It's Here!

Posted in Competitive Gaming on May 27, 2015

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.

Editor's Note: Looking to tune in to live coverage of Modern Masters Weekend? Mike wrote a detailed viewing guide on when and where you can catch coverage of each Grand Prix last week! This week, he talks more about the scope of what you can look forward to.

It's here! It's finally here! Modern Masters Weekend is upon us!

I am writing this on Monday afternoon. Around this time on Tuesday, I will be at Seattle/Tacoma International Airport waiting to board a plane to Japan, where I'll be for the next week as part of the Grand Prix Chiba coverage team.

Chiba, like the other two Grand Prix, is special in several unique ways. It holds the record as the fastest sell-out for a Grand Prix main event ever. It's going to be Japan's largest Grand Prix in history.

It's also going to be the first Japanese Grand Prix to get the official live video coverage treatment, in English, on Twitch (as well as on NicoNico).

Live video coverage will feature a mixture of European Grand Prix circuit flair alongside real life Wizards, as Matej Zatlkaj and Hall of Famer Frank Karsten are joined by Nate Price bring you the play-by-play you all know and expect at every Grand Prix. Working behind the scenes to bring you this footage will be Matt Mendoza of the North American coverage team, with direction from in-house extraordinaire Garth Avery, along with the NicoNico crew who will be bringing you the footage as we bring you the commentary.

However, live video isn't the only thing you'll be able to watch during our Modern Masters Weekend coverage. These Grand Prix also have a dedicated features video crew that will be bringing you feature segments when you're not watching people playing Magic. The host of Chiba's video features production is none other than Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw. He'll be joined by a small crew for filming and editing, featuring Pro Tour tech stalwarts John Meloy and Jack Lipke, and this team is led by none other than Rich "the man of many last laughs" Hagon.

On text, I'll be at the helm as Chiba's showrunner alongside Chapman Sim, the Team MTGMint globetrotter who lives the double-life of coverage reporter and Silver-status Magic player on the Pro Tour.

Stay plugged in on what's going on at Chiba with the Community Team, as Nate Price doubles as international coverage man of mystery as well as social media guru alongside APAC community manager Jim Jen, APAC community manager Alex Zhou, and Japanese community manager Mayako Kakuuchi.

The person in charge of capturing all of Chiba's moments through the lens of a camera also rings from down under, as Neale Talbot makes his debut as coverage photographer for this Grand Prix!

There's a lot to take in for this weekend, so here are some quick facts for you to take in:

  • Grand Prix Chiba's main event will feature 4,000 players.
  • Coverage begins Friday at 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET/2 a.m. UTC Saturday/4 a.m. CET/11 a.m. JST Saturday on Twitch.TV/Magic.
  • Chiba's coverage team features 15 people, not including the NicoNico broadcasters.

Up next…

As I write this, Grand Prix Utrecht's main event is at 3,380 preregistered players. That number is expected to rise as the main event approaches.

While the main event doesn't start until Saturday, the festivities and side events begin Thursday, allowing players ample time to get their Magic on before the primary spectacle of the weekend.

The live video coverage for Grand Prix Utrecht will feature Simon Görtzen, Riley Knight, and Hall of Famer Raphaël Lévy. Working behind the scenes to bring you live video is Scott Hatton on camera, Neil Rigby on graphics, and Steven Leeming as the director.

The video features team, which will be bring you pre-recorded content filmed on-site in between rounds of the live coverage, will be hosted by Tim Willoughby. The behind-the-scenes crew features David Barrow and Nicholas Farrimond, and the content is produced by Pro Tour veteran Deb Slater.

On text, Tobi Henke resumes his role as Europe's Grand Prix showrunner, while Hall of Famer Olle Råde will be hitting the beat and finding awesome stories as coverage reporter.

Over on the Community side of things, EU community manager Dan Barrett will be leading a team of localized-language updates from Italy community manager Davide Neri, Spain community manager Ines Alcolea, Germany community manager Florian Nölting, and France community manager Nicolas Gabillon. Meanwhile, Magic Online community manager Alison Luhrs will be in attendance to bring you all the latest sweet sights and sounds to social media via our English social media channels.

The person bringing Grand Prix Utrecht to life via photos will also be none other than longtime Pro Tour photographer Craig Gibson, as he works his magic all four days.

Here's the rundown on Utrecht:

  • The main event of GP Utrecht will have at least 3,380 participants, and likely many more.
  • Coverage begins Saturday at 2 a.m. PT/5 a.m. ET/9 a.m. UTC/11 a.m. CET/6 p.m. JST.
  • This coverage team features 19 people.

And finally…

Oh, Vegas. You're not only well known for fun nights on the town and great dining. You've also become well known for Magic Grand Prix that are best described as "legendary."

The last Grand Prix in Las Vegas was the largest GP ever. The upcoming Grand Prix Las Vegas shattered that number in pre-registered players on April 16th, six weeks and two days before GP Vegas 2015's main event(s) are set to begin.

Needless to say, Magic in Vegas is going to be epic this weekend.

Bringing you the live video coverage is Marshall Sutcliffe, Hall of Famer Randy Buehler, and Gabe Carleton-Barnes. The folks working behind the scenes for live video are Ray Punzalan, Rusty Kubis, and Rashad Miller.

Meanwhile, the video features team is comprised of a marriage between Magic's memorable and television's veterans. Hosts for the Vegas features segments include Walking the Planes host Nate Holt as well as Jessica "Ashlen Rose" Hulsey. Working behind the scenes on features includes Walking the Planes's Shawn Kornhauser, Terry Chu, and George Stevens. Directing the Vegas features is newcomer Derek Johnson, one of the folks who brought you G4's Attack of the Show features segments. Hold onto your hats, because the segments coming out of Vegas are going to be something to remember.

The text team will be headed up by showrunner Adam Styborski. He'll be joined by coverage reporter Marc Calderaro as well as content manager Blake Rasmussen, who will revisit his coverage roots to help bring you all the latest from GP Vegas's two main events.

The master capturing all of Grand Prix Las Vegas in all of its glory will be none other than Joey Pasco, making his official coverage debut as the GP Vegas photographer this weekend.

The community team will be led by none other than social media & community manager Trick Jarrett. He'll be joined by associate community manager Sean Gibbons, as well as Masashi Koyama and Kyoko Yoshida from Japan's team to bring you the latest on various social media platforms.

Couple of quick facts about Vegas:

  • It's two Grand Prix, not one.
  • There will be at least 7,352 players in that event hall, divided by two for the main event.
  • The coverage staff features 21 people.

Modern Masters Weekend is going to be one memorable adventure. Be sure to share your experiences watching the broadcast, if you're not already attending one of these Grand Prix, using the hashtag #MakeMagicHistory.

And if you're attending one? Then this is going to be one weekend you won't forget.

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