Monday, January 12, 2015

Report: GP Omaha Last Minute Trials (Grinders)

Event: GP Omaha Last Minute Trials (aka Grinders) x3
Format: Modern
Deck: U/R Delver, U/R Delver, Burn
Deck List: U/R DelverBurn
REL: Competitive

This past weekend I flew up to Omaha with two of my friends, Jason  and James, to play in GP Omaha. I love the Grand Prix experience and I love getting to spend  a weekend with good people.

Last year I quickly earned byes by playing at GP Richmond and carried those byes for most of the year unable to use them. I changed jobs in November and so between my work, family, and the switch to yearly points earning byes I had a whopping zero going into this GP.

Normally there's at least one GP Trial in the DFW area for any GP I intend to go to--possibly just for any GP happening in the country--but somehow there wasn't one for Omaha, so I had no chance to earn two byes that way. Upon arrival in the frozen tundra of Nebraska, I decided to just hit the Grinder events and try to gain some  byes that way. What follows is a rough accounting of a rough series of events for me.
(Not to steal my own thunder but variance was high on Friday.)

The First Grinder
I scribbled my deck list and signed up for a grinder. My first round opponent, Kevin, was a really nice guy who made some comment about how he wasn't very well prepared for the Modern meta. You never really know  what to  expect  in these last minute GPTs--sometimes it's people who just lost byes because they stopped playing for 6 months and sometimes it's random amateur or casual players. I thought maybe Kevin was a casual player.

Kevin wrecked me.

Let's just say I hadn't exactly prepared for Naya Zoo to be a deck at the GP. I think we all know that 4-Colour and Domain Zoo type decks did pretty well overall this weekend, but I can say that I had no way to deal with double Ghor-Clan Rampager when I drew ZERO copies of Lightning Bolt in game one.

"No worries--I'll just run it back in the next grinder" is what I was thinking...

The Second Grinder
I already wasn't super hot on Delver for the weekend. I knew Pod was going to be a big thing so I was trying to convince myself to play Delver instead of Burn.
Ironically, my opponent in round one of the second grinder was on... Burn. Good old RB Burn, actually--so no Boros Charm or Helix in favour of Bump in the Night. He had splashed blue for Treasure Cruise, thankfully.

I couldn't flip a Delver to save my life.

I faded three land in a row on one Delver. Still, I managed to get him to 5 life in game one and 10 life in game two.
But mostly I drew land.

The Third Grinder
At this point I said something to the effect of "forget this--I'm going to play Burn and just roll through a grinder." Well, I nearly did.
Daniel was on an interesting RW Midrange deck I have seen a few variants of. When I saw Arid Mesa and Rugged Prairie I feared the worst-- Soul Sisters splashing for Norin.

I nailed him down to 6 life twice but he kept casting Lightning Helix and I never drew Skullcrack.

I ended game two with 6 land in play and 3 in hand. I'll let you guess who took the match.

I had fun playing these grinders. After each devastating loss I talked with Jason and James and we concluded there really wasn't anything I could have done--sometimes you just draw land, sometimes you just don't win the race to twenty, and sometimes you just draw land again.

We had an awesome dinner with a buddy of mine who lives in Omaha (steaks, beers, and bread pudding), then retired to the hotel to prepare for the main event.
I settled on playing Burn and tweaked my side board a little bit (the list posted above has the 60 from the grinders but the 15 from the main event. I couldn't remember what I registered for the grinder as a sideboard.)

I'll post about the main event soon enough.


  1. There's NO problem that double Ghor-Clan Rampager can't fix!

    I miss last Standard so much :)

    1. Oh it was awesome--for him! (=
      We joked that night that we should all go buy Zoo and play it in the main event. Apparently it would have been a good meta call for the weekend!