Day 1 Coverage of Grand Prix Oakland

Posted in Event Coverage on August 25, 2013

By Wizards of the Coast

1631 planeswalkers descended on Oakland today with dreams of being crowned the champion of Grand Prix Oakland. After nine grueling rounds of sealed deck, only 186 remain. Of those, five players enter the second day of competition with untarnished records: Ben "Benny Beatdown" Lundquist, Ben Stark, Scott Gerhardt, William Jensen, and Elliot Woo have put themselves in an excellent position to battle their way through to the Top 8. The remaining few have proven their mastery of the Magic 2014 Sealed Deck format, but tomorrow the players will be required to draft against a murderer's row of opponents. Stay tuned to coverage of Grand Prix Oakland to watch all action unfold!


Saturday, 11:26 a.m. — Grinder Winning Decklists

by Jacob Van Lunen

Marus Keller


Zach Tabak


Chase Peterson


Brock Jones


Mekye Zastrow


Cody Lingelbach

Saturday, 2:18 p.m. — Feeling Blue (And Loving It!)

by Blake Rasmussen

I had the Opportunity to sit down with some of the most talented players in the world to discuss the ins and outs of Magic's latest core set. I noticed a pattern emerging when I asked high caliber players like Jon Finkel, Brian Kibler, Luis Scott-Vargas, and Tom Martell to name their most desirable common and uncommon for Magic 2014 sealed.

Blue is the new Black. Divination and Essence Scatter seemed to be the favorite sealed deck commons amongst professionals. It's not that Essence Scatter or Divination are necessarily better than all the other commons, but the overall power level of blue pushes players to want a healthy pile of playable commons to support the color adequately.

DivinationEssence Scatter

Opportunity was a clear favorite amongst the set's uncommons. Magic 2014 sealed play involves a lot of one-for-one trades wherein each card is exchanged for a single card of the opponent's without help. In Magic 2014 , card advantage (The overarching strategy that involves trading cards of your own for more cards of your opponent's) is usually achieved through combat tricks or instant speed removal. Doom Blade in response to Giant Growth, Shock during a double block, or Giant Growth to counteract an opposing pump spell are all common examples of how a player might get ahead in the card economy trade. This makes the format extremely skill intensive and rewards players for reading their opponents and casting spells at the most opportunistic moments. A card like Opportunity breaks all the rules and provides the caster with four fresh new cards at the expense of a single card. If both players are casting and trading cards at a similar rate, the player with Opportunity will have three more cards in hand when their opponent is all out of gas.

In previous formats, Blue might have had holes that needed to be filled by Red or Black removal and/or Green or White bodies. In Magic 2014 , however, Blue has all the tools it needs to deal with whatever threats might be presented to it. Time Ebb, Sensory Deprivation, and Claustrophobia give the Blue deck a removal suite that rivals (perhaps overshadows) Black or Red. Creatures like Air Servant or efficiently costed inexpensive flying commons are some of the most desirable creatures in the format. The best non-blue cards are usually expensive, thus increasing the power of countermagic, Disperse, and Time Ebb.

The stars have aligned and it seems that Blue is the way to be in Magic 2014 Sealed. Will Blue mages fulfill their destiny and come out on top today? Stay tuned to all the action here in Oakland, California to find out!

Saturday, 2:44 p.m. — Keys to M14 Sealed with Ben Stark and Martin Juza

by Blake Rasmussen

One of the coolest things about being a coverage reporter is the ready access to top-tier pros to talk about any topic I want. Do I need a guide to Faeries? Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa is right there. Do I need a primer on playing Boros? Paul Rietzl will answer all my questions.

And if I need to know they keys to M14 Sealed, Ben Stark and Martin Juza, two of the best limited players in the world, are more than ready to help out.

So to pass on a bit of that good fortune to you, our readers, I sat down with newly elected Hall of Famer Ben Stark and Grand Prix master Martin Juza to comb their brains for the most important things to keep in mind with M14 limited.

Sunglasses not included.

When you're this good at limited, the sun is always shining...wait...that's not quite right.

Play Blue cards if possible. Jacob Van Lunen delves into this in-depth [link to Jake's article on Blue that he just sent in], but the open secret—and you can barely even call it a secret at this point—tha