GP Madrid Aftermath: A Weekend Full of Magic

The Magic Grand Prix is the perfect excuse to spend a whole weekend enjoying our favorite hobby. Normally, the main event is what attracts most players’ attention – its coverage, Top 8 decklists, and of course, the GP winners. But there are many other things that one can have a go at aside from the competition.

On this occasion, I decided not to attend the main event. Instead, I will cover and focus on everything that surrounds a Grand Prix: the side events, stores and card trading, invited artists, and most importantly, hanging out with friends.

MTG GPMadrid 2018

Main Event Coverage

The main event brought together a total of 354 teams, about 1,062 players, and showed the healthy state of the three formats that were represented: Standard, Modern, and Legacy.

In Standard, the Top 16 was dominated by U/B Control with a total of 7 similar decks. Combined with another four Grixis Energy, we have 11 out of the 16 archetypes that run Scarab God in their ranks, being the most represented card in the format right now. We will have to wait Dominaria to see a real shake-up in the metagame.

GP MADRID 2018. TEAM CONSTRUCTED. STANDARD TOP 16.
Archetype Player Position
Grixis Energy Christoph Green 1
Dimir Control Michael Bonde 2
Dimir Control Elias Watsfeldt 3
Red Deck Wins Adriano Moscato 4
Grixis Energy Andrea Mengucci 5
Sultai Tristan Pölzl 6
Dimir Control Arne Huschenbeth 7
Esper Marco Maiocco 8
Dimir Control Pedro Lechado Artigues 9
Dimir Control Damien Bouillot 10
Grixis Energy Matt Brown 11
Dimir Control Juan Guillenea Pujalte 12
Dimir Control Adrian Ramiro Cano 13
Red Deck Wins Matteo Moure 14
Grixis Energy Christoffer Larsen 15
Sultai Alberto Colomo 16

 

The Scarab God

Grixis Energy
A Standard Magic Deck by Christoph Green
1st Place at a Tournament in Madrid, Spain on 2018-03-10

In Modern, the format continues to evolve every week after the recent unbanning of Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Bloodbraid Elf early this February 2018. As you can see in the top 16, Jund was the deck of choice among most Modern finalists with a total of five representatives, proving that Bloodbraid Elf has more potential in the format rather than Jace.

Aside from being the key card that brought Jund back to the top, the hasty Elf was also found in the Scapeshift brew played by Andreas Petersen, and as a four-of in both the RG Eldrazi variants. That is why Bloodbraid Elf is our Modern MVP card of the weekend.

GP MADRID 2018. TEAM CONSTRUCTED. MODERN TOP 16.
Archetype Player Position
Grixis Shadow Ben Jones 1
Scapeshift RG Andreas Petersen 2
Jund Joel Larsson 3
Jund Carmine D´Aniello 4
Jund Christian Calcano 5
Eldrazi Remi Vignane 6
Green Tron Thoralf Severin 7
Hollowine Davide Cappiello 8
Eldrazi Hatebears Miguel Castro 9
Jund Arnaud Jochum 10
Jund Patrick Starling 11
Hollowine Sergio Ferrer Rozalen 12
Living End Cristian Ortiz Ros 13
Green Tron Fabrizio Campanino 14
Eldrazi Martin Müller 15
Dimir Javier Jimenez 16
Bloodbrain Elf

We also have great news for Grixis Shadow lovers. The deck is still alive, despite the hostile metagame in this tournament. As Ben Jones, the GP winner in Modern said: “I think people overstate how bad the Jund match-up is, I have been winning a lot online with Shadow”.

Grixis Death's Shadow
A Modern Magic Deck by Ben Jones
1st Place at a Tournament in Madrid, Spain on 2018-03-10

Finally in Legacy, we enjoyed the most diverse format with very different strategies, although the most predominant creatures in the top were Delver of Secrets and Deathrite Shaman. Both were combined in Grixis Delver and Team America, but the Shaman was also played in Czech Pile and BUG Control.

However, the winner this time was Colorless Eldrazi, piloted by Charles Eliatamby, with a unique disruption in the shape of Chalice of the Void paired with undercosted creatures thanks to the 14 Sol Lands the deck runs on (Eldrazi Temple, Eye of Ugin, and friends).

