Eight days ago, when Lukas Blohon sat down for his first round at Pro Tour Eldritch Moon, the Czech player could already look back on quite a succesful season, highlighted by a win at Grand Prix Brussels. He then stood at 51 Pro Points, locked for Platinum, with a reasonable shot to earn an invite to this year's World Championship.
But, being more of a quiet type, he wasn't on everyone's radar either. He didn't have a Pro Tour Top 8 in four years, his ninth-place finish at Pro Tour Shadows over Innistrad had left him exactly out of the limelight, and he was "just" No. 19 in Top 25 Rankings. Then.
Of course, when the dust settled at the end of the Pro Tour, Blohon had earned his spot on the World Championship roster even without relying on Pro Points. He had also jumped a whopping sixteen places in the Top 25 Rankings, all the way to No. 3. And his name was forever enshrined in the history of the game now, as champion of Pro Tour Eldritch Moon.
ON TRIUMPH (AT THE PRO TOUR)
"No, I didn't expect to do this well at the Pro Tour. I was hoping for a 10-6 record, for six additional points to get me to 57 which I figured would be enough to qualify for the World Championship," said Blohon when I talked to him after the fifth round of Grand Prix Rimini. "I was pretty confident I would be able to get ten wins. But as it turns out, this year, one needed 58 points! Meaning 11-5 or 10-5-1 which is a completely different story."
Now, as Pro Tour champion, Blohon didn't have to worry about the variables of some ranking anymore, but had secured a direct invite to the World Championship. In any case, he ended the 2015–2016 season with 81 Pro Points, well beyond his target.
"I started into the tournament with a 2-1 in Draft, but when we got to Standard I suddenly realized that my white-black deck wasn't as well positioned as I had anticipated," Blohon recounted. "There was more Bant Company than expected, which is not a great matchup, at least not against good players. And there were all of these Emrakul decks around …"
In the end, in the Top 8 playoffs, Blohon had been able to defeat three of those Emrakul, the Promised End decks in a row. But it was tough.
"After sideboarding things get a lot better with seven discard spells plus Infinite Obliteration," Blohon explained. But he also said that one couldn't really tune the deck not to have a bad matchup in game one. "Once you cut Languish, the deck loses to all the aggressive decks.
"So, basically, after two rounds of Standard I'm already thinking to myself, 'Eight more rounds of this?' I went 3-2 in Standard that day," said Blohon. "Then, I just didn't lose again. I really was very lucky in my matchups in the last five rounds of the Swiss. In fact, everything on that weekend went very well for me."
ON TECH (FOR THIS GRAND PRIX)
"Actually, when I went to sleep last night, I was still undecided which deck to play," said Blohon. "I was leaning toward an updated list of White-Black, but was also considering Blue-Red."
Blohon and No. 23 Ivan Floch had both been impressed by the blue-red deck played by Pedro Carvalho at the Pro Tour. Blohon was even looking for sideboard cards for his white-black deck to combat the collection of burn spells, Thermo-Alchemists, and Fevered Visions. He eventually settled on Call the Bloodline.
"Ivan had played a few more matches overnight, though, and when I woke up this morning, he told me we needed to play Blue-Red ourselves," said Blohon. "And he never plays any kind of burn deck!"
Naturally, they had made a few changes to the original. Blohon said they weren't happy with neither Thing in the Ice, Jace, Dispel, nor Unsubstantiate in the main deck. Instead, they took an even more aggressive approach, adding a set of Stormchaser Mages and two copies of Exquisite Firecraft.
"We really like the Firecraft. The deck could obviously use more burn spells to the face," said Blohon. "The only problem is that it already has so many cards for 3 mana."
ON TESTING (FOR THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP)
"I'm not sure who I'll be preparing with," said Blohon. "Maybe alone, hopefully not."
Blohon mentioned a network of friends with whom he would talk about everything from Draft to Standard to Modern. But first, after this weekend, he would take a little break from Magic for a few days.
"Then, in the weeks before the tournament, I'll try to play as much as I can," said Blohon. "I'll try to play everything, but I'll start with Modern. I mean, I just played a lot of Standard. I played a bit of Modern before the World Magic Cup Qualifier. But I don't know anything about the format, whether anything changed with Eldritch Moon.
"I have no set goal for the event. It's obviously a very hard field. I'll just try to do as best as I can."
Good luck with that! Blohon's best could definitely be quite good, as was proven last week. And this weekend, he naturally, almost effortlessly, started 6-0 into the tournament as well. Blohon was on fire. Or setting his opponents on fire with Thermo-Alchemist in any case.