Sponsorship Announcement: Retro 51

Retro Logo

We are excited to announce the addition of Retro 51 as the first official sponsor of the 2019 Hunter Burton Memorial Open. Just like last year, Retro 51 will be donating 8 of it’s iconic Tornado fine writing pens to the top 8 players of the Modern main event. In addition we are working close with the reps at Retro 51 to do something very special for this year’s players! Look forward to their sponsor spotlight early next year with all the information!

Visit their website at Retro51.com

ZanMan Goes to GP Las Vegas

Team member Jeff Zandi attended the Magic the Gathering Grand Prix in Las Vegas earlier this year and repped his HBMO gear all the way. Here’s his recap:

Grand Prix Las Vegas

Magic events don’t get any bigger than at a Grand Prix, and nothing’s bigger than a Las Vegas Grand Prix. I couldn’t wait to get on the plane. Five nights and six days in sunny Las Vegas, spreading the word about the Hunter Burton Memorial Open all along the way. I wore a different HBMO t-shirt each day in Vegas, starting of course with the dark green 2014 shirt from our first-ever event. Here is the tale of my five day adventure at Grand Prix Las Vegas.

It seems like a natural fit, big-time Magic in the city where gaming happens 24-7. Wizards of the Coast wasn’t always sure that “Sin City” was a good fit for their family-friendly image. Long ago, in 2001, Las Vegas hosted their first Grand Prix. 462 players played Extended constructed. It would be twelve long years before Vegas got another chance to host big-time Magic. In 2013, Las Vegas hosted its second Grand Prix, this time featuring Modern Masters sealed deck and booster draft. It was the largest-ever Magic tournament with 4500 players. Two years later, lightning struck for a second time. Grand Prix Las Vegas 2015 featured Modern Masters 2015 and was so large it had to be cut into two separate events. The combined attendance set another record with nearly 8000 players. The Grand Prix returned to the Nevada desert again last year. This time, the draw wasn’t another Masters set, but three separate Grand Prix events running back-to-back-to-back. A Legacy Grand Prix started on Thursday, June 15th, with 2656 players. A day later, a limited GP with 2692 players. Finally, a colossal Modern GP began on Saturday with 3401 players. It was the biggest week of competitive Magic ever held in a single location.

Thursday at the Grand Prix

When the mega-huge halls opened at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Thursday, June 14th, I was confronted by an eight-foot-tall Karn, Scion of Urza. There will be dozens of Magic cosplayers at the event this week but none as imposing or impressive as this one.

Jeff Zandi and Karn in 2014 HBMO shirt

This year’s Grand Prix Las Vegas started off with a bang on Thursday with a day full of special qualifying tournaments for a Beta booster draft to take place on Sunday evening after the end of the GP main events. There were eight qualifying tournaments, each limited to 256 players. The winner of each of these eight qualifying tournaments would take part in a historic Rochester draft Sunday night using extremely rare Beta booster packs, Magic’s very first edition from twenty-five years ago.

I’m playing in the first Beta qualifier, bright and early on Thursday morning. My event is Dominaria sealed deck and I get a reasonable green and black deck splashing blue for Cloudreader Sphinx, Tatyova, Benthic Druid and In Bolas’s Clutches on the back of three Islands and one Grow from the Ashes. My deck is bomb-free and not amazing. My hits are Phyrexian Scriptures and Urgoros, the Empty one along with Sporecrown Thallid with three spells that make Saproling tokens. Going 5-0 will be difficult. This event reached its player cap of 256 players and we are only playing five rounds of Swiss before the top eight. It’s necessary to go 5-0 in order to reach the top eight. Then you have to win the top eight Dominaria draft in order to qualify for Sunday’s Beta Rochester draft. It’s a serious challenge but an attractive enough one to attract a lot of Pro Tour talent.

playing next to David Williams

After winning round one 2-1 against Joe Dubois from Boston and his blue/white deck, I find myself seating one table over from my old friend David Williams. Nowadays, David crushes poker tournaments, Magic tournaments and televised cooking competitions. Over twenty years ago, David was the eighth (and youngest) member of the Texas Guildmages while he was still in high school. A lot has happened since then. He told me a week ago that his highest priority at Grand Prix Las Vegas was to win one of these Beta qualifiers. I hope he gets there. In round two I play against Amos Montineau from Utah. There are a lot of Utah players here this week, Amos says he only had to drive about three hours to get to Vegas. I give Amos one of the 2018 commemorative poker chips from February’s fifth annual Hunter Burton Memorial Open and explain to him how our Magic community in Texas is trying to raise awareness about suicide and suicide prevention. I brought enough poker chips to give one to everybody that I play throughout the GP. Amos is playing white/green and I’m fortunate to get past him 2-1. I lose in round three to Kyle Montgomery. He’s in town for both the Grand Prix as well as the World Series of Poker. I defeat a local player in round four, Michael Blair, and then intentionally draw with my opponent in round five to finish 3-1-1. My man Dave was 4-0 but lost in the last round.

Friday at the World Series of Poker

My pal Hunter loved poker, though not as much as Magic. Hunter was a good poker player. It’s kind of amazing that he never decided to play in the World Series of Poker. The World Series of Poker has taken place every year in Las Vegas since Benny Binion hosted the first one at the Horseshoe in what is now old downtown Las Vegas in 1970. Today, the World Series of Poker is composed by a series of tournaments starting at the end of May and running to the middle of July. Grand Prix Las Vegas inevitably overlaps with several of the WSOP events.

I have wanted to play in the World Series since back in 1999 when the movie Rounders came out and me and a lot of my Magic buddies went poker-crazy. Back then, if we weren’t traveling to a Magic event on Friday night, the gang was playing poker at my house. My wife was putting up with a houseful of Magic players two and three nights a week. Three years ago, I decided to finally try my luck at the World Series. 2015 was the first year of a new very large event in the WSOP called The Colossus. It set the record for the most players in a single poker tournament. I also played in the Grand Prix that week, of course, which also set a record for biggest Magic tournament. A certain number of players, like myself, were in both record-setting events. I’d love to know how many played in both.

HBMO poker chip on steps of World Series of Poker

It’s been years since the World Series was played downtown at the Horseshoe. Today, the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino is the home of the World Series of Poker. The tournaments are so large that they create a special entrance on the back of the Rio just for World Series players.

