Breakfast of (Pro Tour) champions

Are you going to be at Pro Tour San Diego this week?
If you’re looking for breakfast on Saturday or Sunday morning, I’ll point you with great enthusiasm toward The Field, an authentic Irish pub that is our normal food stop in the morning before the San Diego Comic Con.
You know what’s better than stopping at Starbucks for a muffin?
Right. Guinness, black coffee, and an Irish breakfast (formerly an Ulster Fry) featuring eggs, rasher, sausage, black pudding (hint – that’s meat), white pudding (hint – also meat), potatoes, and Heinz beans.
Seriously. You won’t need to eat again for most of the day.
The Field is also, naturally, a pub, so you can stop in after a long day at the PT, at side events, doing coverage, or what have you.
The Field is open from 11am-2am on weekdays and 9am-2am on Saturday and Sunday.

This week’s In Development – GP Oakland 2010

After a week off due to illness, I’m back in print with this week’s In Development that’s all about GP Oakland.
I had a great time at the GP, but I think I made a fundamental error when I accepted a draw in round four. If you’re interested in my take on Gifts, the ground-level GP Oakland experience, or tournament-level strategy, you may enjoy this week’s In Development.

Hurray for bilingualism


This is a great interview with Tomoharu Saitou, discussing his Hypergenesis deck with the assistance of everyone’s favorite bilingual Judge (and GP Trial winner) Riki Hayashi.
I need to buck up my own language skills; then maybe someday I can help interview a Korean player for CFB. While you all wait for that to happen, I recommend checking out the rest of the excellent GP Oakland coverage at ChannelFireball.

The sights of GP Oakland

I hope everyone who made it to GP Oakland this weekend had an excellent time. Big time congratulations go out to local player Matt Nass for taking down a GP just one week shy of his Pro Tour debut.
You can read about my GP experience in my In Development column this week. I had a lot of fun and learned something useful for my future PTQs and premier-level events.
In the meantime, I’ve uploaded a photo set from the GP, which you can find here. I didn’t have time to take a lot of pictures, so I mainly have some from the preamble to the event and a smattering of others taken while I was being deckchecked in round five. Here are a few highlights:
Grand Prix Oakland 2010 - Ray sets up for ggslive
Ray Punzalan sets up for ggslive’s web coverage of the feature matches
Grand Prix Oakland 2010 - Bram Snepvangers
Bram Snepvangers ponders an ugly board
Grand Prix Oakland 2010 - Elves taking over
The ugly board
Grand Prix Oakland 2010 - Martin Juza
The piercing gaze of Martin Juza
Grand Prix Oakland 2010 - Jon Loucks
Jon Loucks gains a billion life

A GP Oakland morning

After an utterly hectic week that included more illness than I tend to lack (notice my lack of a column over at CFB), i’m now up at 6am getting ready for day one of GP Oakland. Following my own advice, I have my deck sleeved up and ready to go, with a printed deck list as well as all the playing accouterments I’ll need. All I have to do this morning is put those items into my backpack next to the food and the water bottle and head out.
In the meantime, it’s breakfast, showering, feeding and medicating a pet, and then a forty-five minute drive from home to the Marriott in downtown Oakland.
If you’re reading this and will be at the GP, good luck, and if they give us a lunch break try to wander the couple of blocks over to Oakland China Town, which is right by the venue and has all manner of good stuff to eat.

Your new bill

Jace,theMindSculptor.jpeg
So, I’m told this is a good card. My fellow CFB writers are all over his value, so despite Cedric Phillips’ downcheck on this new take on Jace, I’m inclined to believe that it genuinely is.
That said, I suspect this also means I won’t be spending much time writing about it in terms of playing it. This is partly my own contrarian nature — clearly, I don’t just like playing the “best deck” over and over, so I end up taking quirky designs to tournaments. This is also partly the mandate of my column over at CFB, where I am not budget in the strictest sense, but tend to gnaw at a specific idea for a while. That way if a reader chooses to play the “In Development” home game, they don’t end up swapping out super-expensive cards each and every week.
But as I said, not budget in the strictest sense. I still assume you’re going to buy all the dual lands and fetches.
Finally, there’s the fact that Jace seems okay to me, but isn’t my style of gaming. This may seem curious since my favorite card ever is a blue card (cf this site’s name), but I typically play that blue card in the context of decks that will rarely if ever counter a spell.
It does seem like Jace will be a tremendous problem when it’s across the board from you. He can immediately go to 5 loyalty and then sit there, outside of Bolt range, Brainstorming each turn and bouncing creatures every so often.
That said, I don’t know that I’d be happy as the control player to drop this Jace as soon as I could, so it feels like he’s going to be a late-game icer, much like Cruel Ultimatum.
Of course, I’m saying this without testing him, which is a topic I’ll be addressing in this week’s In Development. My overall thought for the moment is that while Jace will be a big old sixty dollar bill, or worse, in the coming weeks, I won’t be disappointed to not be running him in my decks. He’s nifty, but for the moment, not my style.