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Philippe Gareau Claims Title at Ottawa's F2F Tour Weekend

March 29, 2023
Meghan Wolff

Last weekend, over 260 of the best Magic players from across easter Canada met in Ottawa for the second Face2Face Tour Weekend, Canada’s Regional Championship. Eight invites to Pro Tour: March of the Machine were on the line, as well as a seat at the World Championship. After thirteen rounds of Standard play followed by the Top 8, Philippe Gareau emerged victorious. Congratulations to Philippe Gareau, Canada’s Regional Champion!

Congratulations to Philippe Gareau!

Philippe Gareau and friends celebrate his win

Gareau piloted Mono-White Midrange to his Regional Championship win, defeating Omar Beldon on Esper Legends in the finals. Gareau, who is from Quebec and who qualified via an RCQ at a local game store, chose Mono-White Midrange because he felt that other competitors would largely choose decks that had a challenging Mono-White matchup. It proved to be a smart choice, and Gareau said that opponents across multiple rounds told him that Mono-White was their worst matchup.

Congratulations to Omar Beldon, who finished second!

Finalist Omar Beldon played Esper Legends, a popular choice for the weekend after the deck’s success at other recent Regional Championships. Beldon chose the deck because he enjoyed how it played, and because he was struggling to navigate Grixis Midrange mirrors. He showed that he had the Esper Legends mirror down, however, by defeating it in the Top 8 on his way to the finals.

Philippe Gareau and Omar Beldon play in the finals


Congratulations to the Top 8 of the Face2Face Tour Regional Championship in Ottawa, who earned invites to Pro Tour: March of the Machine. The Top 8 included Pro Tour Avacyn Restored Champion Alexander Hayne, who topped the standings after the Swiss rounds. Hayne piloted Esper Legends for the weekend and made it to the semifinals before falling to Beldon in a mirror match.

It was a great weekend for Esper Legends in general, with three copies of the deck in the Top 8. There was also the surprising appearance of Jeskai Control, a metagame outlier piloted by Patrick Wu, and the reappearance of Selesnya Toxic, the lone aggro deck in the Top 8.

Congratulations to Patrick Wu, David Olsen, Philippe Gareau, Matthew Yakobina, Ben Zhang, Omar Beldon, Mohamad Qadi, and Alexander Hayne

See the decklists the Top 8 players used to secure their seat at the Pro Tour here.


While the metagame at the Regional Championship in Ottawa reflected Grixis Midrange’s enduring popularity in the Standard metagame, it also showed the rising popularity of alternative strategies. Grixis Midrange made up less than 20% of the field, a much smaller share than in previous Regional Championships this cycle.

Esper Legends, on the other hand, in on the rise, perhaps due to the deck’s success at the Legacy European Championship two weeks ago. Aggro decks like Mono-Red and Selesnya Toxic continue to battle for positioning in the metagame, and a slew of midrange alternative to Grixis and Esper round out the field.

It was a great weekend full of terrific and hard-fought matches in Ottawa, and we can’t wait to see how these players fare at the Pro Tour in May! Congratulations again to Philippe Gareau, and to Canada on another great Regional Championship.

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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