Day 2 - Setting the Stage at Grand Prix Louisville

Posted in Event Coverage on September 11, 2016

By Corbin Hosler

More than 400 teams began the tournament at Grand Prix Louisville, but just 100 have returned for the second day of competition. The first day of the tournament was eventful, with the superteam of Jon Finkel, Chris Pikula and Jamie Parke making a deep run only to lose in the final round to No. 20 Sam Black, 2014-15 Rookie of the Year Justin Cohen and Matt Severa.

With Finkel-Pikula-Parke slated to square off against the team of No. 5 Steve Rubin, No. 10 Mike Sigrist and No. 24 Alexander Hayne in the first round today, things promise to be just as lively as we march to the Top 4.

Here are the top storylines we're tracking today.

Crowded at the Top

The top of the field is loaded with big names. Black's team may be at the top, but there are plenty of terrifying teams not far behind. Paul Rietzl, Matt Sperling and Jelger Wiegersma sit in third place, while lurking in contention are teams featuring notable players including No. 2 Seth Manfield, Josh Utter-Leyton, Gerry Thompson and hall of famer Ben Rubin.

That only scratches the surface of the top teams still playing Louisville, and things stand to get only more heated as we march toward the final four.

Chris Pikula, Jon Finkel and Jamie Parke are just one of several superteams near the top of the standings.

Shadows Over Innistrad sendoff

It's been a fun ride with Shadows Over Innistrad block, but today marks the final appearance of the set in premier play. We've seen a number of strong archetypes emerge in Eldritch Moon-Shadows Over Innistrad limited, but one has stood out above the rest.

That honor belongs to the Blue-Green Emerge archetype, the strategy that takes advantage of the value provided by cheap blue and green creatures and eventually sacrifices them to Eldrazi overlords to take over the board. Steve Rubin described Wretched Gryff as the card he most wanted multiples of in Sealed, and a strong blue-green deck has been a mainstay across the top performers this weekend.

Early-season Points Matter

While it may seem like the Magic season is filled with infinite opportunities to earn valuable Pro Points, the reality is points earned at the beginning of the year count just as much as those earned at the end, and that means every tournament counts.

It's a reality not lost on the pro teams in attendance in Louisville, especially given their chance to play with friends and high-level players. Team like Rubin, Sigrist and Hayne — all ranked in the Top 25 — are more than just a group of friends gaming together: it's three pros taking the opportunity lean on each other and get an early jumpstart on the Pro Points race this season. With so much on the line in this tournament, every game of every match is critical.

For those of us following along, that's what it makes it fun.

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