|Pro Tour Kaladesh|
|Date||14–16 October 2016|
|Location||Honolulu, Hawaii, United States|
|Format||Standard and Booster draft|
Pro Tour Kaladesh was the first Pro Tour of the 2016–17 season. It took place on 14–16 October 2016 in Honolulu, Hawaii, United States. With 466 players, it was the second largest individual Pro Tour event of all time, after Pro Tour Paris 2011. In a final match featuring a Control mirror match between two former Pro Tour champions, 2006 Player of the Year Shōta Yasooka and 2002 World Champion Carlos Romão, it was Yasooka who ended up taking a second Pro Tour title.
The prize structure and playoff format was changed starting with Pro Tour Kaladesh. The two top seeded players going into day three of competition would receive byes into the semifinals, while the quarterfinal stage was split into two. Players #3 and #4 received byes into stage two of the quarterfinals, while players seeded from 5th through 8th place had to play each other for the right to advance to the second stage of quarterfinals.
In terms of prize payout, changes included reducing the number of players winning money at each event from 75 to 64, and increasing the 1st place prize to $50,000.
The event started with a Kaladesh Booster draft. The coverage team followed 2015–16 Draft Master Marcio Carvalho, who drafted Red-White; and Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, also drafting Red-White. Carvalho posted a 2–1 finish with his deck, while Damo da Rosa went 3–0 with his Vehicle-heavy aggro deck. Other famous players who started the event with a perfect draft record included Kenji Tsumura, Eric Froehlich, Raphaël Lévy, Jelger Wiegersma, Shōta Yasooka, Ben Stark, and both newly minted Hall of Famers, Yuuya Watanabe and Owen Turtenwald.
The Standard portion of the event was expected to be dominated by decks sporting Smuggler's Copter; this card had featured as a 4-of in all eight decks that made the top eight a previous Star City Games Open event. And indeed, many did choose to play aggressive decks built around it and other Vehicles. Reid Duke played Red-White Vehicles, while others, such as Lee Shi Tian, opted for a Mardu Vehicles list splashing blue for Ceremonious Rejection. Delirium decks with Ishkanah, Grafwidow made up 13.7% of the metagame, while various Control decks, usually Torrential Gearhulk, made up 9.4%. The biggest archetype by far, however, was Aetherworks Marvel decks. The deck used Energy accelerants such as Woodweaver's Puzzleknot and Attune with Aether to charge the Marvel, with the big hits being Emrakul, the Promised End and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. Several teams ended up playing a variant of this deck, which took up 21.5% of the field. Other popular decks included Dynavolt Tower decks, as played by Pierre Dagen; and Metalwork Colossus decks, piloted by among others Oliver Polak-Rottmann. At the end of the day, the two undefeated players were Eric Froehlich, playing Delirium Aggro, and Shōta Yasooka, playing Grixis Control.
The top eight players after day one:
|1||Shōta Yasooka||24||5||Reid Duke||21|
|2||Eric Froehlich||24||6||Matteo Moure||21|
|3||Pierre Dagen||21||7||Ben Weitz||21|
|4||Matt Nass||21||8||Davide Miani||21|
For the second Kaladesh Booster draft, coverage followed the two 8–0 players, Shōta Yasooka and Eric Froehlich. Froehlich drafted Green-White, while Yasooka drafted a highly unconventional Blue-Black deck featuring two copies of Aetherworks Marvel. Froehlich and Yasooka faced each other in round 9, and Yasooka won; in one of the games, he played Noxious Gearhulk and followed it up with Saheeli's Artistry, copying the Gearhulk twice. Froehlich ultimately went 0–3 in the draft, while Yasooka ultimately posted a 2–1 finish. Matt Nass won pod 1, and headed the standings going into the last Standard rounds along with Yasooka and the relatively unknown Greek player Makis Matsoukas, who won pod 2. All three continued their winning ways, and by round 14, they had all earned enough points to draw into the top eight. Yasooka got paired down in round 15 against Reid Duke, who needed to win in order to reach the last day of competition for the second Pro Tour in a row. Yasooka's Grixis control deck took down Duke's Red-White Vehicles 2–1, and helped Yasooka attain a high seeding going into Sunday play. The players winning their round 15 match to earn a seat in the top eight were Pierre Dagen, beating Ondřej Stráský; Ben Hull, beating Rob Pisano; and Lee Shi Tian, who made his fifth final day appearance in as many years by taking down Rich Hoaen. There were two win-and-in matches in round 16, the rest of the top eight being already decided. Former World Champion Carlos Romão returned to the top eight after 14 years thanks to a win against Tyler Hill, and Joey Manner defeated Jun Ishihara to become the final member of the top eight.
The stage 1 of quarterfinals featured Carlos Romão against Joey Manner and Ben Hull against Lee Shi Tian; these players needed to win twice to advance to the semifinals. Romão's Jeskai Control was not considered a favorite against Manner's White-Blue Flash deck, but stumbles from Manner had the former World Champion advance with a 3–1 score. Meanwhile, Lee Shi Tian lost to Ben Hull in a Vehicles mirror; Shi Tian's Mardu Vehicles had a lower curve, but Hull's Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and Skysovereign, Consul Flagship went over the top of what Shi Tian had.
