Luis Scott-Vargas is an American professional player and a member of the Magic Pro Tour Hall of Fame, inducted in 2013. He won Pro Tour Berlin 2008, and has seven additional Pro Tour top eights to his name. He is so far the only pro player to go 16–0 in the Swiss rounds of a Pro Tour, which he managed at Pro Tour San Diego 2010. In addition to being a professional player, Scott-Vargas is a prominent writer of the game, and also frequently features on coverage as a commentator.
Professional play[edit | edit source]
Scott-Vargas was first introduced to the game in 1994, but only started playing competitively in the early 2000s. He qualified for his first Pro Tour, San Diego, in 2004; but his first taste of success came a year later, at his third Pro Tour, in London. Coming into the last round with an 11–3 record, Scott-Vargas needed to win the last round against Tomi Walamies to advance to the top eight. He lost the match, and finished 14th in the event. After skipping Pro Tour Charleston 2006 due to school obligations, Scott-Vargas posted his breakthrough performance by placing second at the 2006 US National Championship, a tournament he practiced for by playing his Vintage Stax deck against eventual champion Paul Cheon's Solar Flare deck. He then attended PT Kobe 2006, and, with the exception of the 2016–17 season, when he elected to take a year off to join the coverage team, has not missed a Pro Tour event since.
The 2006 World Championships were a disappointment to the United States national team. Despite Scott-Vargas and Cheon both finishing in the money, the team failed to post a good finish due to a mediocre Team Rochester draft performance; USA ultimately finished 13th. Scott-Vargas would get another chance next year, however, as he won the 2007 US National Championship, playing "Omni-Chord" featuring Chord of Calling and Arcanis the Omnipotent. He also posted his first Grand Prix success a month later, winning the Block Constructed GP in San Francisco. Scott-Vargas placed 25th individually at the 2007 World Championships in New York, but the national team fared no better than in 2006; it ended up in 25th-place. The year was overall a success, as Scott-Vargas ended the season on 40 points, exactly sufficient for Level 7 in the Pro Players Club.
It was during the 2008 season that Scott-Vargas began asserting dominance. After a decent half season featuring a top eight at GP Philadelphia and a money finish at PT Hollywood, Scott-Vargas won Pro Tour Berlin in October 2008. Coming into the top eight in eight-place and wielding a variant of the Elfball deck that had torn up the tournament, Scott-Vargas overcame a difficult matchup against Kenny Öberg's Tezzerator deck in the quarterfinals, and then defeated Tomoharu Saito and Matej Zatlkaj in two mirror-matches to become the champion. This event was followed by an 11th-place finish at the 2008 World Championships despite a concession to a friend, Grand Prix wins at Atlanta and Los Angeles, and then another top eight at the first Pro Tour of the 2009 season, PT Kyoto. After handily dispatching his first two opponents, Masayu Tanahashi and Brian Robinson, Scott-Vargas faced former Player of the Year Gabriel Nassif in the final. In what has been described as one of the all-time best matches, Nassif emerged victorious 3–2 after an anticlimatic fifth game where Scott-Vargas mulliganed to five and failed to offer much of a challenge.
The following two seasons would also prove to be very successful for Scott-Vargas, who kept posting strong finishes without quite becoming the Player of the Year. A highlight was at PT San Diego 2010, where Scott-Vargas managed the unprecedented feat of going 16–0 in the Swiss rounds of a Pro Tour. Although his run ended in the semifinals after being defeated by eventual champion Simon Görtzen, Scott-Vargas was widely considered to be the best player in the world. In 2011, he posted an additional two Pro Tour top eights, bringing his total up to five. At PT Nagoya he finished seventh, and at the 2011 World Championships he placed sixth. Had he won the quarterfinal match against Richard Bland, he would have won the 2011 Player of the Year title; instead, he finished second behind Owen Turtenwald. His performances were good enough to earn him an invitation to the inaugural Players Championship in 2012, a sixteen-player high-stake tournament that would later be renamed the World Championship; he finished 12th in the event. He also won a World Magic Cup Qualifier tournament to be a member of the United States national team at the 2012 World Magic Cup. USA famously went down to Taiwan in the last round of day two due to a topdecked Bonfire of the Damned, and as such failed to make it to the top eight.
