2018 in Review

2018 was by and far one of the most influential years of my life. So much has happened that it is hard to believe it all happened in last 365 days. Today I simply would like to look back and reminisce on what I learned from everything that I’ve experienced this year.

The most notable thing for me, is I attended five Grand Prixs this year. The first of those, was Grand Prix Santa Clara in January. One of my friends, Isaiah, walked into the shop one night that I was working, looking for some Modern cards to finish his Kiki-Chord deck. He mentioned he was going to the Team Trios Grand Prix, but their Legacy player had baled on them, and asked if I would join. Mind you, this was around two weeks prior to the event. I informed him I’ve never played a competitive game of Legacy in my life, to which he didn’t mind as any Legacy player was better than no Legacy player.

So I agreed, and two weeks later Isaiah and I drove to Sacramento to pick up our Standard player, Chris, and then to Santa Clara for the Grand Prix. Though our team finished 3-3-Drop, I finished with a 5-1 record in Legacy. I learned from Grand Prix Santa Clara why people play Legacy, as those six matches were some of the most fun I’ve ever had playing Magic.

The second Grand Prix I attended was Phoenix in March. I drove down with some very good friends of mine who were all playing in the Modern main event. This was the first Grand Prix after the Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Bloodbraid Elf unbannings, so naturally I was playing a Temur deck that played a full grip of both. While I ended the day with a 1-3-Drop record, with other friends of mine not making day two, it was cool to see my friend Parker play on the feature match and win against an extremely unfavorable match up against an extremely good player. (The video for those interested) I learned from Grand Prix Phoenix that you can be just as happy for your friends’ success, as you can for your own.

The Third GP I attended was Seattle in April. For this one, Sage and I flew out for it. Sage and I have both grown together as Magic players, coming from the same area where there was no game shop for 90 minutes in any direction, so it was cool to see how we’ve gone from driving to the nearest game shop for Friday Night Magic, to flying to Washington together for a Grand Prix.

We met up with Chris from Santa Clara who drove up from California for the event and housed with him. Sage and I agreed to only play side events, as neither of us liked Standard at the time, so we grinded the Modern side events and had a blast. I learned from Grand Prix Seattle that you don’t have to play in the most competitive events in order to enjoy Magic to it’s fullest. We flew back, drove to my place and dropped our luggage on the floor. Sage instantly turned to me and asked if I wanted to play Magic, and I couldn’t help but agree.

The fourth Grand Prix I attended was Las Vegas in June. I don’t remember much from this trip, and the bit that I do remember I wish that I could forget, as this was the Grand Prix where the entire system went down, and there was a good two hours between the third and fourth round. At the end of the third round, I was 1-2, and they were offering refunds for anyone who would like them, so I gladly took the opportunity to get my money back after proving my scrubness.

The fifth, and unfortunately last Grand Prix I attended, was Denver in October. This may be my favorite Grand Prix that I’ve attended of them all. This time, four of us drove out, Sage and my new friends Sarina and Jacob joined us as well. Jacob doesn’t actually play Magic, but he was a fourth who was really good friends with Sage and wanted to experience the road trip again.

Sarina and I played in Modern side events while Sage and Jacob experienced Denver, and all of us had a great time. The drive back was the most memorable part, as a massive snow storm hit Colorado the night before, and was still raging as we were leaving. I was in a head-on collision a few years back during a blizzard, and I’ve grown a phobia for driving in the snow due to that event. The drive home was extended by about two hours because of these two factors. But, eventually, we made it back to Utah without a scratch on us or the car. I learned from Grand Prix Denver that no matter how merciless and perilous the path you tread may look, staying in one spot won’t get you home. I only made it through that drive because my best friends were with me to keep me even headed, and life needs to be the same way.

I didn’t progress my Magic career in terms of winnings or high placings at events, but I learned more than I’ve ever learned before in a 12 month time frame. I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given to grow, and grateful that I took those opportunities at face value, and got full value out of them. I wouldn’t trade the memories, or friends I’ve made for anything, and I’m excited to see what 2019 has in store for all of us.

Happy New Years everybody!