Top 5 Moments of Grand Prix Mexico City

Posted in Event Coverage on April 9, 2017

By Chapman Sim

After sixteen rounds of intense competition, the show is finally over and our champions have been crowned. However, Grand Prix Mexico City was memorable for many reasons so we'd like to share with you some of the greatest snippets of the weekend!

Sometimes, you never appreciate the value of a moment until it becomes a memory!

5. Bidding Goodbye to Kaladesh Limited

Grand Prix Mexico City marked the final Premier Event to utilize both Kaladesh and Aether Revolt in Limited. While both expansions will still be legal in Standard when Amonkhet kicks in, there will be fewer opportunities to experience Kaladesh in forty-card formats.

The plane of Kaladesh is going to be fondly remembered for many reasons. The storyline is compelling and intriguing and the world is littered with amazing and lovable gadgets and gizmos. Also, the block's mechanics are unique and flavorful, making gameplay rather dynamic. Since you'll most likely be drafting with Amonket in future, there are many interactions you're never going to experience again.

You're going to miss attacking with a 6/6 Riparian Tiger or zapping your opponents to death with Aethertorch Renegade. The dream of combining Shipwreck Moray with Larger Than Life will eventually fade from memory.

You're going to miss fabricating Servos via Propeller Pioneer or Maulfist Squad. You're going to miss tapping those Servos to improvise Maverick Thopterist to help summon an undercosted Gearseeker Serpent.

James Morphis, Daniel Ward, and Russell Komor showing off the best Vehicles from their Sealed pool.

You'll also miss finding ways to trigger revolt (oooh, don't we all love our Renegade Maps?) in order to draw a card from Silkweaver Elite or to recruit a 3/3 Night Market Aeronaut. You won't miss being mauled to death by Renegade Freighter or Untethered Express though.

In case you were wondering, Sol Ring is absurd!

Lastly, we'll never get to see stamped Kaladesh Masterpieces being cracked open again. Thankfully, we have the Amonkhet Invocations to look forward to! Goodbye for now, Kaladesh!

4. Viva Mexico!

The Mexican community, like all others, is a Magic-loving one. This weekend was not only about Kaladesh Limited, but also about friends and family. For example, the Gonzalez family might not have enough members of age to participate in the main event (Dad wisely teamed up with two of his friends instead of his children) but it didn't stop them from showing up to soak in the atmosphere. Not only did they crack open a Modern Masters 2017 booster box and traded for cards they needed, they were also happy to spend the weekend among friends and fellow enthusiasts.

The Gonzalez family, featuring baby Nahiri!

David Gonzalez Romeo and Rosa Medina Galicia have two daughters. The elder is Eowyn, the name inspired by the character in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. As dedicated fans of Magic as well, they decided to name their younger, Nahiri!

"Why? Because we just felt like it was a really sweet name and also because Magic is a huge part of our lives. I hope she'll grow up to love the name as much as we do."

While we've encountered several baby Jaces and baby Nissas, baby Nahiris are certainly unheard of until today! Oh, speaking of Jace and Nissa, they also came to live at Grand Prix Mexico this weekend!

Jace Beleren, Chandra Nalaar, Liliana Vess, Luminous Angel, Kari Zev, Skyship Raider, and Nissa Revane!

You can read more about the Akroma's Army and their cause in the Day 1 Highlights and remember that we should always live for the moments that we cannot put into words.

3. Inoue-Takao-Takimura's Hot Streak

Three all-Japanese teams made the trip to Mexico City despite the long, costly flights and complicated routing. However, the fan favorites Yuki Matsumoto, No. 21 Yuuya Watanabe, and Ken Yukuhiro quickly fell by the wayside after receiving a lackluster card pool. Meanwhile, the trio of Toru Inoue, Shota Takao, and Kazuyuki Takimura were busy winning.

Winning a lot.

Toru Inoue, Shota Takao, and Kazuyuki Takimura

As a matter of fact, they steamrolled through the competition and finished Day 1 as the only 9-0 team. In particular, Inoue was the heavy-lifter, winning all nine of his matches. Throughout the Swiss rounds, their only loss was handed to them by Cuneo-Froehlich-Stark in Round 10 but the Japanese still locked up their spot in the Top 4 way before any other team did!

In fact, they could even afford to sit out of Round 13 and Round 14 and still make the Top 4! They didn't, of course, because they stayed around to work on their seedings, eventually completing the Swiss rounds by maintaining their first-place position all weekend. This was also important because it allowed all three of them to play first in the playoffs, which is a huge benefit and bonus for their excellent run in the Swiss rounds.

These guys know what they're doing!

