Category Archives: Pro Tour Coverage

Pro Tour Eldritch Moon: Day 2 MTGFinance Coverage

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Editor’s Note: Relevant financial details in blue, folks.

Coming into Day 2 of this smaller than usual Pro Tour stop, several interesting decks have made waves, and a handful of cards have already popped. After being featured on camera winning games over and over on Day 1, Emrakul, the Promised End popped from $15 to well over $40, only to fall back toward $25 as vendors and speculators sought to sell into the hype. Liliana, the Last Hope, which came into the weekend holding a $40 price tag, was reported to be selling for ridiculous amounts on the tourney floor and has gained $5 to $45 domestically as we wait to see how many copies make Top 8. Voldaren Pariah, the grindy flip creature making waves in the U/B Zombie lists has popped to $3 from $1. Kozilek’s Return has jumped to $10 from $6. Traverse the Ulvenwald looks set for a double up, moving from $2 to $4.

Ishkanah, Grafwidow and Prized Amalgam have also shown modest gains based on frequent camera time, though their ultimate fate this weekend has yet to be written in stone.

Follow along with us as we follow along with the final 5 rounds of constructed play before the cut to Top 8 and the establishment of the new Standard metagame.

Round 13 (7th Standard Round): LSV (Bant Company) vs. Reid Duke (RG Ramp)

Reid  (11-1) is on track to make Top 8 with one more win today, and LSV (10-2) needs just two wins to make Day 3 for the third time in a row, the first time this has happened in a generation!

In Game 1 LSV misses a couple of land drops while Reid sets up shop on his ramp plan. Despite the fast takeoff, Reid draws hollow for a few turns, giving Luis too much time to get back in the game. A few value creatures, a Jace, and a Collected Company later, LSV is able to take Game 1.

In Game 2, Reid mulligans twice, but an early Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy from LSV is still answered by Kozilek’s Return, and the players trade threats and answers for a few turns as Reid achieves delirium. In the mid-game LSV adds a Tamiyo, Field Researcher to a crowded board to really start churning the value engine. At just four life Reid finally stabilizes with an Emrakul that wrecks most of the board for LSV. LSV manages a Selfless Spirit on his next turn, but the combination of Emrakul and Ishkanah (with her spiderling buddies) holds his attacks at bay. Soon after Luis is forced to Reflector Mage the Emrakul, allowing Reid to cast it again and take another bonus turn against his best interests. Facing certain doom, LSV top decks another copy of Tamiyo, tapped Emrakul and Ishkanah, attacks with his Sylvan Advocate, eats Reid’s remaining spider and finds himself just a bad top deck away from a win. Sure enough, Duke is unable to find a blocker and falls in two games to put both players one win away from the Top 8.

Round 13 (7th Standard Round): Lucas Blohan (WB Control) vs. Zen Takahashi (Naya Legends)

The innovative Naya Legends deck in the hands of Takahashi features Oath of Nissa, Hangarback Walker, Thalia’s Lancers, Nissa, Vastwood Seer, Evolutionary Leap, Linvala, the Preserver and a toolbox of interesting legendary creatures. Oddly, Takahashi just barely qualified for this Pro Tour via the GP in Australia last week, and here is in Top 8 contention. Off camera, Blohan takes Game 1.

Deck Tech: Esper Control (6-1 in Standard, out of contention on draft record)

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  • 4 Jace, 2 Gideon, 2 Sorin, Grim Nemesis, 1 Ob Nixilis
  • 2 Descend Upon the Sinful, 3 Declaration in Stone, 2 Languish, 1 Anguished Unmaking
  • 3 Transgress the Mind, 3 Clash of Wills, 1 Silumgar’s Command, 2 Ojutai’s Command
  • 3 Fortune’s Favor, 3 Secure the Wastes, 2 Painful Truths
  • 3 Westvale Abbey

Secure the Wastes and Fortune’s Favor singled out as crucial to the deck. At just $.05 picking up 20-40 copies of Fortune’s Favor could be an easy penny spec if enough players start testing Esper Control builds in the coming weeks. 

Here are the top table standings after Round 13, with just three rounds left before the cut to Top 8.

rnd13
With Owen, Reid, LSV, Sam Pardee, Jacob Wilson and the rest in contention, this Top 8 is looking likely to be epic. This crowd includes BG Delirium x2, Temur Emerge x2, BW Control, Bant Company.

Round 14: LSV (Bant Company) vs. Owen Turtenwald (Temur Emerge)

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This match is a win and in for Top 8, and will result in a fantastic narrative regardless of who wins. Both guys come in 11-2. Owen is now within reach of Player of the Year, while LSV is looking to Top 8 for the third time in a row this year!

Game 1 is over quick as strong early pressure from LSV bumps up against an Elder Deep-Fiend, only to have Archangel Avacyn flash in on the end step to clinch the victory the following turn for Luis.

In Game 2, Owen is available to chain Gnarlwood Dryad into Deep Fiend, triggering a flashed back Kozilek’s Return and then on into an Emrakul. LSV is forced to spend his Tamiyo to keep Emrakul tapped down for a couple of turns. Chandra Flamecaller shows up alongside Emrakul, and the threat level is just too high for LSV to recover from. Tied at 1-1.

In Game 3, LSV leverages a Duskwatch Recruiter to overcome some land flood, and again makes excellent use of Tamiyo, Field Researcher to lock down key blockers and get in for the win. This almost certainly puts LSV into the Top 8 and breathes fresh life into Bant Company moving forward.

Round 14: Sam Pardee (BG Delirium) vs. Andrew Brown (Temur Emerge)

In Game 1 we arrive from off camera to find a Liliana emblem in play. Kozilek’s Return from Brown clears the zombie army, and allows him to take down Liliana. Pardee responds with Languish to clear all but a Deep Fiend from Brown. We miss the next several turns, but Pardee ends up winning with the ultimate emblem proving too much for Brown. Pardee also takes the match, butting BG Delirium into the Top 8.

Off camera, Reid Duke puts away Jacob Wilson to clinch Top 8 as well, meaning RG Ramp has a shot at the title as well.

Deck Tech: Jund Delirium (Simon Nielsen)

Running 3x Kozilek’s Return, 3x Traverse the Ulvenwald, just a single Emrakul. 2x Distended Mindbender. 3x Mindwrack Demon and 3x Lianna, the Last Hope. 3x Languish.

