Pro Tour Eldritch Moon
|Pro Tour Eldritch Moon|
|Date||5–7 August 2016|
|Format||Standard and Booster draft|
Pro Tour Eldritch Moon was the fourth and final Pro Tour of the 2015–16 Pro Tour season. It took place on 5–7 August 2016 in Sydney, Australia. It was the first Pro Tour event taking place in Australia since the 2002 World Championships, also held in Sydney. With 302 competitors, it was the smallest Pro Tour since the 2005 World Championships in Yokohama, which had 287 players. The event was won by Czech pro Lukas Blohon, who beat 2015–16 Player of the Year Owen Turtenwald in a three-game final.
A month prior to the Pro Tour taking place, players were informed that they would need travel visas for temporary work in order to be admitted to the country, rather than the assumed tourist visa. Due to the cost (approximately $200) and the complicated process of filling out the 73-question document, Wizards allowed players who wished it to defer their invitations to future Pro Tours instead. As such, a few qualified players opted not to travel to the event.
Changes to the last two rounds of Swiss
Rounds 15 and 16 of Pro Tour Eldritch Moon were paired semi-randomly based on incentives for each player. Players whose goal was a top eight berth at the event were more likely to be paired against each other; the same was true for players hunting Pro Players Club levels, Worlds or World Magic Cup slots, or invitations to the next Pro Tour. The purpose of this change was to prevent concessions that happen as a result of players with mis-matched incentives being paired against each other.
An Eldritch Moon-Shadows over Innistrad Booster draft kicked off the event, with newly crowned Grand Prix player of the year Brian Braun-Duin being the main featured player; Kentaro Yamamoto was the secondary feature. Braun-Duin's Blue-Black Zombie deck containing Gisa and Geralf succeeded at taking him to a 3–0 record, while Yamamoto had to settle for a 1–2 result with his Blue-Red deck. Other famous players who started 3–0 included Olivier Ruel, Luis Scott-Vargas, winner of the previous Pro Tour Steve Rubin, and both players just revealed to have been voted into the Hall of Fame: Owen Turtenwald and Yuuya Watanabe.
In Standard, many expected the Bant Collected Company decks that had dominated the format previous to the release of Eldritch Moon to remain dominant; and indeed, Bant Company was the largest archetype on day one, occupying 19.2% of the format. Luis Scott-Vargas was among the players who opted for Bant Company, and piloted it to a 7–1 finish to end the day. However, breakout decks were various Green decks utilizing Emrakul, the Promised End. Green-Black Delirium was the most popular of these, and players like Steve Rubin and Pascal Maynard were running the deck to success. Reid Duke of The Pantheon played Red-Green Ramp with the big Eldrazi, while teammate Owen Turtenwald opted for Temur Emerge, and was rewarded with a perfect 8–0 record.
The top eight players after day one:
|1||Owen Turtenwald||24||5||Yuuya Watanabe||21|
|2||Brian Braun-Duin||21||6||Antonio Del Moral Leon||21|
|3||Reid Duke||21||7||David Schnayer||21|
|4||Luis Scott-Vargas||21||8||Jacob Wilson||21|
In a featured draft pod including both Hall of Fame elects and numerous other celebrated players, Owen Turtenwald and Luis Scott-Vargas were featured. Turtenwald drafted White-Blue while Scott-Vargas ended up Red-Green; both players went 2–1. Reid Duke won the pod with Black-Green, and tied Turtenwald for first place in the tournament at 10–1 going into the final Standard rounds. Turtenwald won round 12 to advance to 11–1, and if he won any of the remaining four matches, he'd make the top eight and thus win the Player of the Year race thanks to Seth Manfield not having a great tournament. He lost the first three and was down a game against Daniel Cathro in the final round, but came back to win the match, advanced to the top eight and became Player of the Year. Reid Duke and Luis Scott-Vargas both secured Sunday appearances with two rounds to spare; as did Sam Pardee, who thus would make his final day debut. Scott-Vargas became only the third player to have finished in the top eight of three straight Pro Tours; the last time this had been done was in 1998 (by Jon Finkel).
The first set of quarterfinals featured two fan favorites in one match - Luis Scott-Vargas with Bant Company against Reid Duke on Red-Green Delirium Ramp - and two-time Player of the Year Owen Turtenwald (playing Temur Emerge) against "King of the Faeries" Yuuta Takahashi (on Bant Company). Neither match proved to be very close, as Scott-Vargas beat Duke in three games, and following a first game loss due to mana issues, Turtenwald won the next three against Takahashi to secure a semifinal slot.
