The first day of the pro tour

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And so Pro Tour Thunder Junction kicked off with more than 200 of Magic’s best battling for their share of the $500,000 prize pool, World Championship invites, and, of course, the glory of being crowned a Pro Tour champion.
Would the same be said for a Standard format reinvigorated with Outlaws of Thunder Junction?
Going Rogue in Thunder Junction Draft When Adam Edelson came to Seattle, he had one goal: “My goal is to 3-0 some more Pro Tour drafts and hopefully improve on my last finish,” explained the Pro Tour Murders at Karlov Manor Top Finisher.
The numbers from the first draft of the Pro Tour certainly bear that out.
Fresh off a 6-0 Draft performance in Chicago, Edelson kept up the streak of his own, with two quick victories leading him to an 8-0 record in his last eight Pro Tour Draft matches.
And no one proved that more than Jason Ye, who dropped only a single game en route to a 3-0 finish with the wildest Pro Tour draft deck you’ve ever seen.
That sent the Pro Tour into the Standard rounds, where Outlaws of Thunder Junction has made a big splash.
Pro Tour Thunder Junction had plenty of those moments—and plenty of “Holy Cow” moments.


Welcome back to Seattle.

This weekend, the Pro Tour made a return visit to the city where Magic was first born. More than 200 players gathered in the city where it all started more than 30 years ago with Richard Garfield, a dream, and a “Deckmaster” game.

With the attendance of numerous legendary Pro Tour players, both past and present, this is the first time the Pro Tour has returned to the city since Brian Braun-Duin’s victory in the 2016 World Championship. And what a show it was: Outlaws of Thunder Junction offered one of the most unforgettable draft experiences in the lengthy history of the game, upending the Standard format on exhibit.

With over 200 of Magic’s finest competing for a piece of the $500,000 prize pool, invitations to the World Championship, and, of course, the honor of being crowned a Pro Tour champion, Pro Tour Thunder Junction got underway.

The world of Magic watched to see if the most consistent player in the game over the previous year, Player of the Year Simon Nielsen, would continue his historic streak after recording a record-breaking fourth consecutive Top Finish at Pro Tour Murders at Karlov Manor. Along with the rest of the ChannelFireball team that destroyed Pioneer with Rakdos Vampires (“Sorin Tell”) in Chicago, the top of the field included Hall of Famer and recent Pro Tour Murders at Karlov Manor winner Seth Manfield.

Is it possible that a revitalized Standard format like Outlaws of Thunder Junction would yield the same results? We witnessed it put to the test, with Yoshihiko Ikawa coming out on top in a crowded field with a brilliant performance on Domain Ramp—the preferred vehicle for bringing Atraxa, Grand Unifier to battle.

Going Off Course in Thunder Junction Draft.

Adam Edelson arrived in Seattle with one intention in mind:.

“My objective is to win three more Pro Tour drafts and hopefully surpass my previous finish,” the Pro Tour Murders at Karlov Manor Top Finisher stated. and ideally surpass my previous finish. “.

Edelson is a Limited specialist, just like many of the players who made it to Seattle; his two perfect drafts in Chicago were the secret to his success in the Top 8. This is where Outlaws of Thunder Junction come into play: the new set includes an enormous amount of cards that have the potential to appear in Play Boosters because extra cards from Breaking News (OTP) and The Big Score (BIG) have been added to Play Boosters. As the Magic community delved into the set and the Pro Tour field started to try and sort things out for itself, reviews were overwhelmingly positive. The set has more going on underneath than perhaps any other in Limited Magic history.

This format works really well. Although the format is known for being bomb-heavy, Edelson clarified that it’s the first in a while where you don’t have to eliminate your opponent’s two- and three-drop in order to win the game. The color pairs are also all fairly balanced. “The games are easy to splash, have decent fixing, and are generally quite engaging and lengthy. Since there are so many different cards and decks available, the commons in this set are not as important as they could be. “.”.

Indeed, the Pro Tour’s initial draft numbers support that.

