Monday, September 1, 2008

GP Manila 08

It's too dark... But I hope the logo is prominent enough. I just got back from Manila (specifically Mandaluyong City) after a grueling 2-day (got to participate in the first day only) Grand Prix tournament that enticed the likes of MTG Pros Raphael Levy, Shuhei Nakamura, Tomoharu Saito, Terry Soh, and many others to join.

Getting to win would have been achievement but joining the said tournament was worth the travel. The experience and feel of a huge tournament that comes but once in every two years in the Philippines has inspired me to be a better player.

Anyway, as a sort of a summary, here is my GP experience report (never mind the actual tournament performance report because I sucked really bad):

I arrived 10AM Friday in Manila at NAIA 3. Thankfully the terminal wasn't that confusing as described by several articles in the Internet regarding the inefficiency of the operation in the terminal. But I did have to endure a long walk from the plane to the terminal exit.

The said Grand Prix was once again held at the Megatrade Hall A of SM Megamall. Upon arrival there, the place was already bustling with activity as players were vying for last chance byes. I instead joined a Super FNM Sealed Deck tournament. I didn't bother to ask how many rounds the tournament would be and upon learning that it would be 6 rounds, I quit after the 4th round (6 PM on my watch). I figured that playing for two more hours would be killer.

Saturday - I got to the venue by 10AM and proudly flashed my ID to the security people which allowed me to enter into the building ahead of everybody else (why does everybody want to get to the mall early?). To sum up my tournament performance: two wins, 5 losses and 1 draw. I thought I was doing good after the 4th round when I got my 2nd win. Some will say that it's just coincidence and some will say that it might be superstition. After the 2nd win in the 4th round, I went out to take a leak and then grab lunch (it was already 4PM and I was starving). Things spiralled downward after that.

For the tournament proper, I had my opponents sign a basic land for remembrance sake. I figured that I might face a foreign opponent and ask for his/her signature, I might as well do the same to my fellow Filipinos. One opponent remarked that I was doing something unique. Yeah. That was the idea.

Oh yeah, before the tournament started, I got to ask for Terry Soh's and Raphael Levy's signatures. I still used a basic land (unfortunately, if I did have their Pro Player cards, I couldn't find them among my binder).

I was suprised by the number of women who played. And to think that they were all pretty looking! Now, that's my type of a girl. But all of them couldn't beat the best judge in the tournament - the only lady judge among the roses, Nikki.

One thing that could have been improved was how players would know where to sit in the tournament. It was too much to crowd around a small short-sized bond paper. Well, I don't have an exact idea on how it can be improved but I sure hope the organizers will be able to solve that dilemma.

Sunday - since I wasn't qualified to get to the 2nd day (with that record? Ugh.), I relegated myself to being a spectator. I only got to witness Soh vs. Nakamura as a featured match and it was great seeing two great players go head to head. Meanwhile, I got to talk to Saito. While asking for his autograph, Nikki got in to the act also and I shamelessly asked for her autograph.

I got Nakamura's autograph after his game with Saito. I did get to use his Pro Player card. Another shameless act: I asked for Nikki's marker.

The best memory of the GP? My moment with artist Darrell Riche. I was going to ask for an original sketch. He showed me what he was currently working on and I told him I'd be getting the next one he would make. Around 5PM, Mr. Riche was asked to pack up for an interview and I got back to him. He told me that he'd sell the work he showed me earlier but I respectfully declined, telling him that I wouldn't want the guy who asked for it to get mad. True enough, the guy got back. Mr. Riche gave me a thumbs-up that he was already working on my request.

He probably thought that I was leaving the venue because he came after me and gave me the drawing he was working on. I got my hand into my pocket but he declined my payment, telling me that I saved him from being on the bad side of the guy who asked for the first drawing.

And there it was. Mr. Riche told me that I was a noble person, shook my hand and told me that he was happy to have met me.

As what they say, good things do come to good people.

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