The next few seasons did not yield the same results as Scott-Vargas had had previously. In 2012–13, after an overall disappointing season, Scott-Vargas needed to finish in the top 16 of Pro Tour Dragon's Maze to retain Platinum membership in the Pro Players Club. He succeeded at this, finishing 11th by beating Ari Lax in the final round. Later that year, he was inducted into the Magic Pro Tour Hall of Fame, being voted into the 2013 class alongside Ben Stark and William Jensen, receiving 95.6% of the votes, which is second behind only Jon Finkel. However, the 2013–14 season did not go well; his only significant finish was 8th-place at Grand Prix Richmond, so he ended up with Silver status in the Pro Players Club. 2014–15 went better, with a Grand Prix win alongside teammates Paul Cheon and Eric Froehlich at GP San Jose 2015 in addition to two other top eights at Grand Prix level; he ended the season with Gold level.
After a few disappointing seasons, 2015–16 was incredible for Scott-Vargas. At Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch, he piloted a Modern Eldrazi deck to his first top eight since 2011; he ultimately finished third in the event after being defeated in a five-game match by Jiachen Tao. He followed up his success at the very next Pro Tour, PT Shadows over Innistrad, where he also made the top eight, this time falling in the quarterfinals to Shota Yasooka. Scott-Vargas had already in all likelihood secured his spot at the 2016 World Championship, the first time he had qualified for this event since 2012, and in the last event of the season, PT Eldritch Moon, he pulled off the extraordinary achievement of advancing to Sunday play at three straight Pro Tours, a feat that hadn't been accomplished since Jon Finkel did it in 1998. His tournament ended in the semifinals after a loss to Player of the Year Owen Turtenwald; Scott-Vargas himself finished fourth in the race.
At the 2016 World Championship, Scott-Vargas started 1–3, but bounced back to finish the event 9–5. He missed out on the top four due to poor tiebreakers, finishing sixth and pocketing $10,000. After the event, he announced that he would join the coverage team for the 2016–17 season, featuring at Pro Tours as a commentator instead of a player. At Pro Tour Hour of Devastation, Scott-Vargas declared that he'd return to professional play for the 2017–18 season.
Accomplishments[edit | edit source]
|2006||Nationals||Atlanta||Standard and Booster Draft||28–30 July 2006||3|
|2007||Nationals||Baltimore||Standard and Booster Draft||26–29 July 2007||1|
|2007||Grand Prix||San Francisco||Block Constructed||25–26 August 2007||1|
|2008||Grand Prix||Philadelphia||Extended||15–16 March 2008||3|
|2008||Pro Tour||Berlin||Extended||31 October–2 November 2008||1|
|2008||Grand Prix||Atlanta||Limited||15–16 November 2008||1|
|2009||Grand Prix||Los Angeles||Extended||17–18 January 2009||1|
|2009||Pro Tour||Kyoto||Standard and Booster Draft||27 Feburary–1 March 2009||2|
|2009||Grand Prix||Seattle/Tacoma||Standard||30–31 May 2009||5|
|2010||Pro Tour||San Diego||Standard and Booster Draft||19–21 February 2010||3|
|2010||Grand Prix||Sydney||Limited||9–10 October 2010||2|
|2011||Pro Tour||Nagoya||Block Constructed and Booster Draft||10–12 June 2011||7|
|2011||Grand Prix||Kansas City||Limited||18–19 June 2011||1|
|2011||Nationals||Indianapolis||Standard and Booster Draft||5–7 August 2011||5|
|2011||Worlds||San Francisco||Special||17–20 November 2011||6|
|2012||Grand Prix||Lincoln||Modern||18–19 February 2012||3|
|2012–13||Grand Prix||Philadelphia||Limited||27–28 October 2012||7|
|2012–13||Grand Prix||Indianapolis||Limited||22–23 December 2012||3|
|2013–14||Grand Prix||Richmond||Modern||8–9 March 2014||8|
|2014–15||Grand Prix||Portland||Team Limited||9–10 August 2014||4|
