Top 25 Rankings Update

There wasn’t a whole lot of movement in the top rankings this past week. With two Grand Prix events taking place, one in Brisbane and one in Oklahoma City, the only change was Shuhei Nakamura moving up to 7th place, bumping Tom Martell down to 8th place. Nakamura actually played in the States, opting for Theros Limited over Modern, despite the proximity of Brisbane to his home country of Japan. His 9th place finish in GP Oklahoma City was enough to push him up. With a Pro Tour in the books for this weekend, expect there to be much more movement this week. Sam Black and Makihito Mihara, and David Ochoa all finished in the top 25 of the Pro Tour in Dublin, which should help them move up in the top 25 overall. But will there be any new faces? We’ll find out on Wednesday and I’ll have the updates next week for you.

Pro Tour Theros

France returned to the spotlight this weekend in Dublin with Guillaume Wafo-Tapa, Pierre Dagen, and eventual winner Jeremy Dezani in the Top 8. All three are members of Team Revolution which features legendary Hall of Famer Raphael Levy. The team is pretty stacked actually, also featuring Melissa DeTora, who writes for with Raphael Levy. You can check out the full roster courtesy of Lauren Lee at Mulldrifting. The rest of the Top 8 included, as I mentioned above, ranked players Sam Black, of team StarCity Games, and Makihito Mihara, who is apparently a free agent. Paul Rietzl also represented StarCity Games in the quarterfinals. Rounding out the bracket were Japanese pro and online player Kentarou Yamamoto and Dutch PhD student Kamiel Cornelissen. The average age of the Top 8 was 29 years of age.

This was the first major event after the release of Theros and leading up the event everyone was abuzz about the new Standard environment. Jacob Van Lunen expected “red decks and blue/white control are the decks to beat coming into the Pro Tour” [Channel Fireball]. Josh Silvestri wasn’t sure what would happen, presented a bunch of thoughts on different decks, and concluded “the Pro Tour should be an eye-opener for the format” [Channel Fireball]. Nick Vigabool put together some statistics based on SCG Open data predicting a metagame dominated by Mono-Red Aggro, Esper Control, and G/R Monsters [Gathering Magic]. Vigabool also predicted over half the metagame to be multi-colored decks. Michael Martin took a look at the environment and had this to say about blue:

I don’t think the card pool is strong enough to constitute a blue devotion deck yet. I could be proven wrong, but I think we’re still a set or two away from really putting something nice together. Whatever the deck ends up containing, Frostburn Weird will be a huge part of the equation.

-Michael Martin, StarCity Games

Well that was certainly half-right. Did anyone know what they were talking about going into Pro Tour Theros? Mike Lanigan came close, highlighting the power level of Master of Waves, a card I originally wrote off [Gathering Magic]. Mike then proposed a couple U/W decks that featured the new merfolk mythic. In the end though, everyone was far from the mark. The winning deck, which put three players into the Top 8, was a Mono-Blue Devotion deck which indeed featured Master of Waves, as Lanigan predicted, perhaps a few sets sooner that Martin expected. A mono-black and mono-red Devotion deck also both made the Top 8, making more than 50% of the final decks built around the new Theros mechanic. It will be interesting next week, once tournament reports and testing reports come out, to find out which players and teams knew that the High Tide was rolling into Dublin.

On the coverage front, things this weekend were superb. The video feeds were great and one hopes that while this level of production won’t show up in Grand Prixs, at least some of the qualities of the program will. Players in the top-25 were featured and highlighted in both the text and video presentation. The final standings includes player ranks going into the weekend. It’s a small subtle step but it’s a beginning to tracking better and more engaging narratives. Heading into the weekend, Channel Fireball highlighted a handful of these narratives. Let’s hope this level of involvement by both Wizards and major media outlets like CFB, SCG, and of course yours truly, continue to build the Pro Tour up to something great for fans and players alike.

Worlds Week Annoucnement

Aaron Forsythe, the Director of R&D, and Helene Bergerot, the Director of Organized Play, made a guest spot on the Pro Tour Theros coverage this weekend to talk about the 2014 PT season. They had a lot to talk about, starting with the complete schedule through Worlds next winter in France, format TBD. The Pro Tour circuit will take us to Valencia, Spain in February for PT Born of the Gods. Then, in May, we will make a springtime journey to the deep south when PT Journey into Nyx takes place in Atlanta, GA. The tour continues in the fall when the first Core Set PT in ages takes place in August in Portland, OR. Finally, the year wraps up with Worlds, in the first week of December in Nice, France.

And oh what a Worlds Week it is going to be. Things will kick off on 2nd December with the start of the Magic World Championship. This is a two-day tournament featuring 24 premiere players. They will play for two days, and then their Top-4 bracket will be held on 7th December. Players get a day off on the 4th to see the sights of the beautiful southern coast of France. Or maybe hop over to Monaco, which is only 30 minutes away by car. Then, on the 5th and 6th, the Magic World Cup will take place. All this culminates with a massive day of Magic on 7th December, when the World Championship and World Cup will both have their final brackets.

Christmas is gonna come early for Magic fans in 2014. First Sunday in December: mark your calendars.

The Quick Hits

  • Darwin Kastle and Rob Dougherty launch the KickStarter for their new deckbuilding game [Star Realms]
  • Mistform Ultimus has become a Sable and a Nymph. There’s a joke in there somewhere [Mistform Ultimus Watch]
  • Battle of the Blocks continues with powerhouses Onslaught and Tempest having a whirlwind bout [StarCity Games]
  • Leagues may be returning to MTGO as early as next summer [MTGO]
  • Evan Erwin interviews Theros designer/developer Zac Hill for over TWO HOURS [The Magic Show]
  • TCGPlayer’s amateur tournament circuit gets some big changes for the 2014 season [TCGPlayer]
  • Conley Woods talks about playtesting and some best practices when doing so [Channel Fireball]

Wallpaper of the Week

Purphoros is a step of from Nylea, that’s for sure. I like the color scheme more. I like the volcano. I like that you don’t know exactly what he’s gazing at but you can feel his anger rising. With Nylea it was just hunting, and with Helios, well, who knows what he’s gonna chuck that abstract-art spear at? But Purphoros, this guy looks like he’s burning with red mana. This is what a god of red mana looks like.

Grade: B+

The Week Ahead

It’s spoiler week for the new Commander 2013 set! I have no desire to get back into Magic with any regularity, but if I did, it would probably be playing Commander. Five new marquee commanders have been spoiled so far, and you can check out the packaging as well (so you know what you’re looking for when it comes out). Also, check out this review of all five new commanders by SCG’s own Bennie Smith.

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.

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