Regional Pro Tour Qualifier (RPTQ) time is always very exciting for me. Most of the time one of my good friends gets to qualify for the Pro Tour and you get to see a whole season worth of local-level grinding come to fruition. You get to see what decks were actually good, and what was a dud, that sort of thing—it’s like to Pro Tour for degenerates if you will.
This one was particularly exciting because of how diverse Modern is. I always find it fascinating to see how complicated formats settle down when good players culminate with the Pro Tour on their mind.
This season Ryan Hovis, Seth Deluca and Toronto locals Ryan Sandrin and Pasha Meshkati received invites to Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan by finishing in the Top 4 of the Toronto RPTQ at Face to Face Games. Congratulations to all of them.
Hovis played what looks to me like a very well-tuned Grixis Death’s Shadow list, cementing the archetype atop the Modern format. Hovis chose to play a very removal-heavy build and leaned on Temur Battle Rage to end games quickly over the usual number of discard spells. Hovis had more of the same in the sideboard with a truckload of counter magic and a full three sweepers. Just looking at this list, it’s clear there was a lot of work put in and it paid-off.
Toronto local, and my extremely lucky friend, Ryan Sandrin played U/R Storm. Storm has just steadily risen in popularity week-to-week since the printing of Baral Chief of compliance. Ryan made a good deck choice and played a very stock list. I also heard he got a little help from a Summoner’s Pact trigger got haywire in the Top 8.
I don’t really have much to say about Deluca’s deck other than it looks super sweet, super explosive and I can’t believe it Top 4’d and RPTQ. I will say that the sideboard looks very hateful and it’s clear Deluca was look to really hate on specific matchups.
Pasha Meshkati played one of Modern’s rising stars in U/R Breach and will be attending his first Pro Tour because of it. Meshkati has very quickly improved his game over the last year and has been awarded with a PT birth.
Good luck to our Top 4 at the Pro Tour, here’s the decks they used to take it down:
First Place- Ryan Hovis, Grixis Death’s Shadow
Second Place- Ryan Sandrin, U/R Storm
Third Place- Seth Deluca, G/R Vengevine
Fourth Place- Pasha Meshkati, U/R Breach