This week in Magic: Pro Tour vs. other events



Welcome back to another “This week in Magic.” A couple of weeks ago we sparked some controversy with our Jace vs. Jace list. I’m not saying you have to agree with me. In fact, I’m glad those of you who didn’t agree told me. More than anything, I want people to engage in conversation here. With that being said, I’m not writing things for the sake of arguing. The Jace vs. Jace list was something that I truly believe in.


For this week’s topic we’re going to go over Pro Tour tournament results vs. SCG Open Series results.


As someone who plays Magic at a competitive level, I like to see what other people are playing nowadays. Some of the best resources around the net to find this kind of information are, TCGPlayer, StarCityGames, or directly from Usually a couple of days after the tournament, these sites will post the Top 8 results. On StarCity’s site, they typically have it the same day since they’re the one’s hosting some of the events.


scg open series


Personally, I like to look at the results of events like the StarCity Open Series more than the Pro Tour. Sometimes I like looking up the results of local tournaments such as 1Ks or 5Ks. These events tend to draw up to several hundred people, and, in some occasions, high level players and even pros show up if it’s close enough to them.


Playing the numbers game

So I’m sure you’re wondering right now why I prefer these “local” tournaments over the Pro Tour. The biggest reason why is that the Pro Tour is sometimes made up of different formats. For example, Pro Tour Origins was both Standard and Origins Limited. So while someone like Shahar Shenhar may win the Pro Tour, he may have done so by having an amazing Limited record while limping with a sub-par Standard record.


At an event like a TCG5K, players have to go through upwards of nine rounds of Standard Swiss (or whatever format is defined for the tournament) and then a Top 8. That’s clearly more than the three or four rounds that pro players endure at a Pro Tour. So what an event like a TCG5K shows is how much a deck can endure.


A pro is still a pro

Admittedly, a pro player is still a pro player. They are a pro for a reason, and that reason is because they’re good, they know how to win, and did I mention that they’re good? At an SCG event, any Joe Schmoe can win that event. No offense to anyone named Joe or with the last name Schmoe, but I’m mainly referring to someone like me; of my caliber. Keep in mind, you have to earn your way onto a Pro Tour. You can’t just show up, pay the $50 at the door (ugh) and play. Players on the Pro Tour have earned their way by either having been there already, or qualifying.


To qualify for a Pro Tour today seems a lot more tedious than it has in the past. With PPTQs, local stores can rejoice and be happy that they get to host such prestigious events, but it just means more work for the local player. In the past, you would show up to a single qualifier. At that point, you either win it or you don’t. Those events could, sometimes, yield upwards to a hundred players. A local PPTQ can actually come close, but averages somewhere between 30-50 players.


Experience is still better than showing up

If there were ever an argument to change my mind it would have to be that a pro player is playing a certain deck at the pro tour because of reasons that I am not experienced enough to initially see. I guess you could say that this all goes back to how “a pro is still a pro.”


I think it’s safe to say that all Magic players want to win. They don’t want to just scrape by enough to make it, they want it all. So, to say that a pro player would ever be satisfied with “just making it” at a pro tour with a sub-par performance is like an insult to them. If they could, they’d like to replicated something similar to Seth Mansfield’s run at World’s last week. He would end up being crowned champion with an amazing 13-1 record overall.


To do this at the game’s highest stage is one of the best things you could do in this game. For Seth, it was clear how much it meant to win. I was telling others that if I had won, I would have had the worst case of “ugly face” due to all the crying I would have done.


I’d really like to know your thoughts on this matter. This is especially for those of you who have taken up the oath to never “netdeck” a list. How do you, as a player, conduct your research to prepare for the current meta, whether it’s an FNM or a major local event? Let us know in the comment section below.


About the author

Simeon is now the Community Manager for Battleground Games & Hobbies. If you have any questions or inquiries, then you can reach him at He is also an avid gamer who loves to play board games and video games. He graduated college with a degree in Political Science, and now serves the public by writing about games. You can check that out here. Don’t forget to “like” him on Facebook as well. It’ll update you on all of his newest content. Best of all, you can follow Simeon on Twitter (@SimeonCortezano) for some real time hilarity. Thanks for reading!



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