Showdown Recap: Modern

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 players battled in Modern to see who could take down the top prize.

It’s been a long time coming and Taimur Rashid finally made his way into the winner’s circle at a Showdown.

Showdown Champion Taimur Rashid.

Taimur played Grixis Death’s Shadow on Sunday, a previous hero of the Modern format that was dethroned by the rise of Humans. The talk around the competitive Modern community is that it might be primed for a resurgence and Taimur surely showed that it has that kind of potential on Sunday.

Joining Taimur in the Top 8 were two copies of Bant Spirits, myself playing B/G Rock, an Amulet Titan deck, Chris Flink playing [Card]Ad Nauseum[/Card] as usual, one of Toronto’s nicest guys in Andrew Oyen playing Infect and a copy of Dredge.

Your Modern Showdown Top 8.

What I think I like most about this Top 8 is that it might be the most perfect representation of Modern right now possible. Spirits has been riding high as of late and just took down Grand Prix Atlanta cementing its spot as the go-to disruptive creature deck in the format. Spirits, along with Rashid’s Shadow deck and Oyen’s Infect deck give us a good look at just how powerful a fast clock and some disruption can be in Modern.

Then there’s Ryan Sandrin and his baby Dredge. Dredge has picked up a lot in popularity with the addition of [Card]Creeping Chill[/Card]. I chose to play B/G Rock, as I usually do. That said, I do think it’s the deck I would recommend to anyone trying to play fair and take their time in a format filled with unfair decks that like to go fast. [Card]Assassin’s Trophy[/Card] is the real deal, and [Card]Tireless Tracker[/Card] is just as busted as it’s always been.

With his win on Sunday, Taimur cements his spot in the upcoming Ultimate Showdown and the next Regional Pro Tour Qualifier, while the rest of our Top 8 have begun their march up the leader board to qualify. This upcoming weekend at Face to Face Games Toronto is going we’ve got a Legacy Sunday Showdown. Get those [Card]Brainstorm[/Card]s packed, make sure to pre-register and come out to battle!

First Place, Taimur Rashid- Grixis Death’s Shadow

[Deck]
[Creatures]
4 Death’s Shadow
4 Street Wraith
4 Gurmag Angler
3 Snapcaster Mage
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
3 Mishra’s Bauble
3 Lightning Bolt
1 Faithless Looting
3 Serum Visions
3 Stubborn Denial
3 Thought Scour
2 Dismember
4 Thoughtseize
2 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Fatal Push
2 Temur Battle Rage
[/Spells]
[Lands]
4 Polluted Delta
4 Bloodstained Mire
1 Swamp
1 Island
2 Blood Crypt
2 Scalding Tarn
1 Steam Vents
2 Watery Grave
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
1 Liliana, the Last Hope
1 Stubborn Denial
2 Disdainful Stroke
1 Snapcaster Mage
2 Anger of the Gods
1 Abrade
2 Grim Lavamancer
1 Fatal Push
3 Surgical Extraction
1 Kolaghan’s Command
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

Second Place, Lucas Worrell – Bant Spirits

[Deck]
[Creatures]
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Geist of Saint Traft
2 Phantasmal Image
3 Selfless Spirit
4 Rattlechains
4 Supreme Phantom
4 Noble Hierarch
4 Mausoleum Wanderer
4 Drogskol Captain
4 Spell Queller
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Path to Exile
4 Collected Company
[/Spells]
[Lands]
3 Flooded Strand
2 Misty Rainforest
4 Windswept Heath
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Breeding Pool
2 Temple Garden
1 Moorland Haunt
4 Botanical Sanctum
1 Plains
1 Island
1 Forest
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Worship
2 Unified Will
2 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
1 Damping Sphere
1 Geist of Saint Traft
3 Rest in Peace
3 Stony Silence
1 Tormod’s Crypt
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

Third Place, Keith Capstick – B/G Rock

[Deck]
[Creatures]
4 Dark Confidant
4 Tarmogoyf
3 Scavenging Ooze
4 Tireless Tracker
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Liliana of the Veil
4 Fatal Push
4 Assassin’s Trophy
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
3 Thoughtseize
2 Collective Brutality
[/Spells]
[Lands]
4 Verdant Catacombs
1 Bloodstained Mire
4 Blooming Marsh
3 Hissing Quagmire
2 Treetop Village
3 Field of Ruin
2 Overgrown Tomb
3 Swamp
2 Forest
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
3 Leyline of the Void
3 Fulminator Mage
2 Damnation
2 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
2 Surgical Extraction
1 Nissa, Vital Force
1 Collective Brutality
1 Liliana, the Last Hope
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

Fourth Place, Tyrel Wildman – Amulet Titan

[Deck]
[Creatures]
4 Primeval Titan
4 Sakura Tribe Scouts
4 Azusa, Lost but Seeking
1 Worldbreaker
1 Walking Ballista
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
1 Pact of Negation
4 Summoner’s Pact
1 Engineered Explosives
2 Explore
4 Ancient Stirrings
3 Adventurous Impulse
4 Amulet of Vigor
[/Spells]
[Lands]
1 Ghost Quarter
3 Forest
4 Simic Growth Chamber
3 Gruul Turf
1 Boros Garrison
1 Selesnya Sanctuary
3 Gemstone Mine
3 Tolaria West
1 Vesuva
1 Grove of the Burnwillows
1 Slayer’s Stronghold
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Khalni Garden
1 Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion
1 Cavern of Souls
1 Radiant Fountain
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Abrade
1 Engineered Explosives
3 Spell Pierce
1 Emrakul, the Promised End
1 Ruric Thar, the Ubowed
1 Tormod’s Crypt
2 Firespout
1 Obstinate Baloth
1 Tireless Tracker
1 Dragonlord Dromoka
1 Hornet Queen
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

Fifth Place, Ryan Sandrin – Dredge

[Deck]
[Creatures]
4 Shriekhorn
4 Stinkweed Imp
4 Narcomoeba
4 Prized Amalgam
4 Blood Ghast
1 Golgari Thug
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Life of the Loam
4 Cathartic Reunion
4 Creeping Chill
4 Faithless Looting
3 Conflagrate
1 Darkblast
[/Spells]
[Lands]
4 Arid Mesa
1 Blackcleave Cliffs
2 Blood Crypt
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 City of Brass
3 Copperline Gorge
1 Gemstone Mine
2 Mountain
1 Scalding Tarn
2 Stomping Ground
1 Wooded Foothills
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Thoughtseize
2 Lightning Axe
4 Leyline of the Void
1 Vengeful Pharaoh
1 Darkblast
3 Nature’s Claim
2 Ancient Grudge
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

