Day 1 Highlights of Grand Prix Melbourne 2018

Posted in Event Coverage on November 17, 2018

By Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

As blossoms of spring spread across the country, the Australian Magic Community have come together in Melbourne to have their say in the growing unrest among the Guilds of Ravnica. 840 players took their seats and cracked open their sealed pools to see which Guild they would be representing on Day One.

Choosing Your Guild

To help better understand the political intricacies of choosing which Guild to represent in a tournament such as this, I sat with Jason @Sqlut Chung as he sorted through his sealed pool this morning. Chung has recently received praise from several prominent members of the International Magic Community for his work streaming Guilds of Ravnica Limited as well as a very informative column on how to draft many of the better archetypes this expansion.

Chung began by laying out piles of his multicolour cards in a circle, and then placing his playable mono colour cards in between each multicolour pile so he could see at a glance which Guilds offered the deepest and strongest card pools.


Jason Chung lays out his cards in a circle.

"I think this is better than picking a Guild and trying to build that. You can end up spending too much time on one Guild without realising you should be building in another."

The Guildgates were also an important early consideration.

"What lands I get tells me early which colours I can consider splashing. If you'd asked me what card I most hoped to open, I would have told you a foil Guildgate, because then I'd have 7. I guess I got lucky there," he grinned, pointing to a foil Boros Guildgate.

Chung laid out his Izzet cards first, and despite having some very strong cards in that Guild, concluded he didn't have enough of the right cards to form a cohesive aggressive or control deck, and would be left with something in the middle. He then shifted to Selesnya with a splash for some Red removal spells and decided it was his best bet for his main deck.

"I want to focus on this deck now, and it can be my Game 1 deck. Once they see Divine Visitation and sideboard in all of their enchantment removal, I can sideboard into an Izzet deck, and I can figure out what that looks like after deck construction."

The Gathering

The Australian Magic community is spread far and wide across this vast sunburnt country, and because Australia has a somewhat lower population density per square of mana, it generally doesn't see more than two Magic Grand Prix events a year, which makes each one a celebrated coming together of a variety of Magic communities.

One of the oldest is the Australian 7 Point Highland Community. Birthed in Canberra sometime between the release of Alliances and Mirage in the late 90's, 7 Point Highlander was a format that attempted to add diversity to the Vintage Format with the idea of "what if you could only play with some of the powerful restricted cards?"

Long-standing pillar of Australian Magic Isaac Egan took 7 Point Highlander with him when he relocated to Melbourne and the community grew as he opened a gaming store and ran 7 Point Highlander events for the locals. There are now 7 Point Highlander communities in Adelaide, Sydney, and Brisbane, as well as pockets in assorted rural areas, too.

Holding a 7 Point Highlander side event at Australian Grand Prix events and National Championships is a time honoured tradition, which celebrated a milestone yesterday as they had their largest tournament yet with 98 players, beating the previous record of 72 players resoundingly!


Members of the Australian 7 Point Highlander Committee – Andrew Vance, Sarven McLinton, Isaac Egan, and Luke Mulcahy were thrilled with the turnout for their tournament on Friday.

Another long-standing pillar of the Australian Magic community is The Ben Seck. Despite the fact he abandoned us years ago for the glamourous game design life in San Francisco and now in Barcelona, he still plans his trips back to visit family in Sydney to coincide with almost every Grand Prix.

"I feel like I have to come back twice a year to visit my family. The trip back from San Francisco was only 14 hours, which wasn't too bad, but it's 24 hours from Europe, so I may as well come back for a bit longer when I do visit."

Whatever you have to do to justify hanging out with us again, Ben, we'll take it! We all love having our TBS back on home turf.


The Ben Seck still calls Australia home.

The Limited Metagame

During the Limited rounds held at the Pro Tour in Atlanta, Georgia last week, Boros and Dimir made their voices heard loud and clear above the rest of the gathered Guilds, and while they continued to lead the debate here this weekend, Selesnya, Dimir, and Izzet were also making compelling arguments as late as Rounds 6 and 7 here in Melbourne, while Golgari was mostly on undercity clean-up duties.

But as Round 8 got underway, the other Guilds took their seats as Boros took the podium to rile up their followers with +1/+1 counters. With the cut to Day 2 happening at the end of Round 8, four of the five undefeated players were waving the Boros flag high and proud, with a total of 141 players advancing to play tomorrow.


8-0 players: Shawn Khoo, Taiga Tsujikawa, Joe Deane, Justin Robb, and Calvin Liu.

Of the 8-0 players in Round 9, both Joe Deane and Grand Prix Brisbane 2013 champion Justin Robb, both fell to 8-1, but we have their decks here for you all the same. Robb was quick to shout out Murmuring Mystic as the best card in his deck on Day 1.

Joe Deane 8-0 Grand Prix Melbourne 2018

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Justin Robb 8-0 Grand Prix Melbourne 2018

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Day 1 Undefeated Players

Continuing their unrelenting climb, Shawn Khoo, Taiga Tsujikawa, and Calvin Liu finished the day undefeated at 9-0 under the Boros banner, and each cited Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice as the star of their decks. Which makes sense, right? Of course the leader of the Guild would be leading her faithful followers into battle.


Shawn Khoo, Taiga Tsujikawa, and Calvin Liu finished the day undefeated at 9-0.

Calvin Liu 8-0 Grand Prix Melbourne 2018

Download Arena Decklist

Taiga Tsujikawa 8-0 Grand Prix Melbourne 2018

Download Arena Decklist

Shawn Khoo 8-0 Grand Prix Melbourne 2018

Download Arena Decklist

Will the Boros continue to lead the way in Day 2? They're certainly not showing any sign of slowing down. 141 players will be back here bright and early tomorrow morning to draft Guilds of Ravnica. Will the runaway Boros train continue? Or will Dimir, Izzet, Selesnya, or Golgari be able to reign them in? Tune in tomorrow as we find out!

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