With the ultimate event combo that is coming up in Edmonton this Friday (Tour Weekend + CommandFest), let’s take a quick look back at Toronto! Actually, if you have yet to read up on what’s going down in just a matter of days, make sure to check out F2FTour.com as soon as you can.
Back to Toronto, Théo Jacques-Griffin emerged victorious in the Pioneer Regional Championship with his Azorius Spirits deck. He managed to best a field of 316 competitors!
Azorius Spirits – Théo Jacques-Griffin (1st)
Théo was kind enough to talk to me about how he got started in the game. He started playing casual Magic since he was around 12 (he’s 17 now). He moved onto playing more seriously during the pandemic by competing on the MTG Arena ladder. It was only in September 2022 that he finally decided to pick up paper Magic!
Safe to say, winning the RC was his first and biggest competitive success thus far. He never failed to mention his disbelief at the final result and just how lucky he felt to be able to qualify for the Pro Tour at such a young age.
His preparation included pioneer RCQs, Wednesday Pioneer at AltF4 Montreal and the MTG Arena ladder. He mentioned that the folks at AltF4 and Noé Offman were people that he worked with for this tournament.
He settled on Azorius Spirits because he’s a huge fan of tempo and tribal decks. According to him, his deck choice is one of the most fun Magic decks he has ever played and he particularly loves the high number of micro decisions the deck forces you to make.
Like everyone else in the tournament and around the globe, he was very impressed with fellow finalist Patrick Wu’s deck, but felt fortunate that he possessed Patrick’s worst matchup in his hands. Théo said he tried to take it one game at a time and he was able to do that all the way to a Regional Championship!
Yes, Patrick Wu’s Azorius Lotus Field deck was the talk of the town once people got to see what this red-hot player cooked up for this event. Patrick is no stranger when it comes to performing at F2F Tour events, with many strong results over the years including a Montreal Open win.
Azorius Lotus Field – Patrick Wu (2nd)
I’ve heard that he is known to only play his brews so I had to ask the man himself.
“Yes, I always make my own lists to adapt to my own style and how I like to play UW Control. I also made my Jeskai Control deck in Ottawa but I was inspired by a Jeskai list a week before. I added a lot of changes like Disruption Protocol and all that good stuff.
This is a deck that I made from the Historic UW Lotus Field deck and I decided to go the tap out route that most players haven’t tried. My list had no counterspells in the main besides the Jwari Disruption which is how I think is the way to play the deck.
Same goes with Modern.”
He peeled back the curtain for me and let me in how his deck brewing process.
“A lot of times I just go on Scryfall and look up cards with certain keywords to see what cards I can play and I test them out. For example, if I want to look for an alternative board wipe, I search up all creatures and slowly go through the cards. It’s a night-time hobby that I do.
I feel like I have enough mastery with UW that I know what I am looking for and with so many cards in magic, there is usually always something out there that I just need to find.
Doing this made me find cards like:
Secrets of the Key (STD)
Disruption Protocol (STD)
Finale of Revelation (PIO)
Lantern of the Lost (PIO
Hallowed Moonlight (Modern) – I was one of the people that played this well before it was commonly played. Got like 12 foils at 50 cents each.”
And I wanted to make sure I read a certain tweet he made correctly. He tweeted this it was the best performing deck that he had EVER played.
“Yes this is the best performing deck I’ve ever played.
In the past Month I went:
4-0 in a Pioneer League (Then drop to hide the list from being posted)
5-0 since I didn’t think it was going to be popular 2 weeks before the RC and was fine with it being posted.
3-0 at Team Trio Topdeck Hero
5-0-2 at the Super Qualifier on Friday and 11-1-1 in the Swiss RC and then losing my only 2 matches of the month to Spirits.
This was a deck I worked on right after the Pioneer RC last year and I was extremely sad I didn’t discover this before the RC last year since I knew inherently what I made was the best deck I ever made and I had to keep it lowkey for months.”
It’s just crazy how it all came together and even more crazy that the only deck he lost to he would face in the finals of the RC. A nice run nevertheless.
Patrick is extremely active on Twitter so make sure to give him a follow – @WUCtrl. Last I talked to him, he expected his deck to have a giant target on its back. Will that be enough to stop it from posting a strong result? Can’t wait to find out! If you do plan to play his list, Patrick has setup a Patreon with exclusive content on his list.
The Regional Championship is just one of many events we have taking place at our Tour Weekends. In Toronto, there was a Legacy Championship along with multiple Super Qualifiers that provide invites for the next round of RCs.
I caught up with Nathan Pandes who finished 2nd in Sunday’s Modern Super Qualifier with Yawgmoth.
Yawgmoth – Nathan Pandes (2nd)
He ran the table only to lose in the finals to Vincent Bouyer piloting Elementals.
Similar to how Patrick ran into his worst matchup, Nathan said the Elementals matchup is pretty bad and only beat Vincent in the Swiss because he was able to quickly notice issues with his opponent’s hands. Luck wasn’t on his side in the finals, so he was not able to muster enough upset.
The metagame was expected to be filled with a decent amount of Rhinos and Murktide, but he was certainly surprised Coffers was attracting a significant number of players.
Despite none of the 3 mentioned decks being a favourable matchup, Nathan was confident because of the experience he has gained with the list over time. Since Murktide is particularly popular in Toronto, he has been able to get a lot of reps in against it. He also believes his decklist is very finely tuned at point and his strong finish certainly indicates he may be right.
Nathan, like Théo, is a name to follow as right before this performance, he managed to win a local Team Trios 1K event. Follow him on Twitter – @NJaP11.
The Tour Weekend as a whole was exciting featuring many beloved artists and content creators. 8th Place Dave organized his own event Hashepcon 2023 and you can check out his vlog on it below:
I leave you with just some more of the beautiful photos we took during the event. To see more, you can check out our full photo gallery for the event. And of course, more good times are to be expected in Edmonton this upcoming weekend. I hope that you get to be part of it. It’s going to be something special.