We’re just a few hours away from Pro Tour Fate Reforged in Washington, D.C. ChannelFireball is fielding two teams: Team ChannelFireball, and Team ChannelFireball: The Pantheon, and they’ll both bring their best game to this tournament. To get you ready to follow all the action from home, I’m breaking down who’s playing, what’s being played, and what they’re playing for, along with the basics to get you up to speed.
Where Do I Watch?
You can watch the whole event at twitch.tv/magic starting at 9 a.m. EST all 3 days—February 6, 7, and 8.
The easy way to remember the format breakdown for the Pro Tour is 3-5/3-5/Top 8.
Day 1 (Friday): 3 rounds of Fate Reforged–Khans of Tarkir–Khans of Tarkir Draft, followed by 5 rounds of Modern.
Day 2 (Saturday): Another 3 rounds of Fate Reforged–Khans of Tarkir–Khans of Tarkir Draft, followed by another 5 rounds of Modern.
Day 3 (Sunday): Top 8 single-elimination.
Here’s what they’re playing for. To reach the Top 8, a record of 13-3 or better basically locks you in, and a 12-4 player or two usually make it in. If you’re following a player, they are definitely in the running until they pick up that 4th loss. If you take your 5th loss on Day 1, you don’t get to compete the second day.
Modern is a diverse format that was totally shaken up recently by the new bannings—Treasure Cruise, Birthing Pod, and Dig Through Time. The format will look a little like it did before Cruise was printed, but with some new cards.
Jacob Van Lunen put together a great primer on the format on the mothership, so I won’t take up a bunch of space with deck lists—you can find some good sample lists there, and I’ll link to some good examples as well. I’m just breaking down the format into 2 basic tiers: tier 1 are decks that are on everyone’s radar and that they will be prepared for, and tier 2 decks are playable options that aren’t likely to show up in large numbers—playing one of these decks would be less expected, and less likely to run into sideboard hate. If you see someone doing well with a deck that’s not on this list, well, that’s when things are getting really exciting!
UWR Control (HYPGN0SIS)
Jeskai Ascendancy Combo
Fate Reforged–Khans of Tarkir–Khans of Tarkir Draft
Now that the order goes new set first (the old way would have gone Khans–Khans–Fate Reforged) the commons from the new set have a bigger impact on the format.
Huey’s done a few Pack 1 Pick 1 articles with the new format, and based on the 25 packs he’s opened so far, rares are going to play a huge role. The Sieges, Dragons, mythics, all are early picks that have an enormous impact on the game. Check out his series to get a feel for how bomb-heavy the packs are.
As for commons, here are Luis’s Top 5 commons from his Limited Set Reviews.
Top 10 Commons Overall
Luis’s ratings will definitely have changed by the time he sits down to draft tomorrow, but that’s part of the fun—seeing which flaws two weeks of intensive playtesting will reveal.
OK, so the truth is, there’s a pretty good chance your favorite player won’t make Top 8. Even the best players in the world can only spike tournaments with this level of competition every so often, but all is not lost once they’re out of the running. Most of these players are chasing Silver or Gold level, or Platinum—the highest level of the Pro Players Club. Reaching these levels is the lifeblood of Pro players—they need them for appearance fees and travel, and even to simply qualify for the next Pro Tour. It’s a lot harder to find current Pro Point totals than it used to be, but it’s only the second PT of the season out of four, so almost every player is just looking for a solid finish: 10-6 or better.
Collaborating with Team Face-to-Face Games: