gp orlando

Grand Prix Orlando 2012 REPORT

Continuing my tradition of writing the best tournament reports that no one ever reads, here is my report for Grand Prix Orlando 2012!

GP Orlando

Welcome.

I don’t go to a lot of GP’s but Orlando is my home turf so I got lucky this time. I literally live 5-10 minutes away from the venue which was the greatest thing in the world, I had home field advantage right?

Great day to spend inside all day with a bunch of sweaty dudes.

I hadn’t played Magic in a long time, probably around 4 months, because I seem to have lost my passion after Planeswalker points came out. The grind and the pressure of never missing an event was just too much for a person with a wife and a normal full time job.

However, it felt great to be back playing the game I love.

I decided to play UW Humans; it was a deck I really liked, was capable of winning and I just happen to have most of the cards to build it properly. I made some choices like running Swords of War and Peace over Angelic Destiny, Midnight Haunting main deck, and less 1-drops then normal. I can’t tell you if these choices were right but I thought they were good calls.

 

 

FRIDAY

I know the tournament organizers so I got to sneak in early and check things out Friday. It was pretty low key compared to GP Portland (my only other GP) when it finally opened. I’m guessing it was because of the low incentive to pre-register…a dog tag and a worthless foil seem like awesome incentives to me…no deck boxes, no packs, no playmats.

Going on eBay! …………..

They still had some Christmas decorations up.

I entered the TCG Qualifier and went 4-2 and JUST missed top 8 by some ridiculously small number, finishing in 9th. It was disappointing to just miss top 8 but I still won a playmat which I used as a souvenir to get signed by the pros just like I did at GP Portland and retire that mat.

Sharpie got a workout.

Coolest thing on Friday by far thought was meeting KYT of the Eh Team which I barely recognized from his Twitter picture (the glasses threw me off). I knew I was going to meet him at some time but the sooner the better and it was awesome to meet him before we were both too busy playing Magic and could actually chill and talk.

BFFs.

Jay Boosh signed my Magic bag way back at GP Portland, which I later dubbed the Boosh Bag (which sounded way better then the original name Boosh Sack) and I felt that I had to get KYT to sign it also. Don’t get jealous Jay but KYT signed his name in Chinese too, you need to step up your signing game bro.

KYT came with Alex Hayne and Joey Smith of Team Manadeprived and they were super awesome, I really can’t describe how great it was to hang out with them because they were all just so awesome. Alex is the best Canadian Magic player around and I highly suggest rooting for him at the next GP, while Joey is working his way up.

Also they are pretty awesome people.

KYT turned off data on his cell phone (international data sucks) and the hotels wifi wasn’t working correctly so I turned on the wifi hotspot in my phone to help him out. It was like the bat symbol but it was the KYT symbol instead…every time I was around he would find me because his phone would sign on automatically and he’d start getting a bunch of tweets.

A couple last minute deck tweeks after the TCG Qualifier and I was ready for Saturday.

Plus going home and sleeping in my own bed with wife was also pretty cool while most people were stuck crammed into cheap hotel rooms and eating bad Popeye’s food.

 

SATURDAY

In the GP I started out good, 4-2 with no byes but ended at 4-5 at the end of day 1 with a very disappointing final 3 games. If I was to summarize my professional Magic career with one phrase it would be “…and then I lost the last 3.”

I started out an 8 round PTQ before 5-0. And then I lost the last 3.

I think my call of Swords over Angelic Destiny was the right one, it won multiple games for me almost by itself. Grand Abolisher was a house all day as was Moorland Haunt and I ran a single Phantasmal Image main deck which I used defensively mostly.

I was hoping to make day 2 but I like to take it one game at a time and try to win each and every match without thinking of what round it is and I just couldn’t keep it up for whatever reason. I had some bad breaks getting mana screwed in two game threes but it happens and I’m extremely happy with my play overall. I felt myself get better and better as the tournament went on and that’s what I want.

I got to meet a lot more pros again and have them sign my top 16 TCG playmat from yesterday in between rounds including my hero Gerry T and the most underrated Channel Fireball member, Caleb Durward, who was also super nice. Caleb is super passionate about Magic and was super excited to show me his unique deck when I complimented his deck building skills.

Alex facing off with Caleb.

My wife, who is from Brazil, got to meet PVDDR which was nice for her…he’s the only Magic player she knows exists.

Playtesting.

