Over 1300 players, forming over 400 teams, kicked off a legendary return to Magic's first plane, Dominaria, today at GP Columbus.
These players flocked to the Greater Columbus Convention Center to play one of Magic's most challenging and fun formats, Team Limited. On a plane full of powerful planeswalkers and timeless legendary mages, these teams battled for a 6-2 record or better and a chance to return tomorrow and try for the GP Columbus trophy.
While we may not have as much pizza or gelato as GP Bologna (seriously, every other photo or post I see from Bologna is about pizza or gelato and it's just not fair), we do have some incredible teams playing in Ohio this weekend. They’re taking this opportunity to forge archetypes and explore synergies in a Limited environment that’s as fresh and new as it gets.
Undefeated team Kuprewicz/Bush/Rolen lead the pack with an undefeated record, though many are hot on their heels. With so much skill, history, experience, and excitement in play, tomorrow’s conclusion is sure to be thrilling.
Teams to Watch
Team Limited has a way of drawing Magic's top players into fearsome superteams, so of course, there are some mages in Columbus that rival those of Dominaria and some pairings that would intimidate even Jhoira, Karn, and Teferi.
The team of Brian Braun-Duin, Seth Manfield, and Brad Nelson, three names synonymous with powerhouse constructed play, held their own in Team Limited today. In Round 8, they had to battle the similarly formidable team of Steve Rubin, Alexander Hayne, and Mike Sigrist. Both teams began with six wins already securing them a Day 2 appearance, but it was Rubin/Hayne/Sigrist who emerged victorious to head into Day 2 at 7-1.
The Hall of Fame juggernaut team of Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa, Eric Froehlich, and Ben Stark, who finished second at GP Indianapolis earlier this year, started their day 5-0. Though they picked up two losses in the next two rounds, they won their last round to finish 6-2.
Going into Day 2, other notable teams still in the running for Top 4 include Black/Severa/Baeckstrom at 7-1 and Kassis/Walker/Soorani and Rietzl/Williams/Sperling at 6-2.
And for those wondering, the iconic trio of Owen Turtenwald, William Jensen, and Reid Duke, known as the Peach Garden Oath, started with a loss in Round 1, then rallied to 4-1 before picking up two more losses. With a team events record that’s nearly unbelievable, with seven Top 4s, we’re sure to see them rallying back at an event in the near future.
While members of the same professional Magic teams, longtime Magic friends, and fellow players met at local game stores make up many of the teams at GP Columbus, other players looked no farther than their own family to build this weekend’s rosters. One of Magic’s most wonderful qualities is its ability to span generations and become a shared pastime, and that’s still alive and well, as evidence by many of this weekend’s teams.
Of the 440 teams at GP Columbus, 37 had at least two members who were related. Of those 37, five were teams on which all three members shared a last name.
There was Team Maddock, which included sisters Annika and Ainsley, who made a splash earlier this year at GP Indianapolis. They pair their competitive spirit with a lot of enthusiasm, plus some pretty sweet cosplay.
Team Russell is a father-and-sons team from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who started playing about five years ago. Brothers Mason and Liam enjoy winning, and playing on a team with each other and dad Mark only increased the pressure they put on themselves to do well.
Ken, Dane, and Haven Barker formed another father-and-sons team at GP Columbus. Ken learned Magic at a conference, and when he brought it home and taught it to his sons, it sparked a rivalry that led to them covertly buying and trading cards in an attempt to always lead the at-home standings. Today, though, they played together as part of team Barker/Barker/Barker.
Team Becker included Andrew, Matthew, and Jason, three brothers from Gary, Indiana. They’ve been playing since 2010, when Andrew learned the game from high school friends and then taught it to his brothers.
Brothers Scott, Andy, and Henry Ferguson were a second three-brother team, this one from Cincinnati. Dominaria’s a familiar plane for them, as they started playing during Onslaught.
Getting to Know Dominaria
Dominaria is full of incredible legendary creatures, from timeless characters from Magic's past, like Teferi, Jhoira, and Karn, to new faces with familiar names, like Danitha and Raff Capashen.
At GP Columbus, we asked a couple of players about their favorite legendary creatures in Dominaria.
Hall of Famer Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa chose Lyra Dawnbringer, an angel with some throwback flair. Team Cardhaorder member Shaheen Soorani chose a throwback card as well - though in his case, it’s a throwback to his favorite archetype.
And, okay, this last one isn’t technically a legendary creature, but level two judge Jacob Milicic, who’s playing these weekend as part of an all-judge team, did have some awesome stories about using The Mirari Conjecture with Fight with Fire or Jaya's Immolating Inferno, one of the new series of legendary sorceries, to kill his opponents out of the blue (or out of the red, as the case may be).
Over 440 teams started Day 1, ready and eager to play the eight rounds ahead of them. At the end of those eight rounds, only a single team stood undefeated.
Sam Kuprewicz, James Bush, and Ryan Rolen are midwestern players, Kuprewicz and Bush from Chicago and Rolen from Milwaukee, who have been testing, playing, and competing together for years.
Today, the decks they built from their Sealed pool included a white-blue deck with all-star Karn's Temporal Sundering, a four-color deck anchored in black-green but splashing Tatyova, Benthic Druid, and Arvad the Cursed, and a blue-red wizards deck whose all-star was the common Ghitu Chronicler.
Congratulations to Kuprewicz, Bush, and Rolen, and to all players who helped map Dominaria on release weekend!