Happy 2019! With one week down, the rest of the year lies ahead. While we do not know everything the next twelve months hold, we now have more information about upcoming MagicFests, as well as the first spoilers from Ravnica Allegiance.
The spoilers are rolling in. Ravnica Allegiance previews have begun in earnest and we are starting to get an idea of what the next set will look like. Featuring the five guilds not found in Guilds of Ravnica: Azorius (white-blue), Gruul, (red-green), Orzhov (white-black), Rakdos (black-red), and Simic (blue-green), the set will include the associated shocklands and the cycles of Guildgates, Lockets, and 4-mana guild uncommons. The full spoiler will be revealed this Friday and the prerelease will take place the weekend of January 18.
In 2019, rather than having Grand Prix as the focal point of a weekend, they will be part of a larger event series called MagicFests. MagicFests will feature Grand Prix tournaments, as well as side events, Mythic Championship Qualifiers, and more. The MagicFests at Oakland this past weekend and in January at the end of the month are sponsored by the Adult Swim cartoon Tigtone, with playmats and tokens featuring characters from the show.
The prize pools and formats for second quarter Grand Prix at MagicFests were revealed. Highlights include the $80,000 main event at the Limited Grand Prix at MagicFest London, a Legacy tournament at Niagara Falls, and Team Limited in Providence.
During this weekend’s broadcast of Grand Prix Oakland, the upcoming streaming schedule for high level Magic was revealed. Currently there are two events scheduled to be streamed live: the Grand Prix at MagicFest Prague next week and the Mythic Championship Cleveland in February. This is a far cry from the near weekly broadcasts in 2018. The change makes sense given that members of the Magic Pro League will be playing every week and we have yet to see how those events will be broadcast.
Grand Prix Oakland
The first Grand Prix of 2019 took place at MagicFest Oakland. Grand Prix Oakland featured the much loved Modern format with over 1,100 players coming to the Bay Area to try their luck and test their skill. Modern proved to be a format where practice is rewarded as Magic Pro League member Matthew Nass made another Modern Top 8 with his weapon of choice: Krark-Clan Ironworks.
Nass wasn’t alone as three other players—Sam Black, Hunter Cochran, and Steven Haker—also made the Sunday stage with the powerful combo deck. The Top 8 also featured Alex Olsen on White-Blue Control, Garth Dracoulis on Hardened Scales Affinity, Marshall Jankovsky on TitanShift, and Eli Kassis on Izzet Phoenix. Anyone who wanted to win the trophy was going to have to go through Ironworks.
And that is exactly what Kassis did. After dispatching Haker in the Quarterfinals, Kassis took down KCI master Nass in three games in the Semifinals. His finals opponent was Hunter Cochran and after a quick game 1, Cochran offered the concession. Apparently the finalist had a plane to catch. Regardless, Kassis took the handshake, the title, and thanks to his win has locked Platinum status for the next cycle.
Next week, Ultimate Masters gets another go at the Grand Prix in Prague. After that, the MagicFest circuit takes a break for the Ravnica Allegiance prerelease and release weekends. The month wraps up with the Limited Grand Prix at MagicFest New Jersey.