Round 15: Reid Duke (RG Ramp) vs. Takahashi (Bant Company)

Reid loses Game 1 quick to an explosive start from the CoCo mage. Reid loses Game 2 as well, butting Takahashi and the 2nd Bant Company deck into the Top 8.

Round 15: Owen Turtenwald (Temur Emerge) vs. Lukas Blohon (WB Control)

Owen needs to win this match or the next to make Top 8 and Player of the Year. Big money on the line here for the new Hall of Famer. Blohan takes Game 1 on the back of yet another Liliana emblem and puts Owen on the back foot. In Game 2 a pair of Transgress the Mind removes the relevant threats from Owen’s hand, and Blohon takes the match quickly to make Top 8 with BW Control. Owen must now win his final match to make Top 8 and win Player of the Year. Biggest pressure point of the season coming up next round.

On a back table Daniel Cathro has the UB Zombies dream still alive at 10-3-1, and is up a game against Temur Emerge/Thomas Hendriks. A Liliana emblem is in play and generating massive advantadge, and Cathro takes the match to gift himself with a win and in next round.

Jan Ksandr on Bant Spirits is also battling fellow 10-3-1 player Ken Yukihiro on GR Ramp, but the match goes to time, with both players due to miss Top 8 if they pick up the draw. Weaver of Lightning ends up winning the match on the back of a Tormenting Voice, removing a key blocker to allow the Japanese player to get it done and put a second G/R ramp deck into the Top 8. Kozilek’s Return, also featured in the Temur Emerge deck seems likely to hold near $10.

Round 16: Owen Turtenwald (Temur Emerge) vs. Daniel Cathro (UB Zombies)

Owen has it all on the line this round. Sadly for him, Game 1 sees first time Pro Tour participant Cathro return a Haunted Dead via a double Prized Amalgam discard to put four creatures into play, a move quickly followed up by a Liliana, the Last Hope. A couple of turns later Owen manages to go Pilgrim’s Eye into Wretched Griff to bring back Kozilek’s Return and clear the board at two life. A couple of turns later a similar pattern is demonstrated, and the players jockey for board position with Owen trying to hold down the looming zombie threats. Owen manages to stabalize on an Emrakul, but more Haunted Dead shenanigans into a Voldaren Pariah, clears much of the board on both sides. A Murderous Cut lurking in Cathro’s hand signals danger to Emrakul but Owen gets a full value Ishkanah into play. Cathro at 4 life, Owen still at 2 but Daniel can’t easily bypass the spider force. Owen alpha strikes with Emrakul and all his spiders, but Cathro pulls the trigger on the Murderous Cut on Emrakul, and sets up to get more zombies back with the players now tied at two life a piece. Owen manages an Elder Deep Fiend to pop another enhanced Kozilek’s Return, but Daniel works through two copies of Voldaren Pariah in response to end up with a big bad flyer on the table ready to strike by end of turn. Owen looks for a solution, comes up dry, and we move to Game 2 with Owen facing the loss of both Top 8 and Player of the Year.

Cathro mulligans into two lands and can’t find his third land. Owen gets Chandra Flamecaller into play and the pressure is real. Despite still being on two lands Haunted Dead comes back with a spirit and a Prized Amalgam and the team takes down Chandra. At ten lands to his opponent’s three, Owen chains Spiders into Eldrazi and earns his last chance at the best possible weekend.

Both players keep a full grip and the game pivots early when Owen casts Negate on the first copy of Liliana, the Last Hope. He then keeps the board stable for a few more turns, drops Emrakul, controls the next turn, and manages to snag victory out of the jaws of defeat one turn later. Huge congratulations to Owen Turtenwald for making the Hall of Fame, a fresh Pro Tour Top 8 AND Player of the Year all in one weekend. Temur Emerge earns another slot on Sunday, and puts Kozilek’s Return and Emrakul squarely in the spotlight. Side note: the UB Zombie build looks very hot indeed, and this won’t be the end of things for that archetype despite the loss.

Ken Yukihiro defeats Reid Duke in final turns for the second match in a row to make Top 8. Some of the best Pro Tour match play ever today, wow.

Top 8 Announcement

  1. Sam Pardee (BG Delirium)
  2. LSV (Bant Company)
  3. Yuta Takahashi (Bant Company)
  4. Lukas Blohon (BW Control)
  5. Ken Yukihiro (GR Ramp)
  6. Owen Turtenwald (Temur Emerge)
  7. Reid Duke (GR Delirium Ramp)
  8. Andrew Brown (Temur Emerge)

What a star studded Top 8, topping off an epic year of great Top 8s. Two Hall of Fame players. Sam Pardee and Reid Duke. Great players fill the rest of the bracket.

Relatively few Liliana, the Last Hope in the Top 8 in the end, with just BW Control and BG Delirium running the card. Kozilek’s Return and Emrakul however feature prominently in roughly half the decks. Elder Deep Fiend could show gains if it wins the whole thing. Bant Company still has a shot to take it all in the hands of red hot LSV.

The brackets look well balanced with no real blowouts set up to play out. Anyone could take this, but odds on favorites have to be the dominating Channel Fireball squad, with Reid Duke, LSV, and Owen looking set to have a west coast wizard take the tournament.

Tune in tomorrow for the final result of a great weekend of Magic!

 

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Pro Tour Eldritch Moon Finance: Standard Day 1

Check out our Pro Tour preview over here, and join us for round to round coverage in live blog style below all day.

Round 4 started at 1am EST, Friday.

Round 4 (1st Standard Round):  Andrew Cuneo (BG Delirum) vs. Owen Turtenwald (Temur Emerge)

Owen comes to the table with a snazzy new hair cut and a relatively unseen archtype for Standard thus far this season in Temur Emerge. The deck features Emrakul, the Promised End, Gather the Pack, Kozilek’s Return, Ishkanah, Grafwidow, Den Protector, Elder Deep Fiend, Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, Pilgrim’s Eye, Nissa’s Pilgrimage, Chandra, Grapple with the Past and Gnarlwood Dryad. Ishkanah showing up in Temur certainly opens the door for the card to see more play.

