Pro Tour Aether Revolt is in the books and it was a truly exciting weekend of Magic competition at the highest level. If you missed out on the action, I highly recommend you get caught up with our recaps of Day One, Day Two, and the Top Eight. Once you’re done there, come back here and I’ll let you know my first impressions of whose stock is rising and whose stock is falling as we sift through the results.
Sure, we could all nit-pick the details between now and Pro Tour Amonkhet (and we will) but as far as first impressions go, the partnership between Twitch and Wizards of the Coast has a lot of fans excited. The coverage felt more complete as the crew transitioned from the floor to the news desk to deck techs to pre-recorded content and back again. And we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the advantage bar which has room to grow but is incredibly promising for the viewing experience. Oh, and it was nice to see the Pro Tour on the homepage of Twitch.tv. Coverage has a long way to go to improve but it’s safe to say its stock is rising.
On the other hand, one of the prevailing stories of the past three-to-six months has been the declining quality/appeal of Standard as a sanctioned format. As we’re all well aware, Wizards made some big changes to Standard with three cards being banned, including an uncommon, something that hadn’t happened in many years. So coming into the Pro Tour how would things go? Well it turns out the format is still control decks built around the Saheeli Rai combo and vehicle decks without Smuggler’s Copter. So maybe not quite according to plan? At least Wizards reserved the right to ban/unban more cards in six week’s time, so we’ll see if anything comes of it. For now, you might want to continue to invest in Legacy or Mordern.
Rising—Pro Tour Team Series
Unless you live under a rock you should know that the Pro Tour Team Series pilot season began this weekend at Pro Tour Aether Revolt. I won’t dwell too long on the topic other than to say that the initial results point to absolute success. Fans across the community couldn’t stop tweeting about the team competition all weekend. Going into the event plenty of pros were talking up their own teams and during the event the coverage team had videos introducing fans to all of the competitors. Following the teams from event to event will start adding that “narrative” component that has been missing from the Pro Tour in the past.
Falling—Combat Phase Shortcuts
I won’t dwell on this one for long. You can catch up on what happened in Wizards’ official statement. I have three thoughts on this and they are as follows. First, don’t trash a player for calling a judge when their opponent does something confusing. There was nothing malicious in calling a judge when your opponent missed a trigger and then took an unclear action. Second, the visuals of this on-camera are not good. Kudos to the team for switching to another match, but for the most part the audience was treated to the semantics of a judge call, and the appeal process. That’s fine when you have a 30-second coach’s challenge in an NFL game. It’s not okay when it takes up five to ten minutes of our lives. Third, let’s not codify verbal shortcuts in English in a game played in dozens of nations and as many languages.
Rising—Latin and South American Pro Magic
Speaking of all those languages, it was a showcase weekend for the quality and consistency of top-level Magic in Latin America and South America. Here’s a quick rundown of the top-100 finishes from players hailing from non-north Americas:
- Lucas Esper Berthoud, 1st Place, Brazil
- Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, 6th Place, Brazil
- Sebastian Pozzo, 71st Place, Argentina
- Miguel Angel Rios Gonzales, 74th Place, Mexico
- Carlos Alberto Hermosilla Perret, 88th Place, Chile
- Marcelino Freeman, 92nd Place, Mexico
- Cesar Segovia, 97th Place, Panama
Everyone talks about the American and Japanese contingencies in the top levels of competitive Magic but I would continue to pay attention to not only the mainstays of Magic from the rest of the western hemisphere but also the up-and-coming players as well. Their stock is definitely rising.
Falling—Mardu Vehicles Mirror Matches
If I never have to watch this mirror match again it will be too soon.
What We Learned is a weekly feature here at Hipsters of the Coast written by former amateur Magic Player Rich Stein, who came really close to making day two of a Grand Prix on several occasions. Each week we will take a look at the past seven days of major events, big news items, and community happenings so that you can keep up-to-date on all the latest and greatest Magic: the Gathering community news.