Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

Gen Con is over, and we barely scratched the surface. For example, we completely forgot to mention that Sam Black won the Midwest Masters Series. And he did it by defeating Owen Turtenwald in the finals, which means that Owen's weekend went like this:

  • Thursday: Top 8 Zendikar Block Championship
  • Friday: Win Vintage Championship
  • Saturday: Make finals of Midest Masters Series

Now that's a good weekend!

Incidentally, if you're interested in coming next year, we should tell you that it's going to be August 4-11 and there will undoubtedly be information on the Gen Con site.

See you then!


4:00 PM - Scenes From Gen Con

Not every photo has a fascinating story attached to it. And some of them don't need one! Here are some of the eyecatching things that could be spotted around the halls this weekend.

When you think about it, why should someone caught in an Eldrazi tentacle have their head sticking out?

This magnificent Serra Angel statue beckoned people to the Magic part of the TCG Hall.

It also beckoned people dressed exactly like the statue. Neat!

The imposing Goblin King was nicknamed Steve, for reasons I was unable to work out.

This is how you put up multiple round timers at once.

Wait a minute. That's not remotely Magic-related. That's just a picture of me meeting Wil Wheaton. How'd that get in there?

I bet you thought "Mr. Suitcase" was just a metaphor.

And we leave you with this inspiring costume, made of fully functioning chain mail.

3:00 PM - Pastimes Staff

More Magic tournaments happened this weekend that we could even begin to tell you about, and they wouldn't have happened without the powerful Pastimes crew. So why not call them out by name?

Tournament Organizer
Alan Hochman

Ingrid Lind-Jahn
John Alderfer
David Rappaport
Aaron Cutler
Mike Zimmerman
Mike Suire
Emanuel Palmeri
Kevin Tinsley
Nathan Young
Dan Ehinger
James Elliott
Pete Jahn
Wes Humenczuk
Edwin Zhang
Nick Short
Phil McLaury
Azrael Spear
Tiffany Young
Zach Jerrard
Michael Sohn
Michael Huls
Dale Lovelace
CJ Crooks
Jason Long
James Hooker
Jason Finn
Dominick Riesland
John Andreotti
Zach Wilder
Matt Sauers
Jonathan Piles
Adam Friedman
Kyle Ryc
JR Byrum
Danielle Byrum

Eric Wall
Caleb Hardekopf
Scott Lelivelt
Jason Bencik
Amanda Lelivelt
Allison Lelivelt
Matt Danner
Marc Dudda
Dan Eavenson
Krystal Johnson
Rune Horvik
Cari Foreman
Chadwick McKenzie
Meg Stephens
Steve Basgall
Jerry Knowles
Jim Beelow
Dan Liebowitz
Ryan Hochman
Ron Liebowitz



Good job, everybody!

1:00 PM - Behold Cardhalla!

At an event the size of Gen Con (which pretty much narrows the list down to just "Gen Con") you're bound to get a few extra cards here and there. Well, a few thousand extra cards, really. And that's where Cardhalla comes in!

Extra cards are brought here by magical elves (or possibly volunteers; I may not have done a lot of research on this point) and are then constructed into towering edifices by con-goers who are grateful for a chance to sit down for a bit.

Sometimes, people go for more abstract shapes.

Cardhalla is not a competition. However, if it were, the clear winner would be this awesome giant scorpion!

It's a very impressive 3-D sculpture, but it doesn't come across perfectly in a 2-D picture. However, this close-up of the tail should help convince you not to mess with this thing.

11:30 AM - Magic Community Labs: Uktabi Kong

The event created by the Magic Community Labs is going on right now! We renamed it "Uktabi Kong" and here's how it works:

First, four to six people sit down to play Magic. Here at Gen Con, it's being run as a sealed event, with each player getting four boosters and building a 30-card deck. Then, one of them is secretly selected as "Uktabi Kong" while the other players are "Poachers". The game ends when:

  • A Poacher kills the Uktabi Kong, or
  • Uktabi Kong kills all the Poachers, or
  • Uktabi Kong gets 20 power worth of creatures out at once.

So obviously whenever anyone dies or gets 20 power out, that player reveals a role. Note that the round could end when the first player is eliminated. There are a number of other fiddly detailed rules dealing with things like decking and concession, and you can read them here if you like.

For now, though, we salute the ten players who are journeying into The Unknown Format!

