Grand Prix New Jersey Day 1 Recap

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A long, strenuous day of competition ended later than most anticipated, as a field of over two hundred teams was narrowed down to just twenty. At the top of the standings, surprisingly enough, is Team Cardshark (Jason Huang, Paul Sottosanti and Adam Fischer). Not much about these players is known, but coming out of today alone on top of the standings will ensure all eyes are on them tomorrow. Right up behind them in second is Illuminati, made up of Alex Shvartsman, Justin Gary and Zvi Mowshowitz. One thing is for sure: Illuminati’s Top 4 finish at Pro Tour New York back in September was no fluke. With a solid follow-up to today’s success, they will cement their reputation as one of the best three player Magic teams on the planet. Two local teams made up of “Jersey guys” also finished up the day at 7-1. Exhisposition Center, made up of Tim McKenna, Paul Jordan and Brian David-Marshall defended their home turf successfully today, along with Team TOGIT’s own Craig Krempals, Patrick Sullivan and Adam Horvath. Your Move Games, Lovespell (Froelich, Benafel, Borteh) and Bergerones (Kibler, Ho, Rubin) also made the cut to play tomorrow.

One of the more interesting stories to develop today was Team Deadguy’s 4-0-1 drop performance. After achieving that record, Pikula, Tsai and Price had earned enough points as a team to play in the Pro Tour, and dropped with their task done. On the other hand, another team had a drop that was not entirely welcomed. The TOGIT Connection was an odds on favorite going into today, with Odyssey limited powerhouses Mike Turian and Eugene Harvey being flanked by Osyp Lebeowicz, one of the game’s rising stars. Things started off well enough at 3-1, but Harvey had to leave at that point to play piano in a concert. His teammates were informed of this at the beginning of the day, but they assumed they would be far into the tournament by the time Harvey had to leave. Needless to say, this was not the case.

Tomorrow will bring three rounds of Team Rochester Draft, followed by a cut to Top 4. How will the skewed colors of Torment and Judgment affect the format? Will teams stick to conventional strategy and put their drafters where they can pick up the best of Torment’s black and the best of Judgment’s green and white, or will they set up their seats to combat the anticipated draft metagame? Who will win the whole thing and earn a trip to the Masters Series? Tune into Sideboard tomorrow to find out!

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