by Randy Buehler
Pro Tour New York 1999 winner Casey McCarrel went 7-0 on Saturday and went to sleep knowing he was the #1 seed entering day 2. McCarrel played blue/black/red in the Invasion sealed deck portion of Grand Prix New Orleans. That's the same color combination that was played by each of the next three players: Brian Hegsted, Andrew Diaz-Matos, and "Mighty Mighty" Michelle Bush. The fifth and final 7-0 player was Bob Stead, who finished just one place ahead of his brother Bill (who was 6-0-1). Neither Andrew Diaz-Matos, Michelle Bush or Bob Stead had any byes for this event - they earned each of their seven wins the old fashioned way. Stead didn't even drop a game until the final round of the day when Michael Long took him to game 3 before succumbing to his green/white/blue beats. Bush's performance makes her the first woman in Grand Prix history to put up an undefeated record on Day 1.
Red/Black/Blue was the sealed deck strategy of choice for a majority of players. Even players who like to draft white and especially green seemed to shy away from those colors in sealed deck. Planeshift will certainly shake things up in a few weeks, but until then there seems to be an established formula for the normal way to build a sealed deck.
Twelve players were 6-0 going into the last round on Saturday. Seven of them were playing blue/black/red. Eleven of them were playing black. One of the two who wasn't playing blue would sideboard into a blue deck (with Treva) for most game 2's. The overall color breakdown at the top of the swiss: Black - 11, Blue - 10, Red - 9, White - 4, and Green - 2. With the blue/black/red decks dominating as much as they did, white was actually a reasonable metagame call for players who had access to Acolytes, especially the pro-black monster they call Obsidian Acolyte.
Other exciting events taking place this weekend included the finals of the Neutral Ground/Your Move Games Grudge Match, which was held on Friday night. With a crowd full of Trial competitors and money drafters looking on, Zvi Mowshowitz defended the honor of Neutral Ground by sweeping Joe "Mouth" Kambourakis.
Many of the local players spent the weekend talking and speculating about the upcoming Event Horizons Invitational. The 16 best players from Texas and Louisiana and going to throw down in two weeks at a tournament with such bizarre formats as "Invasion block constructed where you get to make up one new card", "Invasion draft where there is exactly one copy of every Invasion card available", and Type 2 where you can play a Type 2 deck from any era starting with 1996.
Tune in on Sunday for live coverage of the booster draft portion of the competition.