Jeff Zandi in 2015 HBMO shirt

My partner in crime this weekend is Maitland Griffith. He’s a committed competitive Magic player. I haven’t been able to pull him into poker yet. Late on Thursday afternoon, he rode over to the Rio with me so that I could sign up for Friday’s poker tournament. Then he and I took a very short cab right over to Caesars Palace to eat the best buffet on the strip.

The World Series of Poker is well-organized and as I find my seat on Friday morning, the parallels between large poker tournaments and large Magic tournaments are everywhere. At a big Magic tournament they try to have a judge for every 25-30 Magic players. At the World Series, obviously, they have to have a dealer at every table for every nine or ten poker players. The announcements at the beginning of the tournament remind me of those at a Magic tournament. There are some dos and don’ts, and then the head official tells the dealers to “shuffle up and deal.”

In my tournament, each player started with 5000 in chips. The starting blinds (forced bets) were twenty-five and fifty. The blinds bets were raised every hour, or level. Every two levels, there was a twenty minute break. I survived the first two levels, and the second two levels. I was moved to another table at the start of level five and never got a good footing there. I was knocked out halfway through level six, at which point the blinds were 150 and 300 and at which point there was an ante of fifty in chips for every player every hand.

I wasn’t happy to get knocked out of the poker tournament but the experience was very satisfying and I know I’ll be back to play in another World Series of Poker event next year. It’s the second most fun thing you can do with cards after Magic.

Saturday at the Grand Prix

It’s Saturday at the Grand Prix, the first day of the limited event. There are 2000 sealed deck players today. Everyone who is 6-2 or better after eight rounds will qualify to return for day two, which will be all booster draft. We’re playing with Dominaria again, just like the sealed deck Beta qualifier that I played on Thursday. Yesterday, 2700 players participated in day one of the Modern main event. My roommate Maitland Griffith went 7-1 and is battling in day two of that event today while I play sealed deck.

Jeff Zandi in 2016 HBMO shirt

My card pool for this tournament is not exciting. As much as I love to play red cards in general, I don’t like red as a main color in Dominaria sealed deck. However, in this particular pool of six booster packs, the best two colors are red and blue. I’m playing Traxos, Scourge of Kroog with ten other historic spells with which to untap it. I have Forebear’s Blade, and Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp, and Adeliz, the Cinder Wind. I have Fight with Fire and Ghitu Chronicler to get back Fight with Fire. I splashed black for two cards, Cast Down and Rona, Disciple of Gix. The worst cards in my deck are a pair of Short Sword cards that I’m playing to help me with Traxos, Zahid and Valduk, Keeper of the Flame. The deck is fine, but it’s not good.

Officially, I entered today’s GP with no byes. Then my first round opponent doesn’t show up for the match. That’s a first round bye in my book. I win round two against another citizen from Utah, a guy named Doug. Then I meet Brandon from northern California in round three. I win game one but lose the match. Brandon still gets a poker chip. I win round four against Jeremy from Minnesota. He’s genuinely interested in coming down to Texas to play in the next Hunter Burton Memorial Open. Connor McKay tells me that he is from “west of the Rockies” when we play in round five. Again, I win game one but lose the match. I’m 3-2 now and one more loss will sink my dreams of drafting on day two. Justin from Salt Lake City takes me down in round six. Once again, I win game one only to be overturned in games two and three.

Sunday in the Pro Tour Qualifier

The thing I would most like to be doing on Sunday at Grand Prix Las Vegas is participating in the Beta booster draft. That’s not going to happen. The next best thing I could be doing is playing in day two of the sealed deck Grand Prix that started yesterday. That isn’t going to happen, either. If I had excelled in the Senior event of the World Series of Poker, I’d could be looking at a very good payday today. That also isn’t going to happen. Instead, I’m taking one more shot at Dominaria sealed deck today in a Pro Tour Qualifier. Not a PPTQ, a real PTQ. The winner of this tournament qualifies for the Pro Tour and wins a travel award. It’s the real deal. I’m excited to take one more shot in one of the best sealed deck formats in a very long time. Dominaria was a wonderful twenty-fifth birthday present from Wizards of the Coast to all of us.

Hunter Burton would have loved this weekend. I admit, it would have been easy for non-Magic adventures in Las Vegas to have distracted him from the Magic-related adventures. That’s a factor that everyone over twenty-one has to deal with at Grand Prix Las Vegas. If he could have been here, however, Hunter would have loved all the Magic events this week. One thing that I always appreciated about Hunter was that he liked all the competitive forms of Magic. He played tons and tons of constructed, but was always thrilled to booster draft as well. Sealed deck was a distant third choice for Hunter, but if he were here at the GP with me, I know he would have rolled up his sleeves (just kidding, Hunter didn’t wear shirts with sleeves) and battled some Dominaria sealed with me.

Joining me in Sunday’s sealed deck adventure is Maitland Griffith. He just missed on a high finish at the Modern Grand Prix yesterday right up until the very last round of day two. One day later, he’s shaken off the disappointment and is ready to battle once again. His wife arrived late yesterday and helped to cheer him up. She’s pretty amazing. She shared their leftover bacon with me this morning. It’s easy to make friends with me if you have bacon.

My sealed pool is not amazing. The two colors that go together the best and offer the most utility are black and green. That means I can play exactly one of my seven rares (I opened a foil rare). It’s a decent one, Phyrexian Scriptures. I also have a couple of very good uncommons including The Eldest Reborn, Icy Manipulator and Grunn, the Lonely King. On the sideline are two rare dual lands, Benalish Marshal, The Mirari Conjecture, Grand Warlord Radha and Verix Bladewing. Verix Bladewing costs 2RR but I still thought long and hard about how to splash for it. I know I made the right decision sticking to black and green.

Jeff Zandi in 2017 HBMO shirt

My first opponent is Jefferson from Salt Lake City. I’ve been running into people from Utah all weekend. He’s playing green/blue and I win 2-0 fairly easily. In round two it’s Anton from Kentucky with white/black. Our three games are grindy as hell and he wins game three with very little time left on the clock. I’m 1-1 now and probably out of contention for the top eight. They structure these Sunday PTQs at Grand Prixs in such a way that if the event maxes out you have to go 6-0 to qualify for the top eight. This event did not reach maximum capacity so there is some chance that one loss could top eight, although it’s unlikely. We’re basically playing for prize wall tickets now.

