GP Vegas Limited Day 1 Highlights

Posted in Event Coverage on June 16, 2017

By Marc Calderaro

Today was the first day of the mayhem. Though it's still only Friday—not even the weekend—things were happening all over the place. It held the exciting conclusion of the Legacy Grand Prix, the amazing unveiling of some hype-licious previews for Hour of Devastation, and it was the first day of the Limited Grand Prix, with 2,562 players vying for the trophy!

Let’s take a deep dive into the first day of Amonkhet Limited.

Main Event

Though everyone’s appetites have been whet for the second set in the Amonkhet block, Hour of Devastation—people were ready for a big hurrah for the cycling, embalming goodness (or “godness?") of Amonkhet Limited.

Balancing Three Grand Prix in a Row

Plenty of players who didn’t have ... “optimal” days yesterday in the Legacy Grand Prix, tried their hand at Sealed. And a whole smattering of pros were more than happy to go back to 40-card decks, as many are not known for their Legacy prowess.

Dana Fischer

But it wasn’t just pros who showed up—but future pros as well! One in particular always makes an impression at each Grand Prix she attends—the young Dana Fischer. Now having competed in just about every variety of Grand Prix Magic has to offer, she’s set a new goal—to be the youngest player ever to make the second day of a Grand Prix.

Though she didn’t achieve her goal today, she’ll have another opportunity tomorrow, as she sleeves up Elves for the Modern Grand Prix!

Deck Spotlight – Corey Burkhart a Grixis Man for All Seasons

There are always plenty of powerful decks abounding in a room of over 2,500 players, but Team Channel Fireball Fire’s Corey Burkhart had a less-than-absurd pool that he spun it into some gold. We highlighted his building process here, and Corey was pumped to play Grixis in all three formats. His combination of powerful spells and the cycling to stave off early pressure led him through the day and allowed him to finish with a respectable 7-2. Corey was having so much fun riding the Grixis train to value town. Peppering quotes throughout the rounds like, “Oh, we’re putting on a clinic here," he was just having the time of his life.

More than Just the Main Event

Massive Hour of Devastation Debut

Firstly, let’s get something straight, Hour of Devastation looks awesome, and “Massive Magic", Magic played with human-sized cards, is also awesome. Check out Meghan Wolff’s article to see all the haps with this exciting event that was smushed right in the middle of the two simultaneous Grand Prix. Look, all I’m gonna say is that few things can rival a pro-wrestling-style Nicol Bolas obliterating a sand sculpture to reveal giant new preview cards.

Screaming Seahawk

There’s big much ado lately about the Magic-al habits of ­Seattle Seahawks lineman, Cassius Marsh. Marsh is keeping busy in the football off-season with a variety of ventures, but one that you might not expect is Spellslinging at Grand Prix Vegas! The hulking tattooed mass of a man was beating people down on the battlefield all day with a delicious Doubling Season–based Planeswalker build.

Meghan covered some of the Spellslinging in yesterday’s highlights article, but the addition of Cassius just amped it up that much more.


Have you ever seen three Liliana’s on the battlefield together? How about in a convention hall together? Well now you have!

Or what about North American mainstay judge, Megan Linscott (who you might have seen accepting a marriage proposal at Grand Prix Providence last year) taking a break to cosplay as Arlinn Kord? She was also equipped with a bag full of Werewolf decks.

The 9-0 Undefeated Players

After all the thousands of players fought valiantly through their rounds, only an elite nine will go into the second day without a loss.

Orange County California native Paul Herr beat James Fulgium to net his first Grand Prix 9-0. He’s been playing the game since Mirage, but only goes to about one or two Grand Prix a year. He, like many of the other SoCal Magicians, remembers fondly the PTQ days back at the Costa Mesa Women’s Club (ask Paul Cheon or Brian Kibler about it sometime). But he’s probably happy to be playing under these tournament lights instead.

Thiago Rosenmann hails from Brazil. He was a little jittery after finishing 9-0, and he literally had goosebumps. He’s excited not only for his first 9-0, but also for his first time in America! He’s loving it, saying that the people are so polite—so Shhhh!, Don’t tell him the truth!

Michael Simon was excited too, but goosebump-less, as this is his fourth time finishing Day 1 in the pole position. He’s converted two of those to Top 8s so far (in Albuquerque and Chicago). And the one he didn’t convert, must have felt a bit like a Top 8, because he beat Jon Finkel on camera, then finished in 11th, and Finkel finished 12th.

For Chicago’s Steven Deng today felt like vindication. He said he came back with a vengeance when he lost the RPTQ, and he needed to right the situation. “I’ve been practicing a lot," he said. This first 9-0 is only the beginning of the validation process. He’s got a few more rounds tomorrow, so we’ll see if he can pull through.

The biggest name in the bunch, Team Puzzle Quest’s Andrew Cuneo didn’t have the easiest time getting here. He said, “I literally thought this was the worst Sealed Pool I’ve ever had." He continued, “But I had Sandwurm Convergence and I won every game with it." He wasn’t kidding. At all. That was his way to win, and he made it happen.

Another notable name in the bunch of 9-0 bananas is Chris “Cat Pact” Botelho. Remembered for his dream Top 8 run with the Harmless Offering-Demonic Pact combo, Chris has today earned his first Limited Day 2. Undefeated seems like the best way to go, and fittingly, he got here on the back of Regal Caracal—another cat.

Zach Dunn came from Palo Alto to Vegas with his father for his 14th birthday present. Though he’d gone to Grand Prix Oakland and San Jose before, he wasn’t able to make it to the second day. Imagine his father’s elation when he watched Zach win the last round of the day to not only make it to tomorrow, but do it in 9-0 style.

Dunn was excited too, but maintained his composure. He’s focusing on the shift to draft tomorrow. The strategy completely changes, and he wants to be ready.

The last one to finish up was Vincent Pascoe, head of video production at an ad agency in Los Angeles. His Magic story is a fun weave back to today. After returning to the game after a six-year hiatus, he opened a Liliana in his first pack—amazed by this new “Planeswalker” card type. It seems fitting that at his first 9-0 tournament, he opened a Liliana in his Sealed pool.

Pascoe wanted to give shout out to sleep—it’s what got him here. And there’s a PS too: Pascoe is supposed to attend a wedding tomorrow at 1pm. The son of his girlfriend of nine years is getting hitched in Vegas. He’s not sure how this event’s going to play out. It’s a developing story that might aver an update tomorrow.

Lastly, Charles Wong’s defeat of Richard Tan was so swift, he ran out before I could grab him. But wait, there’s also another person to keep your eye out for, though he’s not part of the 9-0 Happy Club. It’s Brazil’s Thiago Saporito! The perennial Eeyore of the Magic community (in such an endearing way) was sad about his 8-0-1 finish. He’s part of the 8-0-1 Sadness Guild. Just look at how sad he is!

Those stories are only a fraction of the action that happened today—and they’ll be plenty more where that came from when we continue with more tomorrow! See you then.

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