The family that plays together, stays together. This is particularly true during the pool registration and deck building portion of a Limited Grand Prix, when I was informed of a group of five competitors in today's Grand Prix sitting together during the registration and build phase of the event.
The one thing they had in common was a family name: Goldfarb.
Father, brother, son, son, and niece had shown up to compete in what may be the largest family gathering I've ever seen at a Grand Prix.
The Goldfarb family in attendance today consists of five players: father Howard Goldfarb, sons David and Matthew Goldfarb, brother Gary Goldfarb, and then finally Tracy Goldfarb, Gary's daughter.
This is both Gary and Tracy's first Grand Prix, but for Howard and his sons, it's far from their first rodeo. "[Gary] has only been playing Magic for about two years since we took him to Gen Con two years ago," Howard confirmed.
Howard and his sons, however, have been playing for about a decade. While Matthew got started during Onslaught block, Howard and David got into Magic during the original Mirrodin block, and the father and sons have been playing the game ever since. The artifact block that first sparked the father ands on's interest also has a resonance of nostalgia for Howard especially. "That's why I like artifacts, and it's why I play Affinity in Modern and Legacy," Howard said.
"I play very sporadically. I play a couple of times a year," Howard said. "We only play Prereleases, PTQs, Grand Prix events, and at Gen Con together," said his son, David. "We only play big events together."
Typically, the family only attends events together a few times a year. These events are primarily prereleases and occasionally Pro Tour Qualifiers in the local area, but Howard has made the trip to a few Grand Prix events as well. This weekend marked Howard's third Grand Prix, and it was David's fourth.
The last year has been relatively good for the Goldfarb family from a Magic standpoint as well. Matthew won a Pro Tour Qualifier that got him an invitation and airfane to Pro Tour Dragon's Maze back in March. His dad joined him on the trip to San Diego where he got to play in his first Pro Tour.
David has also seen some recent success with a Top 32 finish at Grand Prix Detroit, as well as on the independent circuits.
Out of the five family members, only one Goldfarb is carrying the torch into Day Two's Theros Booster Draft: David, with a 7-2 record. Despite not liking his first draft deck of the morning, he has a game plan and is hoping to win out, not for a chance at Top 8, but for a chance to play in Pro Tour Born of the Gods. "I don't really care about the Top 8. I just want to get onto the Pro Tour," said David.