This past weekend, 471 of the best players from Europe, Middle East, and Africa converged upon Naples, Italy to compete for the title of Regional Champion. Also on the line were two World Championship invites and 36 Pro Tour invitations. The competitors played fifteen rounds of Standard before cutting to a Top 8, where Michael Rohrböck emerged victorious with Grixis Midrange!
Grixis was a popular deck choice in Naples, with well over a quarter of the field choosing to play it. Michael Rohrböck, who qualified at an RCQ at the Three for One store in Vienna, Austria, had tested the deck on the MTG Arena ladder and, after facing a lot of Mono-Red Aggro, Azorius Soldiers, and Esper Legends, wanted to be prepared. By shaving slow cards like
Yet even after being undefeated overnight, the relatively inexperienced Rohrböck did not have high hopes, and his performance came as a surprise. “It’s amazing,” he said right after he was awarded the trophy. “I didn’t expect anything for today; this is my first Day 2 at a big event!”
In the finals, Rohrböck defeated Mythic Champion Thoralf “Toffel" Severin, playing the breakout deck of the tournament: Esper Legends with main deck
Four players. One list. 2nd, 3rd, 18th, 39th.— Arne Huschenbeth (@Huschenmtg) March 13, 2023
Big thanks to Nico Bohny and Lukas Honnay for tuning the deck to perfection!
Congrats to the best travel partner for making Worlds!
And thanks to Eddy Mucha for putting the whole Crew together!#LECNaples pic.twitter.com/nxmMxP6dW6
But Rohrböck had come prepared with the right build to hammer on these Esper Legends decks, as he proved throughout the Top 8. In the quarterfinals, he dispatched Hall of Famer Gabriel Nassif, who was playing a more traditional version of Esper Legends. In the semifinals, Rohrböck defeated two-time Pro Tour Top 8 competitor Nico Bohny, one of the driving forces behind this new version of Esper Legends. And in the finals, Rohrböck faced the same deck once more, this time in the hands of Thoralf Severin. The finals were close, going a full three games, but Michael Rohrböck ultimately bested Thoralf Severin as well. It didn’t matter how many Pro Tour Top 8s his opponents had—Rohrböck and his teched-out Grixis build was their kryptonite, and he triumphed above all.
Finalists Michael Rohrböck and Thoralf Severin both earned an invitation to World Championship XXIX, to be held at MagicCon: Las Vegas on September 22-24, 2023. We’re looking forward to seeing you shine there!
While this tournament showcased the importance of tweaking your card choices for the evolving Standard metagame, the distribution of deck archetypes was largely similar to last weekend’s Regional Championships, with few surprises among the metagame percentages. Grixis Midrange was dominant, putting three copies into the Top 8.
As for the players in the Top 8, some huge names from the region stepped up and secured their slots at the next Pro Tour, including Mythic Invitational Champion Andrea Mengucci! Mengucci may have fallen in the semis, where he and Thoralf Severin had to duke it out for a World Championship slot, but his Top 4 finish proved he’s still got it.
The top 36 eligible players in the final standings of the European Championship earned an invitation to Pro Tour March of the Machine, to be held during MagicCon: Minneapolis on May 5-7. Congratulations, and we look forward to seeing you represent your region there! The top 36 decklists will be available here. You can also find the event’s decklists, round-by-round results, and standings on MTG Melee.
All in all, it was a great weekend in Italy. Besides the Regional Championship, the event hall also saw hundreds of players taking part in various side events, and (almost) everyone had a great time testing their mettle on the battlefield, reconnecting with friends, and enjoying authentic pizza.
Many attendees were already looking forward to LEC Athens in June, and if you want to be a part of a future cycle of Regional Championships, then you can start by finding a qualifier event near you in Europe or any other region!