After a six year hiatus, Canada finally has a new National Champion. Kale Thompson defeated Lucas Siow in the finals of Canadian Nationals hosted by Face to Games on Sunday and a champ was crowned. Both Siow and Thompson will be joining our Canadian Team Captain, Eduardo Sajgalik, in representing the country at the World Magic Cup in Nice, France on Dec. 1.
For me, and for a lot of my peers in the room, this was our first Nationals. This two day multi-format event was truly everything it was advertised to be. It was the perfect combination of skill-testing and fun. The transition from Standard to Draft made for a real test of strength, as players who ran-hot early hit a metaphorical wall of booster packs. With Limited aside, the at-the-table story of the tournament was clearly Temur Energy. Every member of the Top 4 of this event played the powerful creature-based strategy in very similar iterations. Thompson’s list was pretty generic, a virtual spitting image of the deck William Jensen used to win the World Championship with just a week ago. Siow’s deck on the other hand, had some familiar Siow spice, as he went bigger than everyone post-board, raining down Carnage Tyrants and Nicol-Bolas God-Pharaoh on his opponents. One of the highlights of watching the Top 8 for me was seeing Siow laugh out loud after flipping his one-of Search for Azcanta then playing a Carnage Tyrant and win easily. The rest of the Temur Top 4 consisted of Greater Toronto Area grinder and Grand Prix Montreal Top 8 competitor Morgan McLaughlin and Maxime Auger who also went big out of the sideboard with both Pull From Tomorrow and River’s Rebuke.
The remainer of the Top 8 was (thankfully) a little more diverse. Toronto-local Omar Beldon brought a build of Hazoret Red featuring a full four copies of Rampaging Ferocidon. Jonathan Dery joined the Temur Energy brigade, Philippe Gareau played the Abzan Hidden Stockpile tokens deck and Alan Ngo blew it all out of the water with a B/R Aggro deck featuring the all-powerful Night Market Lookout. Beldon’s red deck looked really well-positioned against the field as the creature density allowed for more powerful draws and Ferocidon beats-up on Tokens decks very well. Ngo’s B/R Aggro deck must be good beyond my comprehension because I’m hard-pressed to find a reason why to play this over Hazoret Red.
All this in mind, the Top 8 was a pretty good representation of what the room looked like, with the exception of the lack of U/B Control. Temur Energy was simply the best deck in the room, and the best players playing the best deck won the event. It really was what you wanted out of a top-tier competitive tournament. Toronto’s next challenge—how do you now beat the boogeyman that is Temur Energy?
Before I leave you with the decklists, I’d like to add some of my own insight as to what the Nationals experience felt like this weekend. What was remarkable to me, was the unparalleled sense of community that I felt walking around the venue all weekend. I truly have never played a Magic tournament with more familiar faces, fun to be had and collective positivity. Between interacting with the loyal crowd Face to Face Games has fostered in Toronto to seeing the way older players and pros like Alexander Hayne sprinkled themselves into that community, it was truly a great weekend. If you ever get the chance and didn’t this year—play Nationals.
Congratulations to Kale, Lucas and the rest of the Top 8 competitors, here are the Standard decklists from the 2017 Canadian National Championship: