Thursday, May 22, 2014

Pro Tour Journey into Nyx (Atlanta) Report

This report was originally going to be in the "Props & Slops" format.  I'm in a good mood so I'll try for all "Props & backhanded Props."  Let's see how it goes.

Big huge props to Gabriel Nassif, Gabe Carlton-Barnes and Martin Goldman-Kirst who all conceded to me on day two once out of top 25 contention so that I could have a chance to make top 75, which I did, which qualifies me for the next two pro tours.  Not everyone is as unselfish and understanding about getting a couple points to someone who can really use them.  I appreciated it tremendously. 

The other big huge props have to go to Patrick Chapin for winning the Pro Tour.  Patrick and I have been friends for many years, and I've learned on several occasions that Patrick is the kind of friend who would give you the shirt off his back or the big piece of fried chicken if you were hungry (and he fucking loves fried chicken).  A man of truly grand vision, Patrick has put more sweat, passion, and hours of work behind his vision for the competitive Magic: The Gathering community than anyone I know. 

Patrick is a leader also in the way he balances that work with celebration of and appreciation for everything and everyone he has around him.  If someone's not having a good time, Patrick's work is not done.  I'm lucky to have Patrick as a teammate but far luckier to have him as a close friend.  

Props to Reid Duke and Jamie Parke for breaking through to top 8.  Everything you've heard about Reid is true, which is high praise.  Jamie is an old school background player like myself who just snatched the mic and starting singing a lead vocal.  You haven't heard the last from Reid or Jamie, and again I'm lucky to call them teammates and friends.

Props to Dan OMS for helping us with offsite logistics while the PT was going on.  Support via email is key as you scramble to figure out what is happening at the PT and compile the public information you gather.

Props to Wrapter from [that Other Team] on his top 8.  You could pick him as the best in the world and/or the most likely to win the next big event, and you would be at WORST only very slightly wrong. 

Props to Hall of Famers Finkel, Kai, Nassif, Bob, Karsten, Darwin, Rob, Jelger, PV, LSV et al for showing up and giving a shit even if past their prime.  Better to have had a prime and lost than never to have had a prime at all like me.  And I think everyone benefits from them using their invites and try to win.  So, joking aside, props for still giving a shit.

Props to the bartender at the Sheraton near the convention center.  This woman was more understaffed than the judges at a Bolivian limited Grand Prix but still kept the drinks coming with a smile.  No bar back, no cocktail server, no second bartender, just her and a hoard of thirsty gamers. 

Props to Atlanta for having Uber. 

Props to Waffle House for being better than Dennys and iHop (sounds easy but there were a million of these everywhere and when I went it was good). 

Props to Zac Hill for finally mentioning on camera that he used to work in R&D and had some role in the development of cards that were recently released.  You might have missed it if you took a break from the stream but trust me he said it at least once on the record. 

Props to R&D for not having a cheap wrath in the block.  If I wanted the same pieces available every game I'd play chess.

Props to Tom Martell and Paul Rietzl for hitting Platinum.  Tom is better than you think he is and almost as good as he thinks he is.  Paul is as good as you think he is and better than he thinks he is. 

Props to the PT coverage staff for getting a picture of me doing my Walt Jr. impression as Patrick drew a land he needed vs wrapter. 

Props to Andrew Cuneo for being the funniest person over age 60 to come along since George Carlin.

Props to Marshall Sutcliffe for the time he remembered which creature had been targeted by Kiora's +1 the turn prior.

Props to Paul Rietzl's opponent (Paul please tweet who it was) [edit: Marlon Gutierrez] that accidentally pointed to only one of his creatures with a Mogis' Maurader trigger and told the judge the absolute truth about his physical gesture when asked.  Easy to fudge or reinvent what happened; this guy went down with honor, integrity, and only one creature with intimidate. 

Props to WotC for not having Michele of Gaming Etc deal cards for the PT.  Who knows if I still would have made top 75 if others weren't scrambling looking for cards the night before the PT.  If it ain't broke, find a local supplier to fix it as the saying goes.

Props to Conley Woods and Brad Nelson for taking some high-profile split card criticism in stride and finishing top 50. 

Props to Sam Black for calling a judge on himself when he scryd into a card that wasn't in his deck in a game he was going to win.  Could have sent it to the bottom, sided it out, fixed it between rounds - no one finds out and no real harm done - but he did the right thing and played by the rules. 

Props to runner up Nam Sung Wook for playing well and being grateful to make the finals and willing to fully celebrate the 2nd place when he lost.  Oh and for playing fast even in top 8.  This kid gets it in my opinion.

Props to the members of R&D who gave a talk on the design of Journey to Nix cards and mechanics.  The members of the Hex design team that were present can't thank you enough. 

 -Matt Sperling


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