And so that's a wrap for Pro Tour Dominaria. After three days of some serious and some not so serious commentary (thankfully), together with a classic final top deck we say congratulations to Wyatt Darby on his first Pro Tour win and look forward to seeing you at the World Champs in Las Vegas in September. But what have we learned from this PT? Here are three things to ponder.
Play To The End
If there's one thing to learn from the weekend, it's play to the end. Witness Reid Duke who, having started the PT with one win and four losses and so unable to reach the top 8 after five rounds, continued to play to earn points for his team and won eleven in a row finishing on 12-4 for 15th place, second only to Owen Turtenwald who made it to the semi-finals.
Better yet, watch both Wyatt Darby and opponent Goncalo Pinto at the final play of the tournament. Basically dead, Wyatt top decks a Glorybringer to steal victory from the jaws of defeat. Which is one of those really cool moments you get in Magic from time to time. Mostly it's exactly the opposite of Yam Wing Chun's fluff in PT Hour of Devastation. But he's a little tardy resolving his triggers and, rightly, Goncalo calls a judge to make sure he is in fact dead or down only to two life. Actually he is dead, but dead fighting right to the end.
Should the Pro Tour Be Early- or Mid-season?
PT Dominaria took place six weeks after the Dominaria set came out while PTs usually take place two or three weeks after set release. There has been more time for the pro players to understand the draft environment and "solve" standard. Was it better as a result? This time around, it really depends on which of the formats you prefer.
Dominaria has been hailed as one of the best drafting sets for a while. Whether that's a result of being the first set being fully put through its paces by the new Play Design team at Wizards is for another time, but it does mean that there's a lot of depth to it, most colour pairs work together to make a winnable deck and even Primeval's Glorious Rebirth can be drafted (if you're Sam Black). So if you like draft, the added time before the Pro Tour means even sharper drafting to watch. On the other hand, it also means there's more time for the proverbial best deck in Standard to have been found and everyone to be playing it. Which seems to have happened this time around with Matthew Foulkes \ Simon Neilsen's black-red aggro deck and variants accounting for six of the top eight players in the competition.
At least we can be thankful that aggro mirrors are over quickly. I can't think of anything more tedious than untimed UW-Teferi mirrors all the way through the top eight. I mean, I like mill decks but durdling someone to death is not good viewing. And hard to commentate on as well I guess.
Personally I think the PT should move back to week two or three of the release cycle. There's no reason why there should be one winningest standard deck by then and the pros will have to balance researching best decks with draft methodology. For those of us lesser mortals who can be partial to a spot of netdecking pre Wednesday or Friday night magic, that gives us the pointers to enjoy the rest of the cycle much sooner.
Should Anything Be Banned In Standard?
The next Banned and Restricted list announcement comes on July 2. Remember that the general reason to add a card to the B&R list is because it weakens the standout deck of the format enough to give everyone a chance or because it is so busted in itself it dominates the format in whatever deck it sits.
So, given there were 28 Goblin Chainwhirlers out of 28 possible slots, and it shuts off any real thought of playing tokens with one toughness much like Rampaging Ferocidon did before it was banned, should it or anything else be banned? Easy. No. Chainwhirler is good but it is not damage to your face like Ferocidon and yes you can work around it. It's not particularly fun to read the same results again and again, but as Patrick Chapin wrote earlier this week, maybe the thing is to unban rather than restrict further. Bring back Aetherworks Marvel I say.
A further pause for thought, Scrapheap Scrounger has now been the most prevalent card in Standard top 8s since Kaladesh was released. Only five more months until rotation...