Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir

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Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir
Date 10–12 October 2014
Location United States.png Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Attendance 357
Format Standard and Booster draft
Prize pool $250,000
Winner United States.png Ari Lax
Previous Pro Tour:
Pro Tour Magic 2015
Next Pro Tour:
Pro Tour Fate Reforged

Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir was the first Pro Tour of the 2014–15 season. The event had 357 competitors, and took place on 10–12 October 2014 in Hololulu, Hawaii. It featured Standard and Booster draft, and was the first constructed premier event where the new Khans of Tarkir was legal. The Pro Tour was won by American Ari Lax, who defeated Canada's Shaun McLaren, already a Pro Tour champion in 2014, in the final.

The 2014 Class of the Hall of Fame was inducted at Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir.

Day one[edit | edit source]

The Pro Tour opened with the 2014 Class of the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Three players were inducted: Makihito Mihara, Paul Rietzl, and Guillaume Wafo-Tapa, though Wafo-Tapa could not make it to the Pro Tour, and was not present. This marked the first time a player did not attend their Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

The event itself started with a triple Khans of Tarkir draft. Notable players who started their campaign 3–0 included Yuuya Watanabe, William Jensen, Jon Finkel, Paul Rietzl, and reigning Pro Tour champion Ivan Floch. Five rounds of Standard followed; the most significant decks by a wide margin were Jeskai Tempo and Abzan Midrange, at 21.6% and 16.8% of the field, respectively.[1] Other popular decks included a four-color combo deck built around Jeskai Ascendancy, played by a number of top players, including Luis Scott-Vargas and Lee Shi Tian; a number of pros also opted for a blue-black control deck featuring Pearl Lake Ancient as the win condition. This deck was played by several members of Team Pantheon, including Owen Turtenwald and William Jensen; a slightly different version was also played by Ivan Floch and Stanislav Cifka. The undefeated players after the first day of competition were Yuuya Watanabe, playing Jeskai, and Mike Sigrist, who was playing a more aggressive version of the Abzan deck; this deck featured such cards as Rakshasa Deathdealer and Anafenza, the Foremost, eschewing more traditional options like Elspeth, Sun's Champion in favor of having a beatdown deck.

Rank Player Points Rank Player Points
1 Japan.png Yuuya Watanabe 24 5 Czech Republic.png Ondřej Stráský 21
2 United States.png Mike Sigrist 24 6 United States.png Ari Lax 21
3 Croatia.png Toni Portolan 21 7 Israel.png Shahar Shenhar 21
4 South Korea.png Park Jun Young 21 8 Canada.png Omar Beldon 21

Day two[edit | edit source]

After another triple Khans of Tarkir-draft, three players stood atop the field: Mike Sigrist, Ondřej Stráský, and Ari Lax. Japanese top pro Yuuya Watanabe had a difficult day, going 2–4 in the first six rounds. In the last round, he got paired against 2013–14 Player of the Year runner-up Owen Turtenwald, who was at 12–3 coming into the round and only an intentional draw away from his third top eight, but got paired down. Watanabe won the match, and made the top eight by virtue of having the best tiebreakers. Turtenwald, meanwhile, finished 11th. Another tiebreaker winner was Hong Kong's Lee Shi Tian, who on 12–4 edged out Gregory Orange to take the last top eight slot. Another player who made it to the knockout stage was Ivan Floch, who was looking to defend his title as the current Pro Tour champion, a feat that hadn't been accomplished since Kai Budde won back-to-back Pro Tours in 2001.

Top 8[edit | edit source]

Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
                         
1  Shaun McLaren 2  
8  Lee Shi Tian 0  
  1  Shaun McLaren 2  
  4  Mike Sigrist 1  
4  Mike Sigrist 2
5  Ivan Floch 0  
    1  Shaun McLaren 1
  2  Ari Lax 3
3  Thiago Saporito 2  
6  Ondřej Stráský 1  
  3  Thiago Saporito 1
  2  Ari Lax 2  
2  Ari Lax 2
7  Yuuya Watanabe 0  

Although considered one of the top players in the game, Yuuya Watanabe lost in straight sets to Ari Lax in the quarterfinals. Lax, while playing in his first Pro Tour top eight, was an esteemed player, and regarded as one of the best players without a Pro Tour top eight until that point.[2] Two newcomers to the Sunday stage met in the second quarterfinal, with Brazil's Thiago Saporito defeating Czech player Ondřej Stráský 2–1. Ivan Floch's hopes of winning back-to-back Pro Tours were quashed by longtime player Mike Sigrist, who won 2–0 in decisive fashion. Another player with a Pro Tour win in 2014 was Shaun McLaren. McLaren, a relatively unknown player at the time of his Pro Tour win, established himself as a top Pro Tour player by finishing first after the Swiss rounds, and managed to defeat Lee Shi Tian, playing in his third Pro Tour top eight. McLaren's Jeskai Tempo deck prevailed over Shi Tian's Ascendancy combo deck 2–1.

Ari Lax and Thiago Saporito dueled in the Abzan Midrange mirror-match in the first semifinal. In a long and close three-game match, Lax finally pulled ahead when he topdecked an Elspeth, Sun's Champion when both players were out of cards, and won the match 2–1 to advance to the final. In the other semifinal, Shaun McLaren kept his hopes of becoming a repeat Pro Tour champion alive by defeating Mike Sigrist's Abzan Aggro deck 2–1. The final match of the tournament between Ari Lax and Shaun McLaren ended 3–1 in favor of Lax; a few of the games were decided by timely Siege Rhinos. As such, Ari Lax was crowned as the champion of Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir.

Place Player Deck Prize Pro Points Comment
1 United States.png Ari Lax Abzan Midrange $40,000 30
2 Canada.png Shaun McLaren Jeskai Tempo $20,000 26 Second Pro Tour Top 8
3 United States.png Mike Sigrist Abzan Aggro $12,500 22
4 Brazil.png Thiago Saporito Abzan Midrange $12,500 22
5 Slovakia.png Ivan Floch Blue-Black Control $10,000 18 Second Pro Tour Top 8
6 Czech Republic.png Ondřej Stráský Jeskai Tempo $10,000 18
7 Japan.png Yuuya Watanabe Jeskai Tempo $10,000 18 Third Pro Tour Top 8
8 Hong Kong.png Lee Shi Tian Jeskai Ascendancy $10,000 18 Third Pro Tour Top 8

Player of the Year Race[edit | edit source]

As the first Pro Tour of the season, Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir had a significant impact on the Player of the Year race. The top four were all top four finishers at the Pro Tour, with the fifth player, Owen Turtenwald, taking up the last spot on the list thanks to his 11th-place finish plus a Grand Prix win early in the season.

Player Pro Points
United States.png Ari Lax 34
Canada.png Shaun McLaren 29
United States.png Thiago Saporito 25
United States.png Mike Sigrist 22
United States.png Owen Turtenwald 21

Notable performances[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Calderaro (2014-10-10). DAY ONE STANDARD METAGAME BREAKDOWN. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2015-10-04.
  2. Bennett (2015-04-10). ROUND 3 FEATURE MATCH: (5) ARI LAX VS. ADRIAN SULLIVAN. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2015-10-04.
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