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F2F Tour Calgary 2023 – Event Recap

This past Saturday marked a special event as we hosted a double Super Qualifier Tour Stop in Calgary, featuring both Modern and Pioneer formats. The anticipation was palpable, with these being the first major tournaments since the latest ban announcements. Players and spectators alike were eager to see the innovative decks and strategies that would emerge.

In the Modern Super Qualifier, Chris Carlile, a seasoned player well-known in the F2F Tour circles, clinched victory with his Mono-Black Coffers deck. His triumph is a testament to his skill and adaptability, particularly in a post-ban landscape.

I had the opportunity to catch up with Chris and discuss his thoughts on the evolving Modern format:

KYT: “Chris, what’s it like to be a boss and CRUSH another F2F tournament?”

Chris Carlile: “Haha, thank you! It feels pretty good, I think that’s my first good result in Modern since before Covid.”

KYT: “Why do you think it’s taken you so long to get a good result in Modern?”

Chris Carlile: “For me, the format changed a lot with MH 2, which made a lot of my old standbys, like Humans and Eldrazi, unplayable. Removal is so good now, it’s hard to be a creature deck. I tried a bunch of decks but couldn’t find success with anything until LOTR bolstered a few strategies I enjoyed. Mono Black sort of pulled ahead as the best one. I practiced it, tuned it for the ban, and things went my way at the Super Qualifier.”

KYT: “With 2 copies in the top 8, is Mono Black seen as the best deck post-ban?”

Chris Carlile: “I don’t think so. I had Yawgmoth as the best deck post-ban, as it really only lost to Fury decks before. But we’ll see how other decks adapt. Coffers is clearly a strong deck though. My only loss in the tournament was to Raymond, who only lost to me and Mark. It just got an upgrade with Sunken Citadel. Scam was a close match that we don’t have to worry about anymore. I’d endorse Mono Black to anyone looking to win a tournament. Yawgmoth, however, is a tough match for Coffers due to limited interaction capabilities.”

The Pioneer Super Qualifier was highlighted by Ryan Putigna’s impressive performance with his Abzan Company deck, a notable achievement in the context of the recent changes to the format.

To gain deeper insights into the Pioneer post-ban environment, I spoke with seasoned players Brian Ziemba and Tyler Blum, the latter being the Grand Prix Chicago 2014 Champion. The conversation centered around the unbanning of Smuggler’s Copter, a hot topic in the Magic community.

KYT: “Brian, with the recent changes in Pioneer, what’s your take on the format post-ban? Do you think it’s now Smuggler’s Copter’s time to shine?”

Brian Ziemba: “Pioneer was getting stale before the ban, but the changes have definitely refreshed it. Smuggler’s Copter doesn’t seem too overpowering in the current meta. Decks like Phoenix, Amalia Combo, and various control and combo decks aren’t really utilizing it. In my view, Tyler Blum’s Shrapnel Blast Rakdos Aggro is the best fit for Smuggler’s Copter. It synergizes well with the deck’s mechanics, especially in crewing it with dorks and utilizing the discard effect for Shrapnel Blast. That deck seems incredibly potent.”

KYT: “Speaking of your Amalia Combo deck, how do you feel it’s positioned in the current landscape?”

Brian Ziemba: “Amalia Combo is performing great, even though the list I played wasn’t optimal. The deck is very adaptable with many flex slots that can be tuned perfectly to the current meta. It’s definitely a deck that Pioneer players need to be prepared for.”

KYT: “Tyler, Brian believes your deck might be the top contender for utilizing Smuggler’s Copter. What are your thoughts on this?”

Tyler Blum: “I agree, my list certainly has room for improvement, but the potential is there. Shrapnel Blast, in particular, is an incredibly strong card. The closest competition for the best Copter deck might be a Greasefang variant. As for adjustments, I’m considering adding more lands and tweaking the creature and spell balance. The sideboard needs work, but that’s expected in an undefined meta.”

With the Calgary event wrapped up, we now look forward to the final stop of the F2F Tour for 2023 – Niagara Falls! This promises to be an exciting conclusion to a year filled with thrilling matches and evolving strategies. Be sure to pre-register and join us for what promises to be an unforgettable event!

Be sure to check out F2FTour.com for more information and to discover what awaits in 2024!

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