In round three I meet Eduardo from Mexico. He wins game one easily with his black/blue deck. When he’s about to lose game two, I believe my opponent tried to cheat. He stacked up his lands and thought for a long time, then played two cards for which he needed a total of nine mana. My radar was tingling as soon as he stacked up his lands. I asked him to spread out his lands so that I could see that he had enough mana to pay for both spells. He did so. That’s when I noticed that he needed for three of his nine lands to make black mana for the two spells he played. He only had two lands that made black, as it turned out. Huh. When I pointed out the problem he quickly scooped up his cards. I know exactly what he did and I might be able to prove it but I didn’t call a judge. I don’t think the case is going to be strong enough to definitely get him disqualified. So we play game three, but it’s not fun at all because I’m having to watch Eduardo extra closely. I don’t think we had any issues in game three and I squeaked out the win with just minutes remaining.

My round four opponent is a friend, Bryan Spellman from Denver. Bryan is a level three judge whom I was introduced to by Joe Klopchic back when both of them were mere level two judges like myself. I love it when judges are good at competitive Magic, and Bryan certainly is. Bryan is a brooder, and he is not thrilled to have to play me this round. He knows how much I love limited in general and sealed deck in particular. It doesn’t help his mood when Joe Klopchic comes around in a rather jovial mood. That’s not where Bryan’s at, however, Bryan is all business. Now Bryan and I are men of science and don’t believe in luck, but Bryan certainly did mulligan to five cards on the play in games one and two and lost both of them.

In round five I meet Brandon from Denver, he tells me that he is familiar with Bryan Spellman’s excellent judge work there, as well as Scott Marshall, one of my great judge heroes. Brandon’s deck is black and green like mine and we play three very long games in which we each use almost every card in our decks. Each of us is choosing to draw when possible. He wins game two and I choose to have him play first in game three. He mulligans and goes on to lose just barely. I play a gentleman from Japan in round six, he is also 4-1. He’s a good player but we have a little trouble understanding each other and it makes our games move a little slowly. I manage to defeat his black/white deck in two games.

It’s so unlikely that I could get into the top eight at 5-1 that my sixth round opponent and I go ahead and cross the gigantic tournament floor to pick up our prize tickets without much regard for the Swiss results of the tournament to be posted soon. I run into Maitland at the prize wall and he convinces me to at least go back to the tournament area and check on those standings. You have to understand the scale of these Las Vegas Grand Prix events. The area where the PTQ is being held and the booth where you pick up prize tickets and the prize wall are all in the same room, but it’s a room big enough to park a pair of Boeing 747s in. Possibly three jumbo jets would fit in here. It’s been a long weekend and I’m limping a little as I head back to the PTQ stage just as Swiss results are being posted. I finish in fifteenth place with fifteen points. The top eight included three 6-0s and five 5-0-1s. It’s possible one of those draws was not intentional. It’s not a top eight, and it’s not a tournament win, but it’s a decent way to finish four days of competition.

Joe Klopchic and I spend the evening checking out an excellent Asian-fusion restaurant that happens to be hiding out in a terrible tiny casino far off the strip. The restaurant is called Fat Choy and it came highly recommended by David Williams, who definitely knows where all the good food is in Vegas. Joe and I each had two pork belly bao (pictured) and then he had a noodle dish and I had a rice bowl. The place has a very simple menu that includes what I’m told are some very decent hamburgers and sandwiches as well as modern Asian dishes. It was wonderful and strangely cheap. It’s located in the Eureka Casino on East Sahara Avenue a mile or so east of the strip. I’ll definitely eat at this place again the next time I’m in town.

Joe Klopchic at Fat Choy

The rest of the evening is spent doing low-impact gambling back at the Westgate where Maitland and I stayed both this year and last. Maitland and the missus went to a different Asian restaurant from the list Dave gave us and they had a fabulous meal as well. At some point, the long weekend catches up to you. My plane doesn’t leave until the early afternoon, I don’t need to turn in early, but I’m just plain tired.

On Monday morning, I make the most of my last day in Vegas. I get one more swim in at the Westgate, then I pack up my stuff. That’s no easy task. The idea is to underpack for the Grand Prix so that you have room in your bags to take stuff home with you. I have swag from the Grand Prix, swag from the World Series of Poker and lots and lots of cards and card boxes. My suitcase is so full it’s about to explode and I’m worried I’ll be forced to check it when they see it at the gate.

Jeff Zandi in 2018 HBMO shirt

I think about my friend Hunter as I take my last cab ride of the trip from the Westgate to the airport around lunch time. Hunter and I never did Vegas together, but I know he would have enjoyed this trip. It’s strange the way that some people’s memory just stays with you, sticks to you, in a way that others just don’t. They say that you never make friends when you’re an adult the way you did when you were a kid in school. That’s been pretty true for me. Of course I’ve made lots and lots of friends through Magic, all of which I met after my thirtieth birthday, but really close relationships have been few and far between. I think about Hunter all the time, partially because of my involvement with the annual charity event, obviously. I think about Hunter all the time, but I really don’t think about the way that we lost him, which, of course, was suicide. It’s my friend and the way that he lived that’s important to me, not the way that he died.

Gerry Thompson & The GAM Podcast Confirmed For The 2019 HBMO!

We are so excited to announce that Gerry Thompson will be returning to the 2019 Hunter Burton Memorial Open. Last year Gerry was sponsored by gaming and comic megastore Madness Comics & Games in Plano, Texas. Through their combined efforts they raised hundreds of dollars for the 2018 event in addition to adding plenty of special fundraising efforts and events at their storefront.

This year Gerry will be coming as part of his hit GAM Podcast. Along with castmate and competitive Magic player Bryan Gottlieb, they have added a new level of gaming insight and strategy to the Magic the Gathering world by talking about their experiences, deck choices, current meta, and so much more!

All of us on the HBMO team are excited to have Gerry and Bryan at the 2019 event. Stay tuned for announcements about awesome opportunities to meet them as well as to play some games of Magic with them before and during the 2019 event!

