A Casual Players Guide to Grand Prix Boston
By Robert Dougherty
I wear a lot of hats. Iím a husband, Dad, professional Magic player, DCI judge, owner of the Your Move Games stores, and Magic writer. Iíve produced a line of tokens, and am designing a CCG. But today Iím talking to you as the premier tournament organizer for New England.
I run Pro Tour qualifiers (PTQs), Regionals, States, Junior Super Series (JSS), Prereleases and play host at Pro Tour Boston. This year, as I did 2 years ago, I am teaming up with Tom Shea (fellow tournament organizer, owner of TJís Collectibles and creator of the New England Challenge tournaments) to bring you Grand Prix Boston on Feb 22nd , 23rd .
At the different types of events I run, I see different types of players. PTQís bring out the most competitive players, Regionals, States, and JSSs are frequented by the PTQ players and the less competitive Friday Night Magic players, and everybody, including the most casual Magic player, loves Prereleases.
Why are Prereleases such a draw? Because there is so much fun stuff to do! Players get to see the new cards, meet hundreds of their fellow Magic players, get cards signed by a Magic artist, and buy cool stuff at dealer tables.
Because Grand Prix are competitive events with big prizes, a lot of casual players think that there will be nothing there for them. This couldnít be further from the truth.
A Grand Prix is basically a giant Magic convention. You go for the weekend, get a hotel room, and play Magic Ďtil you drop. There is so much going on that that you wonít want to go back to your hotel room, but hey, you have to sleep sometime.
Looking for good deals or that hard to find card your local shop never has in stock? Then a Grand Prix is the place to be. Grand Prix Boston will have six dealers, so you are sure to be able to find what you are looking for.
These dealers also buy cards and collections, so you can turn your unwanted rares into cash.
A staple of the Grand Prix is the featured artist. The artist has a table where they display and sell their original artwork, prints and artist proofs.
In addition to displaying their art and talking to players, artists at shows also sign Magic cards bearing their work. Itís typical to get about 4 cards signed at a time. You can try for more, but donít be surprised if youíre asked to wait while they take care of the folks with fewer cards.
Scott M. Fischer will be the featured artist at Grand Prix Boston, so get your Voidmage Prodigies ready!
Meet the Pros
Youíve read about their accomplishments on the Pro Tour, youíve read their articles on the Sideboard, now go to a Grand Prix and meet them in person. Iíve never seen a Pro player turn down a request for a signature, so donít be shy.
Try you hand against the best in the game! Throughout the weekend we will be rustling up Pros with time to kill to take on all comers. If you can beat Ďem, you win a pack!
Sealed Deck Clinic with Gary Wise
Grand Prix Boston is Limited, the same format as the Legions Prerelease. Each player will receive 1 Onslaught Tournament Pack and 2 Legions Boosters with which to build a 40 card deck. If youíre a little nervous about this process, we have just the thing for you. Legendary Pro Player and Sideboard writer Gary Wise will be doing a sealed deck clinic Friday night at 5PM, and again later in the evening.
He will show you (in his unique boisterous fashion) how to turn your pile of cards into a winning deck.
Grand Prix Trial
(Friday, 5PM sign in 6PM start)
Hereís your first chance to put what you learned from Gary Wise to work. The Grand Prix Trial is the same format as the Grand Prix. Think of it as practice for the Grand Prix itself. You could show the deck you built to Gary or one of the other Pros and get more tips.
In addition to the packs players win, the winner of the event gets 3 Awarded Byes in the Grand Prix.
What are Awarded Byes?
When a player has Awarded Byes they get automatic wins in the Grand Prix. If a player has 2 Byes, they donít play in the first 2 rounds of the Grand Prix and receive points for each of those rounds as if they won.
You should always check to make sure the tournament staff knows about your Byes. At the beginning of the Grand Prix, right after deck construction, they will post a ďBye ListĒ. It will list every player in the event and how many byes the staff thinks they should have. If you think you have byes, check this list. If your byes are not listed, talk to the scorekeeper.
How do I get Awarded Byes?
Awarded byeís are given out based on high DCI rating, Pro Tour points (you get these when you play in a Pro Tour or make top 32 in a GP), and to the winners of GP trials.
Trial winners always get 3 byes. High DCI rating and Pro Tour points earn 1-3 byes. Byes are not added together. You get the best number from the 3 areas. For example if you have 1 bye from your high DCI rating, 0 byes from Pro Tour Points, and 3 byes from winning a Grand Prix Trial, you would get 3 byes in the Grand Pix.
The Main Event
Registration for the Grand Prix is Friday 5:00-11:00 PM and Saturday 8:00-9:00 AM. The tournament begins at 9AM Saturday and will run until 9 PM or so. Sunday, the event will continue with the 64 players who did the best on Saturday. Sunday night this top 64 will be cut to a top 8, and thatís where the prizes get really big.
The Grand Prix is a serious event. The judges will be very strict on the rules, and the penalties for doing something wrong, (even by accident), are larger than in other tournaments. The judges arenít trying to be mean or malicious, they are just trying to keep things fair. The big money tempts some people to cheat. The strict rules enforcement is designed to make the environment hard to cheat in.
Donít think you can beat the Pros to get to the prize money? Well, you donít have to! There are $7,500 in prizes that only non-Pros can win. These prizes can only go to players who have never been to the Pro Tour or been in the top 32 of a Grand Prix before this event. The 16 best finishes among the amateurs win money.
If you have a really great weekend, you can win a regular prize and still get an amateur prize!
Amateur Division Prize Schedule
For those who want more serious tournaments, the Grand Prix will have a PTQ and a JSS on Sunday. For those of you looking to have some fun, the Grand Prix has tables for pick-up games of Magic, as well as events geared toward the more casual player. Here are some highlights from the Grand Prix Boston schedule:
5 PM Friday to 5 PM Sunday
We will be running 8-man booster drafts 24 hours a day for 48 hours straight! When the dust settles, we will award a trophy to the player who played in the most drafts and to the player who won the most drafts.
Friday night Magic (Type2, Standard)
Same FNM you know and love. Win your share of a box of cards and FNM foils!
Got an Iceage deck youíd like to play again? Hereís your chance. Bring any Block deck (all cards must be from the same Magic set block) and see how your favorite set stacks up against the competition.
Tribal Theme Tournament
60 cards, one creature theme. All your spells have to involve the same creature-type (Chatter of the Squirrel, Squirrels Nest, Squirrel Mob, etc.) All sets legal (including Unglued!). Prizes will be given out to the coolest decks (not most powerful), and to the winner.
For more information on the Grand Prix, go to www.grandprixboston.com .
See you in Boston!