Category Archives: Pro Tour Coverage

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.


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. 


Mengucci wins the match in


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.


Seth Manfield defeats Luis Salvatto.

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


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.


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)


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!


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)


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)


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)


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.


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, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

Pro Tour Shadows Over Innistrad (Draft/Modern): 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 8: Brad Nelson, on G/R Goggles, is the only other undefeated player at 8-0. Pyromancer’s Goggles could easily climb if this deck makes Top 8, having demonstrated usefulness in multiple shells. Could end up over $15, supply is low.

Round 8: LSV (BG Aristocrats) vs. Valentin Mackl (Bant Company)

In game 1, LSV only hits a Catacomb Sifter on his first Collected Company, but does manage to get a Nantuko Husk in play the turn after. Zullaport Cutthroat joins the team while Mackl fields a bevy of his value creatures to try and create the pressure necessary to keep Luis off of his combo. A mid-game Westvale Abbey activation gets the dangerous demon  With many portions of this deck under $1, Cryptolith Rite and Liliana, Heretical Healer may absorb the spike potential.

Game 2 finds a similar board state, with LSV’s deck outpacing the board presence of the Bant Company deck. With Mackl’s relative lack of removal, LSV is free to pursue his flood and sacrifice plans, and Mackl falls to the only 8-0 record of the day.

Michael Majors (U/W Humans) vs. Christian Calcano (Bant Company)

The players split the first two games. In Game 3 Majors has three copies of Always Watching on the table, making his army of white creatures fairly menacing to Calcano on 4 life, despite the presence of both Nissa and Jace in planeswalker mode and set of reasonable blockers. Calcano manages to stabalize, and as time is called he finds a Tragic Arrogance off the top to clear out the board, including two of the Always Watching copies. Calcano keeps a Lumbering Falls, a Sylvan Advocate and his Nissa, Sage Animist vs. a Thraben Inspector and a single Always Watching. Swinging in Calcano thinks he has it, but Avacyn off the top for Majors leads to a definitive block and Majors is able to take the game on the crack back! Majors goes to 7-1.

Deck Tech #4: Adam Jensen (Mardu Control)


This deck is running four copies of Goblin Dark Dwellers to leverage the many removal spells, Read the Bones and Transgress the Mind.

Round 7: LSV (BG Aristocrats) vs. Jeremy Dezani (Abzan Company)

LSV’s deck uses Cryptolith Rite to good effect, being able to tap his creatures for mana, and then sacrifice them to double up. Sexy. Both sides are also on Collected Company, which may well be the card of the tournament. LSV goes over the top on Turn 5 (!) with Ormendahl off of Westvale Abbey and Dezani packs it in for Game 1. In Game 2 LSV swarms the board again and is able to sac his board to Natuko Husk with two copies of Zulaport Cutthroat in play to take the match.

Justin Cohen (BG Aristocrats) vs. Katsuhiro Mori (Bant Company) is our second feature match this round.

Brad Nelson (RG Goggle Ramp) vs. Christian Calcano (Bant Company)

Nelson takes Game 1 off camera. In Game 2 Nelson gets a Dragonlord Atarka on the table, cleans up the board and starts attacking. During the next combat, Nelson casts Fall of the Titans twice (!) off the Pyromancer’s Goggles, surged for a ton and takes the match, moving to 7-0.

Samuel Tharmaratnam (Mardu Control) vs. Kentaro Yamamoto (Bant Company)

Here we have our first appearance on camera of Nahiri, the Harbinger on camera, alongside Livala, the Preserver out of Samuel’s deck. As we come into the match, the players are tied 1-1. Linvala goes toe to toe with a mid-game Avacyn, the board goes clear, and Samuel follows through with a Chandra, Flamecaller and a Goblin Dark Dwellers to reverse the pressure. An awakened Ruinous Path kills Yamamoto’s remaining creature and Tharmaratnam goes to 6-1.

After Round 6, only Dezani, Sochurek, Nelson, Mackl, LSV and Calcano are at 6-0.

Deck Tech #2: Eduardo Sajgalik: Demonic Tentacles

Brand new deck archetype on display using Crush of Tentacles, Demonic Pact and Dark Petition and a bunch of kill spells to control the board and grind out the opponent’s life. Also runs 4 copies of Oath of Jace. Dark Petition has already popped, but keep an eye on Demonic Pact.


Round 6: Valentin Mackl (Bant Company) vs. Shota Yasooka (Esper Dragons)

Coming into the weekend Bant Company was definitely the deck to beat, with a list that applies pressure and grinds with the best of them. Yasooka is on Esper Dragons in an attempt to control the aggro decks, and dictate the pace of the mid to late game. Sylvan Advocate and Avacyn doing the expected level of work. Shota notables include Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, Ob Nixilis Reignited, Dragonlord Ojutai and Languish.

In Game 1 a timely Dromoka’s Command puts Shota on the back foot, and he falls to the onslaught of violence from Den Protector and Sylvan Advocate.

In Game 2 Yasooka uses Dragonlord Silumgar to steal a buff Tireless Tracker and beats face in a tempo swing that sees Mackl fold his hand a couple of turns later. Game 3 shows off the power of both builds, with Mackl leveraging Reflector Mage, Avacyn, Nissa and Sylvan Advocate to keep Yasooka on the defensive. Nissa buffs the team, and makes Languish ineffectual from Yasooka. The game grinds on, but an incorrect flip trigger on Avacyn ends up leading to an overwhelming game state in favor of Mackl, who moves to 6-0.

Round 6: LSV (BG Aristocrats) vs. Jon Finkel (BG Ramp)

LSV jumps out to an early start and takes Game 1 from one of the greats of the game. In Game 2, Finkel has trouble finding action and LSV goes to 6-0 to start the tournament.


Deck Tech: Craig Wescoe on Mono White Humans


Wescoe breaks down the desire for multiple buff options in the deck, explaining the shift to three copies of Anafenza, King-Tree Spirit to complement the full four copies of Always Watching. Also running four copies of Declaration of Stone.

Dark Petition is also being bought out, having spiked over $8 from $1.50. Will be interesting to see if it can hold that level by generating top table results this weekend. As a potential Modern, Legacy and Vintage card, foils are still available under $10.

Round 5: Seth Mansfield (Esper Control) vs. Jon Finkel (GB Ramp)

Johnny Magic takes game 1 on the back of Nissa’s Renewal, referring to the card as the current Sphinx’s Revelation,  a card that similarly drew cards and gained life a few years back. Mansfield’s deck includes Narset Transcendent and Sphinx of the Final Word. Various cards from the Finkel deck are already spiking on Magic Online, including Tireless Tracker, Dark Petition, The Gitrog Monster, Traverse the Ulvenwald and World Breaker. Look for similar moves in paper if the deck proves its value deeper in the tournament.

Team Eureka is on a GR ramp brew with Pyromancer’s Goggles.

Seasons Past is being bought out as Finkel takes Game 2 and the match.

Off camera Brad Nelson on GR Ramp closes out a game by doing over twenty damage with Fall of the Titans in the presence of a Pyromancer’s Goggles.

Shota Yasooka (Esper Dragons) takes down his opponent on GB Aristocrats.

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