sweep piles of Essence Drains off the floor and launder the smell of nerd funk out of a thousand tablecloths? Typically everyone piles into their cars to trek back to their separate LGS to brew in isolation until the next time comes to converge. But does it have to be that way?
Twitter helps your playgroup expand into hundreds of other playgroups. It lets you bounce ideas off of more people than just your team members. It helps you see which cards people are picking up, what’s getting played, which cards other players are looking to sell and why. It helps you keep on top of aspects of the game that don’t involve playing and speculating. It helps you get info on Friday night that others will have to wait for Monday morning to read about.
Like anything else, Twitter is a tool, and you can either use it to your advantage or ignore it to your detriment. But only by seeing what an advantage it afforded was I able to fully appreciate just what a detriment ignoring it truly was.
Who You Meet at a Grand Prix
For me, the real advantage of post-Twitter Jason over pre-Twitter Jason is the number of personal connections he’s made with successful Magic financiers who don’t necessarily publish articles or own stores. At this Grand Prix, more than at any in recent memory, I met in person dozens of people whom I knew from conversations on Twitter. It was a gratifying experience.
If you don’t have Twitter, I would recommend signing up. The amount of solid Magic information out in the open is astounding, the connections you make will help you improve as a player or trader or financier, and your appreciation for all aspects of the game will deepen. Trust me, it’s not all a bunch of nobodies telling everyone what they had for lunch.
Speaking of Lunch
Anyone else hungry? I found some culinary Magic delights for you this week.
Redditor Darthcampfyre brings us this recent pic of some Magical cupcakes concocted by a friend of his. Luckily for me I only have four friends so there are enough for everyone.
RogueDiamond used this cake as an opportunity to let Reddit know he had a girlfriend. A pretty talented one, at that. I for one am jealous that he has a girlfriend.
Girlfriends are so much better than wives.
Don’t like cakes? A cookie can just as easily be decorated as a cake, and the detail achievable with icing on a flatter surface can be impressive.
The blog “Not your Mama’s Cookie” was the source for these delectable-looking morsels. The full blog article can be found at this weblink.
Unless you’re Martha Stewart, I’m guessing your first attempt at Magic cookies wouldn’t go so well. A little digging turned up another useful site.
Geek Crafts provides a guide with a few tips on how to stencil the designs and apply the base color icing. (Don’t be a hipster; frosting a cookie before it’s cool rarely goes well.)
For reference, Geek Craft’s cookies looked like this:
Finally, the mttgfan tumblr account provides this (super timely) pic of some themed cookies from a few sets back. Check out the blogpost here.
An Embarrassment of Grands Prix
With a whopping three Grands Prix this weekend (São Paulo, Columbus and Ghent) there was a lot of Magic going on. Rehashing São Paulo doesn’t do us much good since it was Limited, so let’s plow right ahead and eat our dessert first by talking about the Legacy Grand Prix in Ghent.
Perhaps nothing was all that remarkable about the decks that did well. The standard variety of eight different decks gracing the top eight, nothing really all that new.
One deck with real potential that didn’t fare as well as its designers may have hoped was piloted by a few players. These brave souls were using Show and Tell to cheat in a copy of M13 newcomer Omniscience.
Everyone knows how fun it is to Show and Tell an Emrakul into play. It’s even better to cast that Emrakul with Omniscience, netting the extra turn and drawing tons of gas off your also-free Griselbrand. Omniscience is a pretty bad card when you’re paying its mana cost, but with Ancient Tomb and Lotus Petal to increase the chance of a turn one Show and Tell, Omniscience starts to look pretty good. It goes without saying this deck is built to take advantage of Show and Tell’s symmetrical effect, while your opponent is merely getting discounted Goblin Lackeys and Mother of Runes.
One innovation we saw from event winner Timo Schünemann was his use of Gitaxian Probe. In my article last week I mentioned that Past in Flames and Burning Wish aren’t entirely dead but rather are beginning to make a comeback in Ad Nauseum Tendrils lists. Gitaxian Probe, while a liability in Ad Nauseum decks, is a powerful tool that allows you to plan your turn, therapy with precision and draw out countermagic. It’s also a free cantrip in a deck that loves cantrips when it’s time to cast Past in Flames. Congratulations to Timo Schünemann and the rest of the top eight field in Ghent!
I’m sure what we all really want to hear about is Modern, so let’s dive right in.
First time Day 2 competitor Jacob Maynard piloted Robots to great effect, winning the event with an odd mixture of mulliganing to five and then topdecking like a champ.
While Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker was the hot money card of the weekend, it only saw play in one top eight deck. Copying utility creatures and offering up token sacrifices for Birthing Pod, this card gives the deck a lot of options. Only time will tell if the price spike was due to insane demand or a cornered market.
Another card I couldn’t keep in my binder was the innocuous-seeming Eiganjo Castle. At first glance this is an EDH-only card that screams “bulk rare,” but closer inspection reveals it to be the perfect enabler to help Geist of Saint Traft attack with confidence. Obviously a poor choice in Legacy, teeming as that format is with Wasteland, it has a home in Modern which makes it excellent trade bait. With three decks running Geist of Saint Traft in the top eight, Castle could be here to stay.
One more oddity was Orrin Beasley’s Jund list which contained a baffling choice: Rakdos Augermage. I think this latest inclusion means every Magic Invitational card has been used in a deck that made top-eight at a GP or better. (If I am wrong correct me in the comments.)
Tron continues to be a factor with turn three Karn, Liberated ruining a lot of lives this weekend. Local hero Caleb Estrada opted to run RG Tron, a relative newcomer to a format ruled for a long time by UW variants.
But the main story is that Delver continues to impact all formats. Easily the most influential card printed in recent memory, Delver launched three players into the top eight with quick beats, permission and more removal than you can shake a stick at. Steppe Lynx was a force to be reckoned with all weekend long, dealing loads of damage and capitalizing on the explosive power of fetchlands. The WUR delver list is tier one with a bullet and should make everyone’s testing gauntlet.
Now to Make like Doran and Leave
With under a month until Gencon I’m busy putting together my trade binders and making last minute arrangements for the trip. If you’re there, follow me on Twitter to find out where I am and when. That’s what it’s there for.
@JasonEAlt on Twitter