GP MADRID 2018. TEAM CONSTRUCTED. LEGACY TOP 16.
Archetype Player Position
Eldrazi Charles Eliatamby 1
4c Control Thomas Enevoldsen 2
Dragon Stompy Per Nyström 3
Dragon Stompy Alessandro Lippi 4
Team America Javier Dominguez 5
Dark Depths Vladimir Arneuve 6
Blade Control Jasper Grimmer 7
Threshold UGR Alessandro Manzini 8
Grixis Pyromancer Iñigo Vallejo Pascual 9
Grixis Pyromancer Louis Bachaud 10
Lands Alex Mortimer 11
Grixis Pyromancer Guillem Salvador Arnal 12
Ad Nauseam Tendrils Rodrigo Togores 13
Dragon Stompy Tommaso Badiali 14
BUG Control Lukas Blohon 15
UW Control Oscar Reoyo 16
Thought-Knot Seer

Colorless Eldrazi
A Legacy Magic Deck by Charles Eliatamby
1st Place at a Tournament in Madrid, Spain on 2018-03-10

All in all, the tournament winners were the English Squad formed by Christoph Green, Ben Jones, and Charles Eliatamby, who despite their young age, proved that Pro Players aren't the only ones able to succeed. All you need is a good team, a lot of deck-testing, and constant effort. Congrats to all of them!

Event Venue and Side Event

As for my personal experience, let me talk a bit about the impressions I had regarding the organization and event development during the course of the weekend compared to past editions.

The previous Grand Prix was held at the Arena Pavilion inside “Casa the Campo” for many years, but for the first time and due to the new organization ran by Channel Fireball, they decided to host the event at the Madrid Fair (IFEMA), where most corporate events are celebrated.

GPMadrid at IFEMA

The pavilion was very spacious and with good lighting and heating. The warm temperature was especially appreciated since the weather was hideous in Madrid for the most part of the weekend.

On Friday afternoon, I dropped by for the first time and decided to play a Modern side event. Upon arrival, I found a big poster with schedules for different types of events. Although prices tend to be more expensive than in a normal FNM, prizes are supposed to be worth it.

GP Madrid 2018 Side Events

In general, I didn’t feel quite satisfied with the side events because of their duration. Three rounds are too short in my opinion. It’s completely understandable that the organizer’s goal is to make as many tournaments as possible, but in past editions, you always had the chance to play a big event of at least five or six rounds.

As for the Prize Wall, aside from booster boxes, the Card Singles selection was kind of random to say the least with no possibility of getting playsets. The prizes were quite questionable.

Aside from my complaints regarding the tournaments, my goal for Saturday was to finish a Modern deck within that day, ready to make its debut at the double up Modern event on Sunday with some old friends.

In this case, I decided to build BR Hollow One, since I already had most of the expensive cards, and the only thing missing were the creatures and the discard package.

Shopping, Trading, and More

On Saturday, I spent the day watching the main event, visiting stores, and trading cards. I also had the opportunity to get some of my cards signed.

Between each round, I checked for the results of my friends playing Team Constructed and gave them my encouragement for the next round. Then I got some Chinese cards at the store with the best prices in the GP, so I was able to customize my deck a little.

Chinese MTG Cards

The hardest card to find for a Hollow One deck was undoubtedly Goblin Lore, a red-only spell printed in Portal Second Age, Starter 1999, and for the last time in Eighth Edition. No store seemed to have it until I found a few copies at an Italian seller for an exorbitant price.

After some harsh negotiations, I managed to get two French copies at a reasonable price from Portal. Luckily for me, at the end of the day, I found a nice guy from Czech Republic who was willing to trade the last two copies that I needed! Randomness was ready to fight on Sunday.

I even still had the time to wait the long queue at Howard Lyon’s stand to get my Death's Shadow signed. Lyon has incredible patience and performs his alterations with great skill. The coolest signature that I saw was the one with the “bloody touch” to decorate the fearsome shadows.

Howard Lyon

Wrap-Up

On Sunday, it was time to play another Modern side event. I performed quite poorly with my brand-new Hollow One along with some of my best friends who normally are unable to play Magic because of work or parental responsibilities. Actually, I didn’t care much about the results. I was happy to see my friends and have fun for a couple of hours. In the end, a Grand Prix is the perfect place to make new friends or catch up on old ones, while enjoying our favorite game.

Magic: The Gathering is a social game. The next time you have a GP nearby, do not hesitate to pay a visit. Even if you don’t play often, you can share a bit of the unique experience this hobby offers.

Thank you for reading, and as always, I appreciate any comments or opinions you have.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.

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