Showdown Recap: Hour of Devastation Pre-Release


Welcome to another weekly Showdown Recap, where we take a look at what happened at Face to Face Games Toronto’s weekly Sunday Showdown, a series of 1k events feeding into the Ultimate Showdown 5k Invitational. This week, players got their first look at Hour of Devastation (HOU) Limited at our pre-release showdown.

Canadian Magic legend Rich Hoaen took this event down, to nobody’s surprise, after Daniel Fournier scooped to him in the finals. There’s no word yet as to whether or not Fournier scooped because he was scared to face Hoaen (Can confirm -Fournier). The nine-time GP Top 8 competitor played a sweet Green Nicol Bolas deck in the Swiss and followed that up with a low-to-the-ground Mardu aggressive deck in the Top 8 Draft.

Other notable characteristics from the Top 8 were the semifinal clash of titans between Hoaen and GP winner and Toronto grinder Lucas Siow. Face to Face Games local Lucas Worrell also made his return to the Showdown Series that he dominated last year prior to taking some time away from Magic to, well, go to high school. Rick Miles took a break from being a Level 2 Judge to make the elimination rounds of this event after defeating Fournier in the Swiss, but the two would meet again in the quarterfinals, where Fournier would exact his revenge.

Now, onto what happened on the battlefield. Black looked to be the colour of choice, at least in the Top 8 draft. An interesting factor about HOU limited is the way the “desert’ land cards have an influence on colour preferences. Of course, some colours feature better desert lands than others, like Ifnir Deadlands in the case of Black. This might incentivize players to dip into those colours, looking for some added power level from their manabase. The desert lands were featured in almost all of the Top 8 decklists—Hoaen in particular seemed to be prioritizing them as he ended up with four in his deck. Banewhip Punisher is another powerful card that dominated pre-release weekend and is an uncommon that rewards players for putting swamps in their deck.

We also saw a lot of three and four colour base-green decks during the Swiss rounds, like Hoaen’s aforementioned Green Nicol Bolas masterpiece. Three and four colour strategies did get a boost from the new set with cards like Traveler’s Amulet making it easier to fit another colour in your deck. With this, and the fact that some of the new multicolour uncommons are very powerful, it’s possible we see this trend continue headed into GP Toronto. HOU looks to be a Sealed format where you’re going to want to look to play as many of your rares and powerful cards as possible, even if that means adding a colour or subtracting a little bit of overall efficiency.

Sunday was not devoid of beatdown though. Rich’s Top 8 deck does look agressive and the B/W Zombies archetype can really punish slow draws if you get all of the necessary Zombie-payoffs. Aerial Guide was a strong pull into Blue all day and might be a reason for an upswing in U/W fliers decks or U/G beatdown decks that use the Guide to get big creatures into the air along with Cartouche of Knowledge.

With his win Rich qualifies himself for the next Face to Face Games Ultimate Showdown and the rest of the Top 8 have started their march toward the top of the Showdown leaderboard. Join us this weekend to try to cement your spot on the leaderboard as we’ll be running back Hour of Devastation limited for release weekend. Come out and get prepared for Grand Prix Toronto which Face to Face will be hosting the following weekend!

First Place: Rich Hoaen, Mardu

Second Place: Daniel Fournier, Blue/Green

Third Place: Lucas Worrell, Grixis

Fourth Place: Lucas Siow, Black/White

Fifth Place: Rick Miles, Grixis

Sixth Place: Benny Wong, Green/White

Seventh Place: Andrew Abela, Four-Colour

Eighth Place: Brad Burden, Grixis