Event Recap

Vancouver CommandFest Event Recap

Vancouver CommandFest 2024, hosted by FaceToFaceGames.com, was a spectacular celebration of Magic: The Gathering, drawing players from near and far to compete, connect, and revel in the shared love of the game. The event, held over an action-packed weekend, offered a variety of tournaments and activities catering to all types of Magic enthusiasts.

One of the highlights of the event was the Canlander Championship, a thrilling competition that showcased the best Canadian Highlander players vying for the top spot. Alongside this, the King of the Hill challenge allowed players to test their mettle in a continuous battle for supremacy.

Content creators were also at the heart of the festivities, with Content Creator Battles featuring popular figures from the Magic community, providing exciting and entertaining gameplay for fans and participants alike.

For those seeking large-scale brawls, the Grand Melee offered a chaotic and exhilarating experience, while the Emperor Commander format added a strategic twist with its unique team dynamics. Two-player teams could join forces in the Two-Headed Giant Commander games, fostering camaraderie and collaborative strategy.

Competitive players had their eyes set on the CEDH 5K, a high-stakes tournament that promised intense, top-level gameplay with significant prizes on the line. The diverse range of events ensured there was something for everyone, making Vancouver CommandFest 2024 a memorable and inclusive event for the entire Magic community.

One of the standout moments of the weekend was the Canlander Championship. To capture the essence of this thrilling competition, I had the opportunity to sit down with Aleks Vorobev, the winner of the Canlander Championship. Aleks shared his experiences, insights, and passion for the game, providing a deeper look into what made this event so special.

KYT: From the photos, it looked like playing at CommandFest Vancouver was a blast. How was the experience? Did you enter multiple events?

Aleks: It was an incredible feeling attending CommandFest this time. Even though I was mostly concentrating on the Canadian Highlander event and excited to play in the tournament, I was still eager to see what was available at the venue. I was surprised to see multiple content creators like Jim from Spike Feeders, as well as Eilidh and Olivia from Elder Dragon Hijinks. It was surreal. I was able to share a few words with all three of them and get a few signatures on my playmat.

Sadly, I was not able to participate in any other event, as the Canadian Highlander event started at 10 a.m. and went all the way until late evening. However, I did manage to catch a glimpse of a few EDH games between matches, which looked pretty intriguing judging from the board states.

KYT: Please tell me more about your relationship with the game and CanLander.

Aleks: My relationship with Magic is not as long as most of the people I know, but I would say it is pretty eventful and transformative. From playing with a small EDH group in a Kelowna pub to battling some of the best Competitive Commander players almost on a weekly basis, my journey in learning the game and its rules was long and difficult.

However, I feel like all these experiences helped me appreciate Canadian Highlander as a format. It took what I like so much about Commander—being unique deck strategy and a 100-card singleton format—and combined it with my urge to improve and get better at the game. Learning its mechanics, play patterns, understanding when it’s a good time to attack and commit to the board or when to hold back and wait for your opponent’s answer are all crucial skills.

I feel like Canadian Highlander is the perfect format for people who are interested in exploring new territories after EDH and want to learn the intricacies of the game. The format has a great community on Discord and a few local stores in Vancouver that occasionally host events. I personally attend a Monday Night Canlander event at The Connection Games & Hobbies on Renfrew. I cannot recommend enough for everyone out there to give this format a shot and see what unique brew you can come up with.

KYT: Can you tell us about the deck you chose for the event and why you chose it?

Aleks: For the tournament, I decided to go with my recent brew of the Death and Taxes archetype with a Black-White core compared to the traditional mono-White shell. One of my friends helped me get the first draft ready right after the tournament at YellowJacket Comics in Victoria on Vancouver Island. The main idea behind the deck was to play an aggressive strategy with stax effects (such as Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, and Archon of Emeria) and pair it with disruptive discard spells such as Thoughtseize and Duress to have a slightly better match-up against combo-control decks of the format.

After we finalized the first draft, I went on making smaller changes and testing the deck for the upcoming F2F tournament. The deck felt like a good meta call in a tournament with a Competitive REL ruling announced, suggesting to me that more aggressive archetypes such as “RG Gruul Monsters” or other decks with a triple moxen point spread would not be present. Instead, I expected to see a lot of combo decks and control decks utilizing Ancestral Recall and Reanimator, which all had a bad match-up against my deck. My deck also had a better match-up against mono-White Death and Taxes, making it a favorable choice going into the event.

KYT: How would you convince someone new to Magic to try out Canadian Highlander?

Aleks: My pitch for Canadian Highlander to a new player would be quite simple: This format has a combination of an amazing, supportive community that will never leave a newcomer hanging, and a fun, interactive format in which you can brew and make whatever deck you want. You’ll be able to let it perform on a friendly-competitive level, leaving you with a feeling that you made something powerful and unique.

The excitement didn’t end there. Sunday brought another wave of intense competition with the Modern Super Qualifier, where Drew Christensen emerged victorious. Just like our Tour Weekends, our CommandFests include Super Qualifiers that grant invitations to our Regional Championships. I had the chance to chat with Drew about his experience and strategies during the event.

KYT: Looking back, it seems like CommandFest Vancouver was a fantastic experience for many players. How was it for you? Did you participate in multiple events?

Drew: CommandFest was a really well-done event. The commander events looked like they had a solid turnout, and the experience was pretty great overall. I don’t play Commander myself, so I only played in the two Modern Super qualifiers on Saturday and Sunday.

KYT: What led you to picking Zoo? What does the meta look like now?

Drew: I’ve been playing Zoo off and on since the Fury ban, and have had pretty reasonable success with it on MTGO. I have been trying a few other decks recently like Living End and Prowess, but there’s nothing quite like going upstairs for 5 with a Tribal Flames!

The weekend wasn’t just about the games and competition; it also brought moments of personal joy and celebration. Two of our invited content creators, Cobert MTG and peachypop, shared a heartwarming moment with the community. Cobert MTG posted a tweet showing how a casual conversation about Commander led to a beautiful engagement. Their journey from friendly chats to a proposal at CommandFest Vancouver added a touch of magic to the event, making it an unforgettable experience for everyone involved.

peachypop also shared her excitement on Twitter, thanking FaceToFaceGames for the wonderful experience and highlighting the engagement as one of the many memorable moments from the weekend.

As we wrap up the coverage of CommandFest Vancouver 2024, we look forward to our next event in Red Deer on June 15. Stay tuned for more exciting Magic: The Gathering action and unforgettable moments.

For more details on the upcoming event, visit F2F Tour Red Deer.

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