GP Manchester 2014 – What an Awesome Community Experience! by Ashley Knox

GP Manchester 2014 – What an Awesome Community Experience! by Ashley Knox

For GP Manchester I had two aims; win a game; and in achieving this attain a positive result. I managed both and was happy.

I didn’t go into the tournament feeling entitled, so after not making day two I wasn’t tilted but I was happy that I did better than I ever had before. I should realistically have won two more games to day two but I was already playing at a disadvantage by playing a weaker deck because I was more comfortable with it.

I had a blast, my final deck was a result of a last minute decision to cut the green as I felt that the field would be much more aggressive than it actually was – or that I was paired against.

To include the green splash for the 4/75 Destructive Revelry I’d need to play in addition to the Temples some number of Mana Confluence and a basic Forest which I was not entirely comfortable with if I was going to be playing against Mono Black aggro and Xx Heroic decks.

Coursers would still be an issue and those decks would still stretch my removal but I could still fly over them or go around them with the 8 main deck aggressive fliers and never ending stream of Hammer of Purphoros tokens.

Image by Anna Przywecka
Image by Anna Przywecka

Here was my final deck list:

Mono Red Devotion – Entirely in foil!

Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
Temple of Epiphany
Temple of Malice
Temple of Triumph
Temple of Abandon
16 Mountain
Firedrinker Satyr
Eidolon of the Great Revel
Prophetic Flamespeaker
Purphoros, God of the Forge
Flame-Wreathed Pheonix
Stormbreath Dragon
Lightning Strike
Fated Conflagration
Hammer of Purphoros


Harness by Force
Anger of the Gods
Searing Blood
Magma Spray
Prophetic Flamespeaker
Purphoros, God of the Forge

I was really happy with how it performed over the event, I know I should have mulliganed more aggressively and perhaps made some better plays so that I could survive the draws that became all lands and no Hammer.

I really liked how it crushed the Mono Black Devotion and other aggressive strategies but still had game against the bigger decks as if they made a mistake or stumbled on lands or spells I could go over the top and smash them with Dragons and Golems.

In round 3 I played against a really nice guy from Dublin called David he was playing enchantress and in game 3 we both mulliganed but he ended up positive in the interchange with a Courser of Kruphix into Eidolon of Blossoms to my some number of Temple of Abandon and Firedrinker Satyr ultimately he handled his resources better and managed to come ahead.

GP Manchester 2014 Banner Players Judge
Image by Anna Przywecka

In round 6 I finally got a match I was expecting UW Heroic against a young guy from Galway, Ireland he looked like he was down on his luck on the day as the deck is entirely solid but suffers from a similar problem that all “hexproof” style decks do, sometimes you draw all the guys and sometimes you draw all the pants.

He’d spent about 40 hours awake on Friday due to work and travel, and made a last minute change from playing Junk Constellation to playing UW Heroic. I had really strong draws in the first game and after sideboarding, sadly his guys didn’t stand much of a chance.

In game two I mulliganed what would have been a greedy keep of 3 Temple of Abandon 1 Mountain 3 Stormbreath Dragon as I knew I couldn’t realistically keep this against a deck that could just go under the dragon with Gods Willing and Aqueous Form and kill me.

GP Manchester 2014 Banner Players 6
Image by Anna Przywecka

I was instantly rewarded with a grip of Mountains, Magma Spray Searing Blood and Anger of the Gods he couldn’t stick a guy and then I flooded out with an active Hammer of Purphoros and he succumbed to an army of Colourless Golem tokens.

He was a genuinely nice guy though, and I was impressed by many of my opponents who all acted in a professional manner and didn’t actively tilt or act in any way that would make me as a player feel uncomfortable.

It might have something to do with the fact I was wearing the mtgUK t-shirt (like many other players) at the GP, which made me feel like I was part of a greater whole, or it might not, but all of the people I was with reported the same thing.

I am really happy to see a progressive Magic community which really showed me that we are all a bunch of champions, regardless of GW% (Game/Win%).


Speaking of that  t-shirt I managed to catch two of my favourite players Kai Budde and Shahar Shenhar who were both in high spirits in the event centre, I managed to catch a snap with Shahar after he lost his win and in to make day 2.

shehar shenhar

Taking the time out to actually smile and be happy about his days result despite not making it for the second day really solidified him as a good player to me, he didn’t outwardly tilt – shook his opponents hand and got ready to move on with life.

I managed to catch Kai Budde outside of the event patiently talking Magic to some younger players and asked if I could get a quick snap before time on the round was called.

kai budde

Though these interactions were sweet, the real champions of the event were the judges that made it all possible for us.

I’d like to thank in particular the ones that I witnessed myself; Nick Hall for running and firing off all the side events without a hitch and Alex Roebuck for taking great care with the less mobile Magic players who had fixed seating, and working hard to not disrupt the games when there was an issue with them.

Long story short, the judges were awesome


That’s all I have to say on the GP right now, as I’m sure everyone else has already bored you to death with the meta game report!

Next week expect to have something different from me, I’m going to be playing Standard at a Mind Sports International event. I’ll be hopefully jumping behind the scenes to have a quick chat with Eduardo Sajgalik to ask him what it’s all about!

I’m really excited about the whole thing and hope that it can get us all playing harder and tighter.

Thanks for reading anyway guys! Keep up the good work!


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