Sam Pardee made the Top 8 at the Strixhaven Championship by a little more than a percentage point in the tiebreaker column. He made the most of the opportunity by running the table in the elimination rounds with the deck of the tournament: Jeskai Turns (CFBPro membership required).
The Strixhaven Championship saw 250 competitors drawn from the Magic Pro League, the Rivals League, and Challenger pool, to compete in Standard and Historic. While some league members were battling in one of the final events to help their standing, Challengers were vying for a chance to qualify for one of the end of season Gauntlet tournaments in the hope of making the final year of league play.
While Standard has been well explored, Historic has changed quite a bit as of late. The ban of Thassa’s Oracle left the Tainted Pact combo deck rather toothless going into the Championship. Instead other powerful options from the Mystical Archive had a chance to shine: Brainstorm, Faithless Looting, Mizzix’s Mastery, and Time Warp. Jeskai Turns ran all of these except for Faithless Looting while the second most popular deck in Historic – Izzet Phoenix – ran the first half of the list.
The Top 8 was, as usual for these Championships, stacked with talent. Logan Nettles, Raphael Levy, Matt Sperling, and John Giradot were all running Jeskai Turns alongside Sam Pardee. David Inglis and Matti Kusima were both on Izzet Phoenix. The lone holdout was Seth Manfield who was running Jeskai Control. Pardee dispatched Nettles and Inglis on his way to the upper bracket final were he met Giradot who had taken out Sperling and Kusima to get there. Pardee won but ended up facing Giradot again in the Grand Finals. Pardee took the first match. In the second match, Giradot forced a third game and looked to be in a fantastic position after resolving a Mizzix’s Mastery to refill his hand. Pardee needed to find the right combination of cards on his turn to seal the deal. A Brainstorm revealed two perfect cards: his own Mastery and a Time Warp. In a flurry Pardee started resolving extra turns and earned a “Good Game” from Giradot. It was Pardee’s first win in a Championship level event, having made Top 8 at two Pro Tours. It was a victory well earned.
Congratulations again to Sam Pardee, your Strixhaven Champion!