I finally got there—the highest possible Magic Pro status. As of Pro Tour Sydney, I am guaranteed to finish the season with 51 Pro Points, granting me Platinum for the 2016-2017 season.
My year started by skipping the first 2 GPs: San Diego and Detroit. I was exhausted from the last year’s Grand Prix race in which I finished 2nd, and I was disappointed to have missed Platinum by a few points. Nonetheless, I had reached Gold, which I failed to do in the past. I was nowhere near giving up. Now that I was guaranteed qualifications to all the Pro Tours, I told myself I would play fewer Grand Prix and instead concentrate on doing well at the Pro Tour. If I got a huge chunk of points by doing well in one of those, I’d consider attending GPs to reach the nearest Pro level.
I needed a break to relax. Grinding tournaments every weekend is draining, and add in the stress factor that you didn’t qualify for the following Pro Tour—you’re in for a hell of a ride.
GP Oklahoma City (Modern)
After a month-and-a-half break following Pro Tour Magic Origins, my new goal was to play more all-in/glass cannon decks. I learned my lesson in Vancouver when I basically built the UR Thopters deck that dominated the event, but ended up never even trying it because I thought it would be too fragile and inconsistent.
For that reason, I put down UR Twin, which was the deck I had played in almost all Modern Grand Prix up to this point. I decided to play Affinity, which had just recently gotten Ghirapur Aether Grid, an excellent sideboard card. My good friend Alex Majlaton gave me lots of sideboard advice and I felt confident.
Unfortunately I didn’t even make Day 2, but it was solely attributed to the fact that I “got Moderned.” I faced a ridiculous amount of hate, and couldn’t beat it. That’s something you have to live with when you decide to play these glass cannons strategies—I was just on the bad side of the variance. Overall, I was happy with my plays and deck choice.
Pro Points Status: 0
GP Madison (Sealed)
I joined Team TOGIT for the upcoming Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar. Our testing process started a few days before the GP in Madison, with a good number of Drafts. The Grand Prix didn’t go well. We had drafted, but didn’t play any Sealed, and I opened a complex Sealed pool that I had no idea what to do with. I struggled to find the right build after sideboarding into multiple different decks. I promptly dropped after 3 rounds.
Pro Points Status: 0
PT Battle for Zendikar
This was the beginning of our team now known as East West Bowl. Our Standard testing was mediocre, yet we crushed the Limited portion. We had the highest Draft win percentage after Day 1, due to our analysis of the format and meetings we held throughout the testing week. I played a stock version of Atarka Red. I played against way too many Arashin Clerics and I got crushed.
I still came out of the event with my head up—I knew that our team was onto something and I was excited to do our Limited thing together again.
Pro Points Status: 3
GP Quebec City (Standard)
Home town! I hosted two good friends, Oliver Polak-Rotmann and Wenzel Krautmann, at my place during the week leading up to the event. We had a ton of fun and played very little Constructed, but all of us had an idea what we wanted to play based on Pro Tour results, except me. I wanted to play 4c Rally from the beginning because I thought the deck Matt Nass played at the PT looked good, but I was scared to lose to the Anafenzas from Abzan Aggro, which had just won. I had this preconceived idea even without playing the matchup—I was wrong. I decided to play exactly one Magic Online League on Friday night before GP Quebec and I crushed Anafenza multiple times. I immediately sent Matt Nass’s 75 to the tournament organizer and went to sleep.
Playing an event with the soon-to-be best deck in the format without having to play mirror matches or against hate is the best feeling. I cruised through the event only to lose a tight match versus Oliver in the quarters.
Pro Points Status: 7
GP Indianapolis (Standard)
I didn’t plan at all on attending this event, but I had the fire again. Oliver and Wenzel invited me to stay at their AirBnB in Indianapolis, so I couldn’t refuse. I got scared of running back 4c Rally because now people knew—I also didn’t know how good my deck was against hate because I had never faced it before. I ended up playing GW Megamorph with Avatar of the Resolute, a deck endorsed by Brian Braun-Duin. My final record was 11-4.
Pro Points Status: 9
GP Atlanta (Sealed)
Ah, my favorite format. Unfortunately, with Magic’s new Grand Prix schedule we get so few of them—just 4, not counting Team Limited. There was no way I was going to miss this one. I played a few Sealed events on Magic Online—and a few drafts, just to refresh my memory from the Pro Tour—and I was ready to roll. I lost my round 14 while I was 11-2, but then beat Seth Manfield in the last round to finish 12-3.
Pro Points Status: 12
To be continued.