New Zealand is broken into two large island, North Island and South Island. The Auckland GP towards the northern head of North Island. This means that groups from the other cities and townships within New Zealand have to travel a fair way to get there, usually by bus or air. I chatted with a few groups who’d travelled north in order to play Magic at New Zealand’s third Grand Prix.
Jamie McMahon, Jason Graham, Megan Kraemer, Keith Labad, and Louis Thomson-Gregg (not pictured Hamish Davel, Matthew Little, John Eastgate-Brown, Mark Tung, Stephen Morris, Ralph Tiu)
“We all play at the same store in Wellington, Cerberus Games. Keith, Hamish, Matt, John and I are staying at Base Backpakers together, about five minutes away.” said Megan. “Most of us caught the bus up as a unit. 10 hours on a bus was a bonding experience, and torture. We chatted, talked about the magic, and watched 30 Rock in the back seat.”
“We practiced together to a certain extent.” said Jason. “A few sealed pools over the past month. Phantom sealeds on Magic Online over the past month have been pretty good. As a team our strategy is ‘open good stuff, make whatever the pool says.”
“We were going to do one last night,”said Megan, “But the internet in the back-packers was terrible and downloading Magic Online didn’t work very well.”
“We should have at least two people in Day Two.” continued Jason. “I was live until last round. Game One, I drew four islands in my five colour deck. Won Game Two. Game Three I needed Crux of Fate to clear the board. I was too far behind, but the Scout the Borders I was using to find black mana for the Crux put the Crux in the yard and I had no more outs. But Keith and Louis are likely into Day Two. ”
Chris Entwistle, Steven Pinkham, Sam Weily, Hayden Dale, and Dan Dan McKay (not pictured, Mo Nicholson)
“We play at The Wizard’s Retreat in Christchurch,” said Dan, “We played a few Sealeds together - well not sam, but the rest of us. But turns out he didn’t have to play anyway.”
“I didn’t realise there was no Saturday registration for the event.”” confessed Sam, “So even though I arrived Friday for the grinders, I didn’t register for the Grand Prix… and so today I didn’t play! But I won the Legacy event instead.”
“We flew in on Friday, all on different planes, so we didn’t practice in the sky.” said Stephen. “We were here by 9.30 so started playing immediately. Other people had trouble - Hayden left his bag on the bus, and had to sprint four blocks to get it.”
“But I caught it!” interjected Hayden.
“Dan and Moe may make Day Two, but everyone else has dropped.”
Richard Wendell and Reegen Spencer
“We flew up separately from Invercargill.” explained Richard, “Reegen flew up with his family. Actually, It’s my first time to Auckland. There's no store in Invercargill, so we practice together as friends. I usually play with a group of older guys; We regularly meet up on a Wednesday night and play EDH. I played a wee bit online, but not a lot really, just sealed pools.”
“Reegen has dropped out, but I’m still in a 6-2. There was a game when I ultimated Ugin in Round 3. Funnily enough I won that game.”