Whenever a player competes in a Pro Tour, there's a lot on the line. With so much at stake for placing well in the tournament, every match counts, and the slightest misstep can cost you, while a strong run can set you up for the rest of the season. In other words, it's high drama every match.
Pro Tour Magic Origins has even more on the line.
We entered the weekend with a lot of races left undecided—most notably Player of the Year—and dozens of players hoping this would be their time to win those races. The rounds came and went, and one by one the races neared their conclusions, though the dust won't be settled until the conclusion of the tournament.
The Player of the Year
Eric Froehlich entered the weekend with a slim lead, which meant approximately nothing if he couldn't also turn in a strong performance in Vancouver. Dozens of players came to Pro Tour Magic Origins with an opportunity to earn the title with a particularly strong finish coupled with an early exit from Froehlich.
And when the newly-named Pro Tour Hall of Fame member started the tournament 0-3, it looked like some of those longshots may actually have a realistic chance of making a run at the title.
But you can never count Froehlich out, and after the nightmare start he rattled off an increasingly-improbable string of wins, running his record all the way to 11-4 and one-by-one eliminating those who could challenge him.
In the end, it was just Mike Sigrist who had a shot to upend Froehlich, and it would take a win in the final round to advance to the Top 8, where he would then need to string together several more wins to steal away the title. A long shot, yes, but not an impossible one if Sigrist could start with a win in Round 16.
That's exactly what he did, going the full three games but defeating Bryan Gottlieb to earn his spot in Sunday's Top 8, where it won't be just a title on the line, but history.
The World Championship
There are 24 players who will compete at the World Championship next month, and entering the tournament only seven of those had been decided. The rest would depend on how things shook out in Vancouver.
As the dust still clears, we do know of a few players who will definitely be competing at Worlds.
Two-time defending world champion Shahar Shenhar, the three Pro Tour champions so far this season (Ari Lax, Antonio Del Moral León, and Martin Dang), the captain of last year's World Magic Cup winning team Martin Müller, the Magic Online Champion Magnus Lantto, and Alexander Hayne, the year's Top Grand Prix Pro Points Earner.
The rest of the spots will go the top Pro Point earners in each region, with North America getting four spots, Europe and Asia-Pacific being awarded three, and Latin America getting two spots.
The races won't completely shake out until the Top 8 concludes on Sunday and the final spell is cast.
Exactly the way it should be.