Over the weekend, Sydney played host to the ANZ Regional Championship, where 156 qualified players from the Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand region came together to test their skills in Pioneer and contest eight Pro Tour invitations as well as a seat at the World Championship next year. When the dust had settled, one player emerged victorious: Brett Girvan, piloting an aggressive Boros Heroic deck!
Boros decks were well-represented in the Top 8. It wasn't just Girvan on Heroic: two other Top 8 competitors played Boros Convoke. However, it was Girvan's extremely aggressive build that saw him go undefeated in the Swiss rounds before cruising through the Top 8, claiming the trophy after dispatching Josh Bradbury's Abzan Greasefang deck in a very quick final.
Six different archetypes made up the Top 8, reflecting the fact that while Pioneer may have popular decks, none are incontestably dominant. In addition to the two Boros Convoke and one Boros Heroic lists, there were two Rakdos Midrange decks, as well as Gruul Aggro, Lotus Field Combo, and finally Bradbury's Abzan Greasefang. Interestingly, some of the most-popular decks of the weekend, Mono-White, Mono-Green, and Izzet Phoenix, didn't crack the Top 8.
Mono-coloured strategies did not have a good weekend at all. Mono-White Humans and Mono-Green Devotion, despite being the second- and third-most popular decks of the weekend, barely managed to make the Top 16: a single Mono-Green player made it into 16th place, and the best-placed Mono-White player was 25th. Izzet Phoenix did a little better, with three copies in the Top 16, but what was really excellent was seeing some fringe decks succeed throughout the weekend. Lotus Field Combo, white-blue based control decks - there are a lot of different options available to the Pioneer player.
The ANZ Regional Championships have been a wonderful way for the Magic community on both sides of the Tasman Sea to come together and enjoy both fierce competition and excellent company amongst friends, and the best part is that there are plenty more to come. Regional Championships continue into next year, so you should find a qualifier happening near you and get involved!