Here Are 10 Types of Players You’re Likely to Meet at Every Magic: the Gathering GP!
So this time I’m going to touch on something a little different. Grands Prix (GP) are the main events of the Magic: the Gathering (MTG) calendar for many people, most of whom will only have the chance to attend one or two every year. They are for some, a chance to step up to the World Magic Cup or the Pro Tour, and for others, simply playing day two is the pinnacle of all that they want to achieve in Magic.
It can be quite daunting for a new player who is attending an MTG Grand Prix for the first time. What do you expect? How will you get there/find your seat/not get lost? What will your opponents be like? The fear which accompanies the experience of attending your first ever large tournament is not to be underestimated, and it can be hard to picture exactly what it’ll be like until you get there.
This article aims to introduce you to the most common types of people you are likely to meet at a GP, whether you’re playing the main event or side events, and also acts as a fun little guide to everything there is to do there.
1. The Grinder
The Grinder is the person who’s got their sights on the Pro Tour. They’ve been preparing the format for weeks, they have consulted and practiced in the run-up to the event with their team. They’re usually running on coffee and adrenaline after a night of test games at their hotel, and they have their eyes on the prize.
This type of player is generally incredibly experienced and the kind most new players will generally expect to find at a Competitive REL event. They know the rules, they know the format and while they will be polite and helpful, they are also focused on the game. The Grinders will normally be in the main event, aiming for at least day two.
If you end up playing against The Grinder, you’ll be in good hands. Don’t worry that you’re playing against someone more experienced, because these people (in 99.9% of cases) will always play fair Magic and know what they’re talking about. They won’t react badly if you call a judge to ask a question, because they know that calling a judge doesn’t mean you’re trying to be nasty. Just play your cards, enjoy the game, and feel proud if you beat them.
2. The Collector
The Collector is the eagle-eyed person who is hovering around all the vendors, looking for bargains. They are generally a Commander or eternal-format player who has some spare money in their pocket, looking for that one foil card they can’t find anywhere. You will see them perusing binders all day trying to spot rare cards, dual lands and good deals.
Though the Collector may not be playing in the events, they can be a good person to chat to. Generally, people like this have a real love for the game, and they will also be able to find the vendors with the fairest prices, as GPs tend to sometimes be very overpriced for singles. If you want to buy some cards but don’t know where to start, finding someone like this can be very helpful as they might know the vendors personally, or at the very least, will be able to point out the most likely spots for you to find what you’re looking for.
3. That Lone Vintage Player
This poor guy is wandering the floor eternally waiting for his 8-man on-demand Vintage to fire. Go and keep him company. He’s going to be waiting a long time.
In all seriousness, the Vintage players generally do come to GPs because they are the rare times when Vintage events are actually likely to fire more often than not. If you go and talk to them, although it can be intimidating, honestly I have found eternal format players to be the friendliest in Magic, and if you watch the 8-man tournament you might get a chance to see some Black Lotuses or Moxen being played, and learn more about one of Magic: the Gatherings’s oldest and trickiest formats.
4. The Commander Gang
These guys are always in a group and generally know each other. Whether it’s because they’ve all come to the event together or because Commander players tend to instinctively seek each other out, they’re usually laughing and having a great time on some table in the back, or even spread out in the hallway if there’s no room on the tables.
As usual, Commander players are very inclusive and great fun, so if you are feeling a little lonely or lost or just want to play a game with the new cards you just bought, don’t feel afraid to go up and say hello. Most times they will be happy to have you join them, and it can be a nice relaxing way to end out a tough day of tournament Magic.
5. The Sell-Out!
This person is the cousin of The Collector. (Not in literal terms, though). Generally, this is the person who will be sitting with the vendors for hours at a time, negotiating selling an entire collection. These people are always somehow at every GP, with binders upon binders of collectables and rarities to sell. Normally they are firmly in place just when you want to queue up and sell your old Standard cards for £5.