Andrew’s deck on the other hand is a version of the familiar GB Control style build including value cards such as Liliana, the Last Hope, Mindwrack Demon, Grasp of Darkness, Gilt-Leaf Winnower and Nissa, Vastwood Seer. After some back and forth, Owen takes Game 1 on the back of a late game Emrakul.

In Game 2, Owen shows off Coax from the Blind Eternities, perhaps a sideboard option against Infinite Obliteration. Midway through Game 2, both players are still at 20 life, and Turtenwald has three copies of Elder Deep-Fiend in hand.

Floor report has Liliana, the Last Hope selling at prices as high as $100.

Round 4 (1st Standard Round):  Brad Nelson (Jund Delirium) vs. Patrick Dickmann (Bant Eldrazi Rites)

Dickmann is on a unique Bant brew with Reality Smasher, Elvish Visionary, Reflector Mage, Spell Queller and Drowner of Hope. He’s running Collected Company and Cryptolith Rites, despite running many creatures over three casting cost.

Nelson is on a Jund deck with Emrakul, the Promised End, Kozilek’s Return, Traverse the Ulvenwald, Distended Mindbender. Emrakul getting a lot of camera time, and seems to be in many decks. Brad takes Game 1 with Emrakul in similar fashion to Owen at the other table.

Dickmann takes Game 2 off camera.

In Game 3, Brad gets off a Kozilek’s Return in the mid-game to clear most of Patrick’s board. He follows up with Ishkanah and sets up to run back the Return off a forthcoming Distended Mindbender. Spell Queller eats the Return, but Brad top decks Languish to clear the board. Reality Smasher comes off the top for Patrick however and with Brad at just three life, Dickmann puts the match away.

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Not many aggro decks at the top tables so far.

Round 4 (1st Standard Round):  Ben Seck (U/B Madness) vs. Marco Camilluzzi (Legendary Naya)

Seck is on U/B Madness, using Voldaren Pariah. Camilluzzi is on a Naya build that leverages Thalia’s Lancers and a toolbox of legendary creatures to try and take control of the mid-game. Marco takes the match mostly off camera 2-0 in their games.

Over a quarter of the field is caught still playing with time called. Format is slow!

Deck Tech #1: Bant Company (Andrea Mengucci)

Randy notes that Bant Company is only 19% of the total field, as opposed to the expected 30-35%. Everyone gunning for it. As per usual, deck is built around Bant value creatures Duskwatch Recruiter, Spell Queller, and Reflector Mage coming into play via Collected Company.

Round 5 (2nd Standard Round): Matt Sperling (B/G Delirium) vs.  Reid Duke (R/G Delirium)

Reid Duke is basically on an old school red/green ramp deck, using green ramp spells, Hedron Crawler and Hedron Archive to get to Ulvenwald Hydra (one copy), Dragonlord Atarka and Emrakul, the Promised End. At the low end he runs Sylvan Advocate, Fiery Impulse and other board stabilizing cards.

Sperling is making use of many of the green and black delirium cards, leveraging the graveyard and various card selection, discard and kill spells to try and control the mid-game. The deck also features Languish, Liliana, The Last Hope, Nissa, Vastwood Seer and the rest of the expected cards of the archetype. Traverse the Ulvenwald into Emrakul, the Promised End is also part of the game plan. Traverse is looking like an important card in this meta.

In Game 1, Reid manages to get his Emrakul out a turn before Sperling and quickly earns a concession with Atarka also on his side.

Between games I checked out the movement on Emarkul, the Promised End, and watched 20-30 copies dry up under $15. Channel Fireball is sold out. This card could be over $20 by end of the weekend if it stays prevalent near the top tables.

Reid manages to take down Game 2 in similar fashion, this time getting in with Atarka before Sperling can stabilize.

Round 5 (2nd Standard Round): Christian Calcano (Bant Company) vs. Marcio Carvalho (U/B Zombies)

We come into this match in Game 3, with the players tied at a game a piece. Carvalho is on a full-fledged blue/black zombie deck. Deck runs the full set of Prized Amalgam, discarding them to Haunted Dead and Stitchwing Skaab (!) for major value. Crypt Breaker is also present, as is Voldaren Pariah, which at $1, certainly has room to move up if it does well. Indeed, the card is absolutely savage in the third game and earns a place on the must watch list for the weekend as Carvalho takes the match.

Calcano’s deck is running Elder Deep Fiend, a card rarely seen in Bant Company, and further evidence of players looking to go bigger this weekend.

At end of Round 2, more than half (!) the matches are still going. Ultra grindy indeed.

Round 6 (3rd Standard Round): Luis-Scott Vargas (Bant Company) vs. Steven Rubin (Black/Green Delirium)

LSV is running a fairly stock Bant Company list with a few tweaks. Defending Pro Tour champion Rubin is on a GB Delirium list running many of the same cards already expected. Rubin takes Game 1 fairly easily. LSV crack back in the next game to even things up.

In the third game things get very grindy, with LSV trying to fight through Ishkanah and Void Winnower to get rid of a threatening Liliana, the Last Hope. The solution ends up being Tamiyo, Field Researcher, which allows LSV to tap down the big blockers and get in to kill both Liliana and a flipped Nissa. Nevertheless, Steve does get off an Emrakul on the next turn that absolutely wrecks his opponent’s board state, including an Ojutai’s Command countering a Reflector Mage. Rubin is able to put it away and advance to 6-0. A great game.

Round 6: Patrick Dickmann (Bant Company/Rites) vs Yuuya Watanabe (R/G Ramp)

The Watanabe deck is similar in some ways to the one Reid Duke is running, but with a few twists, including Hangarback Walker, and Ishkanah, Grafwidow. At one point Yuuya takes control of Dickmann using Emrakul and forces him to use Reflector Mage to give him back the Emrakul for another go at mind control. Savage, but Dickmann does manage to take the next game to even things out.

100+ copies of Emrakul, the Promised End have now evaporated across the online vendors after being constantly featured as the finisher of choice across multiple decks. The price looks likely to settle above $25 if the pace of camera time continues and it makes Top 8 in quantity.

At another table, Owen Turtenwald beats Reid Duke, to put Temur Emerge at 3-0, and Owen at 6-0 on the day. A great start for our newest Hall of Fame member.

