Saturday, 9:00 pm - Talking Strategies

Posted in Event Coverage on March 1, 2014

By Oliver Gehrmann

We're almost done with the first day of competition at the Grand Prix Barcelona and now that plenty of players can look back at this unique and challenging format, I decided to ask them about some of their team's strategies.

Here we see Matteo Venturi, Andrea Mengucci and Enrico Baldrati. In round 8, they took their third loss, so we won't see them again tomorrow, however, they can still share a thing or two about the team format.

What was the best play that one member of the team suggested and that another member didn't see right away?

Andrea: "It was in the fourth round and my friend Enrico had a 2 / 2 creature in play while his opponent had 2 creatures. He was about to play Ephara, God of the Polis, however, I stepped in since it wouldn't have done anything at this point (since he didn't hit the Devotion threshold so it would count as a creature). He wouldn't have gained much from making that play.

"It was better to play Thassa's Emissary since it affected the field. The following turn, we could attack, we could add more creatures to the field to further pull ahead and then we could play Ephara. This made quite a big difference and helped us to win this game."

How did you assign seats between the three of you?

Andrea: "We decided that I would play in the middle with a U/W aggro deck. We were feeling rather confident that I would be able to finish my games the fastest, which would then allow me to help my friends with their decision making processes."

Next, I spoke to one of the most successful teams in competition: Owen Turtenwald, William Jensen and Reid Duke. I asked them the same question and after pondering over the question for a second, Duke admitted: "To use Pharika's Mender to return my Disciple of Phenax to my hand. Huey suggested it and I honestly didn't see that play in that particular moment."

Was there a particular reason why you decided to seat Huey between yourself and Owen Turtenwald?

Duke: "Yes, there was. We picked Huey for the seat in the middle because he's the most experienced player in team formats. He is most easily able to play his own game while also suggesting good plays for the rest of us."

The match between Raphael Levy and Christoph Huber lasted the longest, so both players received additional help from their respective teammates. Once the match concluded, I asked Melissa DeTora whether there was a situation where she took advantage of her friends advice.

DeTora: "For me personally, it has not happened yet. I asked a couple of times about what to mulligan, but so far, we've never been in disagreement."

How did you decide on the seatings for the members of your team?

DeTora: "They wanted me to sit in the middle so they won't fight each other all the time!"

I found that hard to believe, but Levy immediately added: "It's very hard for us not to comment on the plays of one another and this was the only way to make sure that it wouldn't affect us in a negative way."

So there you have it. Even the brightest Magic minds tend to be in disagreement every once in a while. To maximize your chances of doing well as a team, you need to figure out a strategy to minimize these ill-effects. It seems like all of these teams were able to come up with a sound strategy, so maybe you can apply one of them for your next team event.

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