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 GP Paris, feb 2011

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BerichtOnderwerp: GP Paris, feb 2011   wo feb 16 2011, 09:13

It’s February and it is already spring in Paris and that is wonderful to experience, especially in the weekend before St Valentines day.

Last Tuesday I cleared the ice from my windscreen before driving to work. Friday, in Paris we were walking through the streets in T-shirts at 6 o’clock in the evening, on our way to the GP venue. It wasn’t far – about a half kilometer from the hotel. We had arrived at the hotel around 17:00, after being rather overwhelmed by Gare du Nord, which is simply a huge train and metro station. Once we figured the signs out, it was pretty simply to find our way around, but just the size of the place is daunting. The Metro’s are quick and convenient and it only took about half an hour to get to our hotel.

So my first experience of Paris hotels was walking into our room and being dismayed. There was just one double bed in the room. Maarten and I exchanged looks, turned around and went straight back downstairs. It seems that the internet confirmation system doesn’t actually communicate that well with the room booking system and of the 4 twin rooms that had been ordered, only 2 were left over. Now, as we were the first 4 to arrive, we got those rooms and our own beds, and the rest of the party would just have to make the best of the situation 

Anyway, once at the site the main thing to do was wander around and take everything in, try to find the other people from Groningen, and register for the GP – which had to be done Friday evening as there was simply no time Saturday to allow people to register, and still get everything started on time. Something over 2100 players registered for the event, which was initially split up into 3 pods – green, blue and black.

We all found each other, did the things we had to do and then went to eat 9and drink a beer or two) in a café close by. We happened to choose the same one that Andre was already sitting in, after I gave the dutchies a demonstration of how to cross streets in a BUSY city. (Don’t wait for traffic lights etc, and keep watching the traffic VERY closely, whilst dodging cars, scooters and other people crossing at the same time. Years of living in London had provided me with a skill that I hadn’t lost!

Sitting in a Paris café with a beer and friends was a good start to the GP Paris experience!

Saturday was – for me – not so good. We got our product, opened it up to register the pool (knowing that I wouldn’t get to keep those cards) and as first I opened a Venser planeswalker from the Scars boosters. The guy sitting opposite me saw that and his eyes bugged out a bit. “That’s good!”. Later, in the first Besieged booster, I opened a foil Mirran Crusader and his eyes just rolled up towards heaven. He wasn’t that enthusiastic about the pool he was registering. Then we swapped cards and lists and checked them. He was drooling over the pool and regretting that he was going to have to pass it along to someone else when the judge announced that we would be playing with the pool we currently had in front of us. He looked to heaven and said “Thank you”.

I got to play with the pile of drudge he had opened and proceeded on to my first match. My opponent in the match was a Frenchman new to tournaments and was putting land into his deck, two spells one land, two spells one land…..and with the cards face up. I told him what he was doing wrong - letting me see the cards and putting the cards in a non-random order - and he asked if he couldn’t just rely on me to shuffle it up so that it was random. I informed him (in a friendly manner) that he was required to present a sufficiently randomized deck, and that if he didn’t do that, some other player was going to call a judge and get him a game loss. He was very grateful for the advice and promptly stomped me into the ground (in a friendly manner). He won the match 2 games to 1 (the game I won he had 3 land). Match two was over quickly (I lost 2-0) and I couldn’t have put a cross in the ‘drop’ section any faster. At that point I was thinking about the days off work I had used up, the hundreds of Euro’s I was spending and the minimal amount of time I had actually spent playing in the GP. Not good.

So, I mooched around for a bit, then signed up for a draft (with English cards). I was the first person to sign up for a draft after the GP had started. Well, I suppose that is some sort of record!

I lost in the first round of the draft.

Somewhere during all that, Brad Nelson had won the ‘Player of the year’ playoff, so as I passed him on the way to the toilets I congratulated him. (You can meet all sorts of famous magic players at these events).

Later I signed up for another draft, with some other scrubbee’s from Groningen (Scrubbee = person who has scrubbed out of the tournament), including Andre and Johnny. They had tried to do a 2HG tournament, but got such a bad pool they didn’t even try to build decks and just dropped before the first round. We were in ‘English draft 1’ (don’t ask me how the numbering system worked – as I had already been in a draft earlier and that was something like draft 31) and Jasper was in ‘English draft 3’. Apparently draft 2 was a French draft. We sat and drank a coffee waiting for our draft and Jasper – in draft 3, got to play before we did. After 5 other drafts had started we complained that our draft hadn’t been called. They checked and it turned out that they had forgotten to print it out! Whilst we were waiting for them to actually print it out and organize the draft a very charming young lady tried to get us to sign in for the ‘Sealed Deck Challenge’ that was going to take place on Sunday, but we said that we had to go and play now and that we would register tomorrow

This was at least fun. I won the first round against an Australian who didn’t know much about drafting, but we had a good time, and he watched his friend exact fitting revenge on me in the semi’s. I got a booster for my efforts. The rest of the day was spent hanging around, watching some of the GP matches, checking the queues for artists signings (all very long) and spotting pro’s.

