Day 2 Highlights of Grand Prix Las Vegas 2018

Posted in Event Coverage on June 17, 2018

By Corbin Hosler and Marc Calderaro

As the sun dawned on Saturday, it was the busiest day of the weekend at Grand Prix Las Vegas. From Day 2 and the Top 8 of the Modern event to the kickoff of the nearly 2,100-player Dominated Limited Grand Prix to the Limited Edition Beta Draft Qualifiers to panels and more, there was more Magic in one room than ever.

And it delivered on fronts. Here are the moments that stood out from Saturday at GP Vegas.

The Harps Run it Back

Magic is many things to many people, and as the game enters its 26th year and longtime players watch their kids grow, it is increasingly becoming a family affair.

Just ask the Harps, who are starting to make a habit of family trips to Grand Prix. Parents Jeremy and Mariah first took their young sons Winston and Harrison to Grand Prix Dallas a month ago, and it didn't take long for them to return to a Grand Prix.

“We had such a fun time at Dallas that we started looking for another chance to make it a family trip," explained Jeremy, who played some back in college but had the hobby reignited for him after he picked up a deckbuilder’s toolkit on a whim as a gift for his kids. “The boys have really loved playing and it’s all they wanted to do, so now we’re going to Friday Night Magic every week and are going to try and do more events like this."

Families playing Magic together is a heartwarming testament to the game’s longevity, and if the Harps are any indication it’s a trend that’s only going to continue.

Rosewater opens up at Anniversary Panel

Perhaps more than any other event on the schedule, Grand Prix Las Vegas is a true Magic convention, not just a tournament. That was underscored with a superb panel of Wizards of the Coast leaders on Saturday afternoon, as they explained some of their favorite parts about the last 25 years of Magic, looked ahead to the next 25 and took audience questions.


Lead Designer Mark Rosewater was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the 25th anniversary panel Wizards of the Coast hosted Saturday at GP Vegas.

Among the more interesting tidbits of the panel included some perspective on recent developments in the game – Senior Design Director Aaron Forsythe highlighted how R&D now better understands how to design and develop cards aimed at the many diverse audiences that enjoy Magic – and senior editor Matt Tabak predicted that Magic is open to crossover opportunities, especially continuing the popular crossover events with other Wizards products like Dungeons and Dragons. But the prediction that drew the most applause was that 25 years from now, Magic players will still be interacting face-to-face as they play the game.

Of course, what is a Wizards of the Coast panel without booster packs to throw out?


Designer Ethan Fleischer had a lot of fun tossing Dominaria booster packs into the excited crowd at the GP Vegas panel.

But nothing could top the excitement as Tabak revealed a deckbox filled with one very item to give one of the guests after she shared a touching story of playing Magic with her mother growing up.

A sealed Unlimited booster pack. The crowd went wild as the deckbox was opened, and it was definitely one of the highlights of the day.

Modern Continues to Evolve – and Thopter-Sword Makes a Run

Ever since Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan, when pros got a chance to try and crack Modern again, the format has settled around a few top decks – namely, Humans and Hollow One pacing the field – but evolution continues to happen. The Krark-Clan Ironworks combo deck had another strong weekend, but it turns out there’s a lot more that can be done with artifacts.

Just ask Travis De Silva, who brought a brew that looks a lot like the Tezzerator decks of old – only now Whir of Invention takes the place of Tezzeret the Seeker or Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas. The innovative deck combined elements of previous artifact-based decks like Lantern Control to form a shell that was equal parts prison, control and combo (Thopter Foundry and Sword of the Meek). It performed strongly for De Silva all weekend, taking him deep into Day 2 before he narrowly missed out on the Top 8.

Travis De Silva's Thopter-Sword

Nass Continues to Dominate

The Krark-Clan Ironworks is something that must be seen to be believed. Its namesake card has always been a combo machine (ways to “cheat” mana tend to do that), but nothing has topped the power of the current iteration of the deck, which 20th-ranked Matt Nass has innovated and been dominating with.

It started when he broke through with the deck at Grand Prix Phoenix back in March, taking the deck to the semifinals of the tournament and firmly putting the newest version of the deck on the map. And while the actual mechanics of the deck and how it combos can be just a bit convoluted, its power could not be denied for long.

And after Grand Prix Hartford a month later, neither could its consistency – Nass made good on missing out in Phoenix and won the entire event with his deck.

Not a bad run. But even as more players began to pick up the deck – Eli Kassis, Shaheen Soorani and Zac Elsik all sleeved it up for Grand Prix Vegas – no one could outdo the master of the deck. Nass stormed through the tournament and the Top 8, where he eventually defeated Yuri Ramsey’s Tron deck in two masterpieces, even winning through Oblivion Stone on the same turn in the deciding game.

You can up that record to 36-6 after his third consecutive Modern Grand Prix Top 8 and second straight Modern win, an unheard-of feat that makes clear that Nass stands atop the Modern world right now.

Congrats to Matt Nass, the winner of the Modern Grand Prix Las Vegas!

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