News Brief: Planeswalker Posters, Core Set 2019, WMC Captaincy, and Grand Prix Las Vegas

The week of June 11th started with Magic’s latest Core Set and nearly ended with one of its first. It also saw Magic’s 25th anniversary kick off in earnest. And where else but Las Vegas could a party like this get started?

Planeswalker Posters

A series of posters is being released in conjunction with Magic’s 25th anniversary. Each of these posters are done by a different artist. The posters each depict a planeswalker and their bond to mana—Ajani Goldmane for white, Jace Beleren for blue, Liliana Vess for black, Chandra Nalaar for red, and Nissa Revane for green. You can check out what the series looks like on Nerdist. They will be available for $5 a piece at each of the Grand Prix celebrating Magic’s 25th anniversary (Singapore, Sao Paulo, Barcelona, Chiba, and the concluded Las Vegas). Any leftovers will be put on sale at mtgproshop.com.

Core Set 2019

The week started off with some information about the latest Core Set. Blake Rasmussen showed off the packaging and promos for the next Standard legal release. Continuing the exclusive buy-a-box promo for local game stores, the Core Set 2019 promo-only card is Nexus of Fate. A 5UU instant that grants you an extra turn, Nexus also gets shuffled into your library if it ever goes to the graveyard. Like Firesong and Sunspeaker, Nexus of Fate will only be available when you buy a box of Core Set 2019 from your local game store during the prerelease. Blake’s article also showed off promos, including the Friday Night Magic prizes, and cards from the Welcome Decks.

Later in the week, the complete deck lists of the five planeswalker decks were unveiled. Unlike recent releases, Core Set 2019 will have five of these decks, one associated with each color. These decks will have special planeswalkers that are not designed to be played in Standard (although they are legal in the format) and are supposed to help new players learn the game while being engaging products.

With spoilers were coming out all weekend at Grand Prix Las Vegas, the official Core Set 2019  card list continues to be updated with new cards. The weekend let us in on Nicol Bolas, the Ravager, a legendary Elder Dragon that transforms into the planeswalker Nicol Bolas, the Arisen. We also got a look at the new green planeswalker Vivien Reid, a new Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants, and a new version of an original Elder Dragon in Vaevictis Asmadi, the Dire.

Core Set 2019 goes on sale July 13, 2018. Prerelease events will be taking place July 7 and 8, 2018.

World Magic Cup Captaincy

A miscommunication from Wizards of the Coast misidentified the cut off date for World Magic Cup captaincy as August. The correct date is September 16, 2018.

Grand Prix Las Vegas

Grand Prix Las Vegas consisted of three days with two main events. Friday and Saturday saw players compete in Modern while Saturday and Sunday featured Dominaria Sealed. And Sunday evening showcased the first Beta Rochester Draft for Magic’s 25th birthday.

First up was Modern. As always, the power and variety of the format was on full display. Players were assembling Tron, chaining together spells for Grapeshot, ticking up Aether Vial, and doing whatever Krark-Clan Ironworks does.

Well, whatever Krark-Clan Ironworks does, no one is better at figuring that out than Matt Nass. After a Top 4 finish at Grand Prix Phoenix, Nass took the intricate combo deck to the winner’s circle at Grand Prix Hartford. During the first event in Las Vegas, not much changed. Matt Nass went into the Top 8 as the number one seed and did what he is best at: piloting combo decks. After a tense semifinals against Ben Friedman and Grixis Death’s Shadow, Nass took his deck against Yuri Ramsey and Mono-Green Tron. The Tron deck, which was all over the Top 16, also made two appearances in the Top 8 (just like Krark-Clan Ironworks). Nass took the first game quickly and won the second despite a turn-3 Karn Liberated and an active Oblivion Stone on Ramsey’s side of the table.

Krark-Clan Ironworks

Matt Nass, 1st place at Grand Prix Las Vegas 2018 (Modern)

Martin Juza also made the Top 8 with Humans, marking an unprecedented 30 Grand Prix Top 8s. Not to let his semifinal exit be his swan song of the weekend, he also qualified for the Beta Rochester Draft.

Meanwhile, a Dominaria Limited Grand Prix was going on. As Nass was wrapping up his Day 2, the Sealed players were finishing their Day 1. The final bracket on Sunday featured Pro Tour Shadows over Innistrad champion Steven Rubin, as well as Andrew Cuneo. But it was Michael Bernat, in his third Grand Prix Top 8, who joined Nass as a title holder in Sin City.

Then there was the Beta Rochester Draft. With qualifiers held all weekend, there were only eight players lucky enough to sit down to open packs from Magic’s second ever print run. The table included three Hall-of-Famers: Martin Juza, Luis Scott-Vargas, and Ben Stark. These were only some of the stories—just check out this profile from Marc Calderaro on competitor Hemant Patel for another—but in the end it was about the cards. Underground Sea, Scrubland, Time Vault, Wheel of Fortune, and Mox Emerald were all opened, and each one elicited a loud roar from the spectating crowd. Combos, such as Orcish Artillery and Circle of Protection: Red were featured. In the end, however, Luis Scott-Vargas fell to Tim Rivera, who had two copies of Pestilence alongside Sengir Vampire. For his troubles, Rivera got a starter deck of Alpha.

Looking Forward

Next weekend, the 25th anniversary celebration travels to Grand Prix Singapore for a Standard Grand Prix. Pittsburgh will also showcase Standard at the Grand Prix level. Will Goblin Chainwhirler continue to dominate Standard the way Ancient Stirrings just ran roughshod over Modern? We’ll have to see. But for those waiting for another chance to draft Beta, you will have to try to qualify at GenCon in August.

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