|Pro Tour Aether Revolt|
|Date||3–5 February 2017|
|Format||Standard and Booster draft|
|Winner||Lucas Esper Berthoud|
Pro Tour Aether Revolt was the second Pro Tour of the 2016–17 season. It took place on 3–5 February 2017 in Dublin, Ireland. In the most dominating performance by a single archetype in the history of the Pro Tour, Mardu Vehicles was the deck of choice for the top six finishing players. The event was won by Brazilian Dexthird member Lucas Esper Berthoud, who defeated Marcio Carvalho in the final to become the champion.
A few weeks prior to the event, three cards were banned from Standard. These were Emrakul, the Promised End, Smuggler's Copter, and Reflector Mage, marking the first time cards were banned from Standard since 2011. This ban significantly affected all the top decks in the Standard format prior to the releasea of Aether Revolt. Additionally, Aether Revolt introduced Felidar Guardian, which combos with Saheeli Rai to create infinite copies and, presumably, win the game. This combo received a lot of attention leading up to the Pro Tour, with varying opinions on how good it was and how healthy it was for the format. At the first Star City Games Open event featuring Aether Revolt, three of the top eight decks included the combo, as well as 25 of the top 64. However, the top three slots were taken by Black-Green decks, all sporting multiple copies of Walking Ballista, Winding Constrictor, and Rishkar, Peema Renegade.
Pro Tour Aether Revolt saw the introduction of the Magic Pro Tour Team Series; these six-player teams were officially revealed on January 26, 2017. Among the more anticipated teams were team Puzzle Quest, featuring many of the most prolific players of The Pantheon, including the Peach Garden Oath; ChannelFireball Ice, with top players from past FacetoFace/ChannelFireball teams; and Musashi, with many of the top Japanese players, including the most recent Pro Tour champion, Shōta Yasooka.
Hall of Famer Ben Stark and 2015–16 Draft Master Marcio Carvalho were the featured players during the first Kaladesh block draft of the event. Stark drafted Black-Green with multiple powerful rares, which he converted into a 3–0 start to the event. Carvalho, on the other hand, drafted an artifact-heavy Blue-Red deck that the commentators judged to be quite good, but he could only muster a 1–2 record with the deck. In addition to Ben Stark, several famous players managed to 3–0 their pod. These include Jon Finkel, Ben Rubin, Makihito Mihara, Tomoharu Saito, and Martin Jůza. Several teams started very well, but the best record with three rounds gone belonged to MTG Bent Card, with three of the members posting perfect records: Michael Bonde, Javier Dominguez, and Anthony Lee.
Standard on day one featured mostly established decks, with several teams, including Puzzle Quest and ChannelFireball Ice, opting for a Mardu Vehicles deck similar to the ones that showed up in force at Pro Tour Kaladesh. Green-Black decks built around Winding Constrictor were also very popular; as were Copycat decks, or Saheeli control-combo, of various sorts. At the end of the day, Pro Tour debutant César Segovia (playing Black-Red Aggro) and Chinese Silver level pro Yuchen Liu were the lone undefeated players at 8–0. The best performing team during the Constructed rounds was Japanese all-star team Musashi, who also took the overall lead. The team was paced by Kentaro Yamamoto and Ken Yukuhiro, both on 7–1 records.
The top eight players after day one:
|1||César Segovia||24||5||Ben Stark||21|
|2||Yuchen Liu||24||6||Ben Rubin||21|
|3||Jan Ksandr||21||7||Lukas Blohon||21|
|4||Thien Nguyen||21||8||Kelvin Chew||21|
César Segovia, the overnight leader on tiebreaks over Yuchen Liu, was the primary featured drafter for the second Kaladesh block draft; however, his Black-Green deck did not work out, and he went 1–2. The secondary feature was Pro Tour Eldritch Moon champion Lukas Blohon, who drafted a Black-Green deck splashing Blue that was full of powerful late-game engines. Blohon managed a 2–1 record with the deck, leaving him at 9–2 going into the final Constructed Swiss rounds. No player managed to 3–0 pod 1, leaving the leading players in a tie at 10–1. These were Yuchen Liu as well as Greek player Dimitri Triantafillou, who went 3–0 on pod 2. Other notable successful drafters on day two and in good position to make a run at top eight included Marcio Carvalho and Gabriel Nassif, in 12th place and 14th place, respectively, going into the final five rounds.