SUNDAY

Sunday I entered the TCG Sealed Qualifier and sucked balls. I had such a grindy UW deck that I had 2 draws before I dropped. Yes, draws in sealed…

Funniest moment of the tournament was when the judge was announcing the TCG Player sealed qualifier and started it out by saying “Welcome gamers to the Star City Games Open…uhhh…”

There was an eruption of applause and laughter from the crowd and the judge turned so red…I felt so bad for him but, hey, it was classic.

While the finals were going on I smashed a Win-a-Box to end the weekend on a positive note and reaffirming that I am actually a decent Magic player still in my head. Next time I don’t make day 2 I should probably just play Win-a-Boxes all day since I’m undefeated in them still to this date.

That’s KYT’s signature!

I finished in time to watch the second game of the finals which was super fly. Congratulations to you Conely Woods, you earned it and are just playing unreal right now.

MONDAY aka THE BEST DAY EVER MADE

And then came Monday…

So I get to the hotel to pickup Joey, KYT and Alex for us to go to Universal Studios together (which is awesome already) and who just happens to walk past but Gerry-freaking-T. Obviously we tell him to come to Universal with us (which he was already planning on going to). He said sure.

H O L Y B A L L S.

Gerry T is going to Universal Studios with me.

H O L Y B A L L S.

I missed Alex in this shot…oh well.

Gerry already had his ticket but I got the other guys my employee discount on theirs and we were off! We met fellow Magic players Melissa DeTora and James Searles inside the park, two more super nice people.

I’m a firm believer that you should surround yourself with good people and this whole group was good people just awesome to spend the day with. I felt a little dumb at first since everyone else’s Magic IQ is a lot higher than mine but I caught up eventually in conversation.

When we passed the face painter I told Gerry T he should get his face painted……….like Alex Bertoncini. He didn’t think it was as funny as I did.

I also made sure everyone on the Hulk knew that Gerry T was riding with them but they were unimpressed. I don’t think they spoke English.

HOWEVER…

So what could have made Monday any more epic? Well when I got home from work, still on a high from hanging out with Gerry and KYT, my wife shows me the surprise of a lifetime…

OMGOMGOMG

She is pregnant with our first child.

What.

A.

Day.

Wednesday morning I gave the Mana Deprived crew a ride to the airport and we said our goodbyes, I told them the big news over breakfast and thanked them for being a part of the best day ever. And they asked me to make sure my story about Kibler in the bathroom from GP Portland was true which I assured them it was.

I want to give a special thanks to Gerry T (aka the coolest person ever), KYT, Alex, Joey, Melissa DeTora, and James for being a part of one of the biggest days of my life, one which I will never forget. You guys truly hold a special place in my heart and it’s crazy that a little stupid card game is the thing that brought us all together.

I mean how many people in the world can say that they rode the Hulk with Gerry T? Only a hand full and I’m one of them.

Waiting around because James forgot what his locker number was.

Alex “doing something cool.”

The money shot.

Extra thanks to all the awesome people I met at the GP which I can’t name here by name (I remember @manabase from twitter), you know who you are!

And hey, is Gerry a bad name for a girl? (I’m joking honey, I swear!)

Thanks for reading,
Sean Roden aka en3myzero
For enemyzero.com and manadeprived.com
twitter – @en3myzero

   

Grand Prix Orlando Survival Guide

Grand Prix Orlando is fast approaching and it’s on my home turf finally. The only other GP I have been to was GP Portland (report post here) and it was one of the top Magic experiences I have ever had. I love the area and I got to visit my father who I don’t get to see very often so it was the best one for me to try attend.

One of the highlights for GP Portland was getting to meet Jay Boosh and Smi77y of the Eh Team fame back when they were first just starting out. Jay Boosh acctually gave me a shout out on the next episode but he screwed up my Twitter name which I attribute to why I only have 40 followers still. I’m sure that’s the only reason.

The venue is the Wyndham Resort that is directly in the middle of International Drive which is super busy all year round with a lot of travelers like you crazy people.

I haven’t done it much but the best part of traveling to Magic tournaments, to me at least, is seeing new places, eating new foods, and doing stuff outside of the tournament itself. I figured I’d put a quick post up as sort of a “survival guide” to having fun if your ever going to see sunlight while your here.

 

Watch out for alligators.

 

So a couple of quick notes first:

  • International Drive is OBVIOUSLY a big international attraction…there will be a lot of foreign people walking around so be respectful.
  • January is the slow season around here so the crowds shouldn’t be too bad…but don’t quote me.
  • Temperature will be around 50 at night and 75 during the day. The humidity is really high here so it often feels hotter than it really is.
  • The public transportation here sucks so much you have no idea. There is a trolley that goes up and down I-Drive every 20 minutes which is probably your best bet.

