Let’s start this overview with the really important things. Ready?
“My kind of town, Chicago is.”
The first words of the iconic Frank Sinatra, serenading our Pro Tour site for this first stop of the 2024 season. But seriously, “My kind of town, Chicago is.” Forget Sinatra.
Shouldn’t that be Yoda?
275 talented and courageous souls will descend on the Windy City next week for the opening salvo of the tabletop season: Pro Tour Murders at Karlov Manor. It follows a brilliant return to paper Magic post-pandemic. Ph. Pro Touryrexia featured Pioneer and the talents of Hall of Fame champion Reid Duke. In May, it was reigning world champion Nathan Steuer who once again took center stage during the Pro Tour. Machine Operation. The story of Lord of the Rings certainly highlights the power of the underdog, so it was thematically appropriate that Barcelona, Spain hosted a champion who was competing in his very first Pro Tour, Jake Beardsley. And then the season ended with Frenchman Jean-Emmanuel Depraz becoming World Champion in typically understated fashion, while Dane Simon Nielsen turned his ultra-consistent performances throughout the season into a Player of the Year trophy. year that he will receive in front of his peers. in Chicago.
This is a formidable group of five people to compete against the other two hundred and seventy. What is the challenge they all face? The timing of this one has proven itself. Three days, two formats, one champion. We start Friday morning with Murders at Karlov Manor Draft. World Champion Depraz is known for his Constructed prowess, but you don’t become the best by being one-dimensional. With the highest echelons of the game now becoming more data-driven, it’s no surprise to see him posting incredible numbers online. It wouldn’t surprise me if, Friday morning, we were sitting right next to Depraz as he looked at that first pack of fresh mint cards.
Since players spend the morning drafting and playing at their own table of eight players, one might expect a thirty-something to arrive at lunchtime with a delicious zero in the loss column, the all at 3-0. From there, it’s time to unbox Pioneer, and this time around the constructed format has a pleasing symmetry. Pioneer starts with cards from late 2012, as we leave the limited play of Ravnica behind we move to a format that begins with Return to Ravnica, and contains around fifty extensions over 12 years. As might be expected, there have been several really powerful cards printed over these 12 years, and this sometimes leads to problems. The result? About two dozen cards you won’t see in action, because they’re banned in competition. So no
What will we see in action? Pioneer is a wide-open format with hundreds of cards that can legitimately claim a spot in a starting 60, but here are half a dozen cards I’m excited/nostalgic for arriving this weekend:
Capture the thoughtin the mid-range of Rakdos
- The holder
Arclight Phoenixat Izzet Phoenix Supreme verdictin Azorius control Call agreementto Abzan Amalia Combo Sheoldred, the Apocalypsemid-range mono-black The smuggler’s helicopterin Gruul Aggro
Thought Seizure 643107 Supreme Verdict 643141 574587 Smuggler’s Helicopter
To learn more about the Pioneer Format, you owe it to yourself to check out the wise words of our resident analyst, Dr. Frank Karsten, which you can find here.
Whether it’s three rounds of Draft or five rounds of Pioneer, any player who wants to advance needs at least a 4-4 record from day one. If you can do this, they can spend Saturday doing what they did on Friday…Murders at Karlov Manor for the first three rounds, then Pioneer for five in the sequence. These last five laps are where the Top 8 is formed, ready for Sunday. If someone advances on the field and reaches 12 kills before round 16, they will automatically advance to Sunday’s match, leaving the rest to scrap and fight for the rest. Tournament Magic can be inconsistent, but expect five or six Top 8 spots to be decided in the final round. It’s chaos – utterly delicious chaos.
After a well-deserved break for commiserations and congratulations, Sunday is a knockout affair, all Pioneer. The Top 8 features the best gameplay three out of five, with sideboarding allowed after the first two matches. The single elimination game is not just about playing with skills. There are players who can keep their cool, and others who can’t, overwhelmed by the stakes (the top prize is a must-win $50,000). There are good matches and bad matches, mental and physical fatigue when it matters most, and times when you are certain nothing can get in your way. It’s the best players of the weekend battling it out with the best decks of the weekend, culminating in our first trophy presentation of the season.
