From the over 250 competitors that came to Barcelona we're down to the remaining eight, returning for the Sunday showdown to claim the Pro Tour The Lord of The Rings trophy.
Congratulations to the Top 8 players at Pro Tour The Lord of The Rings! The live broadcast begins with quarterfinals at twitch.tv/magic at 10 a.m. CEST (5 a.m. ET/1 a.m. JST) Sunday, July 30.
Jake Beardsley joins the Top 8 after Regional Championship success, finishing 22nd at the DreamHack Magic Showdown: San Diego earlier this year. Beardsley built upon that success in Barcelona, rising to the top of the field as Day Two went on, ultimately locking up his Top 8 berth comfortably. Next up is a Top 8 where his Rakdos Evoke deck will look to fight against the tide of Tron and Rhinos, which combine for six of the Top 8 decks.
Legendary Hall of Famer Kai Budde needs little introduction. The "German Juggernaut" cut a path through events to not only earn seven Top Finishes in four years, but seven wins. It's a record poised to stand the test of Magic history, but Budde wasn't done with that. Adding more Top Finishes through the 2010s and, now, the 2020s, Budde clinched his 12th all-time career Top Finish here in Barcelona and stands ready to show why "Kai never loses on Sunday."
It took Christian Calcano years of Grand Prix success to earn his first, and only, Top Finish with a Top 8 appearance in Pro Tour Amonkhet in 2017. It's taken only five years for him to do it again here at Pro Tour The Lord of The Rings, though his route was certainly circuitous. The American, while on a vacation to Europe, played in a Regional Championship Qualifier which led to returning for the Legacy European Championship in Athens last month where he earned an invitation to the battle in Barcelona. It was a long road, but one built on his appetite to compete the world over.
Marco Del Pivo
Del Pivo qualified for Barcelona thanks to a strong finish at Pro Tour March of the Machine, and the Italian made the most out of a Pro Tour on his side of the ocean. Working with the largest testing team at this event, the squad "Worldly Counsel," Del Pivo was one of three teammates to advance to the Top 8, along with Calcano and Harvey. Del Pivo put an emphasis on finding a deck that matched his playstyle entering the tournament, and that led him to selecting Temur Rhinos for the weekend. It's a decision that clearly worked out: Rhinos was one of the better-performing decks of the tournament and led to three copies in the Top 8.
When Javier Dominguez is dominant, he's dominant. The former World Champion has made his career in streaks of brilliant success, and he's on another one now with back-to-back Top 8 appearances (coming off Pro Tour March of the Machine). Alongside fellow back-to-back Top 8 teammate Simon Nielsen, Dominguez is poised to claim another Pro Tour trophy and enter Magic World Championship XXIX with all the momentum in his favor.
Canadian Dominic Harvey found his footing winning on the SCG Tour, and his game has now translated to his first Pro Tour Top 8 berth – though it didn't look that way when the tournament opened. Harvey dropped his first two rounds of the tournament and entered Day Two at 5-3. But, a great 3-0 draft to start on Saturday gave him the opportunity to achieve something special if he could (in his words) "tighten up and Titan up." What he did worked: Primeval TItan and Amulet of Vigor came together to help send Harvey and his Amulet Titan deck into the Top 8.
"Sleep-in Special" Simon Nielsen isn't a player to sleep on any more. After a narrow Finals loss in the New Capenna Championship in the 2021-22 season, he's on a hot streak (with teammate and fellow Top 8 competitor Javier Dominguez) in back-to-back Top 8 appearances after Pro Tour March of the Machine. Thanks to his persistence and work with his teammates, he's ready to claim his first individual premier event win to join his "Daneblast" World Magic Cup team victory in 2014.
Another staunch proponent of choosing a deck that fits and learning the ins and outs of it, Vinci did exactly that with Temur Rhinos. His familiarity with the matchups was key to his wins down the stretch, but it was his perfect 6-0 Draft record that separated him from the rest of the field. Playing against a stacked Top 8, the Sunday stage is a challenge and opportunity all-in-one for the first-time Top Finisher.