Welcome to Packer country! We're in Milwaukee for the first day of the Grand Prix, and it's our final look at Kaladesh Limited. Almost 1,400 players arrived in the Brew City for the event, and there are some big names among the crowd, and not just the usual lineup of pros – though we have plenty of them as well.
Here are a few of the storylines we'll be following this weekend.
Kaladesh's Swan Song
It's been a great run with Kaladesh. Chandra's home plane has given inventions, it's given vehicles and it's given us a lot of fun. Coming off the dark and shadowy plane of Innistrad, Kaladesh made every player an inventor of marvels, and sometimes even of Aetherworks Marvels.
With nine rounds of Sealed Deck followed by three rounds of Draft on Sunday, we'll determine the winner of the tournament and who will end Kaladesh on a high note. Soon, the days of outrageous Renegade Freighter and Welding Sparks plays will be… well they won't be over since Kaladesh will still be played alongside Aether Revolt, but they will become a much rarer sight.
In the months since Kaladesh released, we've seen cards go from great to mediocre, and from unplayable to good as the format and players' understanding of it has evolved. We've seen wild module decks and high-powered energy decks, and we'll get a look at those and more this weekend. How has the format changed since its inception? What do we know now that we didn't then? We'll talk to the best players in the room to find out.
Familiar Faces Here to Battle
Magic fans will recognize Mashi Scanlan, a Magic TV regular for ChannelFireball. Scanlan, the company's director of community engagement, is most often seen behind the booth at Grand Prix, but he – along with ChannelFireball CEO Jon Saso – are in Milwaukee for a different reason: to play Magic.
This crew of Magic personalities and judges ae far from the only notable community members playing this weekend at Grand Prix Milwaukee.
They're not the only ones. Jason Lemahieu ("Lems" as he's known in the judging community) is more often seen at Grand Prix as the head judge, not just another player in the field. And Noah Bradley is more often signing cards than slinging them. But this weekend he's among the trenches enjoying some Magic. I wonder how many Self-Assemblers he'll cast?
Will Madison Show Up?
You may not know it, but Wisconsin is home to many of the world's best Magic players. Recently inducted Hall of Famer Owen Turtenwald hails from Wisconsin, as does three-time 2016 Grand Prix winner Matt Severa.
Madison is a hotspring of Magic knowledge and skill, and it always seems like the next "up-and-coming" Magic player hails from Madison. With a Grand Prix so close, you can be sure there's a large contingent of Madisonians here today. Will one of them rise to the top in their home state? Will they pack the Top 8? We'll find out by the end of Grand Prix Milwaukee.