Deck Tech #3: 4-Color Emerge (Michael Bonde)

Gather the Pack, Grapple the Past, Traverse the Ulvenwald, are all 4-ofs, as is Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. Three copies of Noose Constrictor and a single copy of Nissa, Vastwood Seer. Prized Amalgam and Haunted Dead are also four copies each, providing a recursive value engine we’ve seen in a few decks now.  Haunted Dead and Prize Amalgam could both end up in the $3-4 range. Kozilek’s Return, and Elder Deep-Fiend are also 4-ofs and provide even more shenanigans with the Amalgam/Haunted Dead package. Just the Wind and Ishkanah are used in single copies.

Back at the coverage desk, Liliana, the Last Hope called out as the defining card of the tournament.

Round 7 (4th Round of Standard): Olivier Ruel (Sultai Control) vs. Jacob Wilson (BG Delirium)

Ruel is on a deck similar to the one Ali Aintrazi ran to 2nd place last week at SCG Baltimore. Jacob Wilson is on G/B Delirium. Ruel gets down a Liliana, only to get it answered with a Ruinous Path. Both decks running Liliana, and Jacob has both Grim Flayer and Ishkanah, Grafwidow. About ten turns into the game we find Wilson casting Emrakul, finding another Emrakul in Ruel’s hand. Eldrazi overlords for everyone! Wilson’s Emrakul is stolen by Dragonlord Silumgar, but Liliana and Grasp of Darkness take out the Dragonlord and Jacob is able to take Game 1 as Ruel draws dead.

In a very grindy second game, at one point both players have Liliana and Nissa in play in planeswalker mode with Ruel also having a flipped Jace in play. Things grind on for a dozen or more turns with over a dozen permanents in play. Ultimately time is called, and the players enter the five extra turns. Wilson casts an Emrakul on Turn 3 of extra turns, giving him control of Turn 4, but forcing him to get rid of multiple potential attackers on the forthcoming Turn 5 to fend off the tie. Wilson moves to 6-1.

Here’s the Day 1 meta:

meta

Note that the blue/green Crush of Tentacles deck from last weekend is nowhere to be found here, though it may have been a good choice facing this incredibly grindy meta.

Deck Tech 4: GB Delirium (Shaheen Soorani)

Shaheen calls out Emrakul as the best finisher in the format.

Round 8 (Standard Round 5): Owen Turtenwald (Temur Emerge) vs. Steve Rubin (GB Delirium)

Owen comes into this round at 7-0, while Steve is at 6-1. Turtenwald uses Emrakul to take Game 1, playing into the themes of the weekend thus far. In Game 2, Owen chains a pair of Elder Deep Fiends with Kozilek’s Return to wipe out Rubin’s opposing creatures and present serious pressure. Owen moves to 8-0 on the same day he is elected to the Hall of Fame. Talk about driving it home. See you guys tonight for Day 2!

James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

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Pro Tour Shadows Over Innistrad: Top 8 Coverage

Finals: Andrea Mengucci (Bant Company) vs. Steven Rubin (G/W Tokens)

With six of a possible eight copies of Archangel Avacyn in the finals of this Pro Tour stop, the powerful angel seems poised to hold her value heading into the next few weeks of Standard. Also worth noting that there are numerous copies of Canopy Vista in the combined mana base of the finalists, as well as a full eight copies of Sylvan Advocate, a creature that seems likely to be ubiquitous this season.

G/W tokens as played by Rubin called out on camera by LSV again as the deck of the tournament, with Team FacetoFace credited for the deck.

In Game 1, the board stalls out pretty quickly, but Rubin has the dynamic duo of Nissa and Gideon behind his army to create massive advantage. A top decked Secure the Wastes sets up a huge swing on the back of a double buff from the ‘walkers and Rubin takes Game 1. A match win here could possibly push Nissa over $15 and Gideon back over $25.

Whoa. Massive changes to the benefits of Hall of Fame and Platinum Pro status, effectively reducing their guaranteed earnings to fund a more bombastic World Championships. Can’t imagine the top pros are going to be too pleased about that, and Hall of Fame benefits shouldn’t be negotiable after the fact.

Game 2 plays out in similar fashion. In a small board stall, Rubin ultimates his first Gideon immediately and hides out behind a growing Hangarback Walker. Mengucci is sitting on two copies of Reflector Mage, while Rubin awaits the moment to launch a surprise attack with Archangel Avacyn. Drawing into another Secure the Wastes with the Gideon emblem in play, allows Rubin to wreck an all out attack plan from Mengucci by dropping a pile of token blockers in their path, though he does end up at eight life. A Westvale Abbey activation on the following turn however, and Rubin is in position to take the game in the air.

Game 3, our first game post-sideboard, ends up looking very similar in the early turns, but Mengucci does manage to leverage Tragic Arrogance to force Rubin into a slimmer board presence. Rubin is able to cast Hangarback Walker for zero to try and flip a newly require Avacyn, but Mengucci answers with an Avacyn of his own, dancing through the hole in Rubin’s plans by saving his entire board. Rubin ends up with multiple Walkers in play, but Andrea ends up with the only Avacyn on the board, and looks to turn the corner. Rubin however top decks Dromoka’s Command, and threatens to kill Avacyn and cash out a Walker for multiple fliers. Mengucci chooses to cast a second Avacyn in response, saving the first copy, but yielding to the Walker tokens. Steve then top decks his own Tragic Arrogance, taking out Bounding Krasis, Avacyn, and Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, and allowing him to cash in his second Hangarback Walker for additional tokens. Mengucci responds with an activation from a fresh Jace, flashing back his own Tragic Arrogance to trim the board once again for Rubin.

Rubin’s next big play is a Nissa, Voice of Zendikar, which starts making tokens but Mengucci fills up from a Collected Company and a Nissa, Vastwood Seer, and pushes through to move to 1-2 on the match thus far.

