Hey everyone! Grand Prix San Jose starts tomorrow, and I’m incredibly excited to be involved in what I’m sure will be an incredible event. I’ve always loved Team Sealed—after all, what’s better than playing Magic on a team with friends? GP San Jose has much more to offer than just a great format, though, and that’s what I’m here to talk about. Think of this article as a one-stop shop for answers to your questions about GP San Jose. If your question isn’t answered, don’t worry, because we’ll be doing an AMA on www.reddit.com/r/magictcg later today.
Where is the event, and how do I get there?
The event is in the South Hall of the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. The address is as follows:
435 South Market St.
San Jose, CA 95113
Of course, you might find yourself at the main entrance to the Convention Center, which isn’t where the event is being held. The South Hall is a separate building. To get from the main entrance to the South Hall, you should follow this beautiful diagram:
I’m staying at the Holiday Inn San Jose Airport Hotel. How can I get to the venue?
We’re running a shuttle bus for players staying at the Holiday Inn San Jose Airport Hotel. The shuttle runs only during peak hours, so if you would like to go to and from the venue at other times, we recommend consulting the Light Rail schedule at www.VTA.org. The fare is only $2 each way, and there are stations close to the Holiday Inn and the South Hall. Alternate options like taxis or car services like Uber are also available in San Jose.
Thursday, Jan 29: 9:30am – 12:30pm, 9pm-Midnight
Friday, Jan 30: 9:30am – 12:30pm, 9pm-Midnight
Saturday, Jan 31: 7:30am – 10:30am, 9pm-Midnight
Sunday, Feb 1: 7:30am – 10:30am, 9pm-Midnight
Shuttle Pickup/Dropoff Locations:
Holiday Inn – In front of the trees on the corner of North 1st and Gish Rd.
San Jose Convention Center South Hall—on the corner of Market and Viola, in front of the right turn only sign.
I just want to come hang out/play side events/shop with vendors/see artists/talk to friends/whatever. Do I need to register for the Grand Prix to enter the venue?
Nope! You’re free to come hang out without paying any entry fee up front. We hope you’ll play in some side events and shop with vendors and artists, but if you just want to watch some great Magic, we hope you’ll swing by and enjoy the show!
I haven’t played in a Team Sealed event before. How does the event work?
At the start of the event on Saturday, judges will post seatings for all teams. You’ll be seated with your teammates, so don’t worry about that. Once everyone is seated and some announcements are made, you’ll be handed, among other things, 6 packs of Khans of Tarkir, 6 packs of Fate Reforged, and a deck registration sheet.
You’ll open the packs and have 20 minutes to register all the cards in them on that sheet. These won’t be the cards you play with, so don’t worry about building decks yet. After 20 minutes, the head judge will make a few announcements about how to pass the product around to other teams, and moments later, you’ll have a new pool and 60 minutes with which to build three decks. Make sure the pool you receive matches what was listed on the sheet you were given, and then get to work! You’ll need to register each player’s deck on a separate sheet. Each card in your pool should be assigned to a player’s deck list, either as part of their maindeck or in their sideboard.
After that, we run Day 1 with 9 rounds of Swiss. Each round will consist of three matches—each member of your team will be playing one member of the opposing team in a normal, first to two wins match of Magic. The team that wins more of those individual matches will win the overall team match. You can communicate with your teammates during the match using brief verbal communication, but you will still be required to play at a reasonable rate.
At the end of Day 1, each team with 21 match points or more, or the top 40 teams, whichever is more teams, will advance to Day 2. Match points are earned based on the results of the overall team matches—for each of the 9 rounds your team wins, your team will earn 3 match points. For each round drawn, you’ll earn 1, and each round lost is worth 0.
Day 2 consists of 5 rounds of Swiss followed by a cut to the Top 4 teams based on combined standings after both days. The Top 4 teams will play through a single-elimination bracket to determine final standings and the winner of the event!
Day 1 of the event starts on Saturday, but your website says the GP starts on Thursday. What happens on Thursday and Friday?
Even though the main event starts on Saturday, we’ve got side events going on all day on Thursday and Friday, and we’ll have artists and vendors on site as well. You can also pick up your Planeswalker Registration swag on Thursday or Friday if you registered for that. Check out our full side events schedule at www.GPSanJose.com.
The website says I can win Prize Tix at your side events. What are those?
A while back, the ChannelFireball/Cascade Games team decided that we wanted players to play the formats they were excited about and win the prizes they were interested in. You no longer need to play a format you don’t like to win a prize you’re interested in. Instead, all our events award Prize Tix, which are items you can redeem for prizes at the Prize Wall. 10 Prize Tix – the base unit – can be redeemed for a pack of Fate Reforged, while other prizes can be earned by turning in larger amounts. Save up Prize Tix from multiple events to get whatever prize you’re most interested in – they’re good all weekend! Check out a partial list of prizes at www.GPSanJose.com.
Are there Last Chance Trials for this GP? Can I earn byes?
There are no byes at Team format Grand Prix events, so there will not be Last Chance Trials. We recommend playing in our Team Sealed Practice events, which will be running on demand Thursday and Friday, if you’d like to get some more experience with the format.
What artists will be present at the event?
We’ve got a lineup of nine fantastic artists at GP San Jose:
Check out their booths where you can buy art of different shapes and sizes and get your cards signed. If you are getting cards signed, we recommend buying something or leaving a tip as well!
I’m at the GP all four days and I’m paralyzed by the ridiculous amount of awesome things I can do. What would you do if you were playing at the event?
Great question. Here’s my dream schedule, as a lover of Limited:
Show up at the venue a little before Noon to play in a Mini Masters event. Once that’s over, browse the vendors and chat with friends until 3, when it’s time to Chaos Draft. If I’m doing well, keep playing that—if I’m 0-2, drop and play in the Sealed Challenge, hopefully with time to stop by the concession stand in between. Early bedtime… oh, who are we kidding, Cube all night.
Get the team together and crush some Team Sealed Practice events—preferably two, so we all end up with a full set of mats after the main event. Attend the 5 p.m. Team Sealed seminar with Tom Martell and Matt Sperling, then go straight to the Sealed Challenge. After that, a quick bite to eat, and an early bedtime—not kidding this time. Sleep before the GP!
Play the Main Event. Play all nine rounds. Qualify for Day 2. Failing that, hit the GP Rebound event at 4 p.m. to try to win free entry into the Super Sunday Series Sealed (and to practice for said Super Sunday event.) Of course, I’d make sure to head to the artist tables between rounds!
Win the GP. If not qualified for Day 2, win the Super Sunday Series Sealed event instead. If that doesn’t work out, hop in the Two-Block Sealed at 3 p.m. for a bit of a different experience. Turn in my massive amounts of Prize Tix over at the Prize Wall and spend the rest of the night hanging out with friends before my trip home.
Of course, your mileage will vary and your ideal schedule may be different. If you love Constructed, we’ve got all kinds of Constructed events, and if you will be showing up and leaving at different times or if you have obligations on Thursday and Friday, you’ll be doing things a little differently. The point of this little story is that you can customize your schedule and enjoy the weekend your way!
I hope you have tons of fun this weekend at GP San Jose. Don’t forget that if you can’t join us there, you can watch coverage of the event at twitch.tv/channelfireball.
If you have more questions, look for that Reddit AMA or send us an email at [email protected]. The fun starts tomorrow—I hope to see you there!