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Liam Hoban Wins Canada's Regional Championship with Azorius Control

May 06, 2024
Meghan Wolff

Last weekend over 350 of the best Magic players from across Canada gathered in Montreal for the Face to Face Tour Weekend and Canada's Regional Championship. It was the culmination of months of qualifying events, and twelve invitations to the Pro Tour, two invitations to the World Championship at MagicCon Vegas, and the title of Canada's Regional Champion were all on the line. After thirteen rounds of Standard followed by a Top 8 playoff, Liam Hoban from Calgary claimed the title and the trophy piloting Azorius Control.

Congratulations to Liam Hoban, winner of the Face to Face Tour Weekend in Montreal!

Hoban defeated Asha Mills Emmett on Esper Midrange in the finals. While Esper Midrange has proven its staying power in Standard even as the format evolves, Hoban's Azorius Control deck was able to get the upper hand.

Liam Hoban and Asha Mills Emmett play in the finals.

"I was impressed with the performance of the deck at Pro Tour Thunder Junction, boasting a 59.2% win rate in the swiss rounds of Standard," Hoban said of Azorius Control. "Aside from Yuta Takahashi's 2nd place finish, Team CFB Ultimate Guard had solid finishes between Seth Manfield and Gabriel Nassif, which led me towards exploring U/W Control. Aside from the deck performing well at the Pro Tour, I have always enjoyed playing control decks, and naturally found myself wanting to play a deck of that style for this tournament."

"Lastly, the last two Standard sets brought along multiple key staples, which helped boost the deck's power level. Each of these three new cards are reimagined versions of iconic control staples. Deduce = Think Twice. No More Lies = Mana Leak. Three Steps Ahead = Cryptic Command."

Congratulations to the Top 8

Congratulations to the Top 8!

At the end of thirteen Swiss rounds of Standard, eight players advanced to the Top 8, including Dan MacDonald, who was the last remaining undefeated player on Day 1 of the event, six-time Grand Prix Top 8-er Edgar Magalhaes, and two-time GP Top 8-er Shawn Dhaliwal.

Three copies of Esper Midrange made the Top 8, the only deck represented there more than once. While familiar strong performers from the recent Pro Tour like Azorius Control and Four-Color Legends were there as well, the Top 8 also featured surprises like Bant Toxic, Dimir Control, and Simic Artifacts.

With the recent expansion of Pro Tour invites at the Regional Championships, the Top 12 finishers in Montreal earned invites to the Pro Tour. You can see the decklists of the Top 12 players here.

The Biggest Standard Yet

With the new rotation schedule in effect, players sniffing out what's best in Standard currently have access to the format's biggest card pool in history. With every Standard legal set from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, released in September of 2021, through the brand new Outlaws of Thunder Junction in play, the recent Pro Tour and the following Regional Championships have shown that the possibilities are endless.

In Montreal, Domain Ramp barely beat out longtime format staple Esper Midrange as the most played deck of the tournament. And while Boros Convoke continued to be by far the most popular aggro deck in Standard, enough players showed up with Bant Toxic and Mono-Red Aggro to take a bite out of the metagame.

Congratulations again to this weekend's players on a great tournament of terrific and hard-fought matches and excellent competition. Catch the next Face to Face Tour Weekend during the next Regional Championship cycle!

Find out more about how you can qualify for the Regional Championship and the Pro Tour by visiting here and finding out more from your regional organizer!

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