Ultimate Showdown Preview
By any metric, the 2017 Showdown series has been a resounding success. Every Sunday, players travel from across the GTA – and sometimes even further – to compete for a thousand dollars in prizes and points towards this, the Ultimate Showdown. An invitation-only tournament featuring the masters of the Showdown series, a collection of Toronto’s best players fighting for 5k in prizes including a 2k cash first prize, but mostly, glory.
The Ultimate Showdown features an innovative format, where the participants play the first 3 rounds in the format they qualified in, before transitioning to Modern for the rest of Swiss and the top 8. This leaves us with a bunch of interesting stories to explore – which we’ll be looking at today!
Liam Kane (1 bye)
Fournier’s Pick: Liam Kane
Liam’s bye notwithstanding, this kid has had non-stop stellar Standard performances. He’s won almost every Standard Showdown and put up consistent top finishes in the most similar format, Frontier, and, well, he just top 8’d a Standard Grand Prix, something nobody else in his pod has come close to. I’ll be surprised if he takes a loss in his format of choice, between the bye and his known mastery.
Chris Ha (2 byes)
Daniel Fournier (1 bye)
Jason Drossis (1 bye)
Peter De Vries
Fournier’s Picks: Chris Ha, Matthew Loong
Chris Ha earned himself two byes for this tournament thanks to his well-earned place at the top of the leaderboard. This makes him a huge favourite to 3-0. Huge structural advantages aside, Chris earned the majority of his points through consistent top 8 finishes at Modern Showdowns, and his good results at Facetofacegames.com Toronto Opens can’t be discounted. Matthew Loong is my other pick to win this pod. While his Showdown results aren’t stellar, he’s won something like fifteen Modern Opens, and with his favourite Jund decks being very well-positioned in the current Death’s Shadow metagame, he’s poised to crush this tournament.
Andrew Gordon (1 bye)
Daniel Goetschel (1 bye)
Fournier’s Pick: Andrew Gordon
Andrew has a bye for a reason. He’s very good. If he can get off of Hearthstone and prepare for this tournament, consider him to be a favourite. He gets to play his two best formats, Legacy and Modern, and, with all due respect to the rest of the Legacy pod, is simply ahead of his competition.
Simon Tubello (1 bye)
Jeff Swaluk (1 bye)
Fournier’s Pick: Matt Mealing
Matt might not have the advantage of a bye, but the Frontier format is doubtlessly his home turf. With top-notch results including a Showdown win, Matt’s sure to show up with some obnoxious Abzan deck metagamed to the teeth. He knows who he’s playing against, he probably knows what he’s playing against, and nobody in this group is Matt’s peer when it comes to heavily metagamed decks.
Quinn Gregg (1 bye)
Alexei Varakin (1 bye)
Fournier’s Picks: Quinn Gregg, Tyler Nightingale
Quinn came out of nowhere halfway through the season, putting up consistent results across several Showdown formats. Between his playskill and his bye, he’s very likely to put up a good result in this pod. If Quinn’s draft goes haywire, however, expect Tyler Nightingale to pick up the slack. I hyped him up as a limited specialist to Rich Hagon before the first draft at PT Nashville, then he promptly went 1-5 over both drafts. This, however, is not the Pro Tour, and I expect this well-seasoned drafter with tons of experience in the format to 3-0 the pod.
Well, there we have it. I feel like I haven’t made quite enough egregious bold predictions, so here are a few more.
Chris Ha will go undefeated in Swiss, spend rounds 4 through 8 talking about how many people will be able to draw into top 8 and in what rounds, then promptly lose to Tron in the top 8.
Tyler Nightingale will 3-0 his draft pod then immediately 0-3 Modern with a terrible deck decision, but claw his way into 16th place for prizes.
Daniel Fournier will finish 9th on less than 1% of tiebreakers, and it will be just and good.
See you all tomorrow! Stay tuned on Monday for the ULTIMATE SHOWDOWN RECAP!