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While I didn't get to compete in Pro Tour Ixalan, it went about as well as possible for me from a spectator's point of view. Friend and all-around great guy in Seth Manfield took the whole thing down, there were some sweet new decks I can't wait to try on stream, Team MGG debuted its two Pro Tour Team Series teams to great success, and four of my five predictions came true!
John Rolf was kind enough to check off two of my five predictions by himself, but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. The most important of the predictions going forward was the first, and despite the overabundance of Attune with Aether we still had a pretty healthy format and top 8.
Prediction One: There will be at least five different archetypes in the Top 8.
We even did one better, with six different archetypes competing on Sunday!
Yes, there were three copies of Temur Energy in Top 8. And yes, Temur/Four-Color Energy was an astoundingly large portion of the Pro Tour field. There's usually going to be a "best deck" in a format, which is going to be the deck that many players are going to feel safe bringing to the Pro Tour. It's hard to be that wrong with your Temur decklist, so it's an excellent deck for the risk-averse. It's also a deck that's just playing fair, honest Magic for the most part – a much better scenario than Turn 4 Felidar Guardian kills or Turn 4 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger.
So get over Attune with Aether and recognize there were a lot of very cool decks that did well at Pro Tour Ixalan!
- 4 Metallic Mimic
- 4 Adanto Vanguard
- 3 Angel of Invention
- 4 Aviary Mechanic
- 2 Duskborne Skymarcher
- 4 Legion Conquistador
- 3 Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle
- 4 Walking Ballista
- 4 Champion of Wits
- 4 Gifted Aetherborn
- 4 Hostage Taker
- 4 Kitesail Freebooter
- 3 Minister of Inquiries
- 1 Trophy Mage
- 3 The Scarab God
- 4 Adanto Vanguard
- 4 Adorned Pouncer
- 2 Kinjalli's Sunwing
- 4 Merfolk Branchwalker
- 4 Resilient Khenra
- 3 Sacred Cat
- 2 Oketra the True
- 2 Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter
- 1 Rishkar, Peema Renegade
That's some pretty serious innovation going 7-3 or better at a Pro Tour. Are these decks going to stick around? Were they just good metagame calls? Should I go buy as many copies of Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle I can get my hands on? We'll just have to find out!
If a Pro Tour ends and there's a handful of exciting new decks that did well, I'd consider that a successful Pro Tour.
Prediction Two: Hazoret the Fervent will make Top 8 in a non-Ramunap Red deck.
We are just scratching the surface on Hazoret the Fervent.
Going into Pro Tour Hour of Devastation, people were just starting to realize how powerful Hazoret really was. Most gods have not been able to overcome their restrictions, but Hazoret was worth the effort and totally fine in multiples as well. With Ramunap Red taking center stage, it became clear that Hazoret was not a supporting character but actually the protagonist.
However, don't just typecast Hazoret as a Mono-Red Aggro card...
- 2 Bomat Courier
- 4 Scrapheap Scrounger
- 2 Walking Ballista
- 4 Inventor's Apprentice
- 4 Toolcraft Exemplar
- 3 Veteran Motorist
- 3 Hazoret the Fervent
- 2 Pia Nalaar
The truth is that five hasted and difficult-to-kill power for only four mana is quite the deal, leaving any aggressive deck in Standard having to answer the question, "Why am I not playing Hazoret?"
Samuel Ihlenfeldt's Mardu Vehicles deck featured three copies of Hazoret the Fervent, which pushed him all the way into the semifinals of the Pro Tour. Hazoret was also seen in various black aggressive decks as well and has proven itself to be one of the premier threats and pillars of the Standard format. If your deck can't deal with Hazoret the Fervent, it is probably not a viable choice in Standard.
Prediction Three: There will be at least eight copies of Essence Scatter in the Top 8.
Close, but no cigar.