Top Five Reasons to Watch Pro Tour: Prague

Posted in Feature on March 30, 2006

By Jake Theis

I don’t need any more reasons to tune into PT: Prague. I’ve been sold on it from Day 1. If you need a kick-in-the-ribs….

5) You get to see Dissension Cards in their first sanctioned-play action! The Pro Tour launches the day that Dissension becomes tournament legal. I don’t know about y’all, but the Prerelease usually just gets my appetite going. I’m going to have my eyes glued on what Dissension mechanics look like and feel like in sanctioned play.

Which guild will be dominant? What card should be the object of my Johnny-ish deckbuilding pursuits? How many colors should be in my limited decks?

If you ever wanted a clinic on card valuation, deckbuilding, and Pro Tour caliber strategy, PT: Prague will be the perfect event for you. You will see how players assign value to cards, and how you should approach a new format. This may be one of the most skill-intensive PTs ever. Even an old shark like you could learn a couple of tricks of the trade.

That being said…

4) Anyone could win this PT. While many of the top-level pros will excel in this environment, the field for this Pro Tour should be ENORMOUS. I will be surprised if this PT is not the largest or one of the largest Pro Tours in Magic history. The European community is hungry for its yearly Pro Tour stop, and certain pro players from Magic’s history are rumored to be coming back for this event (more on that later).

Even though many grizzled PT veterans are saying that they are going to own this PT, I like the odds of one crazy passionate player with enough Dissension packs amassed getting in double the practice time compared to the seasoned pros. This extra scrimmage time could be invaluable.

3) My favorite PT subgame so far is “Guess which Ruel will finish higher in the PT standings.” I fully expect this game to eclipse the popularity of March Madness. Well…maybe not. It is easier to fill out the Ruel vs Ruel bracket, however. My personal favorite is Ruel.

Antoine or Olivier is one of the quintessential questions (nice…some Q alliteration) that any PT fanatic has to ask. Regardless of which one you pick, it seems that you have a solid shot of hitting a Top 8. For those that haven’t been paying attention, the Ruel brothers have been fixtures in PT Top 8s over the last couple of years. Although Olivier has more Top 8s, Antoine has the sole PT victory between the Brothers Ruel. Maybe if I changed my name to Jake Ruel…

2) It’s in freakin’ Prague! In the country of the Czech Republic, there is a town called Pilsner (not too far from Prague itself), where they say beer was invented. The Czech people were cool enough to invent beer and the silent z; their country must be INSANE!

If you can’t hop a slowboat, win an airplane ticket, or teleport to Prague, you have to Czech out the webcast (yikes that was a bad pun). I love watching the behind-the-scenes footage of hijinks at PTs (please see Mark Herberholz on the Price is Right or any pink-faced pro at karaoke night at Worlds 06). Prague is our first PT visit to Central Europe, and from everything I’ve heard, we were missing out. It should be an absolute blast.

1) Now for the final reason…

There are whispers that the beast will awaken.

Oh yes, a little birdy told me that one Mr. Jon Finkel is in love with Ravnica block and has been drafting like crazy in his New York apartment. The buzz is that he is going to show up to Prague prepared and ready to unleash some old-school, circa 1999 whoop-ass on the Magic world. Will he be able to shake off the rust and earn himself a PT victory?

The Finkel that I remember is most dangerous in a new limited format, and this format will be pipin’ hot and ready to be dissected and broken by the Michael Jordan of Magic. Let’s see what Johnny Magic can do!

Jake Theis, the Assistant Brand Manager for Magic: The Gathering, is a self-described Magic enthusiast and “damn-handsome” man. When not searching for the perfect 237th card for his Battle of Wits deck, he is busy building his orbital mind-control satellite.

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