Right now is a bit of a miniature off-season for the Pro Tour. With Grand Prix Lyon in the books there are only four more Grand Prix events left in 2017, and of course the Magic World Cup is coming to us this weekend. Right now, players fall into two categories: those who are qualified for Pro Tour Dominaria and get to relax and enjoy the next month, and those who are not and will need to start thinking about how they’re going to secure an invitation.

But wait, what about Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan? Well, Grand Prix Portland and the RPTQ’s that ran the same weekend were the last paper events that awarded invitations to Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan and Magic Online PTQs are also in the books for that event. We expect by next week to have the full invitation list and be able to see which teams will be underrepresented in Bilbao the first weekend in February.

Grand Prix Lyon then was the first opportunity to secure invitations to Pro Tour Dominaria. Invites to the Pro Tour are given to the top four finishers at team Grand Prix as well as all teams that finish with at least 36 match points but fail to qualify for the top four. In Lyon this weekend, the top three teams had 36 points with the fourth team finishing with 35, meaning only the top four received invites.

Notables from that group include Swiss Silver-club Andreas Ganz, member of team Lingering Souls, who failed to qualify for day two at Pro Tour Ixalan. While I’m not sure if he’ll be representing his team at Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan, his finish at Grand Prix Lyon will send him to Pro Tour Dominaria. Christoffer Larsen of team Revelation finds himself in a similar situation, though his top eight last week at Grand Prix Portland qualified him for Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan.

Also take note that Michael Bonde of team Snapcardster secured an invitation to Pro Tour Dominaria. Bonde was not in attendance at Pro Tour Ixalan and still has his Silver-club invitation available to him for Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan.

It’s somewhat ironic that the World Magic Cup is the most high-profile team event of the year but the intersection of World Magic Cup competitors and Pro Tour Team Series competitors isn’t very notable. But that’s a story for next week after the World Magic Cup.

Around the League (Top 8 Edition)

Genesis – Did you know that Corey Baumeister and Brad Nelson are brothers? Check out their appearance on last week’s episode of Magic the Amateuring and find out more about this dynamic duo whose team sits atop the standings.

ChannelFireball – In-between Pro Tours, Hall of Fame player Ben Stark took a slight variation on the traditional Ramunap Red decks to Grand Prix Atlanta and put up some results that the kids these days would call “pretty deece” (or so I’ve been told).

Ultra PRO – Sam Black isn’t just good at Magic, he’s also good at Epic, a card game designed by a few MTG Pro Tour Hall of Fame members. Sam finished in second place at Epic’s World Championship last week.

Ultimate Guard – Reid Duke dropped by Grand Prix Lyon en route to captain the United States at the World Magic Cup. He was joined by Alexander Hayne (Ultra PRO) and Ben Stark (ChannelFireball) but the powerhouse team only finished 9-5 on the weekend.

Massdrop West – Ben Weitz used his Silver club invitation to play at Pro Tour Ixalan and missed the cut by one win to qualify for Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan. Now he’s grinding the RPTQ and Grand Prix circuit trying to get back on so his team doesn’t have to play with only five competitors in Bilbao.

MetaGame Gurus Moon – Jacob Wilson on the other hand won an online PTQ to secure his invitation to Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan after failing to qualify for day two of competition at Pro Tour Ixalan, squandering his Silver club invitation.

Tower Games – Sam Ihlenfeldt was the darling of Pro Tour Ixalan, making it to the top 8 as a rookie. Check out his recent appearance on Shaun Penrod’s fantastic MTG Pro Tutor podcast.

Revelation – If you’re a fan of the traditional “see the world, play the game” concept then don’t miss out on Team Revelation’s Petr Sochurek’s recap of Grand Prix Atlanta.

Signing Off

For those of you who have been long-time readers of this column, please feel free to leave some feedback on the new format. I wanted to shift my Monday column to accomplish two goals. The first is to talk about the Pro Tour Team Series as a first-class eSport and give it high-quality coverage. The second goal is to highlight the past weekend’s events (e.g. Grand Prix Lyon) and the following weekend’s events (e.g. the World Magic Cup) in the context of the Pro Tour Team Series.

The “Around the League” section is going to grow into a full notes section on all 37 pro teams on a weekly basis. Some weeks I’ll share a tweet from a team member and other weeks I’ll share a particularly insightful tournament report or strategy column by a team member. From time to time we’ll talk about how the team’s players are doing, especially if they’re still trying to secure invitations to events.

Hopefully, this will help keep you, the audience, in-tune with your favorite teams and players on a weekly basis, not just after each Pro Tour. I want to check in with all 37 teams, and as many of the 222 players involved as possible. I feel strongly that the Pro Tour Team Series is the future not only of the Pro Tour but of most high-level competitive Magic and coverage.

That said, the editorial content that has very often filled this space isn’t going away. It just is no longer being tethered to a regular Monday column. I will continue to write editorial content likely averaging at least once/week depending on current events. So for those of you who don’t want to miss out on that, make sure you follow Hipsters of the Coast on Twitter or Facebook or sign up for our newsletter.

Rich Stein is a retired Magic player, an amateur content creator, and a Level 2 Social Justice Sorcerer. He hopes to eventually become a professional content creator and a Level 20 dual class Social Justice Sorcerer/Bard but he’s more than content to remain a retired Magic player. You can follow his musings on Twitter @RichStein13.

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