You’ve heard about it, and what now? More details? Keep reading.
What on earth is this… Keep reading.
TARMOGOYF!?!? Keep reading.

It all starts when I’m given my Sealed pool on Day 1. It contains:

Arguably the two best mythics you can get in Modern Masters 2015. As it turns out, I also have an Ant Queen and 20 other reasonable RGw filler cards. I promptly 9-0 the first day of Grand Prix Vegas.

At this point, I’m obviously excited, especially since I have a good amount of knowledge of the draft format. The only problem is that I literally need to finish 1st or 2nd in the tournament to have a relevant amount of Pro Points toward Platinum status and the race for the World Championship.

Was that really a problem? A First World Problem you could say, but whatever— I’m already there. I already had an unfair share of luck—why not ride the wave and do my best?

Draft 1

The first draft was iffy. I was torn between UR Elementals and UW Artifacts. I was looking for solid signals that would cement me in one archetype or the other, but they kept changing pack after pack. I was taking one for Elementals, one for artifacts, one for Elementals, one for artifacts… until I got a super late Dispatch in pack 2. My deck was lacking a little bit, but I compensated with Cloud Elementals and some tempo spells and went 2-1.

Draft 2

Sitting at 11-1, the record needed for a lock into Top 8 was 13-1-1 or better. Going into the 2nd draft, my goal was to 2-0 and then intentional draw. I drafted a sweet UG graft deck. Unfortunately I never saw Thrummingbird, however my deck was still solid with 3 Cytoplast Root-Kin.

The run-goods didn’t stop. I got the two wins expected and smoothly drew in 5th place.

And now for the actual reason you are reading this article.

Top 8 Draft

Ben Stark and I were both featured as recorded drafters. I opened Spikeshot Elder, a virtually RW card that is also playable in anything else, but only incredible along with equipment and pump spells. Turns out that my archetype was astonishingly open, and after pack 1 it was already looking promising.

The Dreaded Pack 2


I freeze for 2 seconds… then I’m laughing in my head thinking, “Why is this happening to me? Why do I have to make this choice?” I spend a good 5 seconds thinking they must have purposely put that foil Tarmogoyf in the pack to see where it would stop.

Only a little bit after, I start flipping through the pack hoping there is nothing I can pick out of it. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your opinion, there is a Burst Lightning, an excellent addition to my deck.

I can’t recall exactly what my thought process was during the next 20 seconds, however the last 10 were something along the lines of: “I can still win the tournament without that Burst Lightning, let’s get the cake AND eat it.”

I showed the camera the correct pick (Burst Lightning), then showed the Tarmogoyf that I had added to my pool.


You can call that greedy and you would be right. As I have been saying on social media, having more time to make my decision, I would have taken the instant removal spell had I accounted for everything I could put at risk by not doing so. 1st place prize, Platinum, and a World Championship invitation.

I don’t have exact numbers for someone who does not need Pro Points and other types of invitations, but I would think it’s a +EV choice to take the foil Tarmogoyf if you were in that position. As for me, I could’ve been giving up too much.

Social Media Reaction

Some people agreed, some didn’t. They are easily separable in two categories: The professional players and the rest of the planet.

Naturally, the pros did not agree. It makes a lot of sense, even though their opinions might have been worded oddly. In the end, if you call yourself a Pro Player, you should want to qualify for World Championship, Platinum, and winning as much as you can. I’m proud to say I call myself one and that it is my job. I messed up in the heat of the moment, greedy capitalist human instinct took over.

The rest of planet had my back, saying they would’ve done the same. I appreciate a good backup, yet, it is important to recognize mistakes even when they turn out to be rewarding.

Mistakes, You Say ?

When I said the rest of the planet, I wasn’t completely off. So many people shared the story it became a historic moment of the game, GP Vegas had #MakeMagicHistory as its motto and the story was heard around the world.

I decided to list the foil stamped Tarmogoyf on eBay as my initial reason to take it was to get money. I was thinking around $300 when I picked it, putting it on eBay after the attention of the story surrounding it, maybe $1,000? If that’s the case, why not give 50% of the proceeds to Gamers Helping Gamers to make sure someone else can benefit from my mistake too! It was a good way to possibly double potential bidders as a second incentive and help a group of people I wish I could help, but can’t considering my financial situation.

As I am writing this, the auction is at $16,000. I can’t thank the community enough. I got incredibly lucky, I had not predicted this outcome when I took the card.

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