Grand Prix Columbus is underway and there are players as far as the eye can see. Mirrodin/Darksteel limited has been a record breaking format. First there was the ridiculous attendance in Madrid and now Columbus has shattered the North American record for Grand Prix attendance with a whopping 854 players. (The previous record was 652 in Milwaukee.) Nobody was terribly surprised--after all the Trial last night had over 180 players!
The event is being organized by Professional Event Services. They have a reputation for running large events and despite the huge turnout they were more than up to the challenge. Things got rolling without a hitch thanks the remarkable staff. PES head honcho Mike Guptil could not be reached for comment. Apparently he was doing the breast stroke through his money in the underground vault.
There will be a significant attendance driven change for this event. Not only will their be nine rounds of play today but since there are more than 800 players the Top 128 will advance to the draft portion tomorrow as opposed to the traditional Top 64. The announcement sent a cheer through the crowd but even with the extra cushion it is going to require a sparkling record to advance.
There are plenty of the games top players in attendance including the Grand Prix stalwarts Ben Stark, Gabe Walls, and Ben Rubin. All three of them have multiple Top 8 appearances in recent months and will be looking to keep that trend going this weekend. There are also a number of players who find themselves looking to keep their Pro Tour careers afloat. Mike Pustilnik and Darwin Kastle are two of the games most successful players but they find themselves looking not just for the money this weekend but the oft overlooked Pro Tour invite that goes with it.
Stay tuned for all the Sealed Deck action from Columbus today and tune in again tomorrow when the Top 128 sit down to draft.