Sixth Place, Chris Flink – Ad Nauseum

[Deck]
[Creatures]
4 Simian Spirit Guide
1 Laboratory Maniac
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Ad Nauseum
4 Angel’s Grace
4 Phyrexian Unlife
4 Serum Visions
3 Sleight of Hand
3 Spoils of the Vault
3 Pact of Negation
1 Echoing Truth
4 Lotus Bloom
4 Pentad Prism
1 Lightning Storm
[/Spells]
[Lands]
1 Island
1 Plains
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
3 Temple of Enlightenment
3 Temple of Deceit
2 Seachrome Coast
2 Darkslick Shores
4 Gemstone Mine
2 City of Brass
1 Nephalia Academy
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Bontu’s Last Reckoning
2 Path to Exile
1 Supreme Verdict
4 Leyline of Sanctity
1 Thoughtseize
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Sphinx of the Final Word
1 Slaughter Pact
1 Wear//Tear
1 Swan Song
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

Seventh Place, Paul Xu – Bant Spirits

[Deck]
[Creatures]
4 Drogskol Captain
2 Geist of Saint Traft
4 Mausoleum Wanderer
4 Noble Hierarch
2 Phantasmal Image
2 Rattlechains
2 Reflector Mage
2 Selfless Spirit
4 Spell Queller
4 Supreme Phantom
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Collected Company
2 Path to Exile
3 Aether Vial
[/Spells]
[Lands]
3 Botanical Sanctum
1 Breeding Pool
1 Cavern of Souls
3 Flooded Strand
1 Forest
1 Hallowed Fountain
2 Horizon Canopy
1 Island
3 Misty Rainforest
1 Moorland Haunt
1 Plains
1 Temple Garden
2 Windswept Heath
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
1 Eidolon of Rhetoric
1 Geist of Saint Traft
2 Knight of Autumn
2 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
1 Disdainful Stroke
2 Dromoka’s Command
1 Settle the Wreckage
2 Rest in Peace
2 Stony Silence
1 Worship
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

Eighth Place, Andrew Oyen – Infect 

[Deck]
[Creatures]
1 Spellskite
4 Blighted Agent
4 Glistener Elf
4 Noble Hierarch
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Mutagenic Growth
3 Might of Old Krosa
3 Groundswell
2 Become Immense
4 Vines of Vastwood
4 Blossoming Defence
1 Distortion Strike
1 Spell Pierce
1 Rancor
1 Slip Through Space
1 Apostle’s Blessing
2 Dismember
[/Spells]
[Lands]
2 Wooded Foothills
2 Verdant Catacombs
1 Misty Rainforest
3 Windswept Heath
1 Dryad Arbor
3 Forest
2 Breeding Pool
2 Pendelhaven
4 Inkmoth Nexus
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
1 Distortion Strike
2 Nature’s Claim
2 Dissenter’s Deliverance
1 Pithing Needle
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Spellskite
2 Relic of Progenitus
2 Spell Pierce
2 Slayer’s Stronghold
1 Wild Defiance
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

The Grind & win rates in Magic

Gold Pro Team Face to Face Games Team member — Morgan McLaughlin.

I’m still in disbelief I’m able to write that and I’m sure few of you reading really know who I am. Edgar wrote a great intro to our team here and describes pretty succinctly where I’ve essentially been. A semi-competitive player who “accidentally” hit Gold pro status. As my introduction to you all, I’d like to give some more detail on “the grind” I’ve gone through which has led me to this moment.

I learned to play Magic while doing camping trips in Boy Scouts in 2001. Nothing quite like going to the outdoors to site at a picnic table and play cards. A couple years later I attended my first sanctioned event in early 2004 at the age of 14 and was immediately hooked, and began to play sanctioned events as often as I could get a ride to the local card store. After playing for awhile I heard about the Pro Tour and the “play the game; see the World” mantra — I had a new goal…how hard could it be? I was only 15 and already winning over 50% of my matches. I began to travel and play in my first PTQs within a year. I bummed rides from the rest of the Windsor MTG crew (mostly Mike Vasovski, so I can likely thank/blame him for this addiction). From 2005 to 2007 I played in 19 PTQs with a win rate sitting in the 50-55% range managing just a single Top 8. Through this time I definitely remember feeling unlucky and that I “deserved” to do better, but looking back I was young and silly. My win rate simply wasn’t that great, but more on this later.

In 2007 I started university to pursue a software engineering degree and quit competitive Magic to focus on school. A year long co-op placement in 2010 had me living in a new city (Kitchener) without really knowing anyone outside of a few people I’d met through Magic, this of course this got me back into playing again. As a short aside: Magic has been great for me in this way and has meant much more than simply being a game or hobby. It has helped me form great relationships with many people I’d have never met otherwise. I’ve lived in six different cities around Ontario in the past 10-15 years and magic has helped keep me connected with friends all over the province.

Members of Team Face to Face Games at Grand Prix Atlanta.

From 2010 to 2012 I played another 9 PTQs with a win rate in the high 50% and managed my second Top 8. Playing in these events and that additional Top 8 really shaped the next couple years of my life. I graduated with my undergraduate engineering degree in 2012, but had a desire to achieve the goal I’d been working towards for the better part a decade: qualify for the Pro Tour. I decided to pursue a Masters as it would give me more flexible time to continue focusing on Magic while still “achieving” other life goals focusing on a degree in Computer Science studying AI Search & Decision making Algorithms (article link). I wasn’t willing to simply put life on hold, but I did want to have the ability to spend all of my free time focusing on magic. At this time I also had the thought in the back of my mind having the opportunity to really jump into Pro Magic if I was able successfully achieve my goal of qualifying and start traveling to Grand Prix’ to potentially try and chain them together. This wasn’t something I ever really voiced to anyone as the reason for my decision to “not work” and continue in school.

During this period from 2012 to 2014 I really started to push myself grinding Magic Online and traveling to everything remotely driveable. Including double PTQ weekend trips into Michigan and Ohio (a roughly five hour drive) and driving up to four hours for individual PTQs in Montreal and even Binghamton, NY (home of new F2F team mate Eli Kassis!). I met a bunch of great friends during this time and as pushed each other to do these crazier and crazier trips to try and get that qualification.

It was during this era in the very last of the original PTQs I managed to finally break through. I beat local end boss (and now friend) Lucas Siow in the Finals of my first PTQ win. This win was very emotional for me, it had been announce that the PTQ system was changing and I was about to graduate from my Masters program and needed to “get a real job”. I remember needing to fight back tears as all those hours and grinding had finally met the most basic of Magic goals at what felt like the last minute — to play on the big stage. In my first Pro Tour I managed a respectable 9-5 record with a prize-split in the final round. Just playing in the “the show” was enough for me to leave satisfied and prizing in it as well was just gravy.