Game 4 finds Rubin on Nissa on Turn 3, holding off attackers with plant tokens long enough to find enough mana to cast an end of turn Archangel Avacyn, into a Gideon, Ally of Zendikar which immediately sacs for an emblem. Fearing only a Tragic Arrogance from Mengucci, Rubin makes another plant token, and challenges Mengucci to find an answer to a dominant board position. A Reflector Mage from Mengucci on Avacyn, prompts a flurry of activity as Rubin strives to find the opening he needs to get the last four points of life from Andrea in the air. Rubin subsequently sacs Nissa to boost a growing team of plant tokens, Sylvan Advocate and Avacyn, and tries to decide when and whether to sacrifice some of that army to put the demon prince into play. He ultimately chooses to swing with the entire team first, forcing a round of bad chump blocks from Andrea. An Ojutai’s Command from the Italian seeks to keep him alive, but it isn’t enough and Steven Rubin and G/W tokens wins Pro Tour Shadows Over Innistrad!

Semi-finals: Seth Manfield (Esper Control) vs. Steven Rubin (G/W Tokens) 

LSV calls out G/W Tokens as one of the best performing decks of the Swiss rounds. In Game 1, Narset appears from Seth to answer early action from Rubin in the form of a pair of Thraben Inspectors. Narset survives for several turns and does a ton of work on camera, rebounding a Dark Petition that seeks out important kill spells and answer both Nissa and Gideon from Rubin. With an Avacyn in hand and a lonely Westvale Abbey on the table, Rubin soon finds himself facing down a trio of planeswalkers, including Narset, Sorin and Jace, Unraveler of Secrets with a combined loyalty of seventeen. Manfield quickly takes over and claims Game 1.

In Game 2, Rubin gets a mix of threats in play, including Hangarback Walker, Sylvan Advocate and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. Seth gets off a Languish to slow the advance, but leaves Gideon in play, a potent threat that is quickly followed up with an end of turn Secure the Wastes that finds Seth without a counter spell. Rubin evens things out at 1-1.

In our third game, having taken Languish out of his deck against a tokens deck, Manfield uses two early copies of Anguished Unmaking to get rid of Nissa and Gideon respectively and try to keep the board under control. Rubin rebuilds with a Sylvan Advocate and a second copy of Nissa, Voice of Zendikar vs. a hand of Sorin, Ultimate Price and Ruinous Path. The Path takes down Nissa on the following turn, and Manfield digs for additional answers with his Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. Rubin gets an Avacyn on the board which is sent to the bin by Ultimate Price. An Oath of Nissa finds him an additional copy of Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, which Rubin uses to table a 2/2 knight token only to get hit by another copy of Ruinous Path. Sigarda, Heron’s Grace is the next threat to enter the fray and Seth follows on with Sorin, Grim Nemesis to trade off. Hangback Walker for three from Rubin presents a tough threat for Manfield, and on the next turn Rubin finds Westvale Abbey off the top with five creatures already in play. The resulting demon quickly takes Game 3 for Rubin.

In Game 4, Rubin keeps a land heavy hand, and finds his early Nissa answered by counter magic. Kalitas, Tratior of Ghet enters on Seth’s side, but Rubin has the Stasis Snare off the top to answer. Manfield however manages to field a second copy of the legendary vampire and the impact on a pair of Hangarback Walkers is felt immediately. Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy and Narset, Transcendent join the squad for Seth, and Rubin is clearly stalled out, while Manfield adds Sorin, Grim Nemesis to fully take control of the board against a pair of Thraben Inspectors. Game 4 to Seth and we move on to the deciding game.

Game 5 sees Rubin get two Hangarback Walkers into play, prompting an early Languish that fails to deal with Nissa or Gideon. Anguised Unmaking does take down Gideon the following turn, but continued pressure and a fresh Archangel Avacyn takes the match for Rubin, who moves on to the finals.

SEMI-FINALS: SHOOTA YASOOKA (ESPER CONTROL) VS. ANDREW MENGUCCI (BANT COMPANY)

Mengucci takes the match in five games, putting the Bant Company deck that the field thought they had outmaneuvered into the finals despite their best efforts. It is worth noting that in the Swiss rounds, only Lee Shi Tian managed a 9-1 record, and he was also on Bant Company. Also, depsite not making Top 8, U/W Humans in the hands of Raymond Cheung and Mono White Humans from Pat Cox, did each achieve an 8-2 record. 

QUARTERFINALS: ANDREA MENGUCCI (BANT COMPANY) VS JON FINKEL (BG CONTROL)

Mengucci wins the match in

QUARTERFINALS: STEVE RUBIN (GREEN-WHITE TOKENS) VS (23) BRAD NELSON (RED-GREEN GOGGLE RAMP)

Despite a series of grindy games, where Pyromancer’s Goggles and World Breaker both put in a good work, Steve Rubin defeats Brad Nelson 3-0 on the back of Avacyn and Westvale Abby and advances to the semifinals, having won three games where he tabled very aggressive starts.

BREAKING NEWS: WoTC uses the platform of a very diverse Standard Pro Tour to announce that Modern will no longer be a Pro Tour format, throwing the growth of Modern specs into question. My guess is that this could shave some growth potential off of non-staples without having much of a meaningful impact on Modern staple card values directly. If however, we see the de-emphasis of the format trickle down to  the GP and local level as fewer top players have a reason to play more Modern, the threat to Modern specs could be heightened. Details here.

QUARTERFINALS: (2) SETH MANFIELD (ESPER CONTROL) VS. LUIS SALVATTO (R/W ELDRAZI GOGGLES)

Seth Manfield defeats Luis Salvatto.

Andrea Mengucci defeats Jon Finkel 3-1 and advances to the semifinals!

QUARTERFINALS: LUIS SCOTT-VARGAS (B/G ARISTOCRATS) VS. SHOTA YASOOKA (ESPER DRAGONS)

In Game 1, LSV starts strong, only to run into multiple early kill spells and a Languish that clears the board. The explosive power of the GB deck is proven again however, as LSV casts Collected Company end of turn, finding a Husk and a Cutthroat, to untap and kill Shoota on the spot.

In Game 2, Shoota manages to trade kill spells for early creatures, minimizing the drain damage along the way from Luis and setting up a shop with a rampant Dragonlord Ojutai helps the Japanese player pull away for the win.

Game 3 sees LSV go to six cards on the play, and again his early threats are efficiently answered with the likes of Grasp of Darkness, Ultimate Price and Foul Tongue Invocation. Despite an amazing series of plays by Luis where Liliana, Heretical Healer put in some good work, Shoota finds a copy of Languish and lands a Dragonlord Ojutai to set up a nearby win.

