Greetings (admit it, you've stopped reading the first line altogether and didn't even notice when I changed it to stuff like "spectators"), speculators!
My article is a bit late this week, and I was going to apologize for that but I remembered that one time I used the phrase "dick sammich" in an article and no one batted an eye so I imagine everyone has abandoned all pretense of expecting professionalism out of me.
With my old format entirely abandoned, and now being written by someone else I imagine the procedure is as follows: skip the greeting, read the first half sentence of each paragraph, then skip to the part about decklists, notice someone in the comments said something about a financial call I made, go back to try and find where I said that, then close the window and watch some porn. I'm here to tell you that it takes a lot more effort to do that than just read straight through but you guys go the extra mile because you are the best readers an article monkey could ask for.
I've only been at this about a year, but I'm constantly blown away by the support and feedback I get from you guys. As a way to say "thank you," I'm going to tell you all about how GP Las Vegas was the Magic social event of the millennium and what a great time I had.
"You Guys are Maniacs" -- Adam Styborski
My article is late because when you drive all the way from Michigan to Las Vegas while shop crawling, you also have to drive back again. Not wanting to take four days for the trip in reverse, we opted to Ironman the trip back and drive straight through. This meant no stopping which meant no hotels which means no internet which meant you had to wait.
Last week I wrote about the shop crawl and how they're like pizzas--even when they're bad, they're still pretty good. Not shop crawling on the way back felt like a missed opportunity, but after nine days away from home, being gone longer didn't appeal all that much. In the future, we're probably going to shop crawl to a closer GP, but since we still made more than gas and hotel money on the one insane collection we got, it was actually still worth doing. Paid-for trips are the best trips.
"You Write for Gathering Magic?" -- Blake Rasmussen
If you're going to drop easily $100 a person on three square feet of the floor of a hotel room to save money, why not spend $100 on a bedroom in an insane party house? Marcel from Brainstorm Brewery found us an insane party pad ten minutes from the venue.
Since it was a pretty cool deal that we all got to hang out in a huge party pad--residents included @time_elemental, @Kevymetall, @TheBoozeCube, @norbert88, the entire Brainstorm Brewery gang, Marcel's Hood Chef brother, Jacob, and a ton of cool people I met but whose Twitter handles I can't remember--and party guests included Chas Andres, Helene Bergeot and Reuben Bresler. Not a bad group to rub elbows with.
Our party pad caught the attention of the Wizards Grand Prix coverage crew who ran a mostly accurate story about the impetus for the house and how much value it was. Scroll down a bit until you see my ridiculous playoff beard, something I was glad to shave off after the Blackhawks did me proud this week.
Getting written up by the Mothership was quite a cool experience, and gave us the impetus to record an episode of the "Meavy Meta" podcast--a joint cast with Heavy Meta to tell all the insane stories from the weekend all in one place. Check Mana Deprived or Gathering Magic later for the cast.
"Lookie What Came in the Mail" -- Heather Dawn Lafferty
Oh, did any of you want the Brainstorm Brewery tokens with Polish Tamales' angry, drunken Voice of Resurgence token on the front and the new, Matty Studios logo on the back? Well too bad. We had them mailed to Heather since she lives out in Vegas and they showed up five days late and we'd already left town by the time she got them. Daggers.
You'll have to hit us up for one at the next event you see us. As far as the playmats go, we only made thirty and they're gone already. The next batch should probably be bigger.
"We Wanted Financial Advice" -- You
My advice is to stop skipping cool events like Grands Prix with 4,500 people held in Las Vegas the same weekend as the Electric Daisy Carnival and the World Series of Poker.
Also, if you attend a GP to sell rather than play in the main event and drop with the pool you register because it has a foil Sword of Fire and Ice, Sam Black is going to call you a thief. But it will be hard to hear him with a $100 bill in each ear.
Most Modern Masters cards are going to tank, but what's alarming is the cards that are being propped up. A popular website was buying every Dark Confidant and Tarmogoyf at the event. Their website reflects their decision that a bunch more of each card being opened up and introduced into the card pool means that the price should go up.
Outraged players revolted by shrugging their shoulders and paying the new price while mumbling something about great customer service. Expect cards like Stonehewer Giant to be worth diddly in a week or two, but when a card is being clearly propped up, pay attention.
I don't know what will happen with the price on Bob and Goyf, because a set small enough for one actor to buy a majority of a card is unprecedented. Their buylist price went from $85 at Origins last week to $100 this weekend in Vegas. (Guess when I sold mine. I'll give you one guess, and give the hint that it rhymes with 'Borigins.') I imagine a good way to plan your moves is to watch the buylist and the spread, which I've started calling the "confidence index" because it makes me sound smart.
Speaking of "confidence index" a similar website, which I'll call "Bar Shmitty Tames," cut their buy price on Thoughtseize in half. Either they know something we don't, or everyone is so convinced 'Seize will be in M14 or Theros that they dumped every copy and BST doesn't need any more. Either way, that seems significant. Watch that. With Duress just spoiled, people aren't confident that Thoughtseize is getting a reprint in M14, but anything can happen, and Theros could easily herald its return.