From there I’ve continued playing semi-consistently, but have let my other life goals trump Magic. I’ve begun to work full-time and got married. I managed a Grand Prix Top 8 in 2016 and qualified for Pro Tour Hawaii which my wife, Sarah, and I took as more of a chance to go on vacation.

I’d played in two Pro Tours with decent results, but there was more to pro Magic that I wanted to accomplish. I could see the next step in front of me, but I needed to do what it took to get me there. Late last year is where things really started to change, I wanted to achieve more, but I didn’t really have additional time to devote to the game; so what could I do? I’d been playing a lot of other games like League of Legends and Hearthstone quite regularly in my spare time only focusing on Magic for a day or two before an event I meant to play. I made the decision to uninstall both from my computer and use my “game time” to exclusively play Magic. Not just in a “grind for an event” type of way, but enough to stay interested and up to date on all formats.

A couple months later I managed a Top 4 finish at Canadian Nationals, then shortly after won a PPTQ qualified for an RPTQ in April 2018. I had a fair amount of time before this sealed RPTQ so I started exclusively grinding Sealed RIX; for the first time I managed to break the 1900 MTGO ELO barrier which I was then able to leverage into my 3rd PT qualification in June 2018. This was fantastic, I was staying up to date in events without needing to put life on hold driving hours and hours to PTQs in other provinces/states.

The last Limited meeting before Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica for Team Face to Face.

Now this was only the beginning. GP Toronto Trios Constructed was two weeks before the Pro Tour and I really wanted to play Standard to help prepare. I managed to convince my old pal, Legacy master and Read the Bones aficionado Lucas Siow to team with me. Only a couple week before the event we then picked up Chris Harabas to Vial some Humans in Modern. I managed a respectable 9-3-2 record, but Chris miraculously went undefeated until the 11th round of Swiss and we carried Lucas kicking and screaming into Top 4 and eventually became GP champions. It was great winning with friends rather than needing to slay one in the finals.

The following week I was in Jamaica for a friend’s wedding, which had been luckily planned months before to not overlap with the GP and PT. Of course with a GP win the weekend before and a Pro Tour to attend the week after I wanted to prepare. With shoddy internet my only option was sleeving up multiple decks and then playing solitaire against myself. I probably managed to play upwards of 50 games this way and tuned the B/W list I’d played at GP Toronto. This led to Pro Tour Dominaria where I managed an 11-1 record and sat in first place going into Round 13. This led to a feature match against no other than Owen Turtenwald.

Now as I’d mentioned before, I was trying to do well but up until this point I had no real goals outside of “doing my best”. However this was the point I suddenly realized I actually had a shot at the holy grail of magic finishes: a Pro Tour Top 8. A single win in the next three rounds would be an almost mortal lock for Top 8. Of course I absolutely fell apart on camera. I had a near panic attack and going back and watching that match you can visibly see me hyper-ventilating a bit. I’ve never experienced anything quite like that in my life, it was just everything hitting me all at once and in the moment a new goal had been created. I conceded a game before I’d even lost, I was likely to lose from that position but it definitely wasn’t over yet. This was far from my first time on camera and I’d played Owen three times before then and once before that same day Draft (I was even 2-0-1 against him up until this point), but I’d never wanted it the same way and that was my part of my downfall — in addition to my opponent being among the best in the world of course.

I followed that up with two more losses and my opponents both immediately locking Top 8 before winning the final round 16 to finish as the top 12-4 player in 9th place. An amazing finish looking back, but at the time it had felt somewhat devastating for such an emotional 4-5h rollercoaster. A couple weeks later a Top 4 finish at GP Pittsburgh then a Top 32 finish at Pro Tour Minnesota – I was suddenly Gold and locked for the next year of Pro Tours.

Morgan, Chris Harabas and Lucas Siow after winning Grand Prix Toronto.

Hitting Gold Pro Status had never really been something I’d aspired towards, it was a dream, but I’d just always assumed I’d never get close. Simply hitting Silver status to play a couple PTs in a row would have felt fantastic. However as things have worked out somewhat through sheer luck and from a little bit of an increased commitment to focus on Magic versus my other hobbies has given me the ability to capitalize on this opportunity.

Now I’ve started to become better friends with local pro Edgar Magalhães and now Face to Face teammate as he travelled to events nearly every weekend for multiple months trying desperately to lock up gold for the 2018-2019 season — which I’d just done but felt like a complete fluke in comparison to Edgar’s grind. He managed to reach his goal in Detroit in September (congrats Edgar, extremely well deserved). Seeing this grind really has made me see my own opportunity in a new light and looking back at what those PTQ days felt like this seems almost easy in comparison…I didn’t need to win any events just put up some reasonable results. I have a real shot at Platinum with only four of 12 slots used for 34 points I have two Pro Tours and 8 (!) open slots to gain 18 points for Platinum in the next 5 months. With six points locked from Pro Tours, I need to find only 12 points meaning small 1 and 2 point GP finishes have a lot of value currently. So far since PT Minneapolis I’ve played in four GPs and have unfortunately missed day two in all of them despite now having three byes. Here’s hoping the variance gods have finished catching up with me and I can find a way to build up those points. So far through the end of the year I’ve got the Pro Tour to play this week, GP Milwaukee next week and a trip to Vancouver already planned at the end of December — which as I’m writing this article I’ve just found out it will be a sweet new limited format I’ll be ready to tackle).

I’m super excited to be working with such an incredible team to help my achieve my goals. I definitely think we have the tools to succeed and be competitive in the team series, especially after seeing all of the success my teammates have had over the last couple weeks.

Speaking of grinding I wanted to discuss some numbers regarding the likelihood of qualifying for the Pro Tour through the old PTQ system. I’ve talked to many players about how unlucky they are or how they might feel like they “deserve” more, I myself felt this early on in my Magic career. Let’s take a look at how difficult it really is or how much someone should “expect” to win. So we can all temper our expectations when tilt sets in.

How likely is it to Top 8 a PTQ given a specific win rate?

Given an N round PTQ we assume that a Top 8 will require a N-1-1 record. For simplicity we will assume this means a minimum of N-1 record is required after the penultimate round. Of course sometimes a player cannot draw and sometimes a N-2 record can squeak in, but for simplicity we’ll assume that these scenarios are pretty close as it should only affect our calculations by a fraction of a percentage anyway.

We can write this expression as:

Win rate ^ (#Swiss rounds – 1) + (Win rate ^ (#Swiss rounds – 2)) * (1 – Win rate) * (#Swiss rounds – 1) = Expected Top 8 %

As the vast majority of PTQs I’ve personally played in have been 8 rounds, I’ll use this number for my example.