It’s pretty cool to hover around and watch the process a little, not only because you will get to see some awesome cards changing hands, but also because it’ll give you a great insight into the prices of cards and how much you can expect to get from vendors versus how much they’ll sell things for, arming you with the information to be able to get a good price if you want to sell your cards at future events.
6. The Side Event Crew
Side events are a huge part of any GP, and the Side Event Crew make up a huge minority of players who don’t want to play the main event because they don’t like the format, can’t stay two days or whatever other reason, but are still raring to play some competitive Magic. Side events consist of drafts, sealed and all main Constructed formats, so you can pick whatever poison you want.
You’ll usually find a lot of like-minded people in the side events. Normally they are the kind of people you’ll meet at your average FNM, not casual enough to want to just hang out and play some hallway Commander, but not competitive enough to care about Top 8’ing the main event. This is a great place to hang out all weekend, meeting people who enjoy the same formats you do, and you can also play some fantastic events like Historic or Chaos drafts which you won’t find in many other places than Grands Prix.
7. The Artist Fanboy/Fangirl
This is usually me. This person hangs around Artist’s Alley for most of the weekend, queueing up to get everything they own signed and chatting to the artists for way longer than a normal person would.
Personally, I love Magic art and even more so I love getting my cards signed. It’s certainly an acquired taste having signatures on your cards, but to me it feels really personal when you have met the artist and had a conversation, and you have that signature as a memento of that meeting, which you will see and remember every time you play your deck. It also makes your cards unique (at least somewhat) and I love that idea.
If you have some cards to get signed, don’t hesitate. Artists are almost always friendly and talkative, they enjoy discussing their art and the game, and some will even have decks, so if they’re not busy you might be able to get in a game or two with them. Also, and I can’t stress this enough, please tip them. They get very little in attendance fees, if anything, and if you are asking them to sign your cards, it’s worth £1 for their time.
8. The Trader
The Trader has brought their binder to the GP, but upon arriving, has found that people rarely like to get their binders out unless they are selling to a vendor. After games, they go to ask whether their opponent would like to trade, but before they get a chance to ask, they’re already gone.
The Trader is sad about this, so between rounds, they have found an empty table and pulled their binder out, flicking through it to see if there’s anything they might want to sell to a vendor instead. Another Trader has noticed that The Trader has a binder out, though, and has immediately rushed over to them. “Would you like to trade?”
“Of course!” says The Trader in delight. Whilst they are perusing each other’s binders, two more Traders swoop in, and soon enough there is an entire gathering of people clustered around that table, all with binders out.
Seriously, I have been to a lot of GPs and this is actually always how it has worked for me. If you feel like doing some trading, whip your binder out and the people will come.
9. The First-Timer
The First-Timer is probably a lot like you. They’re nervous, they look a little lost and they don’t know if they’re coming or going. If you see someone like that, go and do what you can to help them. Most people’s GP experience is greatly improved if they make some friends there, and if they’re too nervous to approach people, you can be the bigger person and help them along.
If you’re playing against the First-Timer in the main event, try to be kind. Of course, it’s Competitive REL and this must be taken into account, but that doesn’t stop you being friendly, or pointing out when your opponent could call a judge to answer their questions/tell them what a card does, or answering derived information questions helpfully if they ask them. Even if you don’t want to tell them the information, you can point out the difference between free and derived at FNM and Competitive, and explain why it works that way. It’s important that they don’t feel intimidated or belittled by their opponent who is in all likelihood going to know more than they do!
10. The Resident Sleeper
This person is always there. Usually on the side event tables, curled up with their head on their hoodie, there is ALWAYS someone fast asleep.
Be kind and wake them up. GPs can be tiring, so it’s totally understandable, but there is every possibility a thief could be around and it’s important that they keep an eye on their things. Also, a judge is probably going to move them along in ten minutes anyway to make room for the next Chaos draft.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and that it’s been informative for you!
Are there any other types of people you see frequently at GPs? Which combination of the archetypes mentioned above are you? Let us know in the comments!
Thanks for reading,