It Wasn't Just Vegas
There was a SCG Open in Philadelphia, and since it wasn't a Grand Prix, the competitors didn't have to flee from a freak snow storm or hurricane like the last two Magic events I attended in Pennsylvania.
Sweet, gentle, cheek-turning Jesus! Esper Control takes it down! Robert Seder has this format totally figured out and he wins all the marbles. One could argue that not going to Vegas was a misplay, but it seems like the only misplay he made all weekend as winning with a build like this is tricky.
A few friends of mine on Team Perfect Storm, notably Crazy Ray Perez, have been jamming Esper for months with relative success and his insistence that the deck is the real deal has made me root for it.
It's losing half of its planeswalkers to rotation without gaining suitable replacements, which hurts. However, I feel that this is color combination control decks will adopt going forward. At the very least, both Jaces will do work, and with opposing Jaces not canceling them out, expect the control mirror to get hairy if it comes to that. How deep are you all on Aetherling? I'm expecting that to do a lot of the work planeswalkers are doing now.
Esper was good for two Top 8 spots as Lloyd Kurth made it in as well.
Two Reanimator decks in second and third? Not bad. I think Daniel Duterte wrote up a tourney report on reddit, but if you want to read it, you'll have to go to reddit. I spent fifteen minutes there last weekend and when I left, I forgot the name of three of the Zendikar fetchlands and how the stack worked. Prolonged exposure can lead to going full Timmy.
This deck right here looks like it could benefit from Deadbridge Chant. Once we get Scavenging Ooze, I think a stronger case for Chant can be made. Ooze is strong enough to be maindecked and lets you cut underwhelming, narrow cards like Crypt Incursion from the board.
I like B/G and Junk right now, and though it loses a lot of good cards to removal, it keeps a lot, too. Desecration Demon is perceived as bulk. Why not scoop a handful or two? Couldn't hurt.
Naya Midrange, Jund Aggro and R/G Aggro round out the Top 8. The aggro decks are actually pretty similar, but the Naya deck runs a lot of cards we're losing to rotation. One big loss will be Thundermaw Hellkite--it gives a lot of decks fits.
I don't know how good Voice is in the deck, but it put up results so it's tough to argue. With a ton of sweet tokens to pass out, I actually hope Voice is here to stay. It's not getting drafted much with MM out, and when it does, you only open one booster of Dragon's Maze. There are a lot of Voices trapped in cellophane right now; it's too bad the rest of the set is salty garbage or I'd advocate busting packs to get them.
Voice will be a lot of money and that's all there is to it. You can get Bonfire of the Damned for $7 right now, so the longer you can hold off on Voice, the better, but if you want to play with them, bite the bullet and just snap the stupid things. That's the price you pay for playing Constructed.
Wow, more Reanimator! In second place we have a Legacy Reanimator deck (pet deck of the week!) but in first we have Maverick, a deck many pundits have officially declared "dead." Sure, Maverick is my pet deck, but let's not pretend any Legacy deck is ever "dead." Just add two cards to the sideboard to shore up your matchup against the new "best deck" and you win the stupid event.
So what is the "best deck" in Legacy? You ask ten people and you'll get ten different answers right now. RUG Delver managed a Top 8, so that is a possibility. It didn't hurt that the deck was piloted by the Meddling Mage himself.
Sneak and Tell variants are absent, but that one is mentioned a lot. Jund is absent, but that's a possibility. I think Punishing decks are quite good.
Speaking of which, Punishing RUG really caught my eye. Could this deck be the reason "Tar Giddy Names" is buying Grove of the Burnwillows like they're on actual fire? I can't rule it out, but I can be annoyed that I bought Groves like six months ago, sat on them, watched them not go up, then sold them at Origins because I figured the metagame would never catch up.
I'm calling Bloodbraid Elf into Shardless Agent into Ancestral Vision "RUG Ultimatum" and if you hit it, good luck losing. The Angel of Despair in the board against Show and Tell is funny, but the rando, one-of Dragon's Claw is funnier. I like this build a lot. Maybe I can scoop Groves back up before anyone notices they're disappearing.
Shardless BUG will continue to be a deck. I like it a lot, and I want foil Abrupt Decay to hit $50 so I can have enough gold coins to fill a swimming pool and cosplay as Scrooge McDuck.
Esper Deathblade is the real deal, but without Todd Anderson around to pilot it, it didn't win back-to-back events. Still, that deck is potent and you should pay attention.
Go Full Nerd
I am so glad I finally got to shave my stupid beard that I hated. Unfortunately, the late start to the NHL playoffs meant I had the stupid thing in Vegas and every time I introduced myself to someone I could tell they were surprised that I look nothing like my pictures.
I managed to add some class to Gathering Magic's video spotlight on Christine Sprankle, a member of our community who as far as I'm concerned should be a WoTC employee. Do what you can to support her, she's awesome and everything she does is for the love of this game. Like her facebook page etc.
That's all for now. Tune in next week when I may get the article turned in on time. This is Jason Alt, signing out.