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Pro Tour The Lord of the Rings Finals Match

July 30, 2023
Corbin Hosler

The finals of Pro Tour The Lord of The Rings was the culmination of an incredible weekend filled with The Lord of The Rings: Tales of Middle-earth™ Draft and a Modern format finals match thrilling Top 8 was the perfect finish. On one side sat the ultimate fan-favorite and tournament grinder in Christian Calcano on Mono-Green Tron, who found himself qualified for the Pro Tour in Barcelona after a wild series of unlikely events. On the other was Jake Beardsley on Rakdos Evoke, who was on the end of a dream run at his first-ever Pro Tour.

Their decks were the epitome of the tournament, and of Tales of Middle-earth: The One Ring on Tron's side facing down Orcish Bowmasters from Rakdos Evoke. The two cards had pushed these respective decks into prominence as the most popular decks in the room. Now, they could be found facing off again in the finals.

The games would all follow a familiar pattern: Beardsley would attempt to tear apart Calcano's hand in the early game, while Calcano would attempt to assemble the trio of Urza's Power Plant meets Urza's Mine meets Urza's Tower through disruption and then use its many card-digging effects to draw into win conditions with its massive amounts of mana.

The first game showed the power of Tron's newest addition: The One Ring. The most-played card throughout all of Pro Tour The Lord of The Rings, it's only fitting that the powerful artifact would define the finals. As resources were traded in the first turns of the opening game, it was a turn-four The One Ring that took control of the board state.

Game 2 showed Calcano the perfect opening hand: a natural draw of all three Tron lands, plus Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger to come down on turn four. That play would effectively end the game on the spot, but Beardsley wasn't without hope.

In fact, he was completely in control. He deployed a turn-two Dauthi Voidwalker, which may seem like a slow threat, but is actually the secret to many of the weirder boardstates we've seen this weekend. The ability to steal cards from opponents and to cast them for free gives the Rakdos Evoke deck a very high ceiling in those first few turns.

So, who's the beatdown? Somehow, it wasn't turn-four Ulamog. It was turn-three Ulamog – Beardsley followed up his Voidwalker with a Thoughtseize, and then activated Dauthi to cast Calcano's Ulamog. That's Modern for you, and a second-game victory for Beardsley to even things up.

The third game featured great starts from both players. Beardsley was able to play and bring back Fury on the first turn to put a very quick clock on Calcano. Meanwhile, turn-three Tron was the draw for Calcano, who had everything he needed in hand to take over the game in short order.

But Beardsley wasn't interested in letting short order come to pass. He attacked and followed it up with more power. All the mana in the world on turn four won't help if you're dead by then, and that's exactly what Beardsley was able to pull off, dodging a Wurmcoil Engine from Calcano to swarm in for lethal.

Jake Beardsley had gone from his first Pro Tour, straight to his first Pro Tour final, and now an opportunity to win one more game and take down the entire Pro Tour all in one go. If Beardsley was feeling the pressure, he wasn't showing it as he calmly led out with Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and let the Monkey Pirate get to work. It was followed by Grief, and the beatdown was on. Calcano, meanwhile, had a Tron-heavy hand and an Ugin, the Spirit Dragon as a payoff alongside The One Ring and Oblivion Stone.

But those payoffs were put on hold thanks to a third-turn Blood Moon from Beardsley. It's been the premiere Tron hate card since Modern debuted, and in this game it was an absolute backbreaker for Calcano, who went from dreaming of spending 8-10 mana a turn to struggling for land drops to activate Oblivion Stone.

As Calcano dug, Beardsley attacked. By the time Calcano was ready and able to pop the Oblivion Stone and wipe the board (along with exiling his The One Ring with Haywire Mite), he was down to just five life – and unbeknownst to him, Beardsley was holding onto a Lightning Bolt.

But five life is not zero, and with Calcano finally able to blast the Oblivion Stone, the ground was clear for the time being. Not that it stayed that way long, as Feign Death for Beardsley returned Grief and stripped the would-be Ugin from Calcano's hand.

But Calcano had another planeswalker to take its place. Karn, the Great Creator brought in Ensnaring Bridge. When Beardsley couldn't find an answer, we were suddenly looking at a very different game.

And that game turned out to be one of the best we've ever seen at the Pro Tour. With the board now cleared, Calcano's decision to get rid of his own The One Ring many turns earlier paid dividends as he looked to turn the tables and find a way to go on offense.

For his part, Beardsley was trying to find a way to end things with the Lightning Bolt in his hand. And when he drew Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger, he thought he had found a path to that final five damage. Calcano had the board under control, but was nearly out of cards. When Calcano passed the turn with just a single card in hand, Beardsley saw his window: he cast the Lightning Bolt end-of-turn and untapped as fast he could into Kroxa, sensing victory.

If Calcano's last card in hand was a land, Beardsley would win the Pro Tour. He cast the Kroxa and Calcano discarded his last card.

Chromatic Star.


That meant that he didn't lose life from Kroxa, and it meant that he could untap and play a freshly-drawn Haywire Mite to knock down his own Ensnaring Bridge while also gaining him a critical two life in the process. With his life total secure thanks to one of the headiest plays in Pro Tour finals history, Calcano unlocked his board and Beardsley conceded a game that will go down in PT lore.

That meant it would all come down to a final game, with the winner crowned the champion of Pro Tour The Lord of The Rings.

It opened with the classic first turn Grief and Undying Malice, stripping Calcano's hand of Wurmcoil Engine and The One Ring. And it only got better from there for Beardsley: he had the follow-up Blood Moon that knocked Calcano off of green mana, too.

And that was that. Grief attacked again and again while Calcano bricked on his draw steps. The fourth game was an all-time classic, but the fifth and final was a masterclass in Rakdos Evoke. As Calcano's final draw step came up empty, the two-time Top Finisher extended his hand and congratulated Beardsley on winning it all in his first Pro Tour.

Congrats again to Jake Beardsley, the champion of Pro Tour The Lord of The Rings!

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