Rich Hagon combines a deep knowledge of the players of the Pro Tour with a passionate love of the game. He's a regular commentator for Pro Tour and Grand Prix live video coverage, and is the official Pro Tour Statistician. He has been covering Magic events since 2006.
You may not know this, but Squadron Hawks have their own association, a trade body if you will, organized for the sole purpose of the proliferation of Squadron Hawks around the world. We've managed to infiltrate some key emails from the highest echelons of the organization, and present them to you here.
20th June 2011 Everybody, pay attention. We're hearing something's coming right around the corner from Wizards HQ, and it's coming right around the corner at us. Stay tuned.
20th June 2011 Our worst fears;are confirmed. They've taken down Jaceyand Stoner Beatings.
22nd June 2011 OK, enough with the grief. Time to get our thinking caps on. We're still the engine room behind the best deck in Standard, and now it's time for us to prove it. National Championships are coming up, and we need to show that you can't take the squawk out of the hawk.
29th June 2011 Alright, think we've cracked it. Had a word with a few influential players. Should start seeing big results, beginning next week in China.
4th July 2011 Guys, what happened? Chinese Nationals, and not a single one of us in the Top 8. Something must be done.
4th July 2011 Sorry boss, we couldn't get Visas.
9th July 2011 Japanese Nationals. Top 8 is...Valakut, Valakut, UB Control, Tezzeret, GW Acceleration,Tempered Steel, Valakut, Tempered Steel. Let me check that again. OK, people, this is unacceptable. One of the biggest Nationals in the world, and we're nowhere to be seen. We've got to spread the message, or we're going to be forgotten. Five years from now, people will look at us and think we're a marginal Sealed deck card. Unless we fix this. Fix this. Starting with France and Australia this weekend.
21st July 2011 Boss, I don't want to belittle the issues we've been having in Standard lately at these National Championships, but we should look at the wider picture. You know that we're going to absolutely destroy the Extended Pro Tour in Philadelphia. Seriously, all testing results show we can't be beaten.
21st July 2011 That is indeed a comfort.
25th July 2011 Finally we're getting somewhere. France - a couple of red decks, some idiotic Elf thing, that Olivier Ruel guy played Birthing Pod, Vampires? Seriously, who plays Vampires? Still, Armel Primot played us, and so did Glaunes Dorian. Thanks gentlemen, cheque's in the post.
Not such good news in Australia though. Only one of the Top 8 played us, with Tempered Steel, Red decks, and Birthing Pod the popular crowd. Bastards.
1st August 2011 Champions! Champions! Now you're talking. Marcello Calvetto, we could kiss you. Actually, he probably gets that a lot, especially from the ladies. Great result for us, a big name European Pro, taking down their Nationals with us (and some support cards, obviously.) Now onto the big one - US Nats. They've got some good players, surely ChannelFireball are going to work out that we're the nuts.
8th August 2011 You know what's better than Kiefer Sutherland's '24'? Squadron Hawk 24! 24 copies in the Top 8 of US Nationals. Yes, finally, the world has caught up to our awesomeness. Everybody knew that Cawblade was the best deck, and even though some misguided people tried to stop it, our overwhelming card advantage awesomeness delivered the goods, round after round. We murderized them. Good job.
8th August 2011 But boss, didn't Ali Aintrazi win the event because he knew how to beat Cawblade?
8th August 2011 Shut up. No really. Shut. Up.
11th August 2011 Now, I wonder whether any of the Europeans can read. Spain and Germany this weekend.
12th August 2011 Disaster. They've changed the Pro Tour format. Goodbye Extended, hello Modern. Aaron Forsythe, we want a word with you.
15th August 2011 Apparently they can't read. Spain, one player in the Top 8. They were all about Splinter Twin. Idiots. Germany? Nobody. None. Zero.
15th August 2011 Boss, the coverage was in English. Perhaps nobody in Spain or Germany speaks English.
15th August 2011 It could be that, I suppose. No excuse for the British, though, is there? They can read English, presumably. Over to GB Nationals then.
So what's going on? Is Cawblade the best deck in Standard? And will the best Nationals in the world definitively answer the question? Keep it right here to find out.