Yes, this is much like riding the buses here.

 

Onto the food:

Asian

  • Bento Cafe – About 5-10 minutes away walking. The absolute best and very unique take on asian fusion dining. I highly suggest going at least once.

Seafood

  • Bubba Gump Shrimp Co – This is where my day job is. It’s on Citywalk which is the free to get in area in front of Universal Studios.
  • Boston Lobster Feast – This is the best but it’s super expensive, only go if your super good at the credit card game. South a little bit on I-Drive.

Brazilian

  • Vittorios – Fantastic buffet with great traditional Brazilian foods, my wife loves it. It’s on north I-Drive across from the Festival Bay mall (which is garbage, don’t go there).
  • Brazil 24-Hour – Most affordable churascaria around but it’s not fantastic. It’s also not open 24 hours despite the name. North on corner of I-Drive and Kirkman Rd.

Salads

  • Sweet Tomatoes – Imagine a buffet with just salads. Yep. North I-Drive about 20 minutes walking, on the corner of I-Drive and Kirkman Rd.

Breakfast

  • Ponderosa Steakhouse – 3.99 all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet, you really can’t beat it. You should eat breakfast here everyday. On north I-Drive right before Wet and Wild.

Misc

  • Bahama Breeze – Fantastic island inspired food and outdoor seating with a live band. South of the Wyndham on I-Drive.
  • Dave and Busters – This place is the shit. It’s basiclly an adult arcade. This is a must do one night, it’s got a full restaurant inside and tons of games and things for us nerds to do. South I-Drive again…you can’t miss it. It almost always has a line around the building to get in.

Alcoholics and Patrick Chapin

  • ICEBAR Orlando – I don’t drink but if I did I have been told this place is the place to go. It’s one of only 2 icebars in America. It’s a little south, 5-10 minutes walking. They also have a “Fire” lounge night club.

Other fun things nearby:

  • Universal Studios – About 15-20 minutes away walking north on I-Drive. The main attraction in the area, buy a Harry Potter wand and flash it when you cast spells during the tournament. The judges will love it.
  • Citywalk – This is the area around Universal which is free to get in if you’re not driving. It’s got a bunch of restaurants (Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Margaritaville, Hard Rock Cafe, Emerill’s), AMC movie theater, bars, etc.
  • Movies – The 2 best options for you would be Pointe Orlando which is a bunch of overpriced tourist shops, about 5-10 minutes away walking down I-Drive south or the AMC which is in Citywalk, at the entrance to Universal Studios.
  • Mini golf – These are everywhere, there are at least 3 within 5-10 minutes walking distance. If you hit me up and I like you I have a stack of free game coupons I can give out.
  • Orlando Improv Comedy Club – If this is your thing then it’s at the Pointe Orlando center to the south.
  • Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum – To the south near Pointe Orlando, 5-10 minutes away walking.
  • Go Karts – North I-Drive past the road to Universal, pretty cheap.
  • Sea World – To a lesser extent than Universal because it’s further away, if you rent a car or travel by bus (again, the buses here blow) it’s not too far but it’s the far opposite end of International Drive going South, way past the Orange County Convention Center.
  • Wet and Wild – Not that anyone wants to see a bunch of Magic players with their shirts off (except Kibler) but it’s a pretty cheap option if you want, about 15-20 minutes away by walking. They have 2 rates, tickets are half price after 2 PM.
  • Disney – One big word of warning, Disney is NOT NEAR the tournament venue. It’s pretty far away, you will either need to rent a car or find some other mode of transportation.

 

Best rollercoaster around.

 

The MUST DOs, in my opinion, are Universal Studios (if your budget permits) or Disney if you have kids and Dave and Busters multiple times.

There is no really close place to FNM…Coolstuffinc is on the other side of Orlando and the next best place, Phoenix Games (the organizers that setup the GP), is about a 20 minute drive away on West Colonial Drive. Maybe there is a super FNM at the venue?

Hope to see you there, look me up at the tournament and say hi.

If anyone has any specific questions please feel free to email me or message me on Twitter, if it’s a big topic I’ll add it to this post…I made this list pretty quickly so I might add more later anyways.

 

Sean Roden aka enemyzero
I will be wearing a black Las Vegas t-shirt to remind me how horrible I did at SCG Las Vegas.
Twitter: en3myzero