9:30 AM - Legacy Championship Results

Before we do anything else today, congratulations go out to Ryan Messick, who won the 2010 Legacy Championship last night. And here's his decklist!

Ryan Messick

Download Arena Decklist

The rest of the Top 8 in alphabetical order (sorry!) was Tyler Edwards, Peter Frank, Matthew Hazard, Tim Hunt, John Knapp, Stephen Schoppe, and Adam Yurchick.


6:00 PM - Duels of the Planeswalkers

To help simulate the living room experience, Alienware has kicked in to make this area awesome. In fact, it's significantly more awesome than the average living room. Look at this thing!

But the allure of beanbag chairs and couches isn't all this area has going for it. People can also try out Duels of the Planeswalkers on swanky (and tiny!) Alienware laptops. And check out the Planeswalker symbol on the headphones! I'm not sure what that does, but I bet it's cool!

There's also a neat giveaway. Check out this bracelet.

"What does it do?" you ask. "Does it commemorate the plight of the hapless noob?" No it does not. Actually ...

... it hides a USB Flash drive!

2:30 PM - Artists, Artists, Artists!

Do you like Magic art? If you don't, you might be interested to know that you're just wrong. What's the matter with you? We've got the best fantasy artists in the world here!

Sorry about that. The point I was trying to get at is that there are a lot of Magic artists here at Gen Con, so if you love the art, this would be a great place to be. They're all signing things and selling original art. The original art for Necropotence is right there!

So here's who we've got!

Steve Prescott and Kekai Kotaki are here as the offical representatives of Magic art. This means that they get a prominent booth (and another one back in the TCG Hall, actually) and get to go first in this list.

Steve Argyle wasn't at his booth when I went past, so I got this picture showing some of the art he has on sale (on the left) and some of Steve Prescott's (on the right).

This is a close-up of Steve Argyle's sign in the previous picture. It's just like being here!

Dan Scott!

Eric Deschamps!

Franz Vohwinkel!

Mark Poole!

Mark Tedin! (the Necropotence art is in the white frame on the top row)

Steven Belledin!

Thomas M. Baxa!

Of course, our intrepid art director Jeremy Jarvis is always on the lookout for new artists. And here's where he's doing it!

Okay, technically he's doing it on the other side of that curtain. But just think—that's the actual curtain that could be separating you from the next great Magic artist!

11:45 AM - Championship Update

The Vintage Championship ended late last night when Owen Turtenwald defeated Bob Maher to take the win. Bob lost when his Dark Confidant turned up a Force of Will, which had to sting a little considering that Bob designed that card himself as his reward for winning the Magic Invitational.

Dark Confidant

Here's the decklist Owen used to win:

Owen Turtenwald

Download Arena Decklist

As a special bonus, we also have the decklist Bob used. It's exactly the same as Owen's! So that's two decklists for the price of none.

The 2010 Legacy Championship has just started with 197 players. After reaching Top 8 in the Zendikar Block Championship and winning the Vintage Championship, Owen Turtenwald is not participating in this one. Apparently he feels like he's had a good enough weekend already!

9:30 AM - Massive Magic

This is a little hard to explain.

Okay, so we've got these giant cards. And they're so big, each one requires its own player.

So why not make it multiplayer? That way we can have multiple teams at once! Oh, and it's Planechase. Because why wouldn't it be?

We'd tell you how the game turned out, but that would be kind of beside the point.


7:00 PM - Magic Cosplay

Hey! People doing Magic Cosplay? Awesome!

Errin Ricketts as Jaya Ballard and Rob Mitchell as Gerrard Capashan

Jaya Ballard, Task Mage
Gerrard Capashen

Kristi and Larry Sebastian as Dawnglare Invoker and Jace Beleren

Dawnglare Invoker
Jace Beleren

4:15 PM - Magic: The Gathering Tactics

One of the aspects of Gen Con that's fun is getting demos of upcoming products. And that's why I took some time to get a demo for the Magic: The Gathering Tactics game coming from Sony. And here's what I learned from the gentleman who gave me the demo!

It's basically a turn-based miniatures game with both online and single-player content. I got to play through one scenario in which I was a Planeswalker trying to kill another Planeswalker. Each turn, I was able to cast a spell and move around. I cast a Birds of Paradise, then waited until I could put out a Serra Angel, which I then Oakenformed. Knowing the Magic cards helped, but the numbers were different and things played out differently from how they do in the TCG. For example, since both I and my computerized opponent had an army, we had the option of attacking creatures directly.