In Game 4, Luis only get a chance to field a few early threats before Shoota clears them out with his opponent flooding out on lands. LSV loses the match and moves on to the coverage booth.

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Hold on to your hats folks, this is going to be good.

Heading into this Pro Tour many observers seemed convinced that the metagame had been solved early and that Bant Company and White Humans were going to settle into the top tables. Instead we got an incredibly diverse field and a Top 8 full to the brim with eight distinct decks and a plethora of innovative brewing technology. The Top 8 competition may be the best of all time, with three Hall of Fame members, a former Player of the Year, and the current World Champion.

So far, the big financial movers of the weekend have included a bevy of underrated cards including Pyromancer’s Goggles, Seasons Past, Dark Petition, Cryptolith Rite, Languish and Hissing Quagmire. With such a diverse field, it may take a finals appearance to defend the price spikes, so we should pay special attention to the cards like Dark Petition, Languish, Archangel Avacyn and Goggles that have shown value across multiple shells. That being said, selling into the hype ahead of the results is almost certainly your best bet, as back sliding on many of the spiked cards is quite likely this week. Of the cards that haven’t really moved, Nissa, Voice of Zendikar and Narset, Transcendant may have the most upside as three to four of inclusions in their respective decks. At $18 or so, Dragonlord Ojutai has six copies in Day 3 across two distinctive Esper Control shells, and has peaked over $30 before. World Breaker is currently around $8, but could hit $15 again if it makes the finals, especially given that the card is also setting up shop in Modern. 

To recap, here are our Top 8 deck types and their notable cards:

  1. Jon Finkel: B/G Control (Dark Petition, Seasons Past, Hissing Quagmire, Languish)
  2. Seth Manfield: Esper Control (Dark Petition, Narset, Ascendant, Ob Nixilis, Sorin, Grim Nemesis)
  3. Brad Nelson: R/G Goggles (Pyromancer’s Goggles, World Breaker, Fall of the Titans, Kozilek’s Return)
  4. Luis Scott-Vargas: B/G Aristocrats (Collected Company, Cryptolith Rite, Liliana, Heretical Healer, Duskwatch Recruiter)
  5. Shota Yasooka: Esper Dragons (Dragonlord Ojutai, Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy)
  6. Steve Rubin: G/W Tokens (Nissa, Gideon, Avacyn)
  7. Luis Salvato: R/W Eldrazi (Pyromancer’s Goggles, Thought Knot-Seer, Archangel Avacyn, Nahiri, The Harbinger, Fall of the Titans)
  8. Andrea Mengucci: Bant Company (Collected Company, Archangel Avacyn)

Full lists can be found here.

Our match-up ladder starts as follows:

  • Jon Finkel (BG Control) vs. Andrea Mengucci (Bant Company)
  • Seth Manfield (Esper Planeswalkers) vs. Luis Salvato (R/W Eldrazi)
  • Brad Nelson (G/R Goggles) vs. Steve Rubin (G/W Tokens)
  • Luis Scott-Vargas (G/B Aristocrats) vs. Shota Yasooka (Esper Dragons)

 

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Pro Tour Shadows Over Innistrad: Day 2 MTGFinance Coverage

Our Top 8 for Pro Tour Shadows Over Innistrad has been made official:

  • 1st, Jon Finkel: B/G Control (Dark Petition, Seasons Past, Hissing Quagmire)
  • 2nd, Seth Manfield: Esper Control (Dark Petition, Narset, Ascendant, Ob Nixilis)
  • 3rd, Brad Nelson: R/G Goggles (Pyromancer’s Goggles, World Breaker)
  • 4th, Luis Scott-Vargas: B/G Aristocrats (Collected Company, Cryptolith Rite)
  • 5th, Shota Yasooka: Esper Dragons (Dragonlord Ojutai)
  • 6th, Steve Rubin: G/W Tokens (Nissa, Gideon, Avacyn)
  • 7th, Luis Salvato: R/W Eldrazi (Thought Knot-Seer, Archangel Avacyn, Nahiri, The Harbinger)
  • 8th, Andrea Mangucci: Bant Company (Collected Company, Archangel Avacyn)

It’s worth noting that with eight entirely different decks in contention, the finals is likely to be the final word in which of the cards listed above make a move or hold their gains. The cards with the most copies across all Top 8 decks seem to include Archangel Avacyn, Dark Petition, and Collected Company.  I would expect that Pyromancer’s Goggles will cement a price tag over $15, and possibly over $20 if it makes the finals. Cryptolith Rite looks very real, and should be able to hold any price below $10 easily.  Tune in tomorrow for Top 8 coverage!

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Seth Manfield wins his match. He is a lock for Top 8, and Narset Transcendent has a chance to gain some ground, especially if he makes the finals.

Round 16: Luis Scott-Vargas (G/B Aristocrats) vs. Chye Yian Hsiang (White Humans)

Faced with dangerous tie breakers and successive rounds of opponents that need to win to Top 8, LSV finds himself needing to win his final match to make Top 8. In Game 1, early pressure from Hsiang is met with a mid-combat Collected Company, helping LSV turn the corner and stabilize against the aggro deck. With Westvale Abbey in play and a Zulaport Cutthroat on the table, LSV looks for a gap to drive home the demon prince. Knocked down to three life on the next attack, LSV finds another Collected Company off the top to nab a 2nd Cutthroat and a Catacomb Sifter, giving him a large enough army to claim the game off of multiple drain triggers and a high flying demon attack.

Game 2 runs much the same way, with early pressure shrugged off by drain life gain via Cutthroat and LSV manages to combo his way into his seventh lifetime Top 8!

Deck Tech: G/B Control (Reid Duke)

GB

Reid explains that black has the best removal, green has the best ramp spells, and the Dark Petition/Seasons Past combo is too strong to ignore. Notable that the deck only runs two copies of Seasons Past, which may limit price movement, depending on how the deck finishes in the Top 8. Deck also runs Infinite Obliteration as a single copy, and two copies each of Transgress the Mind and Duress. Obliteration has the potential to recursively remove all remaining threats in an opponent’s deck if the game goes long enough. Ruinous Path is a three-of. Two copies of Kalitas, and four copies of Languish, a card that could easily hit $5 if that number becomes common. Hissing Quagmire is a four-of as well, and interacts well with Ruinous Path. This land could easily double up this week to $6 from $3.

