It’s 2 AM on Friday, and I am getting off of my flight. Half awake, I head to the taxi area outside my airport. All I wanted to do was get some sleep after the 2 hour delay in Atlanta; the flight was supposed to leave at 10 PM to arrive in Miami by Midnight. After a severe thunderstorm shut down the airport temporarily, the flight time was moved back, and back once again. Arriving in Miami I headed over to the cab line to get a ride to my hotel. As I got in the driver asked where to and I told him the Marseilles hotel. After a confused looked on his face and having to repeat the intersection it was near a few times we were off. Getting to my room at 2:30 all I wanted to do was get to bed.

The Marseilles hotel is located on Miami Beach, right between 17th and 18th street on Collins. An older art deco style hotel that has recently been renovated, the Marseilles has an old world feel of what Miami must have been like several years ago. Being only two blocks from the Miami Convention center and right on the beach made the hotel a perfect location to crash for the weekend. If you’re going to play Magic in Miami Beach, you may as well make sure you can spend your downtime on the seemingly endless sandy beach full of European tourists and traveling families, consuming whatever beverage you can find while getting baked by the heat of the sun. After all, besides the nightclubs and the Ultra Music festival, isn’t that the point of visiting Miami?

I woke up Friday morning with a simple plan: wake up, head to the convention center to check in from preregistration, take a quick look at vendors, and then head back to the beach. This trip was half vacation, and since I knew I’d be spending all day Saturday at the event at the very least, I wanted to enjoy this Miami weather, which was a nice 80 – 90 degrees plus humidity. Not that the heat was a problem, Atlanta summers get just as bad and don’t provide the ocean side breeze. Weather like that is best spent in the water…

But enough about Miami, you all want to hear about the event, so let’s get into those details.

My list for the event was the typical American Control build based on 2 Aetherlings as the primary win condition. Other plans include Restoration Angels, Snapcaster Mages, and burn with Warleader’s Helix and Pillar of Flame if needed. I also included a miser Angel of Serenity. The event started late as usual but only about 20 minutes past the 10AM start time. I was just shy of a bye for the event so I was going to be playing the full 9 rounds for the day.

By the start of round 3 I was 0 – 2, which means one more loss and I can pack up and go to the beach to wallow in my sadness. Round 1 was against aggro and Round 2 was against the control mirror. I went on to rally with winning the next 5 rounds and got knocked out to a draw in Round 8 to a slow reanimator player. It was quite frustrating as the guy wasn’t intentionally slow but just took forever in his decisions. I wouldn’t say he was a bad player but when you miss Thragtusk triggers for your beast token, you aren’t playing at the top of your game. By the time we went to time in game three I had a slight advantage with an Aetherling out ready to win in turns. Unfortunately a played Thragtusk kept him alive into the draw, and thinking that he would possibly day two with a X-2-1 record, he wasn’t going to concede. This meant we were both knocked out but I decided to play my final round for the points, which I lost to another control mirror match. With the final match of the event for me completed, my secondary objective for the weekend was finished. The first objective being Roxie Card promotion.

 

For the Miami event, which ended up with a little over 1200 registered players, I wanted to promote the website as I usually do at events. This time, though, I wanted to do something different, something that would fit nicely with the Miami scene. What goes great with sunny Miami Beach? Roxie Card Sunglasses. I had a order of 150 to give out during the event in 3 neon colors as seen below. To make the product unique, I added the GP Miami to the Roxie Card logo on the temple. The plan was to give them all away to various people and the onsite artists. Needless to say, people love free sunglasses and they were a hit. The artists appreciated something given to them besides a stack of cards to sign, and seeing people with them on their head throughout the day was nice. I definitely like a unique promotional product and am thinking of what kind of item can we have made for GP Louisville or DC. The sunglasses promotion was finished up on Sunday, and it was time to get back to the beach, which was the third objective of the trip.

Highlights of Miami:

Burger & Beer Joint: I mentioned this place in my last post and it was better than I even remembered. I checked it out on Friday night and ended up with the Mustang Sally with a few alterations after they were out of my first choice. I always seem to forget how amazing Brie cheese is and it was great on my burger. If you’re a burger fan, I can’t recommend this place enough.

Master of Cruelties: Not really much of a highlight but in round 4 I faced a Grixis player who was playing Master of Cruelties. He cast two game one that quickly died and then cast Entering later in the game to a Dissipate I had in hand. It was an easy victory for me but it was nice to see a little variety at such a major event.

$14 Noble Hierarch: Found this deal while looking through one of the vendors. It had some writing on it which I assume why it was marked down but other than that, it was in great condition.

Decobike: On my last day in Miami, I checked out Decobike, which is a bike rental station with many locations around Miami beach. Biking the Boardwalk on South Beach was a blast and for at $10 for 2 hours, well worth the price.

The artists: It’s always fun to get a few cards signed and Greg Staples, Eric Deschamps and Zoltan Boros did not disappoint. The lines were fairly manageable throughout the weekend and the wait wasn’t too long.

 

In conclusion, the Grand Prix Miami trip was a blast. I didn’t make day two but after coming back from an 0-2 loss at the beginning, it turned out better than expected. I plan to give American control a bit more time during the next few months so I hope to post more success with the deck and more of my Grand Prix Adventures.