Luis Scott-Vargas

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Luis Scott-Vargas
Nickname LSV
Born February 17, 1983
Residence Denver, Colorado, United States
Nationality United States.png American
Pro Tour debut Pro Tour San Diego 2004
Winnings $338,930 (as of 2017-06-27)
Pro Tour top 8s 8 (1 win)
Grand Prix top 8s 15 (5 wins)
Median Pro Tour Finish 56
Pro Tours Played 46
Lifetime Pro Points 522 (as of 2017-11-28)

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,[1] but only started playing competitively in the early 2000s.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4]

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,[5] 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.[6]

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.[7] 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.[8] 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]

Season Event type Location Format Date Rank
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

-->Source: Wizards.com

Pro Tour Results[edit | edit source]

List of the Pro Tour results and winnings of Luis Scott-Vargas
Season Pro Tour Format Finish Winnings
2003–04 San Diego Booster Draft 94
2005 Philadelphia Block Constructed 144 $375
2005 London Booster Draft 14 $3,800
2005 Los Angeles Extended 310
2006 Honolulu Standard 228
2006 Kobe Booster Draft 193
2006 Worlds (Paris) Special 62 $530
2007 Geneva Booster Draft 36 $1,150
2007 Yokohama Block Constructed 30 $1,450
2007 San Diego Two-Headed Giant Booster Draft 51
2007 Valencia Extended 122
2007 Worlds (New York) Special 25 $1,700
2008 Kuala Lumpur Booster Draft 169
2008 Hollywood Standard 47 $710
2008 Berlin Extended 1 $40,000
2008 Worlds (Memphis) Special 11 $6,000
2009 Kyoto Standard and Booster Draft 2 $20,000
2009 Honolulu Block Constructed and Booster Draft 48 $690
2009 Austin Extended and Booster Draft 180
2009 Worlds (Rome) Special 80
2010 San Diego Standard and Booster Draft 3 $15,000
2010 San Juan Block Constructed and Booster Draft 42 $850
2010 Amsterdam Extended and Booster Draft 11 $6,000
2010 Worlds (Chiba) Special 34 $1,250
2011 Paris Standard and Booster Draft 10 $6,500
2011 Nagoya Block Constructed and Booster Draft 7 $10,000
2011 Philadelphia Modern and Booster Draft 22 $2,400
2011 Worlds (San Francisco) Special 6 $10,500
2012 Dark Ascension in Honolulu Standard and Booster Draft 429
2012 Avacyn Restored in Barcelona Block Constructed and Booster Draft 169
2012–13 Return to Ravnica in Seattle Modern and Booster Draft 327
2012–13 Gatecrash in Montreal Standard and Booster Draft 300
2012–13 Dragon's Maze in San Diego Block Constructed and Booster Draft 11 $5,000
2013–14 Theros in Dublin Standard and Booster Draft 59 $1,000
2013–14 Born of the Gods in Valencia Modern and Booster Draft 140
2013–14 Journey into Nyx in Atlanta Block Constructed and Booster Draft 65 $1,000
2013–14 Magic 2015 in Portland Standard and Booster Draft 164
2014–15 Khans of Tarkir in Honolulu Standard and Booster Draft 184
2014–15 Fate Reforged in Washington, D.C. Modern and Booster Draft 258
2014–15 Dragons of Tarkir in Brussels Standard and Booster Draft 405
2014–15 Magic Origins in Vancouver Standard and Booster Draft 52 $1,000
2015–16 Battle for Zendikar in Milwaukee Standard and Booster Draft 274
2015–16 Oath of the Gatewatch in Atlanta Modern and Booster Draft 3 $12,500
2015–16 Shadows over Innistrad in Madrid Standard and Booster Draft 7 $10,000
2015–16 Eldritch Moon in Sydney Standard and Booster Draft 4 $12,500
2017–18 Ixalan in Albuquerque Standard and Booster Draft 37 $1,500

-->Source: Wizards.com

Other Magic-related work[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),[9] and later produced content for TCGPlayer.com[10] 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.[8] 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.

External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Guarino, Ben (2015-06-03). 'Magic: The Gathering' Has Quietly Transformed Into a Serious Card Game. Inverse. Retrieved on 2016-06-28.
  2. LUIS SCOTT-VARGAS - HALL OF FAME. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2016-06-28.
  3. Scott-Vargas, Luis. Flaring Up at Nationals - A U.S. Nationals Report *3rd*. Star City Games. Retrieved on 2016-06-28.
  4. 2007 PLAYER OF THE YEAR STANDINGS. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2016-06-28.
  5. Hagon, Rich. Removed From Game - Pro Tour: Kyoto in Review. Star City Games. Retrieved on 2016-06-28.
  6. Kibler, Brian. Team USA At The World Magic Cup. Star City Games. Retrieved on 2016-06-28.
  7. Styborski, Adam (2013-05-18). ROUND 16: VARGAS VALUE. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2016-06-28.
  8. a b Scott-Vargas, Luis (2016-09-04). Entering the Coverage Bracket. ChannelFireball. Retrieved on 2016-09-05.
  9. AMA with Luis Scott-Vargas. Reddit. Retrieved on 2016-06-28.
  10. Scott-Vargas, Luis (2007-04-19). How to Draft in Time. TCGPlayer.com. Retrieved on 2016-06-28.