Round 15: Jon Finkel (B/G Control) vs. Luis Salvato (R/W Control)

To be this deep in the tournament and still seeing hot new decks at the top tables is pretty insane. Slavatto is running a build with Thought-Knot Seer, Chandra, Flamecaller, Goblin Dark-Dwellers, Fall of the Titans, Lightning Axe, Pyromancer’s Goggles, Secure the Wastes and Westvale Abbey.  Goggles seems destined to top $20 this week as a card that is being abused in at least three viable color combinations.

The players split the first two games. Late in Game 3, Jon has a full grip, but Salvatto manages to get in a big hit with seven Secure the Wastes tokens, and takes a Languish with his Thought-Knot Seer. Sitting at nine life, Jon has fourteen lands in play but no immediate answer to the token army and is forced to lay Kalitas and pass. Salvato decides to cash his army in for Ormendahl, and falls into a waiting trap with Finkel taking down the profane prince using a double Grasp of Darkness.

Salvato attempts to rebuild with Nahiri, the Harbinger, but Jon starts in with the Dark Petition/Seasons Past recursion and Salvato extends the hand. Finkel stands all alone at 14-1 surveying his kingdom at securing the top seed in the Top 8.

Round 15: Steven Rubin (G/W Tokens) vs. Yuuya Watanabe (Mono-White Humans)

Both players are on 11-3 and need a win to guarantee Top 8 access. Rubin takes the first game with his token deck configured to tackle the expected white weenie strategies at the tournament. In game 2, Watanabe gets stuck on land, and Rubin puts the match away to put Hangarback Walker, Nissa and Gideon into the Top 8.

Deck Tech: G/R Goggle Ramp (Pierre Dagen)

GR

Dagen outlines that beating Collected Company decks using Goggles to go over the top in lieu of Ugin, the Spirit Dragon resulted in the genesis of the deck.  Deck runs three copies of Pyromancer’s Goggles and Traverse the Ulvenwald. Magmatic Insight and Tormenting Voice provide ridiculous card draw with Goggles, and early game card selection options. Four copies of Fiery Impulse and Kozilek’s Return are complemented by three copies of Fall of the Titans, which has been delivering massive kills out of nowhere all weekend. Three copies of World Breaker are more likely to drive price gains than the single Dragonlord Atarka, I would think.

Away from the feature match area, a match is being covered that includes a W/R Goggles deck and a Sultai Control brew. The W/R Goggles deck looks likely to make Top 8.

Round 14: Jeremy Dezani (Abzan Company) vs. Seth Manfield (Esper Control)

The players take a game each to set up a match maker. Just a regular old battle between the reigning World Champion and the winner of Pro Tour Theros. With Narset and Kalitas on board, Manfield is able to push through and take the match. Narset is likely to Top 8.

Jon Finkel goes to 13-1, beating a mono-white humans deck off camera.

Round 14: Lukas Blohon (Jund) vs. Oliver Tiu (Grixis Control)

There are a full eight copies of Goblin Dark-Dwellers between these two decks. At $3, GDD could be set up to double up. Both decks are running grindy control strategies. Oliver fields an early Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, showing off the card of the year in yet another deck shell. Oliver takes game one with a well defended Kalitas. In game two after some back and forth, Blohon resolves Dark Petition, putting the card back in the spotlight, finds a Ruinous Path and dispatches a threatening Kalitas from Oliver. The effort is for naught however, as Oliver is able to get in for lethal and get ever closer to his first top 8.

Deck Tech #2: Matt Nass (B/G Aristocrats)

bg

Deck progenitor Matt Nass outlines the thought process behind the development of the sexy deck that LSV and Team Channel Fireball are on. Duskwatch Recruiter with a Cryptolith Rite on the board is highlighted as an amazing card draw engine. Decks runs four of each of Cutthroat, Sifter, Husk and Collected Company, as well as two of Liliana, Heretical Healer. Also, three copies of WestVale Abbey and four copies of Hissing Quagmire.

Round 13: Jon Finkel (BG Control) vs. Jeremy Dezani (Abzan Company)

We come into this match with the players tied at a game a piece. Taken down to five life before getting off a massive Seasons Past, Jon Finkel gets back a pile of ramp and creature kill, and sets up the Dark Petition/Seasons Past loop establishing a full on lock against the creature focused Dezani. Seasons Past ends up returning eight cards in two turns and sets the card up to post a Monday morning price over $10. Facing massive card advantage from Jon, Dezani extends the hand, and sets up a Top 8 including two of the most storied members of the Hall of Fame in Finkel and Luis Scott-Vargas.

Round 13: Brad Nelson (G/R Goggles) vs. Seth Manfield (Esper Control)

Seth takes Game 1, on the back of having all of Narset, Jace and Ob Nixilis in play at the same time, with just World Breaker providing pressure from Brad. Nevetheless, Brad wins out tough games two and three, to likely join a star studded Top 8.

Ruinous Path is all over this tournament, and can still be found for $1. May be a decent target if it figures prominently in the Top 8.

Round 13: LSV (B/G Aristocrats) vs. Steve Rubin (G/W Tokens)

LSV only needs to win this match to lock up a Top 8, as he is one of the few remaining 11-1 players with four rounds of Standard left. LSV mulligans Game 1, and Rubin puts Hangarback Walker back on camera, alongside Oath of Nissa and Sylvan Advocate. By turn 5, both players have a copy of Westvale Abbey in play, opening the potential for dueling demon princes.

LSV is able to establish a strong board presence, while Rubin gets Gideon, Ally of Zendikar into play and struggles to keep it there. A top decked Avacyn, cast during combat against a pair of Nantuko Husks does force LSV to bin a fair chunk of his creature force, but a Cutthroat in play drains Rubin to 13. Nevertheless, Avacyn is found unopposed in the air, and manages to take Game 1.

Collected Company decks are noted on screen as having exhibited relatively poor results this weekend. The B/G Aristocrats deck advanced 90% of it’s pilots to Day 2. Cryptolith Rite could easily settle above $10, at which point it is almost certainly a sell.

