Travel and accommodations for the event were provided by Wizards of the Coast.
Yesterday's final rounds of Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir in Honolulu, Hawaii were intense to say the least. Though my favorite deck for the day, Jeskai Combo, got knocked out in the quarter finals, the clan was represented all the way to the final match, where Ari Lax and Shaun McLaren duked it out with Abzan Midrange and Jeskai Wins, respectively.
Ari Lax took the match 3-1, winning the Pro Tour and claiming his Champion trophy. You should definitely check out Wizards' play-by-play article on the match, as it was an incredible duel.
What intrigues me most about the winning deck, however, was the inclusion of a staggering ten planeswalkers among the 75. Compared to the four total walkers in the other Abzan decks in the Top 8, that's a huge number, and you can probably expect to see quite a few Planeswalker-heavy builds at your local shop in the coming weeks.
Despite my rooting for Jeskai Combo, I'm still incredibly pleased to see a pseudo-Super Friends deck take the top spot, as that's one of my all-time favorite archetypes. Planeswalkers are obviously incredibly powerful, and having a viable way to run so many of them in a single deck just makes for some very interesting interactions and occasionally overwhelming board states.
While the Semi-Finals and Finals were going on, since access to the tournament area was heavily restricted, I took part in a Chaos Draft led by Tom Martell, a Magic pro, and surprisingly friendly guy. The eight-person pod opened packs from a total of 17 different Magic sets from throughout its history. My packs were Khans of Tarkir, Eventide, and Scourge. I even managed to draft some Goblin-based synergies with Warbreak Trumpeter, Hordeling Outburst, and Tar Pitcher, though it turns out that Tar Pitcher is a really popular target for removal, so my dreams never came to fruition.
I did have the unique experience of drawing six cards off of a Surrakar Spellblade once, which ultimately won me the game, as drawing six free cards often will.
The Pro Tour experience was amazing, and I have a huge amount of respect for all the pro players that spent days and weeks testing and drafting in preparation for the event. If that wasn't enough, then sitting down to 10 solid hours each day for the tournament itself makes it pretty clear that these people mean business. A huge congratulations on behalf of The Escapist to Ari Lax, all Top 8 competitors, and everybody that showed up to test their mettle against a field of some of the best Magic players in the world.
Now, go shore up your game against Planeswalkers and Siege Rhinos. You're going to need all the practice you can get before this Friday.