A little bit about Gerry Thompson, Bryan Gottlieb and The GAM Podcast:

GAM PodcastThe GAM Podcast – “We create the best Magic: the Gathering content for competitive players, focusing primarily on the various constructed formats!”
Listen to the podcast here:
GAM Podcast – Soundcloud
GAM Podcast – iTunes



Gerry Thompson - GAMGerry Thompson
is an American Magic the Gathering player. His career accomplishments include two Grand Prix victories, Pro Tour Top 8 at Montreal in 2013, Bilbao in 2018, and a Pro Tour win at Nashville in 2017. He is also known for his repeated success at the StarCityGames tournament series and considered one of the best MtG competitors in the world. His hometown is Elk River, Minnesota.   (Credit Wikipedia)

Bryan Gottlieb - GAMBryan Gottlieb is a stalwart of the Northeast Magic the Gathering scene, Bryan has been playing Magic for over twenty years. While he has seen his share of Grand Prix and Pro Tour success, he is better known in pro circles as a deckbuilder and theorist.
(Credit StarCityGames.com)





Gerry and Bryan - GAM.PNG

The New HBM Outreach Program!

Hunter Burton Memorial Inc. is excited to announce that it will begin a new step in its outreach program for suicide awareness. Starting in November of 2018, the HBMI team will begin venturing out to stores during special advertised events and talking to stores and their players about what the internal store communities can do to help those who might be struggling.

“This initiative will change the dynamic of what we do as a foundation. It moves us forward to the next step in uniting the gaming community across the country in the battle to prevent suicide.”
– Erin Giddings
Director of Operations for Hunter Burton Memorial Inc.

“The goal of the foundation is to bring awareness to a major at-risk community all the while celebrating Hunter Burton. This new outreach program will help us do both!”
– Dona Burton
Founder/Treasurer of Hunter Burton Memorial Inc.

What exactly will this new program entail and how can you be involved? We’re glad you asked! Here are some of the details so far:

  1. What it is: Stores/Businesses can sign up across the country to host a special HBM Outreach Event. These can be any type of positive atmosphere event including a gaming tournament, meetup, casual gaming session, mixer, etc. and is not just limited to Magic the Gathering.
  2. How to do it: For a business to sign up they simply need to email HunterBurtonMO@gmail.com about their interest and the event idea they have in mind. If/When accepted there is a form to fill out. This form and at least a $100 donation will be returned to HBMI and the event scheduled.
  3. What it entails: The business will get advertising on the Hunter Burton Memorial Open website as well as the Hunter Burton Memorial Inc, website. In addition they will be listed as a sponsor for the 2019 Hunter Burton Memorial Open for their tax deductible donation. Of course there will also be a FREE entry into ANY ONE EVENT at the 2019 HBMO held on March 16th and 17th to either a winner or lucky participant. Last but not least, stores in Texas (and other states depending on schedule and accommodations) will have a member of the Hunter Burton Team visit during the event to talk to the attendees about what they can do to help their fellow community members and do their part to maybe save a life.

Are you a player who wants this event at your game store or business? Ask your store about hosting one of these outreach events. The more players that ask about it, the more likely the store is to want to participate! Scheduling begins October 1st, 2018 so start talking to them today!

Are you a business that is interested in holding one of these events? Contact us today to see what we can set up. We are always looking for non-gaming partners such as breweries, restaurants, coffee shops, stores and more! We want to work with you!

Spread the word, the HBM is coming to a store near you very soon!

Following Helps the Cause

With the planning behind the scenes in full swing, the team here at Hunter Burton Memorial Inc. want to make sure you stay up to date on all the HBMO news. To do that, we are ramping up our campaign on the web and social media to keep you informed.

With that said, right now the biggest thing you could do to help us out is to follow our channels. We are on almost every platform so feel free to choose those that work best for you (or all of them if you are so bold!) From all of us here on the team, we thank you!

Facebook: @HunterBurtonMemorial
(See our updates and connect with our team directly)

Twitch:  https://www.twitch.tv/hunterburtonmemorialopen
(Watch the HBMO and soon to be announced content LIVE!)

Twitter:  @HunterBMemOpen

SnapChat:  HBmemlopen-mtg
(Live content including updates from our team and motivational stories)

Instagram:  HunterBurtonMemorialOpen
(Pictures and news updates)

And most importantly, don’t forget to subscribe here on our website to get all of the news stories directly to your email inbox before they post anywhere else!

March will be here before you know it… Get ready!IMG_2779

The Biggest HBMO Ever Is Coming: 2019

Today marks a historic day for the Hunter Burton Memorial Open. For us (the HBMO event team) it is truly an amazing time for us. We can finally share with you the overall plans and date for the 2019 event!

We are unable to start talking about our 2019 event however without first taking the time to once again thank all the volunteers, sponsors, vendors, partners, and most of all the players and attendees who donated to the 2018 Hunter Burton event. Without you, the upcoming event wouldn’t be possible.

A quick note from Dona Burton herself:

“The 2018 Hunter Burton Memorial Open was by far the most amazing year so far. The support of not only the Magic the Gathering community but also the volunteers, sponsors, and contributors was phenomenal to say the least. I am speechless with regards to how amazing the 2019 event is already shaping up to be. I truly believe everyone will be just as amazed and excited as I am for the coming year.”

Now, without further delay let’s get started with the big news as there is just so much to announce!

The 2019 Hunter Burton Memorial Open will be at the Hurst Conference Center in Hurst, Texas on…


MARCH 16th & 17th, 2019



It’s a Two-Day Event!

That’s right, for the first time EVER the Hunter Burton Memorial Open will be a two-day event! This means more big events, more prizes, and more reasons to attend. These additional events won’t just be limited to Magic the Gathering.
That’s not all however as we have more amazing news to tell you. So…Much…More!

With the addition of a second day we are finally able to have the Saturday Modern $10k tournament that will continue on day two. This will allow competitors to play a set number of rounds on day one followed by a reasonable night’s sleep with the conclusion Sunday morning. Yes, you read that correctly. The 2019 Hunter Burton Memorial will feature a Modern Format $10k on Saturday with its conclusion on Sunday!

Sunday Will Be Just As Big For Everyone!

