Hello there, Planeswalkers, we're only two weeks out from the release of Rivals of Ixalan and the competition is heating up both worldwide and at your local gaming stores. This week, the best Magic players in the world gather in Spain at the Pro Tour for their chance to win thousands in prize money. Even if watching the professionals play isn't your thing, seeing the decks and strategies they use can certainly help your own playstyle as you face your opponents. Whether you use the underhanded tactics of the pirates, a legion of vampiric conquerors or crush your opponents with the might of your dinosaur army, there's no wrong way to pillage and plunder your treasure this weekend. Let's get started!
The Life of a Pro:
First off, if you love Magic, but have never been keen on watching or following the pros or just don't know where to begin learning about professional Magic, I suggest starting out with the Pro Tour FAQ. This will give you all the information you need to know on what the Pro Tour is, how players get there and where to watch. Then, head over to the Rivals of Ixalan Pro Tour Hub to keep track of events on social media along with a complete schedule and description for the event.
But you might ask yourself why you should bother paying attention to anything the pros are doing. Well, these are the best players in the world and the decks and strategies they use will subtly affect every Magic event you attend in the future. Everything from card prices to most popular cards and deck types to the rules for Magic events to even the influences for future sets are all influenced by the play that happens this weekend.
The entire Pro Tour event will be streaming live all weekend on Magic the Gathering's official Twitch page, but even if you don't have the time to watch constantly, you can find highlights and big moments from the tournament. If you really wish to learn the stories of the competitors, check out this Pro Tour Primer which gives you the top 10 teams, players and cards to watch out for.
Of course, watching players compete in the Pro Tour isn't always easy for newcomers. Action often goes by quickly and announcers don't have time to explain every effect from every card being played. It helps to familiarize yourself with the top decks you're most likely to see. This'll give you deck lists and strategy breakdowns of the most popular decks in the Modern format so that you can follow the action without too much confusion.
But hey, don't stop there. If you're thinking of adopting some pro strategies and deck lists for your own use, take it one step further and check out the top, winning decks from every pro worldwide tournament leading up to the big event in Spain. This is the best opportunity to see those powerful cards that manage to creep in almost every winning deck and that you're likely see in local tournaments.
Hunting for Treasure:
For those of you who haven't had a chance to play lately, or haven't properly set sail on your journey to Ixalan, it's not too late to get out there and explore. While the pros are determining the best cards and strategies this weekend, most players are still experimenting with the new set and trying their own combinations. It's a great weekend to test out that deck idea you've been thinking of at a local Friday Night Magic event. If you want a complete list of cards from Rivals of Ixalan, or are interested in the story behind the cards, start with the Rivals of Ixalan hub.
Now, one of the most popular aspects of the newest set has been tribal decks, meaning decks that share a common creature theme. From vampires to pirates to merfolk and dinosaurs, there's no shortage of interesting creatures on the shores of Ixalan. If you're one of those players who wishes to dip their toes into those tribal waters, take a look at these guides for building the best Merfolk and Pirate decks that Rivals has to offer.
If you're more interested in the behind the scenes production of Magic and the newest set, be sure to check out this Q&A with Mark Rosewater, Magic the Gathering's Head Designer. It's always interesting to see the design philosophy behind the cards you're playing with.
25 Years of Magic:
The last bit of news I'll touch on this week is the upcoming 25th Anniversary of Magic the Gathering. Most players will undoubtedly celebrate with the new Masters 25:
Set to release March 16th, this collection will celebrate 25 years of Magic with reprints and updated versions of rare and popular cards from EVERY SET of Magic the Gathering ever made! What are you hoping to see reprinted? Let us know in the comments.
If you're interested in a brief history of Magic the Gathering from 1993 to now, take a look at this infograph Wizards of the Coast released alongside their announcement. That's all for this week, thanks for reading, and have fun competing you scallywags!