Grand Prix Austin Day 1

Posted in Event Coverage on January 7, 2012


Saturday, 9:37 a.m. – Q&A with 2011 Player of the Year Owen Turtenwald

by Blake Rasmussen

For any aspiring magician playing in a Grand Prix, there may be no player in the universe they would like to see sitting across from them less than 2011 Player of the Year Owen Turtenwald. Not only was Turtenwald's string of Grand Prix Top 8s unprecedented in 2011, but he scored back-to-back Top 8s in both GP Santiago and GP San Diego – both Innistrad limited tournaments. Coupled with his 5-1 performance in draft at Worlds, Turtenwald could rightfully lay claim to the most successful Innistrad limited player in the world. I spoke with the reigning player of the year in the week before GP Austin to get this thoughts on the format, coming in as Player of the Year and the changes to organized play.

So it's your first tournament as reigning Player of the Year. Does it feel any different? Do you feel any more/less pressure coming into Austin?
I don't feel any added pressure now. I'd like to think I do a pretty good job of keeping my emotions in check and just trying to make the best decisions I can regardless of what's at stake or what's expected of me.

2011 Player of the Year Owen Turtenwald

Innistrad limited is a format you've had a lot of success with, Top 8ing GP Santiago and San Diego and going 5-1 at Worlds. Have your views on the format changed any since those tournaments?
No, none of my opinions of it have changed. I get six boosters just like everyone else and I was lucky in San Diego and Santiago to get decks that were capable of winning.

For a tournament like this where you've already got a ton of experience in the format, what, if any, kind of preparation do you do the week before?
I haven't done much preparation for this GP since, as you said, much of the work required is already done since I was drafting this format a lot already for other events. When I have done like 50-75 drafts, doing three more isn't going to make a huge difference in my card evaluations or play style.

What are you looking for out of a sealed deck in Innistrad?
Bombs and removal, hopefully both inside two colors.

What are some of the key cards players should watch out for on Day 1? What would you most like to open?
The best rares are certainly Olivia Voldaren, Bloodline Keeper, and Geist-Honored Monk.

The Spider Spawning and similar draft archetypes have gotten a bit of attention lately. Are there any other less common archetypes that are worth watching out for, like mill or Burning Vengeance?
I like to draft BW Humans more than most and the Spider Spawning deck is really popular. Also you can't go wrong with Invisible Stalker decks.

Besides yourself, who do you think are the favorites this weekend?
Anyone on ChannelFireball is a favorite going in.

What are your thoughts on the changes to organized play in 2012? Have you figured out what your Grand Prix travel schedule will look like for the tournaments that have been announced?
I like the new changes, and I love the fact that the people in charge listened to all the criticisms and took in all the information and made decisions that were in everyone's best interest. I'm basically going to go to all domestic Grands Prix.

What are your goals for 2012? Do you think you could repeat as Player of the Year?
My goals for 2012 is to make T8 of a PT and to make Platinum. It's certainly possible though unlikely to repeat as PoY, but I'm up for the challenge.

Any parting thoughts?
I'm excited for another year of Magic in 2012. I plan to attend a ton of tournaments and get more involved in the community. I'm writing a weekly column now on Channelfireball, streaming Magic Online, and I encourage everyone to follow me on Twitter at @OwenTweetenwald.

Saturday, 11:55 a.m. – Winning Grinder Deck Lists

by Marc Calderaro

Branson Mitchell

Download Arena Decklist

Aaron White

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Jayson Hartless

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Vince Floca

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Sam Snaders

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