The race for the title of 2017-18 Draft Master hadn't been particularly close going into the weekend, and it didn't get any closer throughout the tournament. No photo finish, no tiebreaks involved, no exciting last-minute upsets. It didn't even take the end of the Booster Draft portion for the race to be decided. Instead, the race ended in the first round of Saturday when the frontrunner earned a draw while his closest rival took a loss. The leading player never let go of first place.
This suited the newly-crowned 2017-18 Draft Master Elias Watsfeldt just as well. The unassuming Swede had quietly drafted his way to a truly spectacular 12-0 during the previous two Pro Tours. A 2-1 record on Friday then put him two full match wins ahead of Andrea Mengucci, and when Watsfeldt's Round 9 match went to time without a winner, it was no longer possible for anyone to catch up with him.
Elias Watsfeldt, 2017-18 Draft Master
An unceremonious finish was exactly what Watsfeldt had been hoping for. A small group of Scandinavian players had gathered on the sidelines of the feature match area to watch him play, and there were some congratulations afterward. Sharing a little in-joke and a very little laugh with the decidedly cool Nordic players, Watsfeldt specifically mentioned getting a high five from Thomas Enevoldsen, but there was no big celebration, nothing which would suggest that Watsfeldt had just become the third player to qualify for this year's World Championship.
As the 2017–18 Draft Master, he would join Pro Tour Ixalan champion Seth Manfield and Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan champion Luis Salvatto as well as 21 more of the very best players in the world at the most prestigious tournament in Magic.
The lack of reaction took me aback for a second. Was the race maybe not over yet, somehow? "I guess we have to consult Frank Karsten to do the math," Watsfeldt chuckled. The mathematical operation, a simple subtraction of point totals, wasn't exactly hard to do though. Michael Bonde double-checked the results just in case and confirmed that, yes, Watsfeldt was indeed our Draft Master.
"It was nice to have things end this way, and end this early," Watsfeldt said. "It will be nice to go to Vegas and play in the World Championship. The best part is that the pressure is off my shoulders. Now I can relax and enjoy my vacation."
He didn't slack off, however, following this. In fact, he won his next two draft matches, concluding the race with a 16-1-1 record. Watsfeldt clearly was more about walking the walk than talking the talk. "It's not that I'm at a loss for words," he said. "I just don't have that much to say, honestly. I mean, Worlds, yeah. It's just another tournament, right?"
Right. No pressure, I'm sure.