Expected top 8s:

(.61^7) + ((.61^6)*.39)*7 = 17.2%

(.56^7) + ((.56^6)*.44)*7 = 11.2%

(.5^7) + ((.5^6)*.5)*7 = 6.25%

(.4^7) + ((.4^6)*.6)*7 = 1.88%

Compared to my own results of actual top 8s:

2012-2014: ~61%
7/42 = 16.1% difference of -1.1%

2010-2012: ~56% win rate
1/9 = 11.1% difference of -0.1%

2005-2007: ~50% win rate
1/19 = 5.2% difference of -1.05%

It looks like this comparison appears to work quite well and while the numbers show I potentially could have had one more Top 8 I’ve been running quite close to how I should have expected given my win rate. Early on it does appear I was a bit under expectation, though only barely and not enough to get as frustrated as I had been.

Disclaimer: I realize the early events should probably be tested with 7 round events and the latter with 8.5-9 round events. We could also start looking at scaling opponent difficult as a tournament goes on, but I believe this still gives us a good gist of things while keeping the math relatively simply.

How likely is it to win a Top 8 with a specified win%?

Here the math is even simpler. We need to win three rounds in a row, no other way.

Win rate ^ 3

.61 ^ 3 = 22.7%

.5 ^ 3 = 12.5%

2012-2014
1/7 = 14.3%

Overall
1/9 = 11.1%

Now this is where we likely do need to consider greater opponent strength. Win rate will likely drop as we’re now playing against better opponents. Looking up my results I had a total record of 7-6 for a 53.8% win rate. With such a small sample size I wouldn’t want to call this “my win rate” and while these numbers are a bit below expectation, but still in the realm of a “usual” result. At the time I had felt quite unlucky until that win, and worried about “not being able to close” there was nothing truly “unlucky” in my own results.

Putting these numbers together the expectation of a 61% win rate to win a specific PTQ would be only .172 (chance to T8) * .227 (chance to win T8) = 3.9%.

The reality is that we’ve all felt unlucky had a streak of bad luck in Magic. But, as you can see, it’s just not realistic to expect to win every tournament. What I’m telling you is that numbers don’t lie and that just like it did for me, if you strive for consistent results and work hard — you will spike an event and achieve your goals.

How many Pro Points should I expect at a GP?

My lifetime GP win rate has sat around ~60%, and now with 3 byes I’d play 12 rounds. Using these assumptions I can assume:

12*.6 = 7.2 wins + 3 byes = 10.2 expected wins.

With 10 wins being good for one point and essentially having a point-per-win above that I should reasonably be able to expect roughly 1.5 points per GP. This is dramatically simplifying things here for now. With two Pro Tours to play if I also manage to play another 4-5 Grand Prix’ just running average could give me the expectation of hitting Platinum

This is the dream I had years ago, my recent results have been way above expectation and I couldn’t be happier. I’m no longer looking for at most a measly 3.9% likelihood of walking away from an event happy. The current expectation of attending a Grand Prix should be >50% of picking up a point to help towards the Platinum quest. It feels much better going to an event where you have a higher chance at hitting your current goal of success.

I look forward to the grind ahead for the next few months, I feel like this is my one shot to really make it and I hope to make the most of it.

Fournier’s take: a preview of Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica

Hello everyone, I’m coming to you straight from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport today. I’ve found a food court from which to write this dispatch, and I’m taking advantage of this beautiful country’s free refills policy by gorging myself on this bottomless cup of Coca-Cola. It’s emblazoned with an American flag and three separate troops, who I am, of course, respecting very aggressively. Is there any better way to honour those who defend our freedom than by giving myself Type 2 diabetes by desperately slurping corn syrup out of a mockery of consumer culture under capitalism and the imperialism that fuels it? I think not.

However much I love celebrating the institutions of empire, that is not what brings me back to this city for a second weekend in a row. You see, I’m waiting for Toronto’s golden boy, Chris Ha, to show up, at which point we’ll be heading over to register for Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica, a celebration of tournament Magic in its own right. Forgive the humblebrag of epic proportions, but I’m legitimately a little bit sad that I don’t get to watch the Pro Tour, given that I have to, you know, try and win matches at it. Ugh, I know, the horror. For those of you lucky enough to glue your eyes to Twitch all weekend, welcome to my viewer’s guide to Pro Tour Atlanta, where I regale you with tales of the top decks in Standard, give some insights as to what people will be doing in the Draft format and pick out some players who I expect to perform well in the tournament.

STANDARD

Boros Aggro by Bayesta_93 (MOCS 8-0)

[deck]
[Lands]
1 Mountain
14 Plains
4 Sacred Foundry
4 Clifftop Retreat
[/Lands]
[Creatures]
4 Adanto Vanguard
4 Benalish Marshal
4 Dauntless Bodyguard
3 Healer’s Hawk
4 Knight of Grace
4 Skymarcher Aspirant
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
3 Conclave Tribunal
3 Legion’s Landing
4 History of Benalia
4 Heroic Reinforcements
[/Spells]
[Sideboard]
1 Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants
3 Baffling End
2 Banefire
2 Experimental Frenzy
2 Make a Stand
1 Response/Resurgence
1 Settle the Wreckage
3 Tocatli Honor Guard
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Despite featuring unplayables like [Card]Healer’s Hawk[/Card], white aggro decks dominated last weekend’s Magic Online Championship Series, with 6/11 decks at 7-1 or better being some variant of a [Card]Legion’s Landing[/Card]/[Card]Benalish Marshal[/Card] aggro deck. Historically kept down by [Card]Goblin Chainwhirler[/Card], these strategies have made a resurgence thanks to their excellent Izzet and Jeskai matchups and explosive starts. The Boros version relies on strong mid-game punches from [Card]History of Benalia[/Card] and [Card]Heroic Reinforcements[/Card] to end the game, with powerful sideboard cards like [Card]Experimental Frenzy[/Card] letting it grind. The mono-white version tends to play [Card]Venerated Loxodon[/Card] instead, and commits its hand to the board as quickly as possible, hoping that it can push through quickly enough. Expect to see a lot of this deck at the Pro Tour this weekend, unless mono-red decks show up en masse as a reaction to this metagame.

Boros Angels by _goblinlackey (MOCS 7-1)

[deck]
[Lands]
3 Boros Guildgate
4 Clifftop Retreat
5 Mountain
9 Plains
4 Sacred Foundry
[/Lands]
[Creatures]
4 Adanto Vanguard
3 Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice
3 Lyra Dawnbringer
4 Rekindling Phoenix
4 Resplendent Angel
4 Tocatli Honor Guard
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 History of Benalia
2 Ixalan’s Binding
1 Justice Strike
4 Lava Coil
2 Shock
[/Spells]
[Sideboard]
4 Dire Fleet Daredevil
3 Fiery Cannonade
2 Fight with Fire
1 Ixalan’s Binding
3 Seal Away
2 The Immortal Sun
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

This — a variation on Brad Nelson’s list from Grand Prix New Jersey — remains popular for its excellent matchup against Izzet Drakes, thanks in part to a density of threats that can each win the game individually alongside a removal suite that lines up very well against the format. It is, however, saddled with a poor control matchup, unable to gain much traction againt the swath of answers Jeskai has access to. If red shows up in force to counter the white aggro decks, and players default to the Izzet Drakes deck, this deck will perform extremely well.