|2014–15||Grand Prix||San Jose||Team Limited||31 January–1 February 2015||1|
|2014–15||Grand Prix||Atlantic City||Limited||9–10 May 2015||6|
|2015–16||Grand Prix||Detroit||Team Limited||15–16 August 2015||2|
|2015–16||Pro Tour||Atlanta||Modern and Booster Draft||5–7 February 2016||3|
|2015–16||Pro Tour||Madrid||Standard and Booster Draft||12–24 April 2016||7|
|2015–16||Pro Tour||Sydney||Standard and Booster Draft||5–7 August 2016||4|
Pro Tour Results[edit | edit source]
|List of the Pro Tour results and winnings of Luis Scott-Vargas|
[edit | edit source]
Scott-Vargas has been a long-time writer of the game; he started out as a writer for AdventuresOn (later known as BlackBorder.com), and later produced content for TCGPlayer.com and Star City Games. In early 2009, he helped launch ChannelFireball, with which he has been associated ever since, at first in an editorial role; these days, he is the company Vice President. He has written articles for the website semi-regularly since its inception; his most well-known article series include the Limited and Constructed set reviews, which have been a feature since the beginning of the site, as well as the "What's the play?"-series, where he presents a difficult game scenario and in a follow-up article talks about what the correct play is. However, he is perhaps best known for his Magic Online videos, a concept he helped popularize; as well as the "Magic TV" show along with co-hosts such as Mashi Scanlan, Tristan Shaun-Gregson, and Andy Cooperfauss. Since January 2015, he has also been co-hosting the popular podcast Limited Resources along with Marshall Sutcliffe. Furthermore, he has since January 2014 been an article writer for Magicthegathering.com.
Since 2013, Scott-Vargas has also been doing play-by-play commentary at Pro Tours, even those in which he himself made it to the top eight; and has been a fixture on coverage of other events, such as Grand Prix (most frequently those hosted by ChannelFireball), the Magic Online Championship Series, the World Magic Cup, and the World Championship. In 2016, Scott-Vargas temporarily retired from Pro Tours in order to provide more professional event coverage. He returned to professional play a year later.
Additionally, Scott-Vargas is a frequent and popular streamer, often attracting viewership in the thousands on his channel.
[edit | edit source]
- Top 200 All-Time Money Leaders
- Lifetime Pro Tour Top 8s
- Lifetime Grand Prix Top 8s
- List of players by lifetime Pro Points (requires Planeswalker Points login)
- Luis Scott-Vargas' Twitch channel
- Luis Scott-Vargas' article archive on ChannelFireball
- Luis Scott-Vargas' article archive on Star City Games
- Luis Scott-Vargas' article archive on Magicthegathering.com
References[edit | edit source]
- Guarino, Ben (2015-06-03). 'Magic: The Gathering' Has Quietly Transformed Into a Serious Card Game. Inverse. Retrieved on 2016-06-28.
- LUIS SCOTT-VARGAS - HALL OF FAME. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2016-06-28.
- Scott-Vargas, Luis. Flaring Up at Nationals - A U.S. Nationals Report *3rd*. Star City Games. Retrieved on 2016-06-28.
- 2007 PLAYER OF THE YEAR STANDINGS. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2016-06-28.
- Hagon, Rich. Removed From Game - Pro Tour: Kyoto in Review. Star City Games. Retrieved on 2016-06-28.
- Kibler, Brian. Team USA At The World Magic Cup. Star City Games. Retrieved on 2016-06-28.
- Styborski, Adam (2013-05-18). ROUND 16: VARGAS VALUE. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2016-06-28.
- Scott-Vargas, Luis (2016-09-04). Entering the Coverage Bracket. ChannelFireball. Retrieved on 2016-09-05.
- AMA with Luis Scott-Vargas. Reddit. Retrieved on 2016-06-28.
- Scott-Vargas, Luis (2007-04-19). How to Draft in Time. TCGPlayer.com. Retrieved on 2016-06-28.