(EDITOR’S NOTE-

Kaka is making the scene at Grand Prix Sydney this weekend.  Stay tuned for plenty of  Magic goodies from Down Under!

Ed.)

0630 Central Australia Time – Sitting at Adelaide Airport waiting…

Adelaide Airport - 6am

Adelaide Airport – 6am

Hey all! It’s that time again here on the Australian Magic scene – our second Grand Prix of the year. Unlike you lucky folks up in North America, we’re pretty lucky to get one or two GPs a year, so when we have them, they are a pretty big thing. I’m writing this from the gate at Adelaide Airport, oddly one of my favourite places in this city. Shortly (read: in about an hour) I’ll be winging my way eastward to Sydney (that’s East Coast Australia for anyone not in the know – yes, the one with the weird bridge and the silly pointy Opera House) to join the rest of the thronging Aussie M:TG scene for a weekend of pounding face, slinging cardboard and getting hammered with mates and mate-ettes.

For anyone wanting to keep tabs on how the whole shebang is going, I am sure the GP will have its own hash tag on Twitter. I’ll be also posting how I am going on there.  (Follow Kaka – @TheKakaStorm – Ed.) 

As per usual however, Kaka is NOT going to be playing the main event.  I mean, pish-posh – it’s sealed deck and all. Definitely not my cup of tea, so why the hell am I burning the munnies on jaunting halfway across this blasted death-filled wasteland we call a country to go to the GP?  (And just like that, I’m popping The Road Warrior into the Blu-Ray player.  Thanks, Kaka.  -Ed.)

Side Events are the Best Thing Since Sliced Cheese

No seriously – they’re awesome. There are several things I want to get out of the side events this weekend; firstly on Friday and Saturday, we have Legacy running. I don’t get much of a chance to play Legacy normally; I’m not flash at it but I might as well get my money’s worth from the trip. 

But I’m really going for the sanctioned Vintage on Sunday, and the Commander pods.

I honestly am not expecting much to come of the Legacy events.  Hey – if I place I’ll be pretty happy. But as I may have mentioned to you all in the past, I am predominantly a Vintage player through which I eventually found my way into our 100-card format. Vintage-wise, I am looking forward to a chance to catch up with some old friends and teammates. If you have hung out on The Mana Drain over the past several years, Tribet and I have done well in multiple tournaments playing as as a team – I first met him playing the Vintage side events the last year that Nationals was a thing. I am also looking forward to some rematches with some old nemesises friends ; hopefully I will get to play against Rob Bartlett, Nick C (Man,  NO ONE can never spell your last name!), Josh Butler, and Isaac Egan.

It’s going to suck to be you guys – I am coming with a vengeance.

Best of all, however, is the chance to check out more of what the Sydney Commander scene is like. My very good friends Urutsini and Torturelini are Sydney-siders. (Urutsini is also awesome enough to let me borrow his couch for the weekend, which is why I can do this Sydney GP at all to begin with.) For you ‘young-un’ Commander players, when you get to be an old fart like many of the GDC crew (myself included), other things creep up taking over your Magic budget – house loans, cars, kids, wives/husbands, etc.

Still, I am a firm believer that it is worthwhile getting out and checking out how others play so we can grow our own play skills, styles and groups with new and different knowledge.  Do yourself a favor – take a trip once in a while.

What I Am Expecting from the Sydney Commander Scene

The funny thing is that I have played Commander here before. My good friend Urutsini introduced me to his LGS when I was here six months ago for a Vintage tournament; as such, I know that I can highly recommend The Nerd Cave if you like an awesome, friendly and mid-range power level with minimal-to-no combo environment  The folks at The Nerd Cave are an awesome bunch of people to play with – for snyone already in Sydney who doesn’t know their location, you can find them at 7 Randal Street near Central Station.

(Side note – since in the last 60 or so hours of me prepping my weapons decks for this GP, and since I have had about 6-8 hours sleep in that time period total, I’m going to have to ask you all to pardon my usual eloquence and shitty grammar; my wife is my primary editor, and is definitely helping me to be much more legible than the usually incoherent lout I normally am.  Fortunately, there is also a neat little pub that serves coffee across the road from there where I am finishing writing this for you all now.  There’s hope yet.)

In Adelaide Airport

As for the Commander scene at the GP itself, I am thinking back to the last one I attended, which was the Brisbane 2013 event. Brisbane, for anyone not familiar with Australian geography, is the state capital of Queensland, which is the most north-eastern corner of the continent; it is also my home state and town (even if I am now South Australian; as they say, you can take the Queenslander out of Queensland, but not Queensland out of the Queenslander…)  The GPs are generally run by a group called Top Deck Games here in Australia, and from my experience in Brisbane, three kinds of event were run-

  1. Pick-up pods of four for boosters.
  2. No-holds barred combo pods in the main competition.
  3.  Non-combo pods in the main competition.

From what I have read in the literature for this event in Sydney, the pick-up pods will be running all weekend. I do not know if I will have time to get in on one of those or not, but I shall try. My concern here is how heavy the cutthroat combo decks are going to be, so this year I am not carrying my Riku of Two Reflections “combo-breaker judo” deck, with which I fought an Azami, Lady of Scrolls deck 1-on-1 (after we eliminated the multi-Ornithopter cheater and the other player for missed Pact triggers) for three hours before finally being overwhelmed. This year, I have my mono-U Arcanis the Omnipotent punishment deck if I end up on one of those pods (Hey…I sometimes like to get my arsehole on, providing everyone is cool with it!), and I am also carrying three other lists which hopefully you’ll get to see some write ups on over the next few months. I don’t want to say too much now, and I don’t want to spoil the surprise – let’s consider them my “fun-casual decks.” 

What I would really like to do ideally is try one of each – a combo pod, a casual pod and one of the pick-up pods.

The difference between the way the combo pods are being run and the casual pods is interesting; the combo pods are being run as I understand it to be last man/woman standing, while the casual pods are being decided by a “vote for the most fun deck” method. I love the thought of voting for the most fun deck; however, what is of concern to me about this is people stacking pods with their friends, and from there vote collusion-cutting out the lone player. The thought of that leaves a sour taste in my mouth about the whole thing, so we’ll see how it goes.

Where to from here?

Good question Kaka!  The best I can say is that I’m planning presently to do a post-event report as well. We’ll see what happens, but in the meantime if you are in Sydney this weekend and you are not at the GP…why not? If you are, come find me and say hello. I’m not at all hard to spot…look for the Chewbacca in the GDC shirt:

GDC shirts

I’ll likely be blithering on about how I am doing in the Vintage and Legacy on Twitter(@ TheKakaStorm for anyone interested), as well as any other interesting happenings Commander-wise.

I hope to meet some new faces and have some awesome games.  Catch y’all on the flip side!

Kaka