So now you ask, “what about the rest of us on Sunday?!” Well we have now added (and you may want to sit down for this one)… a Standard $5k tournament on Sunday! Yes, you are reading that right! Sunday is a Standard Format $5,000 tournament open to everyone.

That’s A Lot Of Big News So Surely That’s It Right?

HA! No way! We have a whole list of things to announce. So many in fact that we are just going to number them off one by one so you can easily digest each and every bit:

There will be MAJOR side events on both Saturday and Sunday. That includes Legacy, Modern and Standard formats as well as Drafts and Commander. As we get closer we’ll announce these events but it’s safe to assume that if you play Magic the Gathering you will have plenty of reasons to attend both days!
We would also like to announce that the side events will now be held in a separate area from the main events. This will allow for better communication, staffing of judges and overall better organization without such low player caps.

We received your feedback about the food options at the 2018 event. Unfortunately due to some miscommunications last year the concession options were not as we expected and were not up to a standard we would have liked. Because of this we are working closely with the Hurst Conference Center to ensure the 2019 food options are much improved.

In 2019 we will have more vendors at the event for all attendees to shop from. In addition, we will have some great new sponsors coming on board (some pretty big names) adding major contributions to the cause.
If you would like your store or business to be involved, contact us! The upcoming 2019 event will have more opportunities to be involved for businesses and individual volunteers.

As with anything this far in advance some things could change, but here is a list of important dates to bookmark so you can stay up to speed on what’s happening and when!
– Begin Accepting Donations – June 1st
– Begin Accepting Vendor Applications – June 30th
– Begin Accepting Sponsorships – July 31st
– Begin Accepting Volunteer Applications – September 15th
VIP Registration Opens – November 1st
Pre-registration Opens – December 15th
HBMO Happens March 16th & 17th

This year we are making a greater push to do more things for the cause of suicide awareness and prevention. To do this we are starting a string of new initiatives including satellite events in stores (not just in the Dallas area) as well as a new and improved social media campaign. There we will be very open and honest about the behind the scenes of the HBMO and begin allowing Erin Giddings (our Event Coordinator) to start including “Real Talk” segments. These will be very direct videos and messages about the cause in an effort to connect all year long with our audience and do our best to make a positive impact on the community. These new initiatives  are just a first step on our mission to spread awareness.


There is so much more in the works behind the scenes that we just can’t share… yet. That said, if you haven’t already, please subscribe to our blog (right here on the website homepage) to get all the news directly to your email inbox or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. We’ll have Twitter and Youtube coming soon as well!

Last but not least, here is something we need from you. Please help us by sharing this story on whatever your preferred social media platform is to help spread the word! Post it in your MTG groups, share it with your local game store, tell your friends next time you meet to cube draft. If everyone tells one person they know (or even someone they don’t know) about the 2019 HBMO, we would be eternally grateful!

Thank you from the bottom of our heart and we look forward to seeing you in March 2019!

Instagram: HunterBurtonMemorialOpen
Snapchat: HBmemlopen-MTG
Facebook: @HunterBurtonMemorial

Happy Birthday Hunter!

Today is the reason we hold the Hunter Burton Memorial Open each year in the month of March. It’s our way of celebrating the life of Hunter and doing something he loved… playing Magic the Gathering.

While our fifth anniversary event was pushed into February due to a scheduling conflict, next year we will be returning to the month of March for our sixth annual event.

Look for news very soon about our 2019 date announcement and very special news about the evolution of the Hunter Burton Memorial Open.

In the meantime we wish Hunter a very happy birthday!


IMG_2947  IMG_3247

The 2018 Hunter Burton Memorial Open Recap!

IMG_2779 IMG_2810 IMG_2805

After a full year of preparation, the 2018 Hunter Burton Memorial Open has now come and gone. This year’s event far surpassed the numbers of previous years hitting almost 600 unique attendees across the day! Between event entries, donations, and silent auctions, thousands of dollars were raised to help spread the awareness of suicide in the gaming community.

Let’s take a quick look back at our 2018 event!

As Sunday, February 25th drew near, registration across all of the HBMO events began to grow beyond initial expectations. Some of the larger side events even capped out prior to the morning of. The 2018 Hunter Burton Memorial Open was shaping up to be a very special and very important event!

By the time on-site registration closed Sunday morning, 427 players were entered into the Modern Format Main Event. Another 64 (capped number) were ready to play in the Standard PPTQ $1k event, and over 40 players signed up to battle in Legacy Format for a Beta Savannah and Gaea’s Cradle! It was shaping up to be a great day of gaming and a solid effort of spreading awareness for suicide prevention.

The opening ceremonies started at 9:15am and included a quick speech from our event coordinator, Erin Giddings about the importance of reaching out to let people know if you are suffering. With an inspirational start, head judge Joseph Klopchic followed it up with a brief yet precise players meeting to get round 1 of the main event underway.

Over the course of ten main event rounds the new banned list changes for Modern Format started to play out. It quickly became apparent that the hype surrounding Jace, the Mindsculptor and Bloodbraid Elf may have been overplayed just a little going into the first Modern event since their unbanning. As rounds went on a clear favorite emerged between the two, but not nearly as much as players may have expected.

Here are the top 8 decklists from the Modern Main Event!

