The month of July isn't just about the release of Magic Origins. The whole month builds up to the big stage for the brand new set: Pro Tour Magic Origins in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The Pro Tour main stage is more than just a place where pros gather to play Magic. For many, it's a goal post, the object that they chase after. For others, the Pro Tour main stage is simply something that people wish to see for themselves. And for an elite few, it's where their names will be cemented into the Pro Tour Hall of Fame.
Regional Pro Tour Qualifiers for Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar
Many players competed all over the world over the course of the last two weekends, Pro Tour hopes in their thoughts, as they played in the latest round of Regional Pro Tour Qualifiers. Many fell short, but several will be making their way to Milwaukee in a few months for Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar.
To those who succeeded, congratulations! We'll see you in October. For those who didn't, don't give up! There's a new Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifier round going on now, so give it your best shot again and maybe we'll see you at the first Pro Tour of 2016.
The format for this recent round of Regional Pro Tour Qualifiers was Dragons of Tarkir Sealed Deck. We've compiled what we have received of the Top 8 decklists from these events, which you can look through below.
Witnessing the Action from Vancouver's Main Stage
While the Pro Tour does not feature any side events, it is always set up for spectators to follow nearly every match being played each round. If you're in or around Vancouver for Pro Tour Magic Origins July 31–August 2, you're welcome to come in and check out the Pro Tour main stage for yourself. It's also an opportunity for you to pick up some Pro Tour-exclusive items, such as a special black and silver version of the Funko POP! Nicol Bolas figure, some apparel, and also this:
This event-exclusive Pro Tour Magic Origins playmat is only available for purchase at Pro Tour Magic Origins, so if you'd like to own this marriage of Magic and cityscape, then drop in for a visit (or talk to a friend of yours that is competing at the Pro Tour to see if they'll pick one up for you!).
The Pro Tour Hall of Fame
Voting for the Pro Tour Hall of Fame Class of 2015 kicked off last week, and this year even the community gets a small say in who will be inducted.
The full information on the Pro Tour Hall of Fame, including the ballot for this year, the 2015 ballot's statistics, and more can be found here.
This will be my second year as part of the selection committee, and for the sake of transparency I will always make my ballot public. Today I wish to discuss the three (out of the five votes I am able to give) players that I am voting for, along with why.
My rationale for voting takes into consideration the player's stats, with an emphasis on time playing on the Pro Tour and consistency, but with a few milestones that have to be met. I do not automatically exclude someone for not meeting a certain number of Pro Tour Top 8s, but if their count is low then their accomplishments need to be exemplary.
I also tend to value community contributions far more than most, along with a player's reputation (both good and bad). If a player on the ballot has willingly sacrificed opportunities to play on the Pro Tour or opportunities to improve their stats for the growth of their community or for personal reasons, I do factor that into my vote.
With that said, on to my votes for this year.
Vote #1—Willy Edel
That last point I just talked about, with regard to sacrificing potential stats or Pro Tours for other causes? It 100% applies to Edel, who had to step away from the game in the late 2000s due to family matters. Nonetheless, despite how difficult it is to get on—and stay on—the Pro Tour when in Latin America, Edel has battled his way to the highest levels of the Pro Tour Players Club from the ground floor in two different eras.
He has four Pro Tour Top 8s to his name, along with a World Magic Cup Top 8 showing as part of Team Brazil last year. Perhaps the most valuable thing backing up my vote for Edel, however, is what he has done for Brazilian Magic.
Edel is typically referred to as the godfather of Brazilian Magic, as he takes on the very paternal role of preparing Pro Tour first-timers in the region for everything that goes into competing on the Pro Tour. This means not only testing with new players to ensure that they have a fighting chance at their first event, but also ensuring that they have the appropriate visas, travel bookings, and all of the logistical aspects of traveling globally locked down as well.
Pro Tour preparation isn't the only thing Edel has done, though. Even before he managed an online store, Edel organized tournaments in Brazil that would award plane tickets to Grand Prix in Latin America to help get his local players an opportunity to travel and play. Today, he still shows first-timers the ropes as they travel to their first Pro Tours, and he continues to test and prepare with them in order to give the next generation of Brazilian Magic the best chance at staying on the Pro Tour.
Vote #2—Eric Froehlich
New to my ballot this year is current Player of the Year frontrunner, Eric Froehlich. I'm not going to spend too much time on his stats, so I'll just post his last five Pro Tour finishes here, and then quietly note that he has three more Pro Tour Top 8s beyond these:
He has become a regular community contributor, works with Marshall Sutcliffe on the Constructed Resources podcast, and has also spent some time on camera as a commentator for both ChannelFireball's Grand Prix coverage and the Magic Online Championship.
