After an exciting 20 rounds of Magic: The Gathering, Frank Skarren emerges as the victor of Grand Prix Charlotte (#GPCharlotte). The Top 8 was full of amazing players including Richard Ngyuen, Pat Sullivan, Ben Isgur, Gerard Fabiano, Aaron Lewis, Antonio Baldasari, and Pro Tour Gatecrash Top 4 competitor Ben Stark. GP Charlotte will also go down as the largest Grand Prix ever (until the record is broken again), with 2,692 players—about 400 players more than the next largest!
Here at GP Charlotte, people opened Black Lotuses in their Gold Rush envelopes, met incredible Magic artists like Terese Nielsen, Eric Deschamps, Steve Belledin, Kristen Plescow, and Liz Nugent, played in tons of side events, greeted big name pros like Patrick Chapin, Mike Flores, Brian Kibler, Brad Nelson, and Gerry Thompson, and played some great Magic: The Gathering.
Richard had been able to double-draw his way into Top 8, but Frank was one of the few forced to scrap and fight for every inch—he hadn’t had a break, but he’d also only sustained two losses over the course of the day. One of them was to Richard, which made this payback time.
On three losses, each of these players was looking at an outside shot for Top 8 with a win in the final round. Chris, piloting “the worst deck I’ve ever drafted,” wasn’t optimistic about his chances, however.
Both players are sitting at 13-2, and in need of winning the next two rounds to make the top 8… but only one of them would emerge from this match with a shot at the playoff rounds. Would the notable Wild Nacatl enthusiast be able to take it down?
When last we saw Shuhei on written coverage, he was playing for his tournament life. Now safely in Day 2, the pair of 2-0s from Pod 14 will have to fight for the lone 3-0 record. Who will win this round in the battle of heavyweights?
Terese Nielsen has been our guest of honor here at GP Charlotte, and her line has been immense all weekend long! She has drawn many of Magic's iconic cards such as Force of Will and the GURU lands. Watch her interview now.
Many consider Ben Stark to be the best Limited player in the world, but sitting at 9-1 and with Phillip Fortner impeding his path the road wasn’t exactly clear for the four-time Pro Tour top 8 competitor.
After starting off 8-0, Gerard was looking to get back on track following a Round 9 loss. With the crucial draft pods on the horizon, Top 8 was still in reach for each of these players, but two losses would leave one of them fighting with their backs against the wall for it.
These two players were both on one loss and hoping to stay that way through the day—entering Day 2 on two losses was a much riskier proposition. That said, only one could emerge with their record intact.
Sam Black’s fresh from designing a Pro Tour-winning Standard list in Montreal, but his love of Limited sent him to Charlotte this weekend. Chi Hoi’s a known bruiser in Southern Magic, with an Invitational finals finish to his credit from 2012.
Kristen Plescow is the amazingly talented artist who created the five SCG writer tokens being given out at GP Charlotte. She also has drawn creature tokens for StarCityGames.com and works in-house as their graphic designer. Watch the interview she did with Reuben Bresler.
With a long weekend of Sealed and Booster Draft ahead of me, I decided to jump into Sealed Grinder Three to try my hand at the new format and try to get a feel for the new cards, synergies, and overall strategies therein. Last weekend, I spent a lot of time drafting the various archetypes and subarchetypes to try to see if I could squeeze out any knowledge. And what better way than actually jump into the trenches!
While Grand Prix Charlotte doesn’t actually start until Saturday, players flung open the doors on Friday to play in trials, practice drafting, and enjoy the camaraderie of their fellow magicians. Of course, Friday’s also a great time to visit our artists!