  Guo Quan Lim – 1st Place     Joshua Willis – 2nd Place
4 Snapcaster Mage 4 Monastery Swiftspear
1 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion 4 Goblin Guide
2 Gideon of the Trials 4 Eidolon of the Great Revel
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor 4 Lightning Bolt
4 Lightning Bolt 4 Rift Bolt
3 Lightning Helix 4 Lightning Helix
4 Path to Exile 4 Lava Spike
4 Spreading Seas 3 Skullcrack
2 Logic Knot 4 Boros Charm
3 Cryptic Command 3 Searing Blaze
2 Supreme Verdict 2 Shrine of Burning Rage
2 Search for Azcanta 3 Wooded Foothills
1 Secure the Wastes 3 Arid Mesa
1 Negate 3 Bloodstained Mire
4 Celestial Colonnade 1 Scalding Tarn
4 Scalding Tarn 2 Sacred Foundry
4 Flooded Strand 1 Stomping Ground
2 Steam Vents 4 Inspiring Vantage
2 Hallowed Fountain 3 Mountain
1 Sacred Foundry SIDEBOARD
3 Island 2 Path to Exile
1 Plains 3 Relic of Progenitus
2 Glacial Fortress 4 Destructive Revelry
2 Sulfur Falls 2 Kor Firewalker
SIDEBOARD 1 Searing Blaze
1 Eidolon of Rhetoric 2 Searing Blood
1 Celestial Purge 1 Skullcrack
1 Wear//Tear
1 Negate
2 Dispel
3 Spell Queller
1 Izzet Staticaster
1 Detention Sphere
1 Wrath of God
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Archangel Avacyn
  Gabriel Nicholas – 3rd Place
James Teeple – 4th Place
4 Ancient Ziggurat 4 Monstrous Carabid
4 Cavern of Souls 4 Street Wraith
4 Unclaimed Territory 4 Desert Cerodon
4 Horizon Canopy 4 Horror of the Broken Lands
1 Island 2 Archfiend of Ifnir
1 Plains 3 Beast Within
1 Seachrome Coast 3 Faerie Macabre
4 Aether Vial 4 Fulminator Mage
4 Thalia’s Lieutenant 3 Simian Spirit Guide
4 Kitesail Freebooter 3 Living End
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben 4 Violent Outburst
4 Meddling Mage 3 Demonic Dread
4 Noble Hierarch 1 Kari Zev’s Expertise
4 Phantasmal Image 1 Stomping Ground
4 Mantis Rider 1 Overgrown Tomb
4 Champion of the Parish 1 Blood Crypt
4 Reflector Mage 1 Forest
1 Kessig Malcontents 2 Swamp
SIDEBOARD 4 Blackcleave Cliffs
2 Mirran Crusader 4 Verdant Catacombs
1 Auriok Champion 3 Grove of the Burnwillows
1 Gaddock Teeg 1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Xathrid Necromancer SIDEBOARD
2 Izzet Staticaster 3 Ricochet Trap
1 Kataki, War’s Wage 3 Shriekmaw
2 Sin Collector 3 Ingot Chewer
1 Vithian Renegades 3 Brindle Boar
2 Grafdigger’s Cage 2 Avalanche Riders
2 Dismember 1 Jund Charm
  Thomas Matchett – 5th Place   Bobby Deaton – 6th Place
2 Forest 4 Ethereal Armor
4 Urza’s Mine 4 Gladecover Scout
4 Urza’s Power Plant 4 Hyena Umbra
4 Urza’s Tower 4 Daybreak Coronet
4 Grove of the Burnwillows 4 Kor Spiritdancer
4 Ancient Stirrings 4 Slippery Bogle
4 Chromatic Sphere 4 Rancor
4 Chromatic Star 3 Gryff’s Boon
4 Relic of Progenitus 2 Spider Umbra
4 Expedition Map 3 Leyline of Sanctity
4 Sylvan Scrying 2 Spirit Mantle
3 Kozilek’s Return 2 Path to Exile
3 Blood Sun 1 Misty Rainforest
2 World Breaker 1 Dryad Arbor
3 Wurmcoil Engine 1 Forest
4 Karn Liberated 1 Plains
2 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon 1 Arid Mesa
1 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger 3 Razorverge Thicket
SIDEBOARD 4 Horizon Canopy
1 Kozilek’s Return 4 Temple Garden
1 Dismember 4 Windswept Heath
1 Crumble to Dust SIDEBOARD
2 Nature’s Claim 2 Gaddock Teeg
2 Oblivion Stone 2 Rest in Peace
3 Thragtusk 1 Ethersworn Canonist
2 Abrade 3 Stony Silence
3 Thought-Knot Seer 2 Seal of Primordium
2 Dromoka’s Command
1 Spirit Link
2 Path to Exile
Brock Mosley – 7th Place
  Minh Tran – 8th Place
1 Reclamation Sage 4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Primeval Titan 2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
4 Sakura-Tribe Elder 4 Lightning Bolt
2 Anger of the Gods 4 Path to Exile
2 Khalni Heart Expedition 3 Cryptic Command
4 Lightning Bolt 3 Lightning Helix
1 Summoner’s Pact 3 Logic Knot
2 Explore 1 Negate
1 Primal Command 4 Serum Visions
2 Farseek 1 Secure the Wastes
4 Scapeshift 2 Search for Azcanta
4 Search for Tomorrow 2 Electrolyze
2 Courser of Kruphix 2 Supreme Verdict
3 Forest 1 Spell Snare
7 Mountain 4 Flooded Strand
2 Cinder Glade 4 Scalding Tarn
4 Stomping Ground 3 Celestial Colonnade
4 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle 1 Field of Ruin
3 Windswept Heath 1 Glacial Fortress
4 Wooded Foothills 2 Hallowed Fountain
SIDEBOARD 1 Sacred Foundry
1 Grafdigger’s Cage 2 Steam Vents
2 Chameleon Colossus 2 Sulfur Falls
2 Obstinate Baloth 3 Island
2 Tireless Tracker 1 Plains
1 Beast Within SIDEBOARD
1 Anger of the Gods 2 Engineered Explosives
1 Shatterstorm 1 Wear/Tear
1 Ancient Grudge 1 Settle the Wreckage
2 Relic of Progenitus 1 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
1 Crumble to Dust 1 Disdainful Stroke
1 Nature’s Claim 1 Negate
2 Dispel
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
3 Geist of Saint Traft
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Celestial Purge
2018 Winner – Guo Quan Lim – Jeskai

IMG_2807  IMG_2801

IMG_2792  IMG_2790

IMG_2788 IMG_2785

IMG_2783 IMG_2782

Congratulations to all of the top competitors from the 2018 Hunter Burton Memorial Open! We look forward to seeing them back to defend their top spots next year.

As amazing as the event was, it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of some amazing sponsors! The Burton family and our entire staff would like to say thank you to the people who made this year possible:

Courtney Trotter     Tiffany Franzoni     Caroline Koch    Christina Cruz     Keaton Watson  Willa Zandi    Garrett Wilkinson   Jim Shuman    Jeff Zandi   Brian Valdez    Erin Giddings    Brian Augustine   Joe Klopchic   Emily Klopchic   Jeff Higgins   John White   John Trout  Johnathan Dean   Sydney Townley   Jarred Feight   Mitchell Nitz   Brian Leonard      Mikey Elwell    Josh McCurley   Matthew Hoskins   Sara Anderson   Emma Bareis   Tim Hardick

Ani Alters – Custom Altered Cards
AKON 29 – America’s Longest Running Anime Convention
Common Ground Games (Dallas, TX)
Darkhound Studios – Custom Gaming Supplies
Design Realm – Custom T-shirts, Decals & More
Doc’s Comics & Games (Frisco, TX)
Funimation Entertainment
Generation X Comics & Games (Bedford, TX)
Haus of Magic
Madness Comics & Games (Plano, TX) – One of America’s largest game stores!
Madness Comics & Games (Denton, TX)
Miniature Exchange LLC (Grand Prairie, TX)
Recycled Entertainment (Amarillo, TX)
Retro 1951 – Life’s too short to carry an ugly pen!
Star City Games.com
Ultra Pro – The best known brand in gaming supplies!
Wilkinson Rhodes Events
Wizards of the Coast
Cole Kirkman – In loving memory of Kelci Lawrence from her loving family
Emily Klopchic
Erin Giddings – In memory of William Brandon Mills
Joe Klopchic
Keaton Watson
Murdock Belt
Vickie Giddings
Warren Moody
… and a number of others who preferred to remain anonymous but whos contributions made a great difference in our event!

Last and certainly not least, a very special THANK YOU to the Burton family. Without the generous contribution of Greg, Dona, and Casey there would be no HBMO. This team is so grateful to be a part of this event and to help make a difference in the community that we love. Thank you for making the Hunter Burton Memorial Open a reality this year and for future years!

We appreciate all who attended this event and everyone who watched our live stream from around the world. The Hunter Burton Memorial Open will return in March of 2019 for an even bigger and better event! We look forward to seeing you there.

The 2018 HBMO held a large Legacy format event sponsored by Common Ground Games. Here are the top 4 decklists from that tournament!

Huang, Albert – 1st Place Lakhamni, Sherwin – 2nd Place
4 Omniscience 3 Mother of Runes
3 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn 1 Spirit of the Labyrynth
4 Force of Will 1 Sanctum Prelate
4 Cunning Wish 2 Mirran Crusaders
4 Show and Tell 2 Recruiter of the Guard
4 Lim-Dul’s Vault 2 Serra Avengers
4 Brainstorm 3 Phyrexian Revokers
4 Ponder 4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 Preordain 4 Stoneforge Mystics
4 Thoughtseize 4 Flickerwisp
1 Flusterstorm 4 Swords to Plowshares
4 Polluted Delta 4 Aether Vial
4 Scalding Tarn 1 Umezawa’s Jitte
2 Underground Sea 1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Volcanic Island 1 Batterskull
4 Island 9 Plains
1 Swamp 4 Rishadan Port
1 Boseiju, Who Shelters All 4 Wasteland
3 City of Traitors 3 Karakas
SIDEBOARD 3 Cavern of Souls
3 Leyline of Sanctity SIDEBOARD
1 Echoing Truth 2 Ethersworn Canonist
1 Firemind’s Foresight 2 Containment Priest
1 Flusterstorm 2 Path to Exile
1 Hurkyl’s Recall 2 Council’s Judgement
1 Noxious Revival 2 Rest in Peace
1 Pyroblast 2 Surgical Extraction
1 Release the Ants 1 Palace Jailer
1 Rushing River 1 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
1 Surgical Extraction 1 Manriki-gusari
1 Through the Breach
1 Wipe Away
1 Eldamri’s Call
Williams, Keith – 3/4th Place Lupa, Micah – 3/4th Place
9 Plains 4 Dark Ritual
4 Wasteland 4 Cabal Ritual
4 Rishadan Port 4 Lion’s Eye Diamond
3 Karakas 4 Lotus Petal
1 Cavern of Souls 4 Brainstorm
1 Flagstones of Trokair 4 Ponder
1 Mishra’s Factory 4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Mother of Runes 2 Preordain
4 Thalia, Gurardian of Thraben 4 Infernal Tutor
4 Stoneforge Mystics 1 Past in flames
4 Flickerwisp 1 Tendrils of Agony
3 Phyrexian Revokers 1 Ad Naeseum
2 Recruiter of the Guard 1 Dark Petition
2 Mirran Crusaders 4 Cabal Therapy
1 Serra Avengers 3 Duress
1 Palace Jailer 1 Island
1 Sanctum Prelate 1 Swamp
4 Aether Vial 2 Underground Sea
1 Batterskull 1 Volcanic Island
1 Sword of Fire and Ice 1 Bayou
1 Umezawa’s Jitte 1 Tropical Island
4 Swords to Plowshares 4 Poluted Delta
SIDEBOARD 2 Bloodstained Mire
2 Cataclysm 2 Misty Rainforest
2 Council’s Judgement SIDEBOARD
2 Containment Priest 2 Xantid Storm
2 Rest in Peace 2 Ground Seal
1 Path to Exile 3 Abrupt Decay
1 Manriki-gusari 1 Empty the Warrens
1 Ethersworn Canonist 1 Toxic Deluge
1 Recruiter of the Guard 2 Fatal Push
1 Sword of the Light and Shadow 1 Echo’s Truth
1 Grafdigger’s Cage 2 Chain of Vapor
1 Surgical Extraction 1 Duress

2018 Standard PPTQ Has Capped!

The Standard PPTQ $1k event at the 2018 Hunter Burton Memorial Open has reached max capacity. There will be no onsite registration for this event.

Please join us for the modern format main event, the Legacy constructed event for a Beta Savannah and the Theros Block Sealed events!

Everything You Need to Know For The 2018 Hunter Burton Memorial Open!

The time is finally here! The 5th Annual Hunter Burton Memorial Open happens in just THREE DAYS!!! Questions about the event? Have no fear! You can find the answers to almost every questions right here in this post.