Izzet Drakes by PascalMaynard (MOCS 7-1)

[deck]
[Lands]
6 Island
6 Mountain
4 Steam Vents
4 Sulfur Falls
[/Lands]
[Creatures]
4 Arclight Phoenix
4 Crackling Drake
2 Enigma Drake
2 Goblin Electromancer
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
1 Beacon Bolt
4 Chart a Course
2 Crash Through
3 Discovery/Dispersal
2 Lava Coil
2 Maximize Velocity
4 Opt
2 Radical Idea
4 Shock
2 Tormenting Voice
2 Warlord’s Fury
[/Spells]
[Sideboard]
1 Beacon Bolt
1 Chemister’s Insight
2 Disdainful Stroke
1 Dive Down
1 Entrancing Melody
2 Fiery Cannonade
1 Firemind’s Research
1 Lava Coil
2 Niv-Mizzet, Parun
2 Sarkhan, Fireblood
1 Spell Pierce
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Pascal’s list here looks like he fed every Izzet list from Magic Online into a machine learning algorithm and out popped this monstrosity of 2-ofs, unsure whether it wanted to be the Electromancer version or the [Card]Warlord’s Fury[/Card] build. However, given that it looks like an aggregate list, it’s useful here! These decks seek to fill their graveyard and recur [Card]Arclight Phoenix[/Card] to survive early, then swing through for monstrous amounts in the air with [Card]Crackling Drake[/Card]. While many Electromancer versions don’t run the card, [Card]Maximize Velocity[/Card] is heralded by many as this deck’s Splinter Twin, allowing it to win out of nowhere if the opponent slips up. This strategy is inherently very powerful, but has run afoul of the format as of late, with the new popular decks gunning for it and players learning how best to play around its Twin combo.

Jeskai Control by JoseCabezas (MOCS 7-1)

[deck]
[Lands]
3 Clifftop Retreat
4 Glacial Fortress
5 Island
1 Mountain
4 Sacred Foundry
4 Steam Vents
4 Sulfur Falls
[/Lands]
[Creatures]
2 Crackling Drake
1 Niv-Mizzet, Parun
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Opt
4 Revitalize
3 Chemister’s Insight
1 Cleansing Nova
4 Deafening Clarion
1 Disdainful Stroke
1 Essence Scatter
2 Expansion/Explosion
2 Seal Away
4 Sinister Sabotage
2 Syncopate
4 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
[/Spells]
[Sideboard]
1 Disdainful Stroke
1 Essence Scatter
1 Invoke the Divine
1 Ixalan’s Binding
1 Justice Strike
2 Negate
2 Niv-Mizzet, Parun
2 Seal Away
1 Search for Azcanta
1 Settle the Wreckage
2 Star of Extinction
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Teferi decks have evolved a bit lately, with these [Card]Crackling Drake[/Card] builds becoming ever more popular. They play a lower land count and cantrips in the form of [Card]Opt[/Card] and [Card]Revitalize[/Card], cleverly beating hate cards like [Card]Banefire[/Card] without needing to dedicate specific answers (which don’t exist) to solving the problem. The increased velocity also helps the deck find its individual power cards like Teferi, though I’d like to see a bit more [Card]Search for Azcanta[/Card], especially with this many cantrips in the deck. These decks are powerful in a vacuum, featuring some of the best cards available to control in a long time, but outside of dedicated removal-heavy midrange decks like Boros Angels, somehow have no actual good matchups.

Golgari Midrange by misonikomi (MOCS 6-2)

[deck]
[Lands]
8 Forest
2 Memorial to Folly
4 Overgrown Tomb
5 Swamp
4 Woodland Cemetery
[/Lands]
[Creatures]
2 Golgari Findbroker
4 Jadelight Ranger
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Merfolk Branchwalker
2 Midnight Reaper
3 Ravenous Chupacabra
2 Seekers’ Squire
2 Wildgrowth Walker
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
3 Assassin’s Trophy
2 Find/Finality
1 The Eldest Reborn
1 Vivien Reid
2 Vraska’s Contempt
2 Vraska, Golgari Queen
3 Vraska, Relic Seeker
[/Spells]
[Sideboard]
2 Cast Down
4 Duress
3 Golden Demise
2 Kraul Harpooner
1 Midnight Reaper
1 The Eldest Reborn
2 Wildgrowth Walker
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Golgari decks have been priced into relying harder on [Card]Wildgrowth Walker[/Card] than past builds thanks to the format’s greater shift away from midrange gameplay. These decks continue to perform adequately despite a poor metagame position, and are primed to have a bunch of medium finishes at this Pro Tour in the hands of players with good Draft records.

A few quick hits to cap off this introduction to this weekend’s Standard: Mono-Red will be around for sure thanks to its great white aggro matchup despite being a weak deck all-around. Some number of people, fueled by Gab Nassif’s finish in Lille, will insist on playing mono-blue for whatever reason, and Selesnya tokens decks will be pushed out by the staggering amounts of Pyroclasm effects people will be running this weekend to deal with the MOCS being dominated by white aggro.

DRAFT

We’re blessed with a pretty fun draft format here — granted, it’s no Dominaria — held back a little bit by some failures in the balance department. See, Selesnya is borderline unplayable, and only the best Golgari decks are competitive against the other three guilds. That said, the gameplay is otherwise excellent, and some quirky five-colour decks are always playable thanks to the Guildgate in every pack.

Dimir decks tend to be focused on Surveil synergies, hoping to get a few payoff cards like [Card]Thoughtbound Phantasm[/Card] in addition to the premium commons that have Surveil tacked on, like [Card]Whisper Agent[/Card] and [Card]Deadly Visit[/Card]. This guild is overall extremely strong in this format, thanks in part to the Surveil mechanic ensuring that once you get started, you’re going to continue drawing gas with very few bricks in between.

Izzet drafts take two main forms: aggressive ones with cards like [Card]Wojek Bodyguard[/Card] (secretly the best red common) and [Card]Sonic Assault[/Card], and more controlling decks, often with a black splash for more removal. All of these decks are a boatload of fun, as Izzet rewards you for finding clever ways to sneak through damage.

Last but not least in the top tier of draft archetypes, we have Boros, always trying to attack and grow their [Card]Healer’s Hawks[/Card] with the Mentor mechanic. These decks are fast, evasive, and surprisingly resilient thanks to there being a lot of common and uncommon removal in these two colours.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

I’m pretty sure I say this every time, but Toronto all-star Edgar Magalhaes is playing out of his mind these days, making deep runs in every single tournament he attends. I’m not a particularly big fan of the deck he settled on for this event, but if anyone can pilot it to a top finish, it’s this absolute monster.