The only Pro Tour top eight debutant, Sam Pardee, used Black-Green Delirium to convincingly take down Andrew Brown's Temur Emerge 3–1 in their quarterfinal. The last quarterfinal was between Lukas Blohon's White-Black Control and Ken Yukuhiro's Red-Green Ramp. Prior to the match, Blohon's teammate Martin Jůza told the coverage team that he expected Blohon to lose the first two games (pre-sideboarded) and win the next three (post-sideboard); after testing the match the night before, they had concluded that it was almost unwinnable prior to sideboarding, but sideboarding made the matchup overall favorable. This was indeed what happened: Blohon lost the first two, but came back to win the next three.
Owen Turtenwald played Luis Scott-Vargas in the first semifinal. It was a very close affair where Scott-Vargas took the lead 2–1, but Turtenwald took the last two in part due to stumbles from Scott-Vargas. The other semifinal was expected to be fairly close, but it turned out to be a clean sweep, with Lukas Blohon defeating Sam Pardee 3–0.
The final played out similarly, with Owen Turtenwald's deck failing him in what his Pantheon teammates suggested was a favorable matchup; Lukas Blohon won the match in three games, becoming the Pro Tour Eldritch Moon champion. He was the first Pro Tour champion in the 2015–16 season to have previously finished in the top eight of a Pro Tour.
|1||Lukas Blohon||White-Black Control||$40,000||30||Second Pro Tour Top 8|
|2||Owen Turtenwald||Temur Emerge||$20,000||26||Fourth Pro Tour Top 8|
|3||Sam Pardee||Black-Green Delirium||$12,500||22|
|4||Luis Scott-Vargas||Bant Company||$12,500||22||Eighth Pro Tour Top 8|
|5||Yuuta Takahashi||Bant Company||$10,000||18||Second Pro Tour Top 8|
|6||Ken Yukuhiro||Red-Green Ramp||$10,000||18||Second Pro Tour Top 8|
|7||Reid Duke||Red-Green Delirium Ramp||$10,000||18||Second Pro Tour Top 8|
|8||Andrew Brown||Temur Emerge||$10,000||18||Second Pro Tour Top 8|
Player of the Year Race
2015 World Champion Seth Manfield came into the weekend with a considerable lead (13 Pro Points), with Owen Turtenwald needing top finish in the top eight to surpass him; Pro Tour Shadows over Innistrad champion Steve Rubin would need to win the event to have a shot at the title. Both Turtenwald and Rubin started the tournament strongly, ending the first day of competition on 8–0 and 6–1–1, respectively. Manfield was stumbling, leaving the door ajar for one of his competitors to snag the title. While Rubin couldn't quite finish on day two, Owen continued his run to 11–1, needing only one match win in the remaining four rounds to advance to the top eight and take the title; however, he lost the first three matches, and as such, his round 16 match against Daniel Cathro not only became a match for top eight, but a match for the Player of the Year title: If Turtenwald won, he would become the Player of the Year; but if Cathro won, Manfield would take the title. Despite going down 0–1 in the match, Turtenwald came back and won the next two games, advancing to the final eight and taking his second Player of the Year title. He finished second in the event, and with 98 points, Turtenwald scored the highest Pro Point total in a season since 2001–02, when Kai Budde became Player of the Year with 117 points.
- For various reasons, among others the visa issue, many players did not attend Pro Tour Eldritch Moon despite being qualified. Among these were:
- Five players posted perfect 6–0 records in Booster draft: Brad Nelson, Marcio Carvalho (who thus took the Draft Master slot at the 2016 World Championship), Oscar Christensen, Reid Duke, and Sam Pardee.
- The best Standard records during the Swiss rounds belonged to Ken Yukuhiro and Immanuel Gerschenson; both finished 9–0–1. Yukuhiro took his Red-Green Ramp deck to a top eight finish, while Gerschenson finished 12th with Temur Emerge.
- Luis Scott-Vargas posted his third straight Pro Tour top eight finish. This had previously done only by Scott Johns and Jon Finkel, in 1996 and 1998, respectively. This was also the first time a player made three Pro Tour top eights in the same season since Kenji Tsumura did it in 2005.
- Pro Tour Eldritch Moon was Randy Buehler's last as a commentator, having been a member of the Pro Tour coverage team from 1999 to 2009 (with a guest appearance in 1998), and again from 2014 to 2016. The color commentator spot was filled by Scott-Vargas for the 2017 season, until he returned to professional play, followed by Simon Görzten in 2018.
- Pro Tour Eldritch Moon coverage
- Pro Tour Eldritch Moon final standings
- 24-28 point Standard decklists
- 21-23 point Standard decklists
- 18-20 point Standard decklists
- Video coverage playlist
- Pro Tour Eldritch Moon Invitation list