After 15 rounds of online play, we have a Top 8 for Players Tour Online 2. In a Standard format that ranges from the fastest
- Ryuji Murae (Temur Reclamation)
- Allison Warfield (Temur Reclamation)
- Eduardo Sajgalik (Jund Sacrifice)
- Christoffer Larsen (Jund Sacrifice with
Jegantha, the Wellspring)
- Eli Loveman (Rakdos Sacrifice)
- Jean-Emmanuel Depraz (Temur Reclamation
- Kevin Perez (Sultai Ramp)
- Abe Corrigan (Temur Reclamation)
The Magic Pro League member entered this tournament coming off a strong performance at Magic World Championship XXVI and a second-place finish at Mythic Championship V last year, and he came into Players Tour Online 2 ready to stake his claim on what Standard demanded, that Shark Typhoon belonged in the sideboard.
"This Top 8 is a weird one, as playing from home removes some of the excitement you would feel in a paper setting, but I'm still very proud of the accomplishment," he explained. "Rallying back from a 1-2 record and winning eight matches in a row is something you never expect to do, but sometimes it happens!"
Perez made the first Players Tour Top 8 by anyone from Guatemala, and did so as the only Sultai Ramp pilot in the Top 8. Perez previously competed in the Magic World Cup three times but failed to do well, and he feels like with this result he has achieved something that makes his community proud.
"This Top 8 means the world for me!" he said. "This is just my second Players Tour. In Guatemala City we don't have (local) qualifiers so it's really hard for a player like myself to play in these type of events. I won a [Last Chance Qualifier] on Wednesday for this tournament!"
A Players Tour regular, Murae brought Temur Reclamation, which he credited to the testing he did with his team Kusemono.
"I think it's the best deck choice for the metagame, and I feel like the sideboard plan my team came up with is perfect," he explained. "I'm really happy because it's my first Top 8 since 2012!"
Sajgalik made it to the Top 8, but took a unique path. He led the field after a perfect 9-0 performance on Day One, but lost his first three matches on Sunday. That put his back up against the wall, but he reeled off several more wins with Jund Sacrifice to make his way to the Top 8.
"I'm glad I played something I was comfortable with," he explained. "My intuition got to play a large role in making sure my plays tended down the right path. I know it wasn't the best deck, but it was close to the best deck for me and my playstyle. That made all the difference."
The Magic Rivals League member has left a number of "casualties of Warfield" behind her as she's ascended the ranks of professional Magic over the last few years, and now she has a Players Tour Top 8 to add to her impressive resume.
"I was going to play Jund Sacrifice for this event but saw a sudden shift to Sultai Ramp on Arena, so I wanted to switch it up and metagame against Sacrifice and Sultai," she explained. "I used Seth Manfield's most recent list, which I've been really happy with. I would likely change the Scorching Dragonfires to the sideboard because I boarded them out all day."
With a handful of large-tournament Top 8 appearances, Larsen is no stranger to the professional scene. His success this weekend came on the back of
"No dino left behind!" he joked. "Everyone should have a dino keeping watch. This Top 8 means I will get to play the Players Tour Finals with all my friends who are already qualified. I'm looking forward to it!"
The Mythic Champion from London last year has done it again, and he's got a chance to add another trophy with this Top 8 on the back of the somewhat-surprisingly Rakdos Sacrifice. The deck had lived on the edges of Standard for the past several weeks, but had a strong showing this weekend and sent Loveman into the Top 8.
"As a Modern player, I like to pick one deck and learn it inside and out," he explained. "This was the deck I had the most experience with. I think my version is set up for the mirror. Instead of playing two-drops like Robber of the Rich that are aggressive but don't synergize with the deck's plan, I played Fiend Artisan to have more sacrifice outlets."
After his breakthrough finish in London and a strong showing at Magic World Championship XXVI earlier this year, he still feels he has a lot to prove. "This Top 8 means I get to prove that my win last year was not a fluke."
The Team Lotus Box pro has found plenty of success on the SCG Open Series tournament circuit across the United States, but this is his first Players Tour Top 8 and it came courtesy of expert play with the format's best deck.
"I came into testing wanting to beat Temur Reclamation, but