The Countdown Begins

Posted in Competitive Gaming on October 29, 2014

By Mike Rosenberg

Mike Rosenberg is a writer and gamer and has been part of the Magic text coverage team since 2011. He joined Wizards as organized play’s content specialist in June 2014.

Five weeks.

We're less than five weeks away from the start of 2014 Worlds Week, which kicks off on December 2 with the first day of 2014 World Championship competition.

But before we jump into that, let's take a quick look at what's coming up this weekend.

Coming Up

We talked a bit about the two Grand Prix taking place this weekend. Up first is GP Santiago, which features Standard Constructed.

By now, you've likely made the decision to go or not already. However, if you are planning to go, I highly suggest visiting the Grand Prix Santiago website, managed by the tournament organizer. Not only will it provide you the rundown on what the Grand Prix is all about, but it also includes information on travel info (passport/visa requirements, transportation suggestions, etc.) and on what you should check out while visiting Chile's capital city.

For this event, veteran reporter Josh Bennett will be joined by veteran host Rich Hagon, as the two will be bringing you the latest Standard stories and decks to emerge during the weekend.

Running the same weekend as Santiago in North America is Grand Prix Nashville, which features the Khans of Tarkir Team Limited format. Aside from featuring some power-packed teams and what is likely to be some absolutely insane games all weekend, the venue is also a short walk away from a lot of restaurant and entertainment options. As it is Halloween weekend, Grand Prix attendees looking to enjoy Nashville's festivities won't be disappointed.

Tournament organizer Donnie Noland has put together an intro video as well as all the information you'll need if you are attending this event over at the GP Nashville website, so head over there if you're planning to go this weekend.

GP Nashville will feature live video coverage hosted by Marshall Sutcliffe, Brian David-Marshall, Randy Buehler, Rashad Miller, and Rich Castle. Coverage starts at 9 a.m. local time/7 a.m. PT/10 p.m. ET/2 p.m. GMT. Coverage resumes on Sunday at 9 a.m. local time/7 a.m. PT/10 a.m. ET/3 p.m. GMT on Sunday.

Note that bolded time. As a reminder to competitors as well as viewers at home: daylight savings in the United States time zones ends this weekend, so clocks are being moved back by one hour at 2 a.m. on November 2. Competitors, make sure you take advantage of that extra hour of sleep or you'll find yourself arriving at the venue a tad early for Day Two. For coverage viewers in other regions, note the shift in coverage start times from Saturday to Sunday and plan accordingly.

Worlds Week

Worlds Week kicks off with the 2014 World Championship on December 2 in Nice, France. That means we're less than five weeks out before this event begins, where we'll see 24 of the world's best players battle it out in a variety of formats. The World Magic Cup begins December 5 and also takes place in Nice, and as we've witnessed last year, these events are explosive, exciting, and full of emotion and passion from all competitors.

Each weekday leading up to 2014 Worlds Week, associate community manager and fellow former text-coverage reporter Nate Price and I will be bringing you a quick look at each of the 24 competitors for this year's World Championship. This started on Monday with a look at Hall of Famer Patrick Chapin and how he found himself playing in the World Championship.

Each week, we'll review the competitors that were highlighted, so in case you missed one of our looks at the competitors, you'll be able to find it here! You can also visit the 2014 World Championship Competitors page to see who will be competing in the event. Our brief looks at the competitors will also be linked on this page once they're live.

Here are the profiles that have gone live this week so far:

The Flashback

Last weekend featured a lot of Magic to watch from all over the world, and we had our reporters onsite at two of those cities. While Tobias Henke and Hall of Famer Frank Karsten were reporting from the Grand Prix Stockholm tournament floor, Jacob Van Lunen was reporting on all the happenings at Eternal Weekend, which took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Going into the weekend, Abzan was on everyone's radar, but Mono-Red and Red-Green Monsters were also considerations in what to prepare for. In Stockholm, the metagame continued to see some evolutions, and the Top 8 represented a serious spread of decks, featuring Jeskai, Mono-Red, Sidisi-Whip, Temur Aggro, Abzan Midrange, and Black-Green Enchantress.

Ultimately it was Matej Zatlkaj, Slovakian pro and regular coverage staff mainstay, who locked up his first-ever Grand Prix win with Jeskai. Conveniently, despite the waves that the clan has made in the last few weeks, this is the first time Jeskai was able to lock up a Grand Prix or Pro Tour win after a narrow miss at the Pro Tour.

Full coverage can be found here, but here are a few highlights from the weekend:

Deck Tech: Dig Through Lightning with Mikael Magnusson—Tobias Henke talks with Mikael Magnusson, who played one of the more unique decks out of the Grand Prix Stockholm field: good ol' Counterburn, featuring the occasional "dome you for 8" courtesy of a revealed Dig Through Time off of Riddle of Lightning. Magnusson ended up 11–4 at the end of the event, good enough for 41st place.

A Standard World Tour—Frank Karsten talks to three players who truly have gone on a Standard world tour. These pro players have competed in both Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir as well as Grand Prix Los Angeles, and they were back again for Stockholm. How have their deck choices switched around over the last few weeks?

Eternal Weekend also took place last weekend, and aside from setting new attendance records for both the Legacy and Vintage Championships, the tournaments represented the dynamic metagame shifts caused by Khans of Tarkir. To put it lightly: if you weren't prepared to combat the new blue delve spells in either Legacy or Vintage, then you were cruisin' for a bruisin'.

Kevin Jones scored one win for Treasure Cruise with his Blue-Red Delver deck in the Legacy Championship. However, while Dario Moreno from Madrid aimed to make it an all-Treasure-Cruise championship weekend with his Vintage Blue-Red Delver, it was Mark Tocco who was able to keep another win out of the delve spell's grip. The win ensured that in a world of one- and two-mana creatures, countermagic, and draw spells, a good ol' Oath of Druids deck that wants to put Griselbrand into play for two mana can still achieve victory!

Coverage of Eternal Weekend can be found here, but here are a couple of highlights:

Meet Kevin Jones—Jacob Van Lunen got a chance to talk to eventual Legacy Championship winner Kevin Jones on Saturday. See what the New York Magic player has to say about getting into the game, his recent success in the independent tournament circuits, and more!

Repeat!—In the later rounds of the Swiss, there was a definite possibility that a former Vintage Championship winner would run it back this weekend. In fact, two-time winner Roland Chang was close to achieving just that until being dispatched in the quarterfinals. Jacob Van Lunen checks in on a few of the former champions to see what they chose to play.

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