“One takes a final glance at what is being left behind and, as the clock adds another second, we look up and forward.”
T – 56 Days
Looking up and forward for Grand Prix Vienna but the tickets for the direct flight are expensive – the research for alternative routes starts.
T – 40 Days
Booked a Ryanair flight (+136 Euros) from Dublin to Bratislava. The trade will involve spending more time travelling but saving money in the process(?). At this point, I am added to the group conversation of the people I’ll be sharing my accommodation with.
Subtotal GPV = 136 Euro
T – 24 Days
The price for the event (+50 Euros) is scary. Maybe the foil Batterskull, plus free playmate for some people, plus added costs to run the tournament made it this up but, still, it feels a bit steep. Plastic money only looks scary at times.
Subtotal GPV = 186 Euro
T – 13 Days
The shopping is done for the cheapest combination of socks/t-shirts/boxers. Since the stay will be for 3 nights, then a set of 3 of each (+12 Euros) was purchased.
Subtotal GPV = 198 Euro
T – 6 Days
Pre-book the bus (+15 Euros) it is, as Iron Maiden and Manowar get the gig. Meanwhile, online check-in is being done. All printed. Happy days.
Subtotal GPV = 213 Euro
T – 1 Day
The mental list all checks up but a final check at the backpack can never hurt :
1 boarding pass prints
1 bus pass print
2 change of cheap clothes
1 change of my own clothes
1 box (50 sleeves)
1 box (standard deck)
1 box (cards for artist A to sign)
1 box (cards for artist B to sign)
1 cardboard envelope (for artwork)
1 pen + score sheet
1 camera + batteries
T – 0 Day
Arrived at the airport and as I ordered some (overpriced) food (+6 Euros) I sat with Steve, shortly followed by Gervais. With no problems after gates and boarding, we found ourselves in Bratislava, waiting for the bus (+8 Euros) to Vienna, now in the company of Mark, Oli and Botond.
Mark had found a really decent hostel (+30 Euros — all nights ) and we closed the night with some well served Turkish meat (+15 Euros) before we head back to the hotel get some replenishing sleep.
Subtotal GPV = 272 Euro
T + 1 Day
Continental breakfast (+6 Euros) isn’t that bad — healthier, if anything. Walked a few minutes to the subway (+2 Euros) with a quick stop at Spar for water + sugar (+10 Euros) to endure the long day ahead.
I opened a really good pool that only a noobie player like me could have wrecked. All Karametra, Mogis and Phenax came out to play so I built a deck that could splash them all.
Needless to say, I did terribly! However, I had tons of fun playing my Timmy/Johnny deck that, when worked, completely stole games that, unfortunately, my Spike is yet that developed to memorise. There are some notes. Allow me to share them with you.
1 Akroan Skyguard
1 Archetype of Endurance
1 Guardians of Meletis
1 Hopeful Eidolon
1 Karametra, God of Harvests
1 Loyal Pegasus
1 Mogis, God of Slaughter
1 Nyxborn Shieldmate
1 Nyxborn Wolf
1 Opaline Unicorn
1 Phenax, God of Deception
2 Pheres-Band Centaurs
1 Reverent Hunter
1 Snake of the Golden Grove
1 Traveling Philosopher
1 Yoked Ox
(You can find the entire pool here — feel free to come back and let me in the comments about what I should have built instead.)
There’s a lot of reports with awesome 0-2 comebacks, fortunate cuts into single elimination or amazing stories. The following has none of that!
Round 1 vs. Morten
While I mulliganed down to 5 trying to find land, he never had to show me more than a few black creatures. But both second and third games were won by bestowed Skyguard, either finding one god or flying past a small defensive line.
1-0 ( 2-1 )
Round 2 vs. Kresimir
Both Karametra and Phenix came out and the mill plan was online, although I ended being 6 cards short of decking him. The second game I tried to buy some time (again) with a bestowed lifelink Skyguard but the Rakdos pressure wasn’t forgiving.
1-1 ( 2-3 )
Round 3 vs. Christian
Phenax milled him the first game, then another mulligan to 5 trying to find lands couldn’t deal with American heroic flyers. Because I was so desperate for lands, the gods blessed me with a flood when I had him on 1 — he drew 3 creatures, I drew 3 lands.
1-2 ( 3-5 )
Round 4 vs. Ferran
Island, Island, Swamp, Ashiok? Goes up and takes Phenax, Pheres-Band and Land. Sure. The second game was Island, Island, Swamp, Ashiok? Goes up and takes Mogis, something, something. Play forest, Kiora? Moving on…
1-3 ( 3-7 )
Round 5 vs. Mirko
I’ve ( even less ) notes here but my scoresheet says 20-12-4 for me and 20-19-16 for him on game one. For game two I have “flooded” written down and, wild guess, it was me.
1-4 ( 3-9 )
Round 6 vs. Paulo
Bestowed Akroan takes both games, the first with the help of a Pegasus, the second with the help of a Wolf. Not seeing any removal made it easier for me.
2-4 ( 5-9 )
Round 7 vs. Michael
With more or less the same white creatures coming out, bestowed (or not,) some flying (others, not really) — it was a small race with one and two points of damage being taken at every combat phase. I won the first one. He won the second one. He won the third one. Damn it.
2-5 ( 6-11 )
Round 8 vs. Ennis
Grand Prix aren’t just about playing cards and calling judges or getting signed art. You get to meet great people, randomly restore the faith in humanity by helping strangers and, sometimes, you might even plan to duel someone, at some other big stage, somewhere in Europe. Also, he won the second game with a 15/15 trample.
3-5 ( 8-12 )
Round 9 vs. Emil
Screwed the first game. Flooded the second game. Roll on dinner.
3-6 ( 8-14 )
I still had time to get some artists’ prints (+10 Euros) and after buying a few subway tickets (+10 Euros) we were off to some well deserved dinner (+16 Euros) at a really cosy restaurant. The day was long enough and it was time to get back and get some rest.
Subtotal GPV = 326 Euro
T + 2 Days
After a small breakfast (+5 Euros) some of us headed back (+2 Euros) to the venue for Standard/Modern/Sealed (+15 Euros) events. I did as bad as the previous day, going 1-4 as I missed the round, distracted by the phone.
It was painful enough already anyways, so I picked up my commissioned art (+15 Euros) and let Gervais guide me through the subway to give a small use to the camera I’ve been carrying around all weekend.
A small bite (+5 Euros) to fill the stomach gap, magnets and chocolates (+32 Euros) for the ladies and some nice Italian dessert (+7 Euros) before head back to the hotel. The disposable clothes make room for the chocolate and other random souvenirs and the alarm clock is set for very early.
Subtotal GPV = 407 Euro
T + 3 Days
We get on the early train (+15 Euros) back to Bratislava, followed by a the bus (+1 Euros) to the airport. Not the best panini and coffee (+8 Euros) I have ever had, but good enough to keep me going until I get home. Slept most of the flight, get the very next bus (+16 Euros) back to Galway and open the house door.
Final Total GPV = 447 Euro
I know I am back into routine, as I fill the kettle while dropping all weight in the nearest couch. Mandatory shower and grooming and I grab the box of chocolates.
Slipknot resumes exactly where I left it a few days ago and a nice coffee cup awaits for me. I give her the box of chocolates and she smiles back at me. It’s her own way to say “thank you” and I need nothing else.
I am back home and I am happy…
… Roll on the next one!