Pro Tour Vancouver
The Pro Tour was everything I ever wanted and wished for in magic. In all honesty, it was one of the biggest motivators of why I play. Seven months ago, the Pro Tour was simply a dream that I never could quite grasp. Then, finally, it happened: I won a tournament that qualified me for the Pro Tour! The Pro tour is the grand pinnacle of events for Magic the Gathering, it’s an invite only tournament where the best of the best get the chance to play. I was lucky to do well enough at Pro Tour Brussel that I was invited to attend Pro Tour Vancouver. Pro tour Vancouver had over 400 players that were qualified and ready to try and accomplish their goals of being the top player in the world! I was lucky enough to be joined by some of my Portland friends, as well. Though none of us ended up on the same deck we all knew ahead of time what the format was like and how we hoped the meta was going to pan out.
While the preparation for this tournament didn’t really go well for me, the rest of the players from Portland kept me up-to-date on what the limited format was like and how the constructed format was looking. I’ve recently taken a promotion at work which limited my testing significantly. Magic is an amazing game and some people are even lucky enough to call it their job, making a living while traveling the world and playing a game that they thoroughly enjoy! I, however, am not one of those people.
The Pro Tour is split into 16 rounds of Magic spanning two days. While you only need to go 4-4 the first day to play in the second, 4 loses mean you can’t lose a single game on the second day if you want to make the Top 8. The formats are split so you start both days with a draft, followed by 5 rounds of constructed Magic. My girlfriend, who likes to travel, came with me, as did another qualified player. We left late Thursday afternoon and got some rest before our first day. Sheldon had helped me test multiple constructed decks, and with his finish in Dallas, he gave me a lot of insight into the limited aspects I needed to be aware of. We couldn’t find a really good constructed deck so I ended up on a pretty solid Abzan deck after being indecisive about things due to the format being very open.
Day 1 Draft/Standard
I drafted a mediocre deck and was able to win 1 of my 3 matches which wasn’t the best start. Standard, however, went only slightly better and I was able to 3-2 that, resulting in a 4-4 record which meant I had another day of Magic. Woohoo! The draft part is a lot of fun and requires loads of strategy. You have to try to make sure you have the right reads on the players too your right and left, stay in the correct colors, and know if and when it’s time to switch colors.
Day 2 Draft/Standard
My draft decked ended up being much better this go-around, and I felt confident about being able to at least 2-1 the pod or even 3-0 with some luck. I won my first round. In the second round my opponent and I played the game of “who can mulligan more” and it ended up with me losing. The third round I played the best limited game of Origins ever and was unable to get in for that last 2 points of damage that I needed. So another 1-2 for me which meant I was dead for re-queue for the Pro Tour, but I stayed in for another round of standard. I was sure I could get some wins in the standard portion, however my deck didn’t really seem to want to corporate with me and some bad luck meant my Pro Tour experience was over. It was a shame that no one really looked into the U/R artifact deck because that was the perfect meta call for the tournament.
The hall of the Pro Tour is awesome, everything from the lighting to the swag you can get is amazing. It’s a totally different feel from a Grand Prix: things run much smoother, there’s plenty of judges and several water stations to make sure that you stay hydrated. There’s only one or two vendors there which makes the overall space in the hall a lot more open. I picked up some awesome jackets and some really cool pop up figures. While I was disappointed with my performance at the Pro Tour, it goes to show that I still have so much to learn about Magic, and it also gives me retrospect about the game itself. Magic has introduced me to some of my best friends, and honestly, without them I’m not sure I could ever have accomplished even being able to attend the Pro Tour.
New Season, New Beginnings
Grand Prix San Diego is coming up this weekend, plus the announcement of more grand Prix’s and more chances to qualify for the Pro Tour (plus its awesome new locations) mean that my friends and I are going to give it our all to get invited! Huge shout out to Inked Gaming for letting me go to events like this and huge thanks to Brainstorm Games for providing me with cards at the last minute. The rest of 2015 and 2016 are going to bring nothing but new adventures and more stories of how I re-queue for the Pro Tour!
Written by Ryan Bemrose
Ryan is a Magic: the Gathering player who is known for his perpetual state of energetic pleasantness just as much as he is for his skill at the game. He and his lucky shirt are a regular presence on Day 2, and often uses somewhat unusual cards in his list of 75. You might see him playing one of the top decks in the current meta, but don’t let that fool you—he’d rather be playing blue.
After having a taste of the Pro Tour—and placing 25th—he’s motivated to play his way back there.