  1. WHERE (Address, Parking, Food, Venue/Event Info)
  2.  WHEN (Check-In, Event Times)
  3. DETAILS (Sponsors, Everything Else)
  4. TIPS


Hurst Conference Center
1601 Campus Drive
Hurst, TX  76054

FREE Parking is available in the multi-story connected parking garage. DO NOT park in the businesses next to the convention center as they will tow without warning! In the rare case it’s full, overflow parking is available a block away on Campus Drive.

There will be a customized food menu onsite with concessions area for dining. These items will be better than normal concession style stands with very affordable prices in comparison to most other event venues. Energy drinks, water, and other beverages will also be readily available for purchase.
There are also other food/bar options within walking distance of the venue if needed.

– There is NO SMOKING in or around the venue building per City of Hurst ordinance
– Damage to property will be prosecuted fully by both the City of Hurst and HBM Inc.
ZERO TOLERANCE for Bullying, Harassment, or Theft of any kind. Steps for criminal prosecution will be followed in addition to your removal from the venue with forfeiture of entry and any prizing.
– Proper Hygiene and appropriate clothing required. Offensive clothing or odors may result in being asked to leave the venue until the problem can be rectified.

WHEN (Sunday February 25th, 2018)

ALL ONLINE PRE-REGISTRATION CLOSES AT 6:00pm Saturday, February 24th, 2018

CHECK-IN – Modern Main Event
7:30am Registration Opens (Modern Main Event)
* Located outside the main hall in the front area of the Hurst Conference Center. *
General Registration will have two lines (Cash/Credit.) All players will need to fill out a registration slip at the desk.
Pre-Registered Players will need to check in at the front desk (Pre-Registered Check-in.)
VIP Registered Players will need to check in at the front desk (VIP Check-In)to receive their badge and items
9:00am Registration Closes (Modern Main Event)

CHECK-IN – Side Events, PPTQ, Legacy, Sealed
10:30am Registration Opens (Side Events, PPTQ, Legacy, Sealed)
* Located inside the main gaming hall to the left of the judge stage. *
General Registration will accept cash or credit. All players will need to fill out a registration slip at the desk.
Pre-Registered Players & VIP will need to check in at the desk.

(All check-in/registration suggested at least 30 minutes prior to registration close.)

Silent Auction (all money donated to the non-profit!)
Auction Begins at 10:00am
– Black Lotus CE Graded 8.5
– Playset of Tarmagoyf
– GURU Land Playmat Set Autographed
– Judge Foil Card Lot (multiple judge foils)
– Judge Foil Elesh Norn
– Casual Magic Combo (Commander Decks, Explorers, Planechase Anthology, More)
– Board Game Lot (including Rick & Morty, Mountains of Madness, and more)
– Garfield vs Finkel Deckmaster Sealed Tin
– Two 4-Day Passes to AKON 29
– 16 Custom Altered Lands by Ani Alters
– … and more being added daily!
Auction Closes at 7:00pm

Modern Format (Main Event) – Competitive REL, Decklist Required
On-site Entry Fee – $50
Registration Closes – 9:00am
Player’s Meeting – 9:15am

Standard PPTQ $1k – Competitive REL, Decklist Required
On-site Entry Fee – $30
Registration Closes – 12:15pm
Players Meeting – 12:30pm
*Sponsored by Generation X Comics & Games in Bedford, TX *

Legacy Constructed – Competitive REL, Decklist Required
On-site Entry Fee – $25
Registration Closes – 1:15pm
Players Meeting – 1:30pm
* Sponsored by Common Ground Games in Dallas, TX *

Sealed Theros Retro Pre-release – Casual Style Event
On-site Entry Fee – $20
Registration Closes – 3:00pm
Players Meeting – 3:15pm
* Sponsored by Madness Comics & Games in Denton, TX *

Commander Pods – Casual Style Event
On-site Entry Fee – $5
Registration from 11:30am to 6:00pm
Fires when 4 people sign up

Iconic Masters Draft – Casual Style Event
On-site Entry Fee – $35
Registration from 11:30am to 6:00pm
Fires when 8 people sign up

Rivals of Ixalan Draft – Casual Style Event
On-site Entry Fee – $15
Registration from 11:30am to 6:00pm
Fires when 8 people sign up


This event would not be possible without the generous support and donations by the amazing people and companies that sponsor the event. We would like to give quick recognition to these sponsors and people and ask that you please reach out and thank them for their part in making this event happen…

Ani Alters – Custom Altered Cards
AKON 29 – America’s Longest Running Anime Convention
Common Ground Games (Dallas, TX)
Darkhound Studios – Custom Gaming Supplies
Design Realm – Custom T-shirts, Decals & More
Doc’s Comics & Games (Frisco, TX)
Funimation Entertainment
Generation X Comics & Games (Bedford, TX)
Haus of Magic
Madness Comics & Games (Plano, TX)
Madness Comics & Games (Denton, TX)
Miniature Exchange LLC (Grand Prairie, TX)
Recycled Entertainment (Amarillo, TX)
Retro 1951 – Life’s too short to carry an ugly pen!
Star City Games.com
Ultra Pro – The best known brand in gaming supplies!
Wilkinson Rhodes Events
Wizards of the Coast

Cole Kirkman – In loving memory of Kelci Lawrence from her loving family
Erin Giddings – In memory of William Brandon Mills
Joe Klopchic
Keaton Watson
Murdock Belt
Vickie Giddings

Special Thanks to all of the HBMO staff and volunteers from this year and all previous years!

Most importantly, a heartfelt THANK YOU to Dona, Greg, and Casey Burton! From their tragic loss this event was born and their generosity helps us remember Hunter Burton and spread awareness that could help save a life.

(to assist in making the event smooth for everyone!)

– Ensure you have the proper location and start time of your desired event

– Leave at least 15 minutes earlier than planned to account for traffic or weather

– Have your decklist pre-filled out and legible. TRIPLE check it, don’t forget your name!

– Make sure you take steps to prepare yourself such as wearing deodorant in case the room gets hot, comfortable shoes for constant walking to tables, wearing a belt to prevent wardrobe malfunctions, and wear layers based on weather conditions.

– Most importantly, REMEMBER TO HAVE FUN! Winning money or not it’s for a great cause. Bring your A-Game in sportsmanship!



We look forward to seeing everyone at the Hurst Conference Center on February 25th, 2018 for the 5th Annual Hunter Burton Memorial Open!!!

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