Grand Prix Vegas Weekend Highlights

Posted in Event Coverage on June 19, 2017

By Meghan Wolff and Marc Calderaro

Grand Prix Vegas was a Magic event of unprecedented scope, incorporating four days of competitive tournament play across three formats, as well as countless side events, panels, artists, cosplayers, and more. This final set of highlights from Sunday of Grand Prix Vegas includes sights and happenings from across the tournament hall and adjoining rooms and from all four days of fun.

Celebrating Father's Day the GP Way

Whether it was in one of the main events or at the side event tables playing Two-Headed Giant, GP Vegas was the place for Magic-playing fathers and their kids to enjoy Father's Day weekend.

The most famous father-child pair of the weekend has to be six-year-old Dana Fischer and her father Adam. A recently semi-regular pair on the Grand Prix, the two have been stealing the show at each convention hall they attend.

But this weekend was a new milestone her—she had an on-camera Feature Match in Modern, and won convincingly.

What an amazing father's day gift for Adam, who cannot be more proud of his amazing daughter. Her goal was to get five wins in the Grand Prix, and that's exactly what she got—beginning with that monumental win in the first round.

Another father-child pair well known to the pro circuit is Ethan and Mark Brown. At 13 years old, Ethan became the youngest Grand Prix finalist of all time. Since that amazing Modern finish with Affinity, Ethan and Mark have traveled across the world together playing Magic. This weekend, their journey took them here to Las Vegas, and Ethan went deep into the second day of Modern with his deck, the tried and true robots.

I asked Mark if Ethan had gotten him anything for Father's Day, and he laughed. "He gifted me with his presence."

Lastly, Tzu-Mainn Chen is a name you might recognize, as he finished in the Top 8 of the Limited Grand Prix this weekend. But for him, that finish was less important than the Father's Day gift he received today—when he teamed back up with his daughter, Miley. Their Two-Headed Giant team, "Team Potatofart" has a stellar record they were looking to add to. And they got to do just that.

For Mainn, Magic is a hobby, but getting to spend quality time with his daughter, that's life.

A Gallery Where Vorthos Are Made

The Magic Art Show was a dream years in the making. Organizer Mike Linnemann, known as Vorthos Mike on Twitter, saw Grand Prix Vegas as an opportunity to finally turn that dream into a reality, and took the lead on coordinating artists, collectors, and gallery space.

The trade-off for Linnemann wasn’t just seeing this amazing collection of paintings, drawings, sketches, and more all in one place, but also sharing the experience and appreciation of Magic art with so many other people.

“Being able to listen in on conversations, to hear people say ‘I never looked at this before, I never realized this before.' That sort of joy of being the Vorthos person, as other people are approaching it, has been the greatest thing," he said.

For information on any potential future magic art shows, follow @magicartshow on Twitter!

An International Event

Like the last Grand Prix Vegas, this event drew players from around the U.S. and the world. Professional players from the other side of the globe, U.S. players who took a road trip into Vegas, and casual Magic enthusiasts all converged on Vegas for the four days of the Grand Prix.

Players from South Africa were in search of a few pro points to put them in the lead for the race to World Magic Cup team captaincy, a group of Venezuelan players made sure they had time to take in the Vegas sights, and Scottish players got decked out in their national flag.

Read more about the international travelers at Grand Prix Vegas in the Day 2 Highlights here.


Nicol Bolas Brings Devastation to Vegas

Late on Friday afternoon, a crowd filled the seats and encircled the arena, ready to watch a game of Massive Magic pitting the Gatewatch against the arch-villain of the multiverse, Nicol Bolas. The event included twists and turns of fate, a lot of showboating by the nefarious dragon, and, of course, a whole bunch of Hour of Devastation previews.

Watch the broadcast and read the full recap of the Hour of Devastation Massive Magic preview event here.

Spellslinging, Arena Events, and More Ways to Play

For Magic enthusiasts interested in more than the Grand Prix tournaments, GP Vegas offered traditional side events, non-traditional side events, and

There was spellslinging with WotC staff, pros, YouTubers like The Mana Source and The Professor, and Seattle Seahawks linebacker Cassius Marsh.

Some side events had bounties for beating players like LoadingReadyRun’s Graham Stark, who had a blast playing in Chaos Sealed on Saturday.

At the arena, events like live podcasts, cosplayers giving their best tips and tricks for getting started, chats with members of R&D, and Innistrad Dungeons & Dragons drew crowds eager to learn from (or enjoy the silly antics of) their favorite content creators.

Modern Winner!

Mani Davoudi, from Vancouver, and Theau Mery, from Paris, were the only two players remaining in GP Vegas. The final Grand Prix Vegas trophy sat on the table beside them, a reminder of what they were playing for.

Davoudi decided to join the event last-minute, after a rough Limited Day 1, with his favorite Modern deck, Affinity. Mery chose a Craig Wescoe-inspired Mono-White Hatebears deck that had already taken down one Affinity opponent in his semifinal match minutes before.

In game one, Davoudi had one of the starts for which Affinity is famous, deploying a Vault Skirge and Steel Overseer, amongst other cards, almost immediately. Unable to overcome such a strong start from his opponent, Mery scooped up his cards on turn two.

In game two, it looked like Mery might get a reprieve when Davoudi took a mulligan to five, but a pair of Etched Champions hit the battlefield in short order, followed by a Cranial Plating. Stuck on one mana, Mery was relying on a pair of Æther Vials to deploy his creatures. The Etched Champions, however, with their protection from all of Mery’s creatures, were enough to finish the job in short order.

Mani Davoudi is the (Etched) Champion of the Modern Grand Prix Vegas!


Three Trophies Held High at GP Vegas

Grand Prix Vegas was the first weekend in Magic’s history to offer three overlapping Grand Prix in four days of play. Of course, this means that not one but three winners saw their hard-fought battles rewarded with a Grand Prix trophy, $10,000, 8 pro points, and an invite to the next Pro Tour.

Miami Magic player Andrew Calderon’s Death and Taxes—the powerful white-based creature deck that taxes many common Legacy plays by making their spells cost more mana—guided him to his very first GP Top 8 on Friday. His Top 8 path involved battling through a gauntlet of Delver decks before facing off against Jonathan Semeyn and his Grixis Delver deck in the finals.

“I owe it to Pro-Play Games for providing me what I needed to win today," he said, thanking his friends and local store reps who were rooting him on from the sidelines during the Top 8 matches.

On Saturday, Thiago Saporito, member of Team DEX Army, made the Top 8 by following up an almost-perfect Day 1 finish of 8-0-1 with two excellent drafts. He then went on to draft a black-based deck that took him through the Top 8, where he eventually defeated Steve Rubin in the finals.

Congratulations to Andrew Calderon, Thiago Saporito, and Mani Davoudi on their outstanding Grand Prix weekend!

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