So, beyond the group of five who did everything before last season, where could the winner come from?
Nearly 100 of our competitors come from a route you could take, if you like the idea of joining us on gaming’s biggest stage, of course. The regional championship path is now well established and begins when you visit your friendly local game store to compete. Play well there, and you punch your ticket to the RC; and from there, you’re just one step away from the Pro Tour. It’s a big step, but many people have done it, and you might too.
This time, here are five to follow among the Regional Championship crew:
- Daniel Weiser, who added to his two Top 8 Grand Prix finishes with a win at the Dreamhack Regional Championship.
- Samuele Estratti, the Italian who won the very first Modern Pro Tour in 2011 in Philadelphia.
- The Dane Christoffer Larsen, who has two Top 8 RCs in addition to his 11 Top 8 GPs.
- Derek Pite, known as Misplacedginger online, who already has three RC Top 8s under his belt.
- Piotr Głogowski, who has Top 8 finishes in MOCS, Players Tour, Mythic Championship, Mythic Invitational, Grand Prix, Pro Tour and World Magic Cup!
There are many good reasons to come to a MagicCon event in person, and among them, for the competitive audience, is a series of opportunities to qualify for the next Pro Tour. At MagicCon: Barcelona, Italian Mattia Rizzi (2017 GP Copenhagen Champion) booked his ticket, while Patrick Fernandes (Top 8, Season Grand Finals 2020) made his trip from Brazil worth it by dominating the Pro Tour Qualifier. Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, one of the performers returning to the headlines is undoubtedly Andrea Mengucci, winner of the 2019 Mythic Invitational. He won his place in Chicago during the flagship 100K event at MagicCon : Las Vegas.
Of course, you don’t need to travel to qualify, with both Online magic And Magic Arena offering paths to the Pro Tour. Among the players making their debut is Ethan Saks, co-host of the Lords of Limited podcast. It’ll be a busy weekend for Saks, as he and Ben Werne will record a live episode straight from the Mana stage on Sunday morning. Former Constructed Master of Argentina Sebastian Pozzo of Argentina, who reached the MOCS final last August, and the champion of this event, Lukas Jaklovsky, one of the most talented players on the Grand Prix circuit of Europe, are also taking the digital path to Chicago.
Many familiar faces are returning for the 2024 season. They may not have won any trophies last season, but consistency has led to their invites, and some real big hitters await them. Here are just five:
- Autumn Burchett, the original legendary champion of 2019 and the even more prestigious 2017 English National Champion.
- Márcio Carvalho – two-time World Championship finalist and multiple Grand Prix champion.
- Yuuki Ichikawa—The Innistrad Champion in 2021 and MOCS Champion the same year.
- Eli Kassis—The Neon Dynasty 2022 champion and finalist of the World Championship.
- Yuta Takahashi, the 2021 world champion.
I could have easily given you a dozen more, all of whom have standout moments in their MTG careers.
And then, of course, there is the cream of the story, the Hall of Fame. It will be great to see Paul Rietzl, Ben Stark and Guillaume Wafo-Tapa in action again, with the pinnacle of aggro, Limited and control play all represented. And then there are the HOFers who are still actively playing, and that includes Kai Budde, Seth Manfield, Gabriel Nassif, Willy Edel and Shuhei Nakamura. With a pitch like this, every victory has to be deserved. And remember, if you want to compete against these regional champions, digital dominators and decorated deck masters, it all starts at your local store.
When the lights go out on three memorable days, the Pro Tour will pack up and move on. He will then travel to the home of Wizards of the Coast, for the Pro Tour Seattle in April. It will cross continents and settle on European shores, with Pro Tour Amsterdam scheduled for June. And then into the desert for the legend-making week in Las Vegas that is the World Championship in October. Seattle, Amsterdam, Las Vegas: cities rich in history for a match rich in history.
Chicago is also a fantastic city, but you know what? Anywhere who organizes a Pro Tour is My kind of town.
I finished. Last word to the little green one:
Pro Tour, you say?
Look, you have to do it.
See you next Friday, we will.
Gn En tech