Although they failed to advance to the finals, their hot streak was the talk of the town all day. Also, this is a tale of how three men with a common dream decided to take a leap of faith to pursue a goal they believed it, and were rewarded handsomely.

2. The Tiebreaker Tussle

Grand Prix Mexico City was a small team event which meant that pairings were a little different from others.

For instance, there were only 40 returning teams in Day 2 which means that there were only 20 tables. You couldn't play someone you have already played and sometimes there wasn't anyone with the same record as you, which can cause you to be paired up or paired down. The Japanese team being the runaway leader was also a major contributor to some interesting pairings which made Round 14 truly tricky.

Let's take a look at the standings after Round 13 and the pairings of Round 14.

Standings after Round 13    
1 Inoue - Takao – Takimura 34
2 Cuneo - Froehlich – Stark 33
3 Juza - Nakamura – Burkhart 31
4 Stern - Ogreenc – Neal 30
5 Guerra - Vazquez – Sosa 28
6 Nass - Wilson – Pardee 28
7 Smith - Chung - Van Ravenzwaaij


Pairings for Round 14          
1 Inoue-Takao-Takimura 34 vs. Stern-Ogreenc-Neal 30
2 Cuneo-Froehlich-Stark 33 vs. Nass-Wilson-Pardee 28
3 Juza-Nakamura-Burkhart 31 vs. Guerra-Vazquez-Sosa 28
4 Smith-Chung-Van Ravenzwaaij 28 vs. Baumeister-Larsson-Huang 27

First things first, teams needed at least 31 match points or a 10-3-1 record to make the Top 4. However, since Inoue-Takao-Takimura and Cuneo-Froehlich-Stark were already locked, this meant that there were only two spots remaining.

Over at Table 1, the Japanese finish in top seed regardless of the match result. They offered an intentional draw, which Stern-Ogreenc-Neal turned down, because there were a several potential teams which could overtake them.

Stern explained, "Judging from the standings and pairings, there is a chance that we'll miss the Top 4 if everything around us go poorly for us. For example, if Juza-Nakamura-Burkhart win, they'll have 34 points and that's one less open spot. Also, we really didn't feel like gambling on tiebreakers, which is why we would rather play."

In the end, the match ended up as a (non-intentional) draw, which meant that Stern-Ogreenc-Neal were one of the "31s".

Over at Table 2, Cuneo-Froehlich-Stark was paired against Nass-Wilson-Pardee. Being good friends and also being hungry, both teams shook hands and went to lunch. This concession meant that Nass-Wilson-Pardee was the second of the "31s".

At Table 3, the power trio of Juza-Nakamura-Burkhart were paired against a local team comprising Guerra-Vazquez-Sosa. Since the superstars have 31 points, all they really want is an intentional draw, but their opponents need to win this match for a chance at the Top 4. They played it out and almost everyone – myself included – perceived this as a win-and-in match. In the end, the Mexicans won, creating the third "31". Juza-Nakamura-Burkhart maintained their score since they lost, meaning that they were the fourth "31" but they didn't really have a high chance because the Mexicans had higher tiebreakers than them.

At Table 4, Smith-Chung-Ravenzwaaij was at 28 points which looked like they had a shot at the Top 4 if they won. And they did, creating a fifth "31". However, Chung said that, "our tiebreakers have been horrible all day and I don't believe we'll even come in 5th place."

Hence, the toss up was really between the first three 31s and in the end it was the Mexicans who lost out. Despite that, an honorable mention goes out to Ricardo Guerra, Ramon Vazquez, and Abraham Sosa for being the top finishing Mexican team!

Ricardo Guerra, Ramon Vazquez, and Abraham Sosa, the top finishing Mexican team this weekend!

Don't worry, the entire Mexican community are still really proud of your strong showing!

1. A Hard-Earned, Well-Deserved Victory

As Eric Froehlich mentioned in his Player Profile, this weekend was yet another "smooth and awesome run by ChannelFireball". This was before he headed for the Top 4 playoffs. A few hours later, Froehlich and his team claimed the trophy for ChannelFireball.

The finals Team Booster Draft between Cuneo-Froehlich-Stark and Nass-Wilson-Pardee!

Despite the small attendance, it turned out to be one of the most difficult tournaments in recent memory. 17 of the Top 25 Ranked Players were present, as well as 10 Hall-of-Famers and over 20 Platinum Pros. As the Swiss rounds progressed, as did their difficulty. Finishing right on top was certainly not an easy feat! Most importantly, this victory marks Cuneo's first Grand Prix win and also Froehlich's and Stark's second title!

Congratulations to Andrew Cuneo, Eric Froehlich, and Ben Stark. You guys are the Grand Prix Mexico City 2017 Champions!

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