In Game 2, Rubin finds himself holding three copies of Tragic Arrogance and an Archangel Avacyn, but stuck on three lands. LSV, with enough creatures to drain Rubin out via Cutthroat/Husk earns a mid-game concession.

In Game 3, Rubin manages to hold off early pressure and set up shop behind a wall of tokens, Sylvan Advocate and Hangarback Walker protecting Nissa and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. With Lilianna, Heretical Healer in play however, an attack into Blisterpod, flips the Planeswalker and Duskwatch Recruiter leverages Cryptolith Rite to find another Husk, a Sifter and floods the board with enough creatures to drain Rubin from 19! LSV moves confidently into Top 8 position at 12-1 and virtually guarantees a strong finish for B/G Aristocrats.

Deck Tech: Andrew Brown (Esper Control)

Narset Transcendant is on screen, as a 3-of, alongside Jace, Unraveler of Secrets as finishers in this classic control build running many removal spells, sweepers (4x Languish, 1x Planar Outburst), four copies of Anticipate and two copies of Dark Petition. Narset could be a card to watch here as World Champion Seth Manfield is on this deck, and is in Top 8 contention. Narset likely to top $15 in that case.

esper

Round 9: Brad Nelson (G/R Goggles) vs. Jon Finkel (B/G Control)

Finkel takes Game 1. In Game 2, Finkel starts his engine with Nissa, Vastwood Seer, ramping a bit to fuel his mana hungry deck. Nelson meanwhile ramps early with Nissa’s Pilgrimage into Goblin Dark Dwellers, casting Pilgrimage immediately for free. What a ramp curve! He then answers Kalitas with his first copy of Pyromancer’s Goggles. Jon casts Transgress the Mind, and finds two copies of Chandra, Flamecaller and a Tireless Tracker. Taking one, he follows up by casting Naturalize to remove the Goggles. Nelson responds with two copies of Tracker, and swings in with Goblin Dark Dwellers, past Nissa and Kalitas. Randy Buehler calls out the Finkel deck as having the better late game vs. Goggles.

Finkel’s first Season’s Past returns four cards, but several turns later, the card advantage from another Goggles on Brad’s side finds Finkel left with just an Ultimate Price and a Infinite Obliteration to answer a Den Protector, GDD and Dragonlord Atarka. With match time an issue, Finkel moves on to Game 3.

In the final game, an pair of Duress in early turns forces Brad to discard Magmatic Insight and Hedron Archive respectively, leaving Brad with limited action. Finkel fields Kalitas on Turn 4, and follows up with Read the Bones into a tapped Hissing Quagmire. Down the road Finkel gets the Dark Petition/Seasons Past loop going and Nelson extends the hand, putting Finkel at the top of the tournament, and leaving Nelson with two losses, both to Jon. Finkel is now very likely to Top 8, which should push Seasons Past over $10. 

Shoota Yasooka called out as being the only player to win a single game with Esper Dragons this weekend. LSV is at 11-1 after going 2-1 in his second draft this morning with an amazing UR deck featuring three (!) copies of Fevered Visions.

Setting Up Day 2

After 8 surprising rounds on Friday, including three rounds of draft and five rounds of Standard, a mix of known and established decks have kept the tournament on it’s toes.

So far however, the top table hype has largely been about three new decks:

  • G/R Pyromancer’s Goggles (Ramp/Control)
  • G/B Aristocrats (Creature Combo)
  • G/B Control (Grindy Control)

At the end of Day 1, only two players stood alone at 8-0, having 3-0’d their drafts and boasting a perfect 5-0 record in Standard play. The first Friday hero was Luis Scott-Vargas, beloved Hall of Fame member and pivotal team mate on Team Channel Fireball. Both LSV and some of his teammates were on a post-Rally version of G/B Aristocrats that aimed to take advantage of the low potential to interact and disrupt found in the prevalent Bant Company and Wx Humans builds. The deck functions by dumping a pile of small creatures into play, often accelerated by the mana producing abilities of Cryptolith Rite, and quickly finds the Zulaport Cutthroat and Nantuko Husk, sacrifices the team and drains out the opponent. In longer games, Westvale Abbey provides reach by presenting a must answer flying, indestructible demon threat.

Our other 8-0 player coming into the second day of the tournament is Brad Nelson, SCG alumni and former Player of the Year, sporting an innovative GR Pyromancer’s Goggles build that leveraged cards including World Breaker and spells like Fall of the Titans, copied by Goggles to finish off opponents in style.

Pro Tour great Jon Finkel was on the GB Control deck, managing to pilot the deck to a 4-1 finish after 3-0’ing his draft. This deck leverages the much maligned SOI mythic Season’s Past, alongside Dark Petition.  Combined the two cards can recursively generate massive amounts of card advantadge, providing their pilot with additional chances to cast the likes of Duress, Transgress the Mind, Ruinous Path and Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet.

Other decks in top table contention include Mardu Control, Esper Dragons, Jund and Abzan Collected Company builds, and UR Goggles.

The financial stories of the weekend thus far mostly revolve around the stampede to buy out cards from the new archetypes that were put on display on camera at the top tables on day 1.

Cryptolith RiteDark Petition

Seasons PastPyromancer's Goggles

Here are the cards that showed significant movement Friday as speculators moved in on the hot new tech.

  • Cryptolith Rite: $3.50 to $7 (+100%)
  • Dark Petition: $1 to $5 (+400%)
  • Seasons Past: $2 to $8 (+300%)
  • Pyromancer’s Goggles: $8 to $14 (+75%)
  • Demonic Pact: $1.50 to $2.50 (+40%)

The themes here are twofold: underrated build around rares and mythics, and to a more limited extent, rares and mythics from Origins that were previously price suppressed by the presence of Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy in that set. With spikes this large, selling into the hype is the best possible advice, with only Goggles in position to top $20 if it makes another Top 8. The rest of these cards are likely to slide back 20-50% over the next week or two unless they claim a Top 8 finish on Sunday. For that to happen, their pilots will likely need to go 5-2-1 or better today.

Follow along with us as we follow along with the final 5 rounds of constructed play before the cut to Top 8 and the establishment of the new Standard metagame.

James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

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