Day 1 Highlights of Grand Prix Milwaukee 2018

Posted in Event Coverage on November 18, 2018

By Colette LeRoux

With Day 1 of GP Milwaukee in the books let's look at the popular decks, familiar faces, and exciting moments that made up today.

The Carnage Tyrant Strikes Back

At Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica Green-Black (Golgari) Midrange was the most played deck, accounting for 22.2% of the field, but fell short of the spotlight of Top 8. Walking through the top tables here at GP Milwaukee, however, one doesn’t have to look far to see a Jadelight Ranger or Merfolk Branchwalker. With such notable names as Seth Manfield, Shuhei Nakamura, Wyatt Darby, Logan Nettles, and Ray Perez Jr. on the deck, this powerful mix of answers and threats is well positioned to take on any deck in the room.

Going into Round 8 there were eighteen players still undefeated; eight of those were on Green-Black midrange.

Day of the Dragon

Niv-Mizzet, Parun. This legendary Dragon Wizard has been carrying many players on Blue-Red Drakes to victory. In Round 5 Ari Lax on Blue-Red Drakes faced Ryan Donahoe on Green-Black Midrange. Down a game, Donahoe faced Lax’s early Niv-Mizzet, Parun followed by a Teferi, which were fueling Lax’s hand and allowing him to pick off Donahoe’s board. Seeing his only route to victory was getting Niv-Mizzet off the table, Donahoe cast a Plaguecrafter, to which Lax sacrificed Teferi, then cast Find to return it to his hand. Next turn Donahoe cast his Plaguecrafter again, hoping to make Lax sacrifice the powerful dragon. Lax showed him Ionize and Donahue extended the hand.

Sam Black’s Red-White Token-Control

Sam Black (unsurprisingly) brought a one-of-a-kind deck to GP Milwaukee, mostly because he didn’t show it to anyone before the tournament. “I just wanted to do my own thing," Sam notes, “it’s been a while." He first got the idea of his Red-White Control build from Ben Weitz’s deck from PT Guilds of Ravnica, which included Siege-Gang Commanders, Banefires, and Treasure Maps. “Weitz’s “big red” deck seemed like a good idea, but why play all those midrange cards?" Black quipped.

After adding white for sweepers, a few copies of Arch of Orazca, and Karn, Scion of Urza, Black had the bones of a Red-White Token-Control deck that has managed to hold its own. The complex board states created by the deck are nothing new for Black’s creations, which have previously featured Retreat to Emeria and Mastery of the Unseen.

Magic and Family

Magic is a game that brings people together, even, and perhaps most importantly, when those people are siblings. Today saw two of the most known and loved sibling pairs competing and loving the game of Magic.

Kiefer brothers Jack and Quinn argued (I mean, sensibly discussed at a reasonable volume, obviously) what to play late into Friday night. They agree, while smiling, that they’re “basically playing different decks," due to their different card evaluations, especially on sideboard cards. Jack, an up-and-coming deck brewer who has caught the attention of many established Pros, wanted Quinn to run one Mirari Conjecture main, to which Quinn commented: “I’m not though, because that card is bad!" Other key differences of opinion include Negate and Murmuring Mystic.

But no brothers can displace those of Corey Baumeister and Brad Nelson when it comes to current Standard dominance. With an almost prescient ability to predict metagame shifts, this pair has had great success with both deck choices and results in recent years. Partly contributing to their success, of course, is their unwavering support of each other.

These two pairs collided when Corey and Quinn were paired in Round 5 for the epic Battle of Little Brothers. While Brad watched from home and Jack got updates on Quinn from their mother Jennifer, the little bros had a hard-fought match, with Corey taking it down in the end to make him 1-1 lifetime vs Quinn.



Day 1 Undefeated Players

Congratulations to our undefeated players: Jackson Hicks, Donnie Wise, Zach Dubin, Craig Rocco, Adam Ragsdale, Kevin Jones, Isaak Krut, Luke Feeney, and Alex Olson!

Our nine undefeated players come from all over the U.S. and Canada, with four of them hailing from the Midwest. Of these, five are one the deck-of-the-day Golgari Midrange, with the remaining four split evenly between Izzet Drakes and Jeskai Control.

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