Behind the scenes of Pro Tour Aether Revolt

Posted in Competitive Gaming on February 6, 2017

By Blake Rasmussen

Blake is the content manager for, making him the one you should email if you have thoughts on the website, good or less good (or not good). He's a longtime coverage reporter and hasn't turned down a game of Magic in any format ever.

There's a lot that happens both in front of and behind the camera at a Pro Tour, and we can only bring you a fraction of it through coverage. There are dozens of staff, hundreds of players, ones of Ajani cosplayers, and hours of Magic throughout the tournament hall that make Pro Tours memorable.

So to help, well, remember this one, we've gone through and collected some of the weekend's best moments, images, and stories just for you. Because we like you.

Without further ado (though I do love my ado)—this is Pro Tour Aether Revolt.

Photos by Craig Gibson

Welcome to the Pro Tour! Take lots of pictures.

There are many helpful judges available to answer all your questions. The ones in the red shirts are the ones that die on away missions. I think that's how it goes. Or maybe they're in charge. I get confused sometimes.

We want everyone to feel welcome, so one of the first things we do is have all the players playing on their first Pro Tour stand. For Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa on the right (sitting), this wasn't even his first Pro Tour Top 8, so he doesn't get to stand.

There are hundreds of players at every Pro Tour—425 at this one, to be exact. Here we see them in their natural habitat—drafting.

Pro Tour Aether Revolt was the launch of the Pro Tour Team Series. We had 32 teams show up, but the Brazilian teams are always way more excited about pretty much everything. And rightfully so—there were two Brazilians and another member of DEX Army in the Top 8. DEX Army is the team in yellow. Liga Magic is the team in green.

Once the tournament gets started, all bets are off. See how purposefully she plays her card? Pros don't mess around.

This is what everyone is playing for—the trophy naming them champion of Pro Tour Aether Revolt. Well, that and thousands of dollars. But trophy!

The spectator's gallery was full all weekend as players and fans lined up to watch their favorites battle it out in the feature match area. Despite my new haircut, they were probably not there to see me stand nearby their favorite players. But maybe.

More likely, they were there to see...

Some of the best players ever to play the game duking it out with tons on the line? Pro Tour Hall of Fame players Jon Finkel and Gabriel Nassif have battled many times over the years, but it never gets old—especially with the added twist that Finkel was representing Team Puzzle Quest and Nassif was playing on behalf of Team Opportunity.

Every round, players gathered around these cool screens to figure out where they were sitting for the next round. We've come a long way from the days of taping paper to the wall.

And bringing you all of the action is our capable coverage team, broadcasting over the internets from this here fancy desk. I'm just a words guy, but our commenter team has to talk and look good while doing it. How do they manage?!

Oh. I see.

Though I guess that job isn't all glamour. Being on the coverage team comes with its own risks—like necromancers wanting to suck out your life force. Mondays, am I right?

Eventually, we make it through 16 rounds and two days and get to the Top 8 announcement. I'll confess—it's my favorite part. The pure joy from friends and teammates for those who make the Top 8 is, well...

I'm not're crying.

Ok, maybe I'm tearing up a little.

Once we get to the Top 8, everyone tends to focus on one thing at a time. Like, precisely one thing. And a ton of people. There are a lot of people that go into making a match of Magic beam from wherever we are to wherever you are.

Things get even serious-er once we get to the Top 8. Headphones are needed to block out the crowd. And don't ever try to distract a Top 8 player. They will stare you down.

And your winner of Pro Tour Aether Revolt is Lucas Esper Berthoud playing, despite his name, Mardu Vehicles. Congratulations Lucas and to everyone else in the Top 8! See you next time!

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