At the beginning of this month I took a road trip with my fellow co-host, Jason Alt, to the great land of Canada for Grand Prix Toronto. Both of us went into the weekend planning on hanging out with friends rather than concentrating on selling and trading. Overall, that goal was achieved and I was not disappointed with the result. I was able to see people with whom I would normally only have internet contact, and I also participated in one of the cooler events I have ever had the pleasure to attend.
We left Friday and managed our way into town after hitting the border with relative ease early in the evening. We found our way to the site but had a tough time finding anyone, so we got out of there quickly, ending up with a relatively quiet night of Commander and relaxation. Refreshed and ready, the next day we got back to the convention center just in time for the start of round one…at noon (yes, you read correctly). Glad to not be one of those unfortunate souls in the extended main event, I shuffled around and sold some cards and caught up with my friends among the dealers.
After I made what money I needed, I headed over to find Jason, knowing that he was working at the charity event that was being held in the hall. After I finally tracked him down, I found myself spending the rest of the day behind the booth gun slinging and chatting with fans and friends alike. I had a great time and want to publicly thank everyone involved.
I was jamming every format all day and became particularly fond of some of Jason’s Commander decks, specifically [card]Mayael of the Anima[/card]. Participants could donate $2 for the chance to win a pack of Theros, or they could choose to donate more for a chance at some larger prizes. Tons of people were behind planning this event, but spearheading was Ryan Abcede. Beyond his masterminding, Matty Studios, Derf, Jason, Scotty Mac, and I spent a large chunk of our day behind the table getting our game on. I always love helping a good cause, so I was stoked to see how busy we were all weekend. Again, thanks to anyone who made it to the booth.
If you were not able to make the event and are still interested in donating, here is the link to do so. Gamers playing for a good cause has always been a big deal for me and I really hope to see these types of events continue in the future.
Beyond the event itself, the weekend was very enjoyable – with the exception of the return border crossing. When we came back into America, we stopped to turn our plastic back to paper and in the process took an 8.5% hit, which did not reflect our experience on the way in. I was more than disgruntled to lose $100+ on the transaction, but what can you do?
A trip to Canada comes with the usual fries and gravy, but this time we also managed to find ourselves in a steakhouse with Matty Studios, Derf, Jason, and Ryan. Fun was had by all and I was given a heckling for my Vorthos view of the upcoming year. The steaks were great and the company was welcome, but I was glad to be home after all was said and done. I spent the majority of the weekend with friends and hanging out with the walking form of sarcasm that is Jason, meaning I got little in the way of buying or selling done, but I did have a few sweet pickups including an artist proof [card]Underground Sea[/card] that has not been blemished by the ink of a pen. Beyond that, I found a few more JSS [card]Elvish Champion[/card]s that I so love to pick up, as well as two German Commander decks. Eventually, Jason dragged me out of the hall to keep me from expending more.
I want to thank everyone again who made it out and for all of the companies and individuals that made the charity even work – smoother than the main event, I might add. Here’s some of the prizes that were donated:
Anonymous Donations by Local Players
[card]Abrupt Decay[/card] (Foil)
[card]Keiga, the Tide Star[/card] (Foil)
$400 worth of merchandise (added to raffle)
Cardboard Classic Games
EDH Bundle (highlights were foil [card]Arcum Dagson[/card] and a regular [card]Avacyn, Angel of Hope[/card], plus a box of their pins made out of cards and packs)
Two copies of Mind Seize, Commander 2013 (added to raffle)
[card]Sword of Light and Shadow[/card]
[card]Crucible of Worlds[/card]
Custom sketch art playmat – Noah Bradley
Signed prints: [card]Black Lotus[/card], [card]Time Walk[/card], [card]Sword of Fire and Ice[/card], [card]Sword of Light and Shadow[/card]
Foil LSV tokens, signed by the man himself!
Box of returned stolen goods that were not claimed
HairyT, Westcan Events, and Bulldog Games
Provided booster packs for the spell slinging
There were some awesome prizes avaiable, and I saw tons of people walk away with not just a prize, but a story that made their weekend. I personally enjoyed crushing a particular gentleman with a full foil combo deck who expected to crush a lowly podcaster. Instead, he was met with a [card]Worldspine Wurm[/card] strapped up with a [card]Bear Umbra[/card] which found an [card]It That Betrays[/card] to seal his fate on turn six. Nothing makes me happier than crushing people who can pick a single card from their deck that is worth more than the entirety of mine.
I can’t wait for a runback with this awesome crowd in Montreal come the beginning of next year, but until then, Toronto is in the books and I am back in this frigid state that might as well be Canada. My next article will likely involve some gaps in memory as the guys are insisting that we will not be sober for the majority of the weekend. Thanks for reading and if you have any questions, hit me up on Twitter or in the comment section below.