The first player to clinch a top eight berth was Yuchen Liu, who got to twelve wins in round 13, and thus became only the second Chinese player to top eight a Pro Tour; the first was Ming Xu at PT Kuala Lumpur 2008. The next round, he was defeated by Marcio Carvalho, who then became the next player to be locked. Carvalho was on a 11-match winning streak after starting 1–2 in the event. As the last rounds wound down, it became clear that Mardu Vehicles was the dominant deck of the event. Very few rogue decks survived to stay in contention, and the Copycat decks also fell by the wayside. Among the players on Mardu Vehicles was Donald Smith, a relative newcomer to the scene, but with two previous top 25 finishes in only four Pro Tours played. He defeated Daniel Gräfensteiner in round 14 to become the third player to make it to Sunday play. Several high-profile players were right in the thick of contention with a few rounds to go, including Gabriel Nassif, Martin Jůza, Ivan Floch, Shaun McLaren, and Ben Rubin. Jůza defeated Rubin and then Nassif, and won the deciding match for top eight in round 15 against Thierry Ramboa. Eduardo Sajgalik, already on a four-match winning streak, defeated Ken Yukuhiro in round 15 in a match for top eight, securing himself the second of his career. In a round 16 win-and-in match between Lucas Esper Berthoud and Dimitris Triantafillou of Greece, Berhoud had the win in the first game, but forgot to attack with the Needle Spires he had animated, and therefore lost. However, he came back and won the next two games anyway, which elevated him to second-seed going into the top eight. Additionally, it became clear that one player with a 12–4 record would make it, and it looked most likely that the winner of Hall of Famers Ben Rubin and Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa would make it. Damo da Rosa won, and snuck into the top eight as the last player.
The top eight featured one Jund Aggro deck in the hands of Martin Jůza and one Black-Green Delirium deck piloted by Jan Ksandr; the remaining six players were all on Mardu Vehicles. Stage 1 of the quarterfinals featured Jan Ksandr against Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa and Martin Jůza against Eduardo Sajgalik. Ksandr, on Black-Green Delirium, won the first game, but failed to hit his second land drop in the next, and in the third, he mulliganed to five. Game four was similarly uninteresting, with Damo da Rosa missing his second land drop. The deciding game was closer, but Damo da Rosa curved out well with creatures, Vehicles, and removal, while Ksandr couldn't find any removal, and fell behind. Damo da Rosa advanced to stage 2. Eduardo Sajgalik won two tight pre-sideboarded games against Martin Jůza's Jund Aggro on the back of Unlicensed Disintegration and other removal. In the third game, the early game advantaged Jůza, but Sajgalik's many Scry effects pulled him ahead as the game went on, and in the end, Sajgalik took the match 3–0.
The six players remaining in the tournament were all running Mardu Vehicles. The first stage 2 quarterfinal match was Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa against Donald Smith. Despite taking a 2–1 lead in the match, Damo da Rosa went down to top eight debutant Smith. China's Yuchen Liu looked to be in great shape against Eduardo Sajgalik in the last quarterfinal, being 2–1 up and with Eduardo mulliganing to six and missing his second land drop in game four, but Liu flooded out, allowing Sajgalik to come back and win the game. In the final game, Liu mulliganed to five, and although the game went on for a while, the advantage for Sajgalik eventually became insurmountable.
In the first semifinal, Donald Smith faced first-seeded Marcio Carvalho, who was in his third Pro Tour top eight. As all the remaining matches in the event would be, it was a Mardu Vehicles mirror match. The Portuguese was the one to advance to the finals following a 3–1 win thanks to, in part, some mulligans and stumbles from Smith. In the other semifinal, Lucas Esper Berthoud, already 10–0 in Standard, took down Eduardo Sajgalik in a five-game match, setting up a final match between two Portuguese-speaking players: Carvalho from Team Dex Army and Berthoud from Team Dexthird. Berthoud quickly went up to a 2–0 lead in the finals, but Carvalho equalized to 2–2 after rough draws from Berthoud in games three and four. In the final game, on the back of a Release the Gremlins, Berthoud capitalized on Carvalho's struggle with colored mana to take the match and win the Pro Tour.