Stage 1 winners Romão and Hull faced Matt Nass and Pierre Dagen in stage 2, respectively. Nass, who in his 19th Pro Tour appearance first made it to Sunday play, had an awful matchup against Romão's Jeskai Control. If Aetherworks Marvel got countered, it'd be very difficult for the deck to win, and Romão was packing five maindeck counterspells, with an additional nine in the Sideboard. Unsurprisingly, Romão won the match 3–0. In the last quarterfinal, Pierre Dagen's Dynavolt Tower deck struggled against Ben Hull's Red-White Vehicles, and Hull won 3–0.
The semifinals pitted Carlos Romão against first-seeded Makis Matsoukas and Ben Hull against second-seeded Shōta Yasooka. Both Hull and Matsoukas were Pro Tour debutants, while Romão and Yasooka were both past Pro Tour winners. This meant that Pro Tour Kaladesh would result in either the first time someone won their first individual Pro Tour since Jan-Moritz Merkel won PT Kobe in 2006, or the first time someone won their second Pro Tour since Brian Kibler won PT Dark Ascension in 2012. In the end, the latter would happen, as both Romão and Yasooka won their semifinal matches 3–1.
The high-profile final match between Japan's Shōta Yasooka and Brazil's Carlos Romão saw two notiorious control decks duking it out. This came as a surprise to many commentators, as it had been predicted that the current Standard format was very hostile to control decks in general. Romão looked like he was in a favorable position in the first game, as Yasooka was running out of cards in his library, but he just managed to use countermagic and removal to protect his threats and do lethal damage before decking. Yasooka was at least equally far behind in the second game, with Romão having made a Dovin Baan emblem and putting a chokehold on Yasooka's mana, but Yasooka successfully dealt with all of Romão's threats, decking him. Archangel Avacyn came down for the Brazilian in game three, and with Yasooka unable to successfully remove it from the board, Romão took his first game of the series. However, in the fourth game, Thing in the Ice transformed into Awoken Horror and was defended by Yasooka to get past both Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and Dovin Baan, and the Japanese Hall of Famer won his second Pro Tour.
|1||Shōta Yasooka||Grixis Control||$50,000||31||Fourth Pro Tour Top 8, second Pro Tour win|
|2||Carlos Romão||Jeskai Control||$20,000||27||Second Pro Tour Top 8|
|3||Makis Matsoukas||Red-White Tokens||$15,000||23||Pro Tour debut|
|4||Ben Hull||Red-White Vehicles||$15,000||23||Pro Tour debut|
|5||Pierre Dagen||Blue-Red Spells||$10,000||19||Second Pro Tour Top 8|
|6||Matt Nass||Temur Aetherworks||$10,000||19|
|7||Lee Shi Tian||Mardu Vehicles||$5,000||15||Fifth Pro Tour Top 8|
|8||Joey Manner||White-Blue Flash||$5,000||15|
Player of the Year Race
2016 World Championship runner-up Marcio Carvalho was the Player of the Year leader coming into Pro Tour Kaladesh, but he finished in 92nd-place and could only pick up an extra five Pro Points. World Champion Brian Braun-Duin, on the other hand, failed to make it to the second day of competition, and fell off the top 5 leaderboard altogether. Instead, the top two mirrored the Pro Tour finalists, both having already posted solid premier event results during the season; Yasooka finished fourth at Worlds, and Romão won GP Atlanta the weekend before the Pro Tour. Rounding out the top 5 were the two Pro Tour semifinalists, as well as Reid Duke, who finished in the top 16.
- Six players went undefeated in Booster draft: Donald Smith, Raphaël Lévy, Travis Woo, Matt Nass, Martin Jůza, and Owen Turtenwald.
- The best Standard record, 9–1, was shared between four players: Joey Manner, Luis Salvatto, Steve Hatto, and Alvaro Sanchez Lopez. Of the four, only Joey Manner, made it to the top eight.
- Notably, all four players ran White-Blue decks. Manner played White-Blue Flash, while the other three used White-Blue Midrange.
- Pro Tour Kaladesh was the first Pro Tour since PT Charleston 2006 that Luis Scott-Vargas didn't compete in, as he had joined the coverage team.
- Albertus Law returned to the Pro Tour for the first time since Worlds 2005, and Carlos Romão played his first Pro Tour event since PT Dark Ascension.
- Pro Tour Kaladesh coverage
- Pro Tour Kaladesh final standings
- 24-27 point Standard decklists
- 21-23 point Standard decklists
- 18-20 point Standard decklists
- Video coverage playlist
- Pro Tour Kaladesh Invitation list
- Helene Bergeot (2016-08-02). "PRO TOUR ELDRITCH MOON ORGANIZED PLAY ANNOUNCEMENT". Wizards of the Coast.
- Ross Merriam (2016-10-04). "Adapting To Smuggler's Copter". StarCityGames.
- Adam Styborski (2016-10-15). "METAGAME BREAKDOWN". Wizards of the Coast.