Pro Tour Ixalan
|Pro Tour Ixalan|
|Date||3–5 November 2017|
|Location||Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States|
|Format||Standard and Booster draft|
Pro Tour Ixalan was the first Pro Tour of the 2017–18 season. It took place on 3–5 November 2017 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States. The event was won by former World Champion Seth Manfield, whose Sultai Energy deck won him the trophy in the final match against Canada's Pascal Maynard.
Pro Tour Ixalan marked the first time since the 2011 World Championships that the event took place not 1–2 weeks after the release of a new set; instead, Ixalan had been available for purchase for five weeks as Pro Tour Ixalan took place. As a result, the Standard and Booster draft formats had both been well explored prior to the event, with William Jensen having won the 2017 World Championship with Temur Energy four weeks prior, and five Ixalan Limited Grand Prix events had taken place already.
An Ixalan Booster draft kicked the event off, with the featured players being former Player of the Year Brad Nelson and Yuki Matsumoto, who was coming into the event with a lifetime Booster draft win record of 76%. Nelson drafted a White-Black Vampires deck that the commentators thought ended up fine, especially considering the weak start to the draft; in the first pack, Nelson didn't get many good cards. Matsumoto drafted a Blue-Black Pirates deck favored by the commentators. In the end, Nelson finished 1–2 in the draft, while Matsumoto won the pod, going 3–0. Other famous players to also post a perfect 3–0 start to the Pro Tour included Luis Scott-Vargas, back from an absence from the professional scene; Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, winner of the previous Pro Tour; Gabriel Nassif; Owen Turtenwald; Paul Rietzl; and both newly minted Hall of Famers, Martin Jůza and Josh Utter-Leyton.
Five rounds of Standard followed. The biggest decks by far were Ramunap Red, at 19.6% of the metagame, and two flavors of Energy decks: Temur at 23.6% of the field, and Four-Color at 19.6%. Other decks to make appearances included various God-Pharaoh's Gift decks, Mardu Vehicles, Black-Red Aggro, and Blue-Black Control. Wilson Hunter started 7–1 with Mono-White Vampires; Guillaume Matignon did the same with Jeskai Approach of the Second Sun. However, the two 8–0 players, Piotr Glogowski and Wing Chun Yam, were playing known quantities, fielding Four-Color Energy and Ramunap Red, respectively.
The top eight players after day one:
|2||Wing Chun Yam||24|
|6||Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa||21|
In the Team Series, the runaway leader after day one was team ChannelFireball. With three players at 7–1 (Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, Ben Stark, and Mike Sigrist), two players at 6–2 (Martin Jůza and Josh Utter-Leyton), and one player at 5–3 (Luis Scott-Vargas), ChannelFireball scored fully 24 match points better than their closest competitor, team Genesis.
The second day of competition, similar to the first, featured three rounds of Ixalan Booster draft followed by five rounds of Standard. The featured drafters were Wing Chun Yam, tied for first place after day one, and reigning Player of the Year Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa. Both players drafted Red-Green Dinosaurs, with the commentators suggesting that Damo da Rosa got the better deck of the two; his final product included among other cards Regisaur Alpha, Ripjaw Raptor, and Charging Monstrosaur. In the end, both players went 2–1 in the draft, with Yam defeating Damo da Rosa in round 10. The player to post the 3–0 on pod 1 was former World Champion Guillaume Matignon, who along with Yam and pod 2 winner Mike Sigrist, entered the final rounds of Standard tied for first, sporting 10–1 records.
Entering the Standard rounds, Mike Sigrist took two matches and advanced to the pivotal 36 points well ahead of schedule, and made his third Top 8 on three draws. Seth Manfield was next to join after a victory over Guillaume Matignon, who would later also be in the Top 8 after a victory over Bryan Hohns. Pascal Maynard's draw in round 6 gave him the edge after beating Owen Turtenwald, who later loses his clean win-and-in match against Kentaro Yamamoto. Day 1 leader Piotr Glogowski would ID with Seth Manfield, and John Rolf would ID also with Matignon, clearing six of the eight spots before play. The last two spots to be decided were Christian Hauck prevailing over Francesco Giorgio, and newcomer Samuel Ihlenfeldt claimed the lone 12-4 spot after defeating veteran Reid Duke and tiebreaker favourite Yam Wing Chun lost to Sergio Rozalen.
|1||Seth Manfield||$50,000||30||Sultai Energy||Fourth Pro Tour Top 8|
|2||Pascal Maynard||$20,000||28||UW God-Pharoah's Gift||Second Pro Tour Top 8|
|3||John Rolf||$15,000||24||Ramunap Red|
|4||Samuel Ihlenfeldt||$12,500||22||Mardu Vehicles||Pro Tour debut|
|5||Mike Sigrist||$10,000||20||4C Energy||Third Pro Tour Top 8|
|6||Christian Hauck||$9,000||18||Temur Energy|
|7||Guillaume Matignon||$7,500||17||Jeskai Approach||Third Pro Tour Top 8|
|8||Piotr Glogowski||$6,000||16||4C Energy||First Pole in a Pro Tour Top 8|
- Pro Tour Ixalan was the first Pro Tour since Pro Tour New York 1998 not attended by Raphaël Lévy, who ended his streak of 91 consecutive Pro Tours played due to the birth of his first child.
- The event also saw the return of Luis Scott-Vargas to competitive play; after posting three Pro Tour top eights in 2015–16, Scott-Vargas had taken the 2016–17 Pro Tour Season off to do coverage. His replacement on the Pro Tour coverage team was Pro Tour champion Simon Goertzen.
- Five players went undefeated in Booster Draft: Guillaume Matignon, Owen Turtenwald, Yuki Mastumoto, Bryan Hohns, and Elias Watsfeldt.
- Four players posted a 9–1 record in Standard: Ben Stark (4C Energy), Daniel Fournier, Yoshihiko Ikawa (both Ramunap Red) and Christian Hauck. Only Hauck was able to Top 8; however, John Rolf and Piotr Glogowski posted 8–1–1 records, with the draw being intentional.