It is always a great feeling to kickstart a Pro Tour with a perfect score at the end of Round 3. Out of a field of over 300, only 37 players managed the feat of going 3-0 in the very first booster draft of Pro Tour Eldritch Moon. There is a general consensus that the format has become more multi-faceted, and several strategies from Shadows over Innistrad have been strengthened with the addition of nearly 200 new cards—making it not only a skill-intensive format but also a rather exciting one!
Freshly-crowned Grand Prix Master Brian Braun-Duin didn't fail to disappoint, putting up the clean sweep early this morning. Drafting a Blue-Black Zombies deck featuring Gisa and Geralf, he felt great playing with Cemetery Recruitment and Wailing Ghoul—cards that many players automatically relegate to the sideboard or dismiss as borderline. This is a classic example of how excellent drafting and deck building can turn average cards into pure gold. To top things off, he had a pair of Ever Afters, further strengthening his graveyard-oriented deck.
From left: Pascal Maynard, Brian Braun-Duin, and Shaheen Soorani
Braun-Duin's teammates at Grand Prix São Paulo were also not to be outdone. In addition to making the Top 4 together in Brazil, they have all gone undefeated thus far. Funnily, Shaheen Soorani was also playing with a pair of Wailing Ghouls, which combined perfectly with two copies each of Grapple with the Past and Midnight Scavengers. It would seem that graveyard recursion was not only a viable strategy, but also a winning one! On the other hand, Pascal Maynard took to the skies by drafting a White-Blue Spirits deck featuring Mausoleum Wanderer and Spell Queller.
Hey buddy, we're not playing Standard just yet!
Best friends Patrick Dickmann and Valentin Mackl were also elated to begin the final Pro Tour of the season with pristine records. Since both players are already at Gold level, these great starts will aid them in their quests for Platinum. Coincidentally, they had two copies of Brazen Wolves, one of the top red commons of Eldritch Moon aside from Galvanic Bombardment.
From left: Valentin Mackl and Patrick Dickmann
In Dickmann's case, he was able to achieve his "best Limited result" alongside Smoldering Werewolf (one of the top three uncommons in Eldritch Moon) and Ulrich of the Krallenhorde. Mackl, on the other hand, wreaked havoc with Wolf of Devil's Breach. As you can see, we're clearly not safe on the plane of Innistrad because us adventurers are constantly risking Rabid Bites.
Going into Day One here in Sydney, Australia, it was thought that black was one of the weaker colors, owing to its shallower card pool. Red was perceived as the strongest, due to the high density of excellent commons throughout Eldritch Moon. However, these are but myths—because it seems like every color combination offers sterling tools for success.
As you can see from the breakdowns above, black and red were equally represented amongst all 37 3-0 drafts, while blue and green were pretty much in the same league. What about white? Surely it is one of the better colors?
Mackl shared, "The best colors are red and white individually, and I don't like black or green in a vacuum. As for the best combination, I think it is blue-red. The blue and red cards are individually pretty versatile and can be used in varying types of strategies. For example, Thermo-Alchemist or Ingenious Skaab fit into both control or aggro decks. As for white, you often have enough playables to assemble a decent deck, but they are less powerful overall. Despite white having a very solid pool, I can understand why the color is less represented in the 3-0 brackets."
2016 Hall of Famers-elect Owen Turtenwald (left) and Yuuya Watanabe prove they are no fluke!
2016 Hall of Famers-elect (2) Owen Turtenwald and (12) Yuuya Watanabe weren't aware of the fact that they had made it until after their booster drafts had ended, but they proved to the world that they were no fluke by crushing their respective tables. Abashedly, the forever-humble Watanabe professes to have a made a minor mistake.
What's your first pick if these two goodies were presented to you in your first Eldritch Moon booster?
"I was unsure whether to take a premium foil Tamiyo, Field Researcher or Stitcher's Graft as my first pick. The planeswalker forces me to commit to multiple colors, while the Equipment would keep me open. However, Tamiyo is really, really powerful, just like most planeswalkers in Limited!"
In the end, he couldn't resist the shiny allure and went with the three-color card. He quickly regretted his decision when he was nudged into red, and Tamiyo ended up sitting in his sideboard, while Stitcher's Graft would have made it into most decks. No matter. Watanabe won out anyway because he was able to secure victory with a textbook Izzet spells deck built around Mercurial Geists and Thermo-Alchemist.
Marcio Carvalho takes the lead in the race for Limited Master with his 3-0 finish.
A cursory update also revealed that Marcio Carvalho went 3-0 in the morning. This stellar performance made him the frontrunner of the race for Limited Master. Christian Calcano is behind by 3 match points, while Jon Finkel and Shota Yasooka are trailing by 4.
Brad Nelson, Olivier Ruel, Antonio Del Moral León, Steve Rubin, Sam Pardee, Tomoharu Saito, Matt Sperling, Andrew Cuneo, Reid Duke, Luis Scott-Vargas and Teruya Kakumae are also some of the very familiar players who had the best start they could ask for. As we speak, everyone has put away their 40-card decks and are shuffling up 60, ready to step into the Constructed rounds.
Now that you've got an idea of how the Limited environment looks, it's time to run through the Standard archetypes with Marc Calderaro!