Showdown Recap: RPTQ weekend in Toronto


Welcome to another weekly Showdown Recap, where we take a look at what happened at Face to Face Games Toronto’s weekly Sunday Showdown, a series of 1k events feeding into the Ultimate Showdown 5k Invitational. This week we had players in the store all weekend long playing Modern, first on Saturday for our Last Chance Qualifier Showdown and the Regional Pro Tour Qualifier on Sunday.

There are few players more feared in the Toronto Magic community than Matthew Dilks. And on Saturday at the LCQ that remained the case, as he was able to take down yet another event with Amulet Titan.

Last Chance Qualifier champ Matthew Dilks.

Dilks and Team Face to Face Games member Edgar Magalhaes have been working on this deck relentlessly in recent weeks, ever since Edgar’s victory at our last Toronto Open+. The list has gone through a lot of iterations, but this spicy Trinket Mage version is the latest and greatest. Dilks rolled through the event without losing a match.

If you set your eyes on the rest of the Top 8, you’ll see one common theme — Bant Spirits. I even played the deck to a semifinals appearance, and if I can win with it you know it’s good. There was a lot of Ironworks Combo in the room on Saturday and I think that led to a day of success for this disruptive creature strategy. Spirits is just great, and in my opinion is just a strict upgrade to Humans right now. If you’re playing a Modern tournament in the coming weeks it would be my number one choice.

Our Modern LCQ Top 8.

Rounding out our Top 8 was one copy of Titan Shift that made the finals before losing to Dilks, a copy of Ironworks Combo that promptly lost to Spirits, a copy of the Grixis Prison deck that’s been floating around Magic Online and a nice Mono-Red Hollow One brew that Leslie Walderman brought.

There were quite a few decks trying to make Arclight Phoenix work on Saturday and Les was the only one who seemed to be having a lot of success. Notably, he seemed to be the only one without blue cards in his deck, so maybe this wild hybrid is the next step for trying to break this powerful new Guilds of Ravnica mythic.

With Dilks in the winner’s circle, the stage was set for our Modern RPTQ on Sunday where four players would earn a spot at the next Pro Tour.

But before I tell you all about that, check out the decklists from this Top 8:

First Place, Matthew Dilks – Amulet Titan

Second Place, Joshua Santangelo – Titan Shift

Third Place, Keith Capstick – Bant Spirits

Fourth Place, Lucas Worrell – Bant Spirits

Fifth Place, Matt Perantinos – Grixis Prison

Sixth Place, Adam Farren – Bant Spirits

Seventh Place, Leslie Walderman – Mono-Red Hollow One

Eighth Place, James Arquette – Ironworks Combo

After the LCQ on Saturday, and with the rumblings around the Ontario Magic scene in mind, I think most people expected quite a bit of Ironworks Combo on Sunday. The deck has put up consistent results over the past few months, is just inherently very powerful and gives you the kind of game you need to spike an event like this.

From my perspective, it was this metagame analysis that led Shawn Dhaliwal, Joshua Lawrence Grace, Josh Buitenhuis and Wilson Douglas to qualifying for the Pro Tour.

Our Modern RPTQ Top 8.

Once again we see two copies of Bant Spirits atop the RPTQ, once again emphasizing just how well-positioned it was heading into the weekend. In addition to those two decks, we had two control builds with quite a bit of hate towards KCI, along with the obvious swath of removal spells you need to beat Spirits. It’s clear to me that this weekend was a dance around those two top decks — KCI and Spirits. We saw Spirits be able to shine in a room full of combo, but here we also see the ability that these fair control decks have to capitalize when the format gets creature dense.

I’d specifically like to highlight  Josh Buitenhuis’ Grixis Control deck, because well it is a thing of beauty. This deck has not been popular outside of the hands of Corey Burkhart for years, but Josh managed to brew up something that could land him a Pro Tour qualification and for that I commend him. This deck does look to have both a good KCI and Humans matchup, while it also looks to shine against other midrange decks, so maybe he’s on to something.

Before I leave you I’d also like to shine a light on the two members of Toronto’s Magic community that will be attending their first Pro Tour with this qualification. Shawn Dhaliwal is the definition of a grinder in the area. He’s out at every big event with the biggest smile on his face and deserves this more than possibly any other player. Josh Lawrence Grace has also shown constant commitment to getting better over the last couple years, and he was rewarded this weekend with Magic’s highest qualification. This game can be tough on all of us sometimes and to see deserving players like this achieve their goals is awesome.

Thanks to everyone who came out this weekend to celebrate Modern, the RPTQ and Toronto Magic with us. This upcoming weekend we’ll be hosting a special Ultimate Masters Sealed Showdown. Make sure to pre-register because this one will fill up fast!

First Place, Shawn Dhaliwal – Bant Spirits

Second Place, Joshua Lawrence Grace – Bant Spirits

Third Place, Josh Buitenhuis – Grixis Control

Fourth Place, Wilson Douglas – U/W Control