Mind-Boggling Technology – A GP Nashville Report, *55th*

Grand Prix Nashville was one of the most fun tournaments I have ever attended. After pulling some strings, Alex John was able to take his gigantic van to Nashville. Whenever we get a good group together in the van, it’s almost more entertaining than the tournament itself. The van included Alex John (18th place), Ari Lax (2nd place), DJ Kastner, Kai Ruan, Alex Olson, Tatyana Dobreva, and myself. The key to making the car ride go fast was to go to the grocery store and spend the whole time making sandwiches.

We arrived at the tournament site late Friday night, but had no clue how to find our destination because it was like a miniature city. There were two very large rooms that looked like something out of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Tatyana and I stayed with Pat Chapin in the on-site hotel. We got to our room only to find make-up in the bathroom and a bag on the bed. The hotel staff had no clue what was going on, but we ended up getting a new room on the other side of the building that had a worse view. There were only three people in the hotel room because I wanted to try sleeping before the tournament for once.

There were 1,486 players in the event which was pretty close to my estimation of 1,500. We were going to play ten rounds on day 1 so I was pretty happy to have gotten seven hours of sleep. I began the day with my trusty 5-Hour Energy since it has allowed me to be successful so many times before.

The Pool

I opened my sealed deck and saw Koth, Carnifex Demon, and Geth looking back at me. My deck building process was even easier when every color besides red and black were unplayble. The support cards were not amazing, but my bombs could win me many games. Here is what I ended up playing.

I had some notable sideboard cards that included Glint Hawk Idol, Tower of Calamaties, Flameborn Hellion, Contagious Nim, and Trigon of Mending. Tower of Calamaties was a little slow for my deck because I already had Geth and Carnifex Demon at the top of the curve. I received opinions that went to both sides of the spectrum of playability. Some argued that it was a bomb in sealed because it is a slow format while others said it was too slow and would die to artifact removal. I kept the card in mind while sideboarding because it is probably good against some of the very slow decks. Flameborn Hellion was the most commonly sided in card because Neurok Replica was pretty underwhelming for me, since I faced nothing but control decks.

Contagious Nim and Trigon of Mending would come in against very aggressive decks, but I did not face any in the seven rounds of sealed. The Glint Hawk Idol would have possibly been played if I had more artifacts, but there has to be around 15 or 16 to warrant the inclusion.

I normally like to avoid playing Accorder’s Shield in sealed deck because Turn to Slag is in nearly every deck. The reason I played it in this deck is because I had 2 Bleak Coven Vampires and they are considerably worse without metalcraft. It can also be used to your advantage if your opponent wastes their Turn to Slag on an equipped creature and then you play a six-drop bomb.

My signature move in sealed deck is to splash all of my Sylvok Replicas because there are not many ways to destroy bomb enchantments such as Volition Reins and True Conviction. There was only a small price to pay for playing two Forests because Koth and Turn to Slag were my only double red cards. The deck also had two Iron Myr so I was not afraid to play only six Mountains.

I had three byes and played against Carlos Romao in round four in a ggslive feature match. He was playing a poison deck that had Skinrender for removal. I still chose to draw in this matchup because it’s a rare occasion that a sealed deck is good enough to produce an insanely fast poison build. There were some misplays on my part that included skipping some turns of playing around Untamed Might. If he had it on any of the turns I was careless, I would’ve lost the match.

I knew it was my weekend to shine when I was at nine poison counters facing down Plague Stinger, Tel-Jilad Fallen, and Ichorclaw Myr with my two Iron Myr. I had one turn to draw Carnifex Demon to not lose the game and I ripped it like a champ. I had enough Swamps in play to cast it and activate it once which killed his entire board. The third game was won by drawing Geth and activating it on a Plague Stinger. I milled a Genesis Wave and he immediately conceded. That round really raised my confidence and I felt like Nashville was my tournament to win.