Froehlich's stats easily justify his inclusion into the Pro Tour Hall of Fame, but the very real effort he has put back into the community in the last year cements my vote.
Vote #3—Shota Yasooka
My third (and final) vote this year is going to recent Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir finalist and longtime Blue Control legend, Shota Yasooka. While Yasooka may not have the greatest number of Pro Tour Top 8s, he does possess some very notable finishes and stats:
- 1st at Pro Tour Charleston 2006 (alongside teammates Tomoharu Saito and Tomohiro Kaji)
- 2nd at Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir
- 2006 Player of the Year
- 2nd at the Players Championship (after finishing with an insane 11-1 record in a Swiss tournament featuring some of the best players in the world)
- 401 career Pro Points as of the start of the 2015 Hall of Fame voting
Surpassing these stats and finishes, however, is the respect Yasooka holds within the Pro Player community and throughout Japan. He is known for always building his own decks (almost always Blue Control decks), working alone, and still putting up remarkably consistent numbers. Although consistency alone won't get someone a Hall of Fame vote, the respect that players have when they know that they're playing against you can. Yasooka's reputation has garnered a lot of respect. Maybe this year, after his recent finish at the Pro Tour, it will garner more votes as well.
Tuesday, July 14
6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET/1 a.m. UTC—Vintage Super League
Wednesday, July 15
8 a.m. PT/11 a.m. ET/3 p.m. UTC—Downtime
As Prereleases are taking place this weekend, there won't be any streams of large tournaments going on. However, you can catch some programming following the Prereleases.
The new season of the Vintage Super League premiered this week, and at the end of the night it was Chris Pikula, Tom Martell, Rich Shay, and Eric Froehlich who advanced into the winners bracket of this season's double-elimination showdown. One of the two winners bracket matches took place as well, advancing Froehlich as Rich Shay was knocked down to the losers bracket to play for his tournament life.
This Tuesday features the first eliminations from Season 3's action, as Bob Maher, Randy Buehler, Steve Menendian, and Luis Scott-Vargas all try to hang on to their league life for this season. Who will advance to earn one of the three qualifier slots that this season's league competitors can earn towards this fall's Super League Championship?
Join host Randy Buehler and the rest of the Vintage Super League crew for all kinds of Power 9 goodness on the Magic Twitch Channel this Tuesday at 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET/1 a.m. UTC.
Pro Tour host Rich Hagon is up to his usual antics again this week, with game segments, special guests, and more on Downtime. You can catch Downtime every Wednesday on the MTGRich Twitch Channel at 8 a.m. PT/11 a.m. ET/3 p.m. UTC.
Last weekend featured a return to Legacy Constructed and the return of an old school Hall of Famer to the Top 8 spotlight, and a Limited Grand Prix featuring a tight race between two players.
First up . . .
Grand Prix Lille brought Legacy players everywhere to France for two days in the wild wild west of Magic Constructed formats. Featuring some of the game's most powerful cards and combos, Legacy provides a unique take on Magic and boasts some of the game's most intense plays. 1,548 players came out for Europe's Legacy Grand Prix of 2015, and the Top 8 featured six distinct archetypes and an all-Miracles final between Hall of Famer Olivier Ruel and Italian Claudio Bonanni.
From Kyoto to Lille—Coverage reporter Craig Jones talks to Kai Sawatari, who finished in the Top 4 of Grand Prix Kyoto's Legacy format, to learn more about him and what he chose to play in Lille.
While Lille featured Legacy, Grand Prix Montreal was the swan song of Dragons of Tarkir Limited as players tested their dragon-channeling skills for one final Grand Prix. Although 1,220 players traveled to Canada, it was Mike Sigrist who ended up taking home the trophy, making this his second Grand Prix victory.
Also critical in Montreal was the showdown between Alexander Hayne and Pascal Maynard, who were both tied with the most Pro Points earned at Grand Prix in the race for a seat in the 2015 World Championship. While Maynard dropped early from the event, Hayne pressed on long enough to earn a 12-3 record—good enough for three Pro Points and the lead.
#HaynevMaynard—Coverage reporter Adam Styborski chats with Grand Prix Pro Points race frontrunners Alexander Hayne and Pascal Maynard on how they approached the race to the World Championship, and if they're planning to go head-to-head as they approach the finish line of Grand Prix Dallas/Fort Worth.
Platinum Watch – Montreal Edition—Coverage veteran Josh Bennett caught up with players that were on the hunt for those Pro Points to lock up Platinum status in the Pro Tour Players Club.