5. Heart of Kiran Ascends Smuggler's Copter's Empty Throne
At the end of three days of trying, thrilling, and exhausting competition, one player emerged victorious, and so did one card. It was unclear if a deck like Mardu Vehicles could survive the banning of its favorite efficient two-drop, but when six copies of the deck roared into the Top 8, the answer was an obvious and emphatic "yes."
With Toolcraft Exemplars, Veteran Motorists, and Scrapheap Scroungers abounding, no one was having trouble crewing their giant skyships and crashing in for 4 damage, and usually the win. It made for a blazingly quick Top 8, as players raced to deal lethal, often by turn five or six.
It also made for interesting sideboard card choices, as some Mardu Vehicles decks—notably those in the finals—had copies of Release the Gremlins to turn their opponents' powerful artifacts into Kaladesh's cutest infestation.
4. DEX Army, and Latin Players Cheer Their Top 8 Favorites Through to the Finals
The finals of Pro Tour Aether Revolt featured Márcio Carvalho and Lucas Esper Berthoud, one player from Team DEX Army and another from Team DEXThird, one player from Portugal and another Brazil. Both were cheered and chanted through their Top 8 matches by an enthusiastic crowd of Latin players, who erupted into applause each time one of their favorites won a match, and cheered and even did the wave as they waited for players to shuffle. Their excitement was palpable, and gave the otherwise muted room of spectators the feel of a sports stadium hanging on every crucial play.
3. Team Series Launches and Leaders Emerge
Testing teams have been a part of Pro Tour preparation for years, and friendships have been an intrinsic part of Magic since the game's beginnings. But at the end of the day, the Pro Tour has, with a handful of exceptions, always been an individual event…until the start of the Team Series.
This weekend, there was something different about the event hall. It went beyond the matching jerseys teams sported, though those were great. The effect of the Team Series was apparent in the way players queued around tables, asked after their friends' and teammates' records, and celebrated each victory regardless of overall records.
Now, the first leaders in the Team Series have emerged, led by MTG Mint Card and Musashi, but with eager competitors like Face to Face Games and DEXThird snapping at their heels. It was an exciting start to the Team Series, with the spots in the team finals—which will take place at the 2017 Magic: The Gathering World Championship—still up for grabs.
2. Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa Makes His Eleventh Pro Tour Top 8
Some careers defy words and leave all reasonable expectations in the dust. Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa has one of those careers. Just one week after placing second at Grand Prix Prague, he went 12-4 on the first two days of the Pro Tour to make the Top 8.
It wasn't certain, and for most of Day Two it seemed unlikely. When Damo da Rosa sat down for Round 16, it was unclear whether or not he still had a shot at making Top 8, even if he won. He set the thought aside and focused on the match at hand, defeating fellow Pro Tour Hall of Famer Ben Rubin in two games to give himself a chance.
The fight paid off, and at the end of the Swiss rounds, Damo da Rosa squeaked into the Top 8, his 11th. This makes him the definitive holder of second-most Pro Tour Top 8s, a distinction which he had previously shared with Kai Budde.
1. Lucas Esper Berthoud Emerges as the Mardu Master at Pro Tour Aether Revolt
Lucas Esper Berthoud went from zero Pro Points this season to hero of Team DEXThird and a slew of other Magic players thrilled to see a relatively unknown player on the global stage win it all. Though he had only a handful of Pro Tour appearances to his name, Berthoud was able to, through recommendations from friends and pros, wind up with the best version of the best deck of the weekend.
Berthoud qualified for Pro Tour Aether Revolt via a Regional Pro Tour Qualifier, and proceeded to never lose a single match of Standard all weekend. He went a perfect 10-0 in the Swiss, followed by a run through the semifinals and finals. He's now a Platinum player for the remainder of this season and the next, and has an invite to the 2017 Magic World Championship. Congratulations to Lucas, and to his truly incredibly performance at Pro Tour Aether Revolt!