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News Brief: Battlebond and Grand Prix Washington D.C.

There is less than one week to go until Pro Tour Dominaria, but the world of Magic never stops. The past seven days, however, centered on two main stories.

Battlebond

The full set list for Battlebond has been officially released. Battlebond is a set focused on Limited Two-Headed Giant play. With new mechanics like assist, which allows any player to aide in the casting of a spell, Battlebond is an innovation product, similar to Conspiracy. The set is loaded with high-demand reprints like Doubling Season and Land Tax while also giving multiplayer formats like Commander some new tools. The set also includes Brightling, the white member of the Morphling, Torchling, and Thornling cycle. Battlebond releases on June 8, 2018 and will be available for purchase and for Draft.

Grand Prix Washington D.C.

Grand Prix Washington DC was a bit of an oddity. In the run up to the three-player team 25th Anniversary Pro Tour, additional team events were added to the schedule. This Grand Prix was the second one to feature Dominaria Team Limited. Recently most Limited formats receive one such event but the nature of 2018 called for something special. It does not hurt that Dominaria is proving to be a rich and deep Limited play experience.

With less than a week to the Pro Tour the tournament featured quite the concentration of pro players. The two teams that went undefeated on Day 1—Oliver Tiu, Shahar Shenhar, and Ondrej Strasky, and Brad Nelson, Brian Braun-Duin, and Martin Muller—both made it through the Sealed portion to the Top 4 Draft. Joining them were the teams of Andrew Tenjum, Petr Sochurek, and Peter Ingram, and Eric Froehlich, Ben Stark, and Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa.

In other words, the Top 4 of this event was stacked.

The team of Tiu, Shenhar, and Strasky fell to the trio of Hall-of-Famers in Froehlich, Stark, and Damo da Rosa. On the other side of the bracket Nelson, Braun-Duin, and Muller were defeated by Tenjum, Sochurek, and Ingram. And just like that the two teams that emerged from Day 1 unscathed were out of Day 2.

And so it came down to Froehlich, Star, and Damo da Rosa up against Tenjum, Sochurek, and Ingram. The Hall-of-Famers had scooped their Finals opponents into the Top 4 and they made the most of the opportunity. After 14 rounds of Sealed play and two Drafts, Tenjum, Sochurek, and Ingram were the ones holding the trophies at the end of Sunday.

All eyes will be on Richmond starting Friday. The Pro Tour begins with Dominaria Draft on Friday morning before switching to six rounds of Standard. The process repeats on Saturday and the Top 8 will play for the title with their Standard decks on Sunday. What Draft strategy will perform best and will Dominaria Limited hold up under the brightest lights? Will Standard continue to be dominated by Red-Black Vehicles or will another established archetype emerge as the deck to beat? All these questions will be answered by Sunday evening, and we’ll be left with new problems to solve.

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