In addition to having an enormous variety of color schemes, the winning Limited decks from Outlaws of Thunder Junction shared a trait with their pilots: they weren’t scared to take risks.

As much as possible, Edelson said, “you want to stay monocolor so that when you see the bomb come through, you can move into that color or splash for it.”. “The format ultimately came down to three priorities for us: first, your bombs. Second, how do you fix your mana? The third item is your dismissal. “.

After a dominant 6-0 Draft performance in Chicago, Edelson continued his winning ways, winning two straight games to take an 8-0 record into his next eight Pro Tour Draft contests. And although the back-to-back, undefeated draft dream was dashed by a close loss to Yoshihiko Ikawa, Edelson’s description of the format was accurate—anything is possible in Thunder Junction”.

Nobody better demonstrated this than Jason Ye, who finished 3-0 with the most bizarre Pro Tour draft deck you’ve ever seen while dropping just one game.

Ye said, following her flawless run that won every single via mill, “I had a deck during our internal testing with one copy of Archive Trap, but definitely not two.”. “You can do a lot of things in this format, but I’ve never had a deck that was specifically focused on this card. “.”.


Alex Hayne, Jim Davis, David Inglis, Arne Huschenbeth, Shota Yasooka, and Shuhei Nakamura were among the other notable 3-0 draftees. Testing teams now take pride in their collective performance at Limited, and the 26 unbeaten drafters included both elite players and talented drafters from smaller squads.

That moved the Pro Tour into the Standard rounds, where Outlaws of Thunder Junction has gained significant attention.

The Standard Superstars.

Outlaws of Thunder Junction’s numerous cards offered drafters not only the most intriguing challenge in years, but they also breathed new life into the already vibrant Standard format. For further information and to view all of the Standard decklists, visit Frank Karsten’s metagame breakdown.

Rei “cftsoc” Zhang completely turned the game on its head at the Standard Showdown in Chicago with an unexpected Aftermath Analyst list, which is where Standard’s seismic shifts and the origins of this tournament took place. The deck that combined turbo-graveyard and turbo-land was an excellent illustration of the type of Standard deck-building skill that competitors recognized as essential to solving Standard: determine your exact mana capacity and work your way up from there.

The player who uses the most mana usually wins the game, according to a Magic axiom, and Worldsoul’s Rage is a fantastic way to use mana.


The Temur Analyst deck is still very much in play at Pro Tour Thunder Junction, as Muhan Yu’s 7-1 finish demonstrates. However, the most recent set release has strengthened other archetypes, such as new Azorius Control decks with No More Lies, Final Showdown, and Three Steps Ahead, and added some crucial interactions against the deck with Rest in Peace. Additionally, there is always the reliable Esper Midrange with Raffine and Scheming Seer, which was the most well-liked deck in the field while rivals tried to break the format within a rushed timeframe.

In the time allotted, most teams concluded there was no real advantage to be gained, and players resorted to playing the archetype closest to their preferred playstyle.

Temur Analyst and Four-Color Legends, along with two Esper Midrange lists, finished at 7-1, while Domain Ramp finished undefeated.

Seattle: A View and Heard.

The celebration of the gathering began last year with the Pro Tour’s return to tabletop play, and it was a momentous occasion when that gathering came back to Magic’s house. By drawing on the game’s past and the new paths it has taken with Outlaws of Thunder Junction, both the casters and the players made the most of it.

One of those paths? Because Oko, Thief of Crowns, is floating around the format, certain traditional Magic cards, like Reanimate, can make an extremely rare appearance and do some very potent things. Furthermore, those unique cards create some truly remarkable moments when they do appear.

Pro Tour Thunder Junction experienced a great deal of both those and “Holy Cow” moments.

Gazing forward.

The 128 players who finished Day One at 4-4 or better will return for three more rounds of Outlaws of Thunder Junction before a stretch run through five final rounds of Standard, with Yoshihiko Ikawa starting the competition in pole position.

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