I sat down for my fifth round and the people around me were discussing how they lost. This seemed like a red flag so I decided to ask my opponent what his record was and it turns out that he was 3-1. I immediately ran to the judge station and informed them of my situation and they found the match slip from last round. I was mentally prepared to be 3-1 since there is usually nothing that can be done at this point, but the judges were able to switch the opponents of Carlos and myself. There has never been a situation where the judges actually change the results, but I’ll take it. Make sure to check your match slip results at least three times on your way to giving it to the judges.

My new opponent was playing a typical Red-White deck, but his draws were pretty terrible all match. I won one game with Carnifex Demon and the other with Geth. Must be nice, right?


Round six was another feature match against Patrick Chapin who was playing a less than stellar Black/White aggro deck. I looked at his deck during the byes so I had the advantage of knowing the deck was not very good when we played. There was a poison deck that I suggested and thought he was trying to sideboard it in for game two without me knowing. He ended up staying with the Black/White deck for game two and I ended up winning with my superior cards.


I was feeling pretty good about my chances of having a great sealed deck record, but decided to do a 20% split with Gerard Fabiano for the hell of it. We were both 6-0 so it seemed like a good way to guarantee some cash for the weekend. I am a big fan of doing prize splits at big tournaments because it makes them more interesting. It is the same reason that betting on football is so popular. It ended up being a great decision since Gerard ended up in 4th place (congrats).

I lost the next two rounds to great decks with aggressive creatures and removal. Arc Trail blew me out two times in round seven by Chris Woltereck. This was by far the most difficult GP day one I have ever played in with regards to the skill of opponents. Round eight was close, but I was tight on mana in the final game.


It’s never a good feeling when you start out 6-0 in a Grand Prix, but end up having to fight for day 2 in the final round. My round 9 opponent was a ringer from the New Jersey area that had a great Red/Black control deck. I played a turn 3 Koth, but the game was far from over since it lasted until Geth was activated about ten times. Luckily I was able to see what was in my opponents deck since Geth milled most of it. I was pretty worried about being able to win the match because of all the powerful removal spells and a splashed Sunblast Angel that were revealed. I won the second game by waiting for three black mana to activate Carnifex Demon on the same turn as it was cast in order to play around Grasp of Darkness. Sunblast Angel was in my mind the entire game since he had out one Plains so it could come down at any time. Carnifex Demon attacked, but I made sure to play Tumble Magnet as Sunblast insurance. He played Sunblast the next turn and I tapped it with Tumble Magnet when the trigger was on the stack so it destroyed itself as well.


I barely made day two, but still had a tenth round with this sealed deck. Round ten was very frustrating because I was horribly mana flooded game one, but ended up drawing Geth to win. I mulligan down to four on the play in the second game and get stomped. Game three I keep a two land hand, but draw all spells for the entire game. It was fortunate that there were only ten rounds because I was pretty upset after losing such a variance-filled match and had the night to forget about it.


I felt pretty good about the draft portion and was ready to do battle after drinking the trusty 5-Hour Energy. I was in a tough pod that featured players such as Phil Napoli, Mat Marr, and Ken Cordell. My first pack could not have been better since I opened a Hoard-Smelter Dragon. The red cards were not flowing in their usual manner, but I was able to get enough blue cards to make a good control deck.

I chose to go second every game I could because I had early creatures to stop an assault. The Twisted Images seemed good in a deck like this because I had Neurok Replica, Vulshok Replica, and Saberclaw Golem. Even when it’s not good, you can just cycle it for one blue mana. I think it is one of the more underrated cards in the limited format. The reason blue is so good in draft is because you can get cards like Sky-Eel School to table when they should be first picked.

I played against Adam Fox with a Red/Black control deck in the first round. The first game featured a turn 4 Hoard-Smelter Dragon off of Palladium Myr which sealed it up quite nicely. His deck seemed pretty marginal and I ended up winning the match with Sky-Eel Schools because he telegraphed Arc Trail by making a fishy attack one turn. I decided to be abnormally aggressive with the Schools because they would just end up trading with Arc Trail if I blocked. The end result was that the removal spell was obviously in his hand and all it did was kill an Iron myr that was equipped with Sylvok Lifestaff and I took two damage.


The next round of the draft was against Mat Marr who was playing a rancid Green/Black non-infect deck. He had some good spells, but I lost one game to Exsanguinate and Bleak Coven Vampires. I ended up getting the match with the power of random counterspells and Hoard-Smelter Dragon once again.


I was pretty worried about playing Phil Napoli in the third round because I passed two Skinrenders and a Slice in Twain his way in the third pack. It turned out that there were some random poison creatures in the packs as well so he only ended up with one Skinrender and passed the other two bomb uncommons to the other poison guy that he beat in the previous round. His deck was very good, but I ended up winning by grinding him out. I sideboarded in random creatures for Twisted Images because all I had to do is block his guys and my late game flyers would pick up the pieces.


I was pretty excited that the Blue/Red control deck was able to 3-0 the pod since I am pretty unfamiliar with that archetype. My main goal in this tournament was to Top 64 so I could get one Pro Point and lock up level 7 next year. This means that all that was necessary was going 1-1-1 in the last draft, but I could also go 3-0 and possibly make top 16.

I only recognized Ben Hayes in my second draft pod so it was a good sign that I would get my win. The draft itself was very strange because there were a bunch of poison drafters to my left and a bunch of metalcraft drafters to my right. I drafted a White/Blue myr deck which does not happen very often.


This deck was pretty wild since I had so many Myr synergies going on at the same time. I could recur guys with Myr Reservoir and make more tokens with Myrsmith. It seemed like the perfect deck to go first with, but I tried it and did not go over well. I went back to playing second and it worked very well.

The first round of the draft was against one of the unfamiliar faces and we didn’t have a very interactive match. He took a mulligan in the first game and missed the second land drop for two turns. The second game was a little better but I drew all three Myrsmiths so it got a little out of hand.


I was 11-3 at this point so there was not much incentive to draw the next round. If I went 2-0 in this draft, then I would play out the last round. If I lost the next round, I would safely draw into top 64 and get the point I was looking for.

The judge came over with my next opponent and informed me that I got a game one win due to a deck registering error. Things seemed like they were going my way, but I still got rolled in two games. I only had three lands to work with in the first game so the Myrsmiths were not doing very much. The second game I almost won, but he played two Dispense Justices with metalcraft on two consecutive turns.


I was close to top 16ing another Grand Prix this season, but it was not to be. My last opponent was also interested in drawing when I sat down so I ended up in 55th place. It was a successful weekend and I thought Nashville was a great city to hold a Grand Prix. The Top 8 of this tournament was incredible which shows just how skill-intensive this format can be.

11-4-1, 55th

I will be in Japan for the World Championships in a couple weeks and still have a lot of work to do in order to prepare.

Props- RIW Hobbies for their continued support. That is by far the best store that I have ever played at and would not be where I am today without it.
-Alex John taking his awesome van for this trip
-Tatyana keeping me company on the trip and being cute
-Gerard top 4ing the tournament (Puerto Ricoooooooooooooo)
-The tournament venue being awesome
-Alex Olson driving the van well
-Ari for making it to the finals (nice work)

Slops- Ari making us wait to leave until the tournament finished
-Ari for almost killing us numerous times on the drive back to Michigan (I wish he was as good at driving as he is at Magic =)
-Kai Ruan sleeping the entire car ride (Yes that is over 20 hours of sleep)

Thanks for reading.

7 thoughts on “Mind-Boggling Technology – A GP Nashville Report, *55th*”

  1. theonlyoneforthem

    what a great article man and good job coming in 55th place what is that like 10 pro points or something!!!!!!

  2. I think he slept for 33 hours. 9 down to Nashtyville, 9 back to MI, 8 on friday night and 7 on saturday night.

  3. Hi, Im Adam Fox, your round 11 opponent, just a question…you make it sound like you won the game cause I broadcasted I had arc trail and that allowed you to not get 2 for 1d, but what would you of had me do that game? I had a bunch of mana dorks and a hand full of air ( besides the one arc trail) staring down your 2 3/3 flyers and my only chance of winning that game was forcing through enough damage so I could get you low enough to burn u out with drain life vampires or one of my galvanic blasts or necrogin censor ( yes my deck was mediocore). thanks

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