Wow, was there some crazy happenings during the second day of Grand Prix Vegas – Limited. The Top 8 was stacked, but plenty of things happened between last night and crowning the champion that deserves a good look. Here are the Top Moments of the second Grand Prix of the Vegas weekend!
A Stacked Top 8
Mike Sigrist, (16) Steve Rubin, Paul Herr, Bolun Zhang, Andrew Cuneo, Thiago Saporito, Tzu-Mainn Chen, and (19) Sam Pardee
I mean, just look at those gorgeous mugs! A former Player of the Year, a Pro Tour Champion, an old Pro Tour salt, a MTGO master, and an 11-time GP Top 8'er. The tournament went long, but watching amazing games from these guys made it all worth while.
The World Travelers
As with last Grand Prix Vegas, there were journeyers from all corners of the globe. Traveling in packs is the best way to go, and these intrepid adventurers capture the spirit of Planeswalking like little else can.
Johan Wong, David Reinecke, Scott Field, Gaventhiran Govender, Steven Gerson, James Combrink, Peter Gerson, Darren Fox, Richard Soldin (not pictured: Keraan Chetty and Theins Prinsco)
Some of you may remember the South African clan from Grand Prix Vegas 2015. Well the group expanded, greatly. The nine pictured here are still missing a few who were competing to a Grand Prix Day 2 at the time.
Since losing their Pro Tour Qualifiers a few years ago, the ever-growing South African community is filled with competitive players looking to qualify for the Pro Tour and globetrot. In fact for many of them here, their goal was to see if they could pick some Pro Points in one of the three opportunities this weekend. Just a few points would help secure the Team Captaincy for the World Magic Cup.
Though they would love to see Qualifiers back in their corner of the Earth (or maybe another Grand Prix??) they make most of the events like this one, and give their best to the community back home.
Daniel Fior, Tomas Castillo, Henry Lam, Alexis Gonzalez, Pascual Merola, Maximiliano Rodriguez
The Caracas crew (the ones with the “C”s, not the “K”s, they said) have been living in up in Vegas by doing some wonderfully American things. What Maximiliano Rodriguez explicated the most thoroughly was about “Trucker Food." After some prodding on whether that was a slight mistranslation, he said, those places with greasy food and an entire mountain of it. Ah, no, he was right—that's Trucker Food.
They also talked about lots of things I can't print ... but also Cirque du Soleil!
It's been a fantastic vacation for everyone, and that was the trip's intention. Well, for everyone except Tomas Castillo. He talked about Top 8s he missed out on, and is looking for vengeance this weekend. We'll see if he can get it tomorrow!
Wull Swales, Henry Tsang, Gary Campbell, Duncan Tang, Dan Wren, Nathan Gotlieb, Back: Gabor Kovacs, Gerry Boyd Alex Riley, Nathaniel Forsyth, Dani Anderson, Martin Porter (not pictured Graeme Fletcher, Wayne Dillion)
The Scotland travelers were from two distinct playgroups in Scotland, but that didn't stop them from coming together in national spirit when they traveled to another land. And once they saw that ChannelFireball had finally made t-shirts with their flag, they knew they had to indulge.
They all tried so hard to get everyone together for the photo, but between the two Grand Prix we missed a few, and Wayne Dillion for one, was especially despondent. Just look at him!
Just Some Crazy Kiwi
Look, I really don't have much to say about this one: I just really like New Zealander Cody Kiesanowski's sunglasses.
Yeah, that's all I got. Cody's awesome.
Zach Dunn's 14th Birthday Present
It's not unheard of for young Magic players to do well—there are more and more strong, young players with each passing year.
But that doesn't make it any less awesome when it happens.
Zach Dunn's father brought him to Grand Prix Vegas for his fourteenth birthday, and he slaughtered the competition on the first day to go undefeated!
Though he had a tougher second day in the draft rounds, it was amazing to watch his run, and we're excited to see what the future brings for young Dunn.
Father's Day Comes Early for Tzi-Mainn Chen
Speaking of fathers and children, Father's Day came early for Tzi-Mainn Chen today. Though what made him most excited about the Vegas trip was getting to play Two-Headed Giant with his daughter (they call themselves “Team Potatofart”), a bit more happened on the way to the foriys.
He made it to the Top 8! So for Mainn, not only does he get to spend Sunday with his daughter, but he gets to spend it with her after making his first every Top 8.
We'll surely check in with him more tomorrow.
Mark Lalague's Rise of the Fifth Dawn
Feast your eyes on this baby!
Two-time Grand Prix Champion, Long Beach resident Marc Lalague had one of the sauciest Draft decks I've seen in a long time—and I see a lot of sauce, let me tell you.
But it does aver a question: If you have four Approach the Second Sun, does that mean there's a fifth dawn?
Lalague sadly finished the Pod 2-1, losing a tough one to a Red-White aggro deck, and finished just outside the Top 8. But he was very happy with the finish, and happy with such a masterpiece of a deck.
Thiago Saporito Smiles Wide
Brazil's Thiago Saporito, famed by his MTGO handle bolov0 is a perennial old-man-ish grump on the Grand Prix circuit. He's often a little harsh on himself in a playful way, and when he falls short, he gives a little pouty frown and shrugs it off before turning back into a smiling face again.
Here he is giving his best “photo frown” for going 8-0-1 yesterday.
Today, that smile returned much earlier, as he just kept winning and winning and winning. No one could stop the man. He drafted a monster of a deck in both draft pods.
Saporito's frown turned around as he made the Top 8!
Then he rode that wave all the way through the finals, defeating Pro Tour Champion Steve Rubin with another Black-based masterwork and took home the gold.
It was a great Grand Prix for bolov0, and he went home wearing a new trophy and a giant grin.
It was another fantastic day of Grand Prix Vegas, and tomorrow will bring the exciting conclusion of the Modern Grand Prix. See you then!