Edgar’s Face to Face Games teammate, Eli Kassis, is sure to make waves as well, fresh off his win at Grand Prix New Jersey. That team’s innovative [Card]Azor’s Gateway[/Card] Jeskai Control deck dominated the tournament by hitting the metagame at a very particular angle — will they be able to do the same for this weekend?

Logan Nettles, perhaps better known as Jaberwocki of Magic Online fame, is one of the best players in the world right now. He’s in fourth place on the Elo leaderboard, and I have the utmost respect for his approach to the game, both materially and psychologically. I played him at GP Atlanta last weekend, and despite making correct plays on crucial turns, was highly critical of them, interested in discussing them with me after the match. This guy just learns with every single match and will just continue to get better and better.

To cap it off, if you’re reading this and not cheering for Chris Ha, do me a favour and change your mind. A seventeen-time Face to Face Games Open Top 8 competitor, coming fresh off an RPTQ win and a Grand Prix Top 8 in Montreal, Chris is just the absolute coolest and nicest guy around. Speaking of which, I think I see him coming, which means that’s all for today, folks! Wish us luck!

Two sticks and some bubble gum: GB KCI

This is sort of a part two of my Previous article. Ever since the spoiling of Assassin’s Trophy I’ve been looking at putting together a green black version of the deck. Well one week after the release of Guilds of Ravnica I sleeved up eleven more cards and headed to the Toronto Face to Face Games Open+.

Looking at recent KCI Lists you start to see a trend moving away from red. There are less Lightning Bolts, Galvanic Blasts and Ghirapur Aethergrids in the list than there were when Matt Nass rode the deck to multiple Grand Prix victories. Now we see Sai, Master Thopterist, Negate, and Antiquities War. In the mainboard instead of Grove of the Burnwillows we see more Yavimaya Coasts. I think KCI needs to stomp on the brakes and drive in a completely different direction. I present to you Golgari KCI!

Golgari KCI

[deck]
[Lands]
3 Buried Ruin
4 Darksteel Citadel
2 Forest
3 Inventors’ Fair
3 Llanowar Wastes
3 Spire of Industry
[/Lands]
[Spells]
4 Ancient Stirrings
3 Chromatic Sphere
4 Chromatic Star
2 Engineered Explosives
4 Ichor Wellspring
4 Krark-Clan Ironworks
4 Mind Stone
4 Mox Opal
1 Noxious Revival
2 Pyrite Spellbomb
4 Terrarion
[/Spells]
[Creatures]
2 Myr Retriever
4 Scrap Trawler
[/Creatures]
[Sideboard]
2 Abrupt Decay
3 Assassin’s Trophy
2 Fatal Push
2 Pact of Negation
2 Sai, Master Thopterist
1 Sword of the Meek
1 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
1 The Antiquities War
1 Thopter Foundry
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Have I gone mad? What am I doing with my life? With Assassin’s Trophy being printed in Guilds of Ravnica suddenly Nature’s claim seems to narrow to me. The main reason we’ve been running Lightning Bolt/ Galvanic Blast is to kill problem creatures. Assassin’s Trophy kills all problem creatures, artifacts, enchantments, and planeswalkers. Throw in a couple Abrupt Decay for our control match ups to take out Stony Silence and other problem converted mana cost three or less cards. Finallt lets add two Fatal Push for good measure because Thalia, Gaurdian of Thraben is annoying.

Most lists are running Negate/Dispel/Swan song as permission. I would rather just tap out each turn setting up and hold up a pact of negation when I’m ready to blow up their hate piece and kill them. Sai, Master Thopterist has become a mainstay in most lists so I can’t leave it out. The cards I feel absolutely needs to be brought in with Sai are Sword of the Meek and Thopter Foundry. At this point we are just adding immense amounts of value.

Sai, Master Thopterist and Sword of the Meek is just bigger thopters and you can sacrifice it with a thopter for Sai, Master Thopterist’s draw a card effect play another artifact and get it back. Sai + Sword + Foundry now we’re starting to gain some steam. Sai, Master Thopterist is making thopters. Thopter Foundry is making thopters you’re drawing cards and gaining life. What could be better than this? If we add in a Krark-Clan Ironworks. You can now go infinite. Make all the thopters, gain all the life, draw all the cards. Not even Nichol Bolas can stop you now.

I’ve been running Thopter Foundry/Sword of the Meek in my sideboard since I first picked up the deck. I’ve heard every nay sayer put the idea down and yet it just keeps winning me games. I may very well be wrong but it just seems to work. When you get a key combo piece removed with Surgical Extraction suddenly you just don’t care anymore because you can just get more value off the foundry and maybe even kill quickly

My final record at the open was five wins and three loses. One loss to Burn, One to Infect, and finally on to UW control. I received a game loss in my match vs UW due to mistakes made over the course of the day. I’m chopping that off to trying to play too fast on too little sleep. Lesson learned. Not happening again. Given that I won the game two of that match up and was about 90% sure I was killing my opponent the game one my final record likely would have been 6-2 as that was the last loss I picked up that day.

My findings over the course of the day is that green black is a strict improvement over red green. The only card I kind of found myself missing was Ghirapur Aethergrid. Since I play rainbow lands I may just jam one or two in the sideboard regardless. One thing I felt was really strong when switching to black is the ability to use my sideboard to turn into an awkward Tezzerator list. This gave me the ability to either completely change gears in games where I didn’t think a combo kill was even a possibility or i could hybrid the deck to support both archetypes. The better removal definitely helped in my matches vs humans, spirits and UW as well.

Final take away lessons from the event:

– no one ever sees a Pact of Negation Coming

– Abrupt Decay can make life really awkward for UW

– Don’t mix up Chromatic Sphere and Chromatic Star

– I play the deck fast enough as it is I shouldn’t sacrifice tight plays for an extra 2 minutes between rounds

Sideboarding

as should be obvious our sideboard plan is a bit different from traditional RGx KCI. The examples i’ll be using were my matches from the open

Burn

In:
[draft]
2 Abrupt Decay
2 Fatal Push
1 Sword of the Meek
1 Thopter Foundry
[/draft]

Out:
[draft]
3 Chromatic Sphere
1 Myr Retriever
1 Terrarion
1 Ichor Wellspring
[/draft]

Infect

In:
[draft]
2 Abrupt Decay
2 Fatal Push
3 Assassin’s Trophy
2 Pact of Negation
[/draft]

Out:
[draft]
3 Chromatic Sphere
1 Myr Retriever
1 Ichor Wellspring
1 Mind Stone
1 Engineered Explosives
2 Terrarion
[/draft]