At the end of the day we bought a box’s worth of boosters to draft amongst ourselves later on and went and ate a (big) pizza in a café (and of course drank some more beer). Then it was back to the hotel where we drafted late into the night. I opened Tezzeret in the first booster (because there was prize support we were keeping the rares that we drafted), so I tried to put a deck together that maximized the abilities he had. But, this draft went the same way as the rest of my day and after losing two matches I called it a day and went to bed, cuddling my new planeswalker as I went off to sleep as a sort of comforter…..

Sunday. Shower. Breakfast. Lots of coffee. Go.

We sauntered off to the site, but somewhere along the line we lost Jasper, Andre and maybe some one else. They had dived into a flower shop next to the metro. Anyway the rest of us didn’t wait, and they knew the way to the site. When we got there, they were not yet ready to let us sign in for the ‘Sealed Deck Challenge’ that was the main tournament for the day. Over 500 players eventually registered for it. Whilst we were hanging around waiting, Jasper and Andre turned up and gave me a pot plant. Right, thanks (I think). What now – have I got to carry this thing around all day? The answer (through all the laughing) was - Yes! So I managed to get it into my bag, but it wasn’t realistically going to survive the day.

Then the registration opened for the ‘Sealed Deck Challenge’ and on seeing the charming young lady sitting there I suddenly got Inspiration! So, I gave her the pot plant (it was the day before Valentines day after all) and received a kiss for it. This was already better than Saturday!

I got into a queue for an artist – Veronique Meignaud (Zendikar lands) and seeing as I was second in the queue just managed to get some cards signed before we had to start registering cards for the tournament. I ordered an artist’s proof with a sketch, which I would have to pick up later. An artist’s proof is a copy of a card, but with a white back. The artist gets 50 of each card that they illustrate. I try to get one at each GP I go to, as a souvenir.

Card registration. I was sitting opposite two pro’s and we all three opened good pools and I ended up with the pool from the American pro sitting diagonally across from me, and he got mine. We ended up comparing notes a few times during the tournament and I really enjoyed discussing things with him and comparing how we had built our decks, and how we would have built a deck from each others pools. Very pleasant guy, and a pleasure to talk to.

The tournament itself started with me playing against a Russian. We had long involved ding-dong games and were so involved in the third game that neither of us registered that we were over time until a judge came and asked what turn this was. We kind of looked at him all surprised and said “We didn’t know it was time”. He told us that it had been announced but we said that we hadn’t heard any announcement. He looked at us as if he didn’t really believe us and pointed to the PA loudspeaker about 1.5 meters from our table. We just shrugged. So, he told us that I was in the middle of turn 3. I thought that I could do exactly enough damage to kill him on my next turn, but was so keen make the play that I punted the game by not playing a Myr to give me metalcraft. Really dumb, So, the match ended in a draw. We spent the next 5 rounds playing next to each other. Losing the same rounds, winning at the same time. Finding ourselves sitting close to each other the next round, probably because the draw put us into a small bracket of players with x wins and 1 draw, who all got placed together in the pairings.

The next round I thrashed my opponent in game one and he side boarded half his deck out to transform into a B/G non poison deck and won the second game. The third game he just came blazing out with poison and killed me in short order. Surprise! He seemed very pleased with himself for that little trick, and why not? It worked very well.

After the match, which was also a long one, I had about 3 minutes to rush to the artist’s area and pick up my artist’s proof of a Zendikar forest from Veronique Meignaud – which had a very nice little sketch on the back. Cool. I was exactly on time as she had just finished packing up and was about to leave.

Then I started to win some matches. Easily. 2-0. 2-0. Good deck.

I was having a good time playing the deck and learning about how it should be played. I lost against a Frenchman who had a good poison deck, top-decked card after card to beat (and demoralize) a Portuguese man who couldn’t believe my luck in drawing all the answers I needed at the right time. I told him that I had no luck on Saturday , but that since I had got a kiss that morning my luck had changed, and suggested that he try to get a kiss from a pretty lady as well. His friends started suggesting that he get one from the lone girl in their party (who was pretty). I don’t know if he succeeded.

By this time it was about 19:00 and I had no chance of getting into the top 8 to win some of the money that was on offer so I decided to play one more round and then drop. I played against another Portuguese man, who beat me in 2 games. We chatted afterwards and I fully intend to look him up in GP Amsterdam in October. Nice guy.

Then it was time for food and beer. And drafting in the hotel. One thing I have learned is that drafting after a long day of playing magic doesn’t work out well for me. During the second match I totally forgot what I was doing, right in the middle of my turn. I looked at the cards in my hand and didn’t even know that it was my turn. Time for bed!

So that was the end of the GP. A long train trip back to rainy Groningen on Monday capped the weekend off. My kids will get the French “stinkkaas” that they asked for when I next see them. And one day I will open the nice bottle of French wine that I bought – maybe with a pretty lady. Who knows? My luck has changed after all! Thanks Jasper.

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BerichtOnderwerp: Re: GP Paris, feb 2011   wo feb 16 2011, 09:37

Cheers!
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BerichtOnderwerp: Re: GP Paris, feb 2011   wo feb 16 2011, 10:11

Hooray for pot plants
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BerichtOnderwerp: Re: GP Paris, feb 2011   wo feb 16 2011, 22:53

Wat foto's


Rare's verdelen na de draft


Opperste concentratie


Arme Gijsbert


Draften in de eetzaal

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