From what I was told, this isn't going to be a subscription-based product. People will be able to buy virtual boosters to add to their armies and then play online with those.

Offical information is available at

11:00 AM - Vintage Championships Begin

The 2010 Vintage Championship has just begun with 117 players. Some prominent names I saw as I scanned through the list are Conley Woods, Owen Turtenwald (who made the Top 8 of yesterday's Zendikar Block Championship), Dusty Ochoa, Stephen Menendian, and Dave Williams. Did you know that Dave Williams has never missed a Vintage Championship?

As a bonus for playing in this event, all the players received a handsome deck box and sleeves courtesy of UltraPro:

The image on the box is the alternate art for the enormous Mox Sapphire prize, shown here being modeled by Scott Larabee's hand:

9:00 AM - Zendikar Block Champion!

Congratulations to Matt Severa, who won the Zendikar Block Championship! And here's his decklist!

Matt Severa

Download Arena Decklist

On a personal note, I'd like to mention how pleased I am to see those Khalni Gardens in there. Get 'em, Plant!



5:30 PM - Zendikar Block Championship

The Zendikar Block Championship has begun! And it's got 120 players, which seems pretty good. Nate Price is monitoring all the action for future analysis, so I'm just going to mention that this tournament is stacked with big names. Brian Kowal, Michael Jacob, Gabe Walls, Gerry Thompson, Brad Nelson, Owen Turtenwald ... the list goes on! For 114 more names, in fact, although to be perfectly honest, I didn't recognize all of them. But that's the thing about Magic: it's not about who you are, it's about what you can do with your cards.

The event has just started, and will probably end around midnight. What that means is, if everything works out perfectly, as soon as you're able to read these words, ggslive should be doing their usual excellent work streaming a live webcast of the finals. It could be going on right now!

3:00 PM - Champion Challenge

Hey, Magic celebrities like playing games too, you know? Some of them like it a lot. So naturally they come to Gen Con hoping to play a lot of Magic. And since they're celebrities, they don't have to worry about finding opponents. They just have to sit there and people flock to them!

Gen Con has four titans of the Magic world on offer: Level 5 Judge Sheldon Menery, Coverage Dude Rich Hagon, and R&D's Mark Gottlieb and Tom LaPille. Since I'm not a celebrity (...yet) I have a harder time lining up opponents. So I challenged Mark Gottlieb, who was sitting right there waiting for a challenger.

The game didn't go my way. In my defense, I was playing a deck built solely to enable me to attack with Plant tokens and yell "Get 'Em, Plant!" And it was going pretty well, too, even though I had to use a Llanowar Elves instead of a Plant token. Then Mr. Gottlieb got crazy on me, throwing out a wacky combo of Immortal Coil and Bazaar Trader. And Relic of Progenitus to keep my graveyard clean. It may have been wacky, but it worked!

1:00 PM - From the Vault: Relics

From the Vault: Relics officially goes on sale on August 27. But this is Gen Con, so naturally we've got a few for sale ahead of time. But we can't just hand them out to the first people to show up, because that would just result in selling all the ones we brought to one person. Probably a person who owns a card store and has a booth in the same room as us. So we decided to make it a little more complicated! After all, it's a game convention, right?

So people here have to go through a little scavenger hunt, looking for people dressed like this:

That person might not be facing you (or they might be fleeing a horde of people), so here's what they look like from behind:

Those people fan out across the Exhibit Hall and TCG Hall at secret times and reveal the shirts. Then they give lucky people a ticket that lets them buy one of these:

And then, one assumes, they achieve happiness and fulfillment.

9:00 PM - The Booth

The Wizards of the Coast booth at Gen Con has historically sort of stretched the definition of the word "booth." In the Old Times, it was a castle. An actual castle! And there was the time in was an amazing two-sided construction, showing the Axis and Allies side on one side (with a tank, naturally) and the weird apocalyptic Hecatomb world on the other.

This year, it again asserts its dominance over the exhibit hall. Behold its majesty, ye mighty, and ... well, not despair, exactly. That's probably not what we're going for. But ye mighty should be pretty darn impressed, that's for sure.

It's got all the amenities you'd expect. A little storefront, some demo areas, and so on. But it's also got a rooftop deck, the highest point in the hall, where couches await the con-goer with connections. Classy!