It's the weekend after the Pro Tour, but that doesn't necessarily mean we'll see decks full of the same heroes and villains that rose to the top in Sydney, or that an expected deck will emerge triumphant.
This same weekend last year Michael Majors won GP San Diego with Blue-Red Sphinx's Tutelage, which had done well at Pro Tour Origins the weekend before, but failed to make as big of a splash as other stand-out decks from Vancouver.
With the top eight of PT Eldritch Moon dominated by Emrakul, Liliana, and Bant Collected Company, a blue-red deck with few permanents could once again be poised to take the first Grand Prix weekend of the season by storm. Pedro Carvalho went 9-1 in the standard portion of the Pro Tour with Blue-Red Fevered Burn, and the deck has been putting up impressive results on Magic Online in the intervening week.
With Innistrad's unlikely hero Liliana pitted against the dual nemeses of new threat Emrakul and persistent Standard staple Bant Collected Company, all three Pro Tour frontrunners could find themselves overwhelmed by a dark horse decklist. Perhaps Thermo-Alchemist is the hero beleaguered Innistrad needed all along.
Some players more than others are keeping a closer eye than others on this weekend's results, as they'll be meeting in Seattle in a few short weeks to play in the 2016 Magic World Championship. For these twenty-four exceptional competitors, successfully dissecting the new metagame could convert to priceless wins on Magic's ultimate stage.
This weekend also marks the first-ever Planeswalker Summit, a collection of cosplayers representing each and every existing Planeswalker. The multiverse's most powerful mages are converging on Portland to play in the main event, circle the hall, and, of course, take some amazing photos.
To follow along with this weekend's events, watch live coverage of GP Portland at twitch.tv/magic, check back in on DailyMtG for deck techs and feature matches, and follow @magicprotour for results, photos, and videos from the site.
Discover whether or not Liliana, unlikely savior of the Gatewatch, will once again triumph over Emrakul and just how many turns Emrakul will steal from helpless players confronted with her mind-warping vastness. Will Emrakul bring this tournament to its promised end? Will Elder Deep-Fiend emerge triumphant? And is Liliana really the last hope for anyone resisting the giant Eldrazi?