Scapeshift

In:
[draft]
2 Sai, Master Thopterist
1 Sword of the Meek
1 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
1 Thopter Foundry
1 Antiquities War
[/draft]

Out:
[draft]
3 Chromatic Sphere
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Myr Retriever
1 Pyrite Spellbomb
[/draft]

Bant Spirits

In:
[draft]
2 Abrupt Decay
1 Fatal Push
1 Sai, Master Thopterist
1 Sword of the Meek
1 The Antiquities War
1 Thopter Foundry
[/draft]

Out:
[draft]
3 Chromatic Sphere
1 Myr Retriever
1 Pyrite Spellbomb
1 Mind Stone
1 Terrarion
[/draft]

UW Control

In:
[draft]
2 Abrupt Decay
2 Pact of Negation
2 Sai, Master Thopterist
1 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
1 The Antiquities War
[/draft]

Out:
[draft]
3 Chromatic Sphere
1 Myr Retriever
1 Pyrite Spellbomb
2 Engineered Explosives
1 Terrarion
[/draft]

Humans

In:
[draft]
2 Abrupt Decay
3 Assassin’s Trophy
2 Fatal Push
1 Sword of the Meek
1 Thopter Foundry
[/draft]

Out:
[draft]
3 Chromatic Sphere
1 Myr Retriever
1 Pyrite Spellbomb
1 Mind Stone
1 Terrarion
1 Ichor Wellspring
1 Noxious Revival
[/draft]

The case for Blue Moon

If you’re anything like me, and I sincerely hope for your sake that you’re not, then you’re always looking for an excuse to play [Card]Cryptic Command[/Card] in Modern. More often than not, Jeskai is the best option, pushed to the forefront by a stellar Humans matchup, but Modern, as it loves to do, threw us a curveball recently: the finals of a Modern SCG was two Amulet Titan decks. This was a fairly predictable reaction to the prevalence of Dredge decks as of late, which leaves Jeskai in a difficult position, as it’s not well set-up to beat either of these strategies. But do you know what can be? Blue Moon.

As Team Face to Face Games member and AmuLIT all-star Edgar Magalhaes often says, the Titan deck has “no bad matchups.” Except [Card]Blood Moon[/Card]. [Card]Blood Moon[/Card] beats Amulet Titan. Especially [Card]Blood Moon[/Card] with a clock — something that one of the most consistently overlooked Modern cards, [Card]Thing in the Ice[/Card], handily provides. So do you want to beat a metagame rife with Dredge, Humans, and big mana decks trying to avoid the graveyard and creature hate that forms the natural reaction to a rise in Dredge popularity? How about Blue Moon with maindeck [Card]Anger of the Gods[/Card]?

Blue Moon aka Tarmotwin — Daniel Fournier

[deck]
[Lands]
3 Steam Vents
7 Island
1 Mountain
3 Sulfur Falls
3 Flooded Strand
4 Scalding Tarn
[/Lands]
[Creatures]
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Thing in the Ice
1 Vendilion Clique
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Opt
4 Serum Visions
1 Abrade
2 Anger of the Gods
2 Elecrolyze
3 Blood Moon
2 Logic Knot
2 Negate
4 Cryptic Command
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
[/Spells]
[Sideboard]
1 Vendilion Clique
2 Anger of the Gods
3 Young Pyromancer
2 Ancestral Vision
1 Abrade
3 Surgical Extraction
1 Dispel
2 Negate
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

This list isn’t doing anything particularly interesting beyond being metagamed heavily against the current best decks. After years of [Card]Remand[/Card] worship, I’ve finally decided to bite the bullet and get rid of the card. In this era of Modern, where people are cheating all their spells into play either off of an [Card]Aether Vial[/Card] or not really spending mana for them, trying to finagle a [Card]Time Walk[/Card] with [Card]Remand[/Card] is becoming borderline impossible. It’s time to accept that it’s no longer a playable and fully replace it with copies of [Card]Logic Knot[/Card] and [Card]Negate[/Card] — real counterspells in this era of Modern.

As much as how it’s become wise to maindeck mass removal in Jeskai decks in the past year, it makes a lot of sense to move some number of [Card]Anger of the Gods[/Card] to the main in Blue Moon. It’s no [Card]Settle the Wreckage[/Card], but it is eminently more castable, despite our high basic Island count. In fact, I think it’s so good at the moment, between [Card]Arclight Phoenix[/Card], Humans and Dredge, that it merits the inclusion of a full play-set in the 75.

I also can’t speak enough words of praise for this deck’s lord and saviour, [Card]Thing in the Ice[/Card]. People constantly play Blue Moon variants with Kiki-Jiki or [Card]Through the Breach[/Card] combos, which provide a fun combo finish, but occupy so many slots that can no longer be used to interact with the opponent. Here’s the thing: If you’re playing this deck, it’s because you think Blood Moon is good in a specific metagame. If your [Card]Blood Moon[/Card] plus counterspell deck needs a combo finish that doesn’t fit in with the remainder of the deck’s game plan in order to compete on power level with the format, maybe it’s best to just play a different deck. Right now, the [Card]Thing in the Ice[/Card] plan operates at an acceptable power level thanks to the density of creatures running around, so Blue Moon is in a good place.

Ultimately, this really is a metagame deck, and I would argue that it’s time for Blue Moon to make an appearance in Atlanta this weekend. Join me next week as I preview Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica’s Standard and Draft formats to improve your viewing experience!

Showdown Recap: Standard PPTQ

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 players battled in Guilds of Ravnica Standard for our special Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifier Showdown!

Standard is brand new with the release of Guilds of Ravnica, so I for one was looking forward to the results of this event for weeks to see just how Toronto would adapt to this new format.

In classic early-Standard fashion the event was won by a deck with 22 Mountains, Pasha Meshkati’s Mono-Red Aggro deck featuring a full four copies of [Card]Experimental Frenzy[/Card].

Your Standard PPTQ Showdown Top 8.

Standard has become a lot more diverse in recent weeks. The beginning of the format was dominated by B/G Midrange which put two copies in the Top 8 here as well. That said, last weekend at GP New Jersey Team Face to Face Games member Eli Kassis put Jeskai Control on the map by taking home the trophy — which really dwarfed the number of Golgari decks that have been popping up.

On Sunday, we had a nice smattering of the archetypes that were present in Jersey. There was a U/R [Card]Arclight Phoenix[/Card] deck which also popped up in response to Jeskai, another red deck to go with Meshkati’s, one Jeskai Control deck and a full two Boros decks.

Omar Beldon once again showed off his range with an innovative take on Boros that played a lot of token synergies. Beldon also showed off his impressive ability to Top 8 every event and lose in the quarterfinals.