|1||Lucas Esper Berthoud||Mardu Vehicles||$50,000||31|
|2||Marcio Carvalho||Mardu Vehicles||$20,000||27||Third Pro Tour Top 8|
|3||Donald Smith||Mardu Vehicles||$15,000||23|
|4||Eduardo Sajgalik||Mardu Vehicles||$15,000||23||Second Pro Tour Top 8|
|5||Yuchen Liu||Mardu Vehicles||$10,000||19|
|6||Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa||Mardu Vehicles||$10,000||19||Eleventh Pro Tour Top 8|
|7||Jan Ksandr||Black-Green Delirium||$5,000||15|
|8||Martin Jůza||Jund Energy Aggro||$5,000||15||Third Pro Tour Top 8|
Player of the Year race
Pro Tour Kaladesh winner Shōta Yasooka was in the lead coming into the event, but a meager 172nd-place finish saw him fall behind Marcio Carvalho, who finished runner-up at both the 2016 World Championship and at Pro Tour Aether Revolt, in the Player of the Year race. Following behind was Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, who built on his 2nd-place result from the previous weekend's Grand Prix Prague by making his eleventh career Pro Tour top eight. Reid Duke won the first Grand Prix of 2017, which along with other solid results earlier in the season made him highly situated in the race despite only picking up the minimum three Pro Points from PT Aether Revolt. Rounding out the top 5 leaderboard was Pro Tour Kaladesh runner-up Carlos Romão, as well as Canada's Eduardo Sajgalik.
|Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa||48|
In terms of teams, the event ended with a joint lead between Musashi and MTG Mint Card, the latter paced by Eduardo Sajgalik's 4th-place finish. Both had picked up 49 Pro Points from the event. In third place, on 45 points, was Face to Face Games.
- In round 5, Brock Parker was disqualified from the event due to intentionally misrepresenting the game state.
- In the round 8 feature match between 7–0 players César Segovia and Thien Nguyen, a situation arose where Segovia announced "combat", and attempted to crew his Heart of Kiran and trigger Weldfast Engineer's ability; however, as "combat" is considered a shortcut, Nguyen called a judge, who ruled that Segovia had skipped his Beginning of combat step. This generated a lot of controversy in the Magic community, where many argued that Segovia's intent was clear, also pointing at the language barrier being an issue; Segovia had previously had to interact with members of the coverage team via an interpretor. Wizards of the Coast later released a statement saying they would be reviewing the rule after the event.
- Pro Tour San Diego 2002 champion Farid Meraghni played his first Pro Tour since PT Prague 2006, and Hall of Famer Tsuyoshi Fujita played his first Pro Tour after an absence from the scene since the 2011 World Championships.
- Four players went undefeated in Booster draft: Jérémy Dezani, Yuuta Hirosawa, Yuuki Ichikawa, and Makihito Mihara.
- Lucas Esper Berthoud managed to post a perfect 10–0 in Standard, playing Mardu Vehicles. Berthoud proceeded to win the event, extending his record to 12–0.
- Pro Tour Aether Revolt coverage
- 27-30 point Standard decklists
- 24-26 point Standard decklists
- 21-23 point Standard decklists
- 18-20 point Standard decklists
- Pro Tour Aether Revolt invitation list
- Event coverage playlist (YouTube)
- JANUARY 9, 2017 BANNED AND RESTRICTED ANNOUNCEMENT. Wizards of the Coast (2017-01-09).
- SCG Columbus Top 64 decklists. Star City Games (2017-01-22).
- Mike Rosenberg (2017-01-26). "2016–17 PRO TOUR TEAM SERIES ROSTERS". Wizards of the Coast.
- DISQUALIFICATION IN ROUND 5 OF PRO TOUR AETHER REVOLT. Wizards of the Coast (2017-02-03).
- Tobi Henke (2017-02-03). "ROUND 8: THIEN NGUYEN (BLACK-GREEN CONSTRICTOR) VS. CÉSAR SEGOVIA (BLACK-RED AGGRO)". Wizards of the Coast.
- "Combat" Shortcut. Reddit (2017-02-03).
- Scott Larabee (2017-02-04). "STATEMENT ON THE ROUND 8 FEATURE MATCH RULING". Wizards of the Coast.