Homestretch for Draft Master and Constructed Master

Posted in Event Coverage on June 1, 2018

By Tobi Henke

Usually, the titles of Draft Master and Constructed Master, along with the corresponding invites to the World Championship, would be awarded at the final Pro Tour of the season. This year, with Pro Tour 25th Anniversary being a team tournament, they were going to be awarded at the end of the weekend.

Going into the weekend, Elias Watsfeldt led the race for Draft Master with two full match wins. His immediate competition wasn't able to catch up to him through the first draft, but Watsfeldt himself also "only" got a 2-1 record. Considering he had been 12-0 in previous Pro Tour drafts this season, this was a break in his winning streak.

The Swedish player had reached the Top 8 of four GPs between 2011 and 2013, so he was used to playing for high stakes. But he only returned to the game recently, and although he already added another GP Top 8 to his résumé this year, playing for a World Championship invite was the highest stakes yet.

Watsfeldt was trying not to think about what was on the line. When I asked him how he felt about his chances to claim the title, he replied: "I wish they were zero! I would much rather not have to worry about it. Playing Worlds would be fun, but I'm trying not to care too much about it."

Regarding his take on Dominaria Booster Draft, Watsfeldt said, "Recognize that board stalls are common. Realize that fliers are very important because of that. And draft accordingly."

Watsfeldt had drafted white and blue in his first draft and replied that, yes, this was one of his favorite color combinations. "I picked Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage and never looked back."

His closest rival going into the second day's draft now was Andrea Mengucci. If the three-time Pro Tour Top 8er earned two more wins than Watsfeldt in Saturday's draft, Mengucci would steal the title. Otherwise, Watsfeldt was a virtual lock.

Mengucci acknowledged as much. "It all depends on what the Swedish guy does."

Mengucci felt fine about Dominaria draft but admitted that his team hadn't broken the format. "Usually, we always have a strategy and try to force something. This time, we found that every color combination and archetype was viable, so we figured we just had to read the table."

Talking of which: Reading the table below will tell you who's still in contention to become Draft Master:

Rank Name Nationality Total
1 Elias Watsfeldt Sweden 42
2 Andrea Mengucci Italy 36
3 Alexander Hayne Canada 33
3 Craig Wescoe United States 33
3 Jon Stern Canada 33
3 Ivan Floch Slovakia 33
3 Luis Salvatto Argentina 33
3 Martin Dang Denmark 33
3 Ari Lax United States 33
3 Pascal Maynard Canada 33
3 Ondřej Stráský Czech Republic 33

The race for Constructed Master was a completely different story. The race had been wide open, and it continued to be wide open five rounds of Standard later.

Jon Rolf had been in the lead, but multiple players had been trailing him by only one point. By Round 7, the Pro Tour Ixalan semifinalist had fallen from first place in the ranking. "I didn't have a good day," Rolf said. "I had some bad luck, but I like my Standard deck. All you can do is keep playing, right?"

Another player who would keep playing for the heavily contested Constructed Master title was, once again, Andrea Mengucci. Going into Round 8, Mengucci was only three points behind the new frontrunner Matt Severa, so I went looking for the Italian player again.

"I didn't even know I was in contention for these titles," Mengucci said. "I was looking to get some Pro Points of course, trying to qualify for the World Championship that way, but I only learned here about all of this business. Actually, are you going to write an article about it tonight? Because I'll be sure to read that one!"

So, for the benefit of Mengucci, as well as everyone else, here's the list of everyone who could still claim the title of Constructed Master through Saturday's five rounds of Standard:

Rank Name Nationality Total
1 Matthew Severa United States 60
2 John Rolf United States 58
3 Brian Braun-Duin United States 57
3 Jelco Bodewes Netherlands 57
3 Corey Baumeister United States 57
3 Brad Nelson United States 57
3 Jacob Nagro United States 57
8 Piotr Glogowski Poland 56
9 Luis Salvatto Argentina 54
9 Andrea Mengucci Italy 54
9 Christian Hauck Germany 54
12 Reid Duke United States 52
13 Kenji Tsumura Japan 51
13 Pierre Dagen France 51
13 Shaheen Soorani United States 51
13 Kentaro Yamamoto Japan 51
13 Andrew Cuneo United States 51
17 Pascal Maynard Canada 50
18 Paul Rietzl United States 49
18 Lee Shi Tian Hong Kong 49
20 Michael Hinderaker United States 48
20 Panagiotis Papadopoulos Greece 48
20 Alexander Hayne Canada 48
20 Toru Inoue Japan 48
20 Marcio Carvalho Portugal 48
20 Jason Chung New Zealand 48
30 Arne Huschenbeth Germany 46
30 Christian Calcano United States 46
30 Kelvin Chew Singapore 46
33 Benjamin Weitz United States 45
33 Thomas Ashton United States 45
33 Liu Yuchen China 45
33 Jonathan Sukenik United States 45
33 Elias Klocker Austria 45
33 Tsuyoshi Fujita Japan 45
33 Petr Sochurek Czech Republic 45
33 Ivan Floch Slovakia 45
33 Thomas Hendriks Netherlands 45
33 Bernardo Santos Portugal 45

While Mengucci had lost his final round, he was now trailing the frontrunners in both races by just six points going into the final day. A testament to an extraordinary season on the Pro Tour, this singular achievement put Mengucci in an excellent position to clinch a World Championship qualification no matter what through one of the at-large invites.

Eleventh-ranked Andrea Mengucci found himself in the running for both the Draft Master and Constructed Master title.

No one had ever come this close to a double triumph, so we had to check the rules, just in case: If Mengucci were to claim both titles, neither of the two invites would be passed down to the next in line. Instead, another invite would go to the player with the most Pro Points following Pro Tour 25th Anniversary.

Interesting times!

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