Em Cuthbert also showed up to play on Sunday and showed that whenever they decide to play Magic they make the Top 8 with ease.

With his win on Sunday, Pasha cements his spot in the upcoming Ultimate Showdown and the next Regional Pro Tour Qualifier, while the rest of our Top 8 have begun their march up the leader board to qualify. This upcoming weekend at Face to Face Games Toronto is going to be all about Modern. We’ve got a special 3k Modern event at Next level Con in Mississauga on Saturday followed by a Modern 1k Sunday Showdown. Make sure to pre-register and get your Modern deck tuned up for a full weekend of Modern action!

First Place, Pasha Meshkati – Mon-Red Aggro

[Deck]
[Creatures]
4 Fanatical Firebrand
4 Ghitu Lavarunner
4 Goblin Chainwhirler
2 Rekindling Phoenix
4 Runaway Steam-Kin
4 Viashino Pyromancer
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Wizard’s Lightning
4 Shock
4 Experimental Frenzy
4 Lightning Strike
[/Spells]
[Lands]
22 Mountain
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Banefire
3 Fiery Cannonade
3 Fight with Fire
3 Lava Coil
4 Treasure Map
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

Second Place, Isaac Krut – B/G Midrange

[Deck]
[Creatures]
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Merfolk Branchwalker
4 Jadelight Ranger
1 Elvish Rejuvenator
2 Wildgrowth Walker
3 Carnage Tyrant
2 Seeker’s Squire
3 Ravenous Chupacabra
2 Midnight Reaper
1 Golgari Findbroker
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
3 Vivien Reid
1 Assassin’s Trophy
1 Vraska, Golgari Queen
3 Find // Finality
2 Vraska’s Contempt
1 Cast Down
[/Spells]
[Lands]
8 Forest
5 Swamp
2 Memorial to Folly
4 Overgrown Tomb
4 Woodland Cemetery
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
4 Duress
3 Deathgorge Scavenger
1 Midnight Reaper
1 Cast Down
1 The Eldest Reborn
2 Wildgrowth Walker
1 Detection Tower
1 Ritual Soot
1 Golden Demise
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

Third Place, Matthew Lategan – B/G Midrange

[Deck]
[Creatures]
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Merfolk Branchwalker
2 Seeker’s Squire
2 Wildgrowth Walker
3 Ravenous Chupacara
2 Golgari Findbroker
4 Jadelight Ranger
2 Midnight Reaper
3 Doom Whisperer
3 Carnage Tyrant
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
3 Find// Finality
2 Assassin’s Trophy
2 Vivien Reid
[/Spells]
[Lands]
6 Swamp
4 Overgrown Tomb
4 Woodland Cemetery
10 Forest
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
4 Duress
2 Vraska, Relic Seeker
1 Plaguecrafter
3 Ritual of Soot
1 Wildgrowth Walker
3 Vraska’s Contempt
1 Assassin’s Trophy
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

Fourth Place, Justin Harkness – Mon-Red Aggro

[Deck]
[Creatures]
4 Ghitu Lavarunner
4 Fanatical Firebrand
4 Runaway Steam-Kin
4 Viashino Pyromancer
4 Goblin Chainwhirler
2 Rekindling Phoenix
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Experimental Frenzy
4 Wizard’s Lightning
4 Shock
4 Lightning Strike
[/Spells]
[Lands]
22 Mountain
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
3 Lava Coil
3 Fiery Cannonade
4 Treasure Map
2 Banefire
3 Fire with Fire
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

Fifth Place, Em Cuthbert – U/R Phoenix

[Deck]
[Creatures]
4 Enigma Drake
4 Crackling Drake
4 Arclight Phoenix
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Opt
4 Shock
4 Warlord’s Fury
4 Crash Through
2 Maximize Velocity
4 Chart a Course
3 Tormenting Voice
2 Lava Coil
1 Beacon Bolt
[/Spells]
[Lands]
4 Steam Vents
4 Sulfur Falls
1 Izzet Guildgate
6 Mountain
5 Island
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Niv-Mizzet, Parun
2 Murmuring Mystic
2 Fiery Cannonade
1 Banefire
1 Firemind’s Research
1 Lava Coil
1 Negate
2 Disdainful Quote
2 Dive Down
1 Beacon Bolt
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

Sixth Place, Brady Bachan – Boros Angels

[Deck]
[Creatures]
4 Adanto Vangaard
3 Tocatli Honor Guard
1 Remorseful Cleric
2 Boros Challenger
2 Tajic Legion’s Edge
1 Legion Warboss
3 Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice
2 Rekindling Phoenix
2 Lyra Dawnbringer
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
2 Conclave Tribunal
2 Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants
4 Lava Coil
1 Shock
4 History of Benalia
2 Justice Strike
[/Spells]
[Lands]
1 Boros Guildgate
4 Clifftop Retreat
4 Sacred Foundry
7 Mountains
9 Plains
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
1 Bounty Agent
1 Deafening Clarion
1 Citywide Bust
1 Fiery Cannonade
1 Tocatli Honor Guard
1 Karn, Scion of Urza
1 Remorseful Cleric
1 Rekindling Phoenix
2 Ixalans Binding
1 Experimental Frenzy
1 Fight with Fie
3 Dire Fleet Daredevil
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

Seventh Place, Omar Beldon – Boros Tokens

[Deck]
[Creatures]
4 Adanto Vanguard
4 Benalish Marshal
4 Dauntless Bodyguard
4 Venerated Loxodon
4 Skymarcher Aspirant
4 Tocatli Honor Guard
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
1 Pride of Conquerors
2 Legion’s Landing
4 History of Benalia
3 Conclave Tribunal
4 Heroic Reinforcements
[/Spells]
[Lands]
4 Sacred Foundry
14 Plains
4 Clifftop Retreat
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
4 Treasure Map
2 Immortal Sun
2 Lyra Dawnbringer
2 Lava Coil
2 Banefire
2 Bounty Agent
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

Eighth Place, Duncan McGregor – Jeskai Control

[Deck]
[Creatures]
4 Crackling Drake
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
1 Niv-Mizzet, Parun
1 Ral, Izzet Viceroy
3 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
4 Opt
3 Syncopate
3 Essence Scatter
1 Negate
4 Sinister Sabotage
4 Chemister’s Insight
1 Expansion // Explosion
4 Deafening Clarion
1 Star of Extinction
[/Spells]
[Lands]
4 Clifftop Retreat
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Sulfur Falls
4 Sacred Foundry
4 Steam Vents
6 Island
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Negate
2 Revitalize
2 Seal Away
1 Justice Strike
1 Fiery Cannonade
2 Invoke the Divine
1 Lyra Dawnbringer
1 Niv-Mizzet, Parun
1 Star of Extinction
1 Siege- Gang Commander
1 Expansion // Explosion
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]