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James Wilks Wins ANZ Super Series Finals: Melbourne

March 11, 2024

The ANZ Super Series Finals were held across a sweltering weekend in Melbourne, Australia last weekend, where 228 qualified players from around both Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand came together in search of prize money, Pro Tour invites, and of course the highly-coveted World Championship slot that was up for grabs. The format was Modern, and in a field dominated by various cascade strategies, it was James Wilks with Living End that carved through the tournament and the Top 8 to hoist the trophy!

Congratulations to James Wilks!

The finals was an all-James affair, with James Wilks and James Arthur going up against one another. While Wilks' Living End deck was one many people anticipated facing this weekend, not many people would have expected Naya Scapeshift! In the end, however, even the might of Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle couldn't overcome Living End, which helped James Wilks return not just to the Pro Tour but also punch his ticket to October's World Championship.

Wilks put on a clinic with Living End.

Arthur played Naya Scapeshift to a second-place finish.

The weekend's Top 8 saw seven different archetypes represented. Teammates Matthew Giudes and James Wilks brought Living End, but everyone else went their own way. Azorius Control, 5C Omnath, 4C Control, Domain Rhinos and Amulet Titan all made it through to the Top 8, as well as the very exciting inclusion of Naya Scapeshift. Arthur's deck is a throwback to the old Temur Scapeshift lists from ten years ago, with interactive cards like Leyline Binding and Reprieve instead of Cryptic Command and Remand. Arthur was a valiant runner-up and proved to us all that Scapeshift has still got it!

Players in the ANZ Super Series Top 8

The ANZ Super Series Final bracket

Cascade decks remain a very popular choice in Modern, making up a sizeable portion of the field between both Crashing Footfalls and Living End builds. Both decks have very different styles of play, but revolve around the same key sequence: Shardless Agent or Violent Outburst cascading into a zero-cost suspend spell to build a massive board out of nowhere. Golgari Yawgmoth didn't really convert, while Rakdos Evoke seems to be having a very tough time after the Fury ban.

The metagame from the ANZ Super Series Final

Outside of the Regional Championship itself, however, Aussies and Kiwis from across the two nations had a great weekend getting together, catching up, and jamming games. With such vast distances separating much of the community most of the time, the ANZ Super Series finals aren't just an opportunity for the best players to test their skills - they're a chance for Magic fans all around Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand to enjoy a weekend together playing the game we all love. If you'd like to attend an event like this and compete in the next Regional Championship, check out where the next qualifier near you is taking place!

Hundreds of players braved the Melbourne heat.

Tournament staff handed out icy poles to help keep players cool.

James Wilks and his team were overwhelmed with joy at his win.

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