The AZMagicPlayers.com 2016 Legacy Series ended this past weekend at Play or Draw. Fifteen of Arizona’s finest Legacy players all earned their qualifications through high finishes at the various City Championships ran throughout the earn, grinding the Legacy Series Trial circuits (over twenty of them throughout the state!), or even both.
The 2016 Legacy Series Masters is unlike any other tournament most players have played before. The tournament structure is notable in of itself – to put it in one sentence: three wins and you’re in Top 8, three losses and you’re out. No draws allowed, so we even had to invoke the sudden death rule for one of the matches. But one of the most interesting parts of a tournament like this is the metagame. You could say that the 2016 Legacy Series Masters was a month long event, beginning at the conclusion of the Tempe City Championships in July. Bringing the right 75 to this tournament can be as grueling as the tournament itself. In a small tournament like this, and especially where you know what decks each player typically plays, the main deck and sideboard decisions become more reality than hypothetical. No need to pack your graveyard hate on the off chance you face Dredge. You already know that no one in this tournament plays Dredge, so you can skip the hate.
Or can you?
If everyone knows you to be the Miracles player or the Delver player, is it time to divert? Or double down on the archetype you know best? Was it time for maybe what some people call, the People’s Cannon? That was my secret hope, to be quite honest.
In the end, most players ended up choosing what they knew best, with some main deck and sideboard decisions skewed towards the expected fairer metagame. No Tendrils of Agony or Dread Returns to be seen (through Emrakul, the Aeons Torn still promised some ends). Shaving Force of Wills from the main deck was a real possibility, for example.
In Stage One, we divided up the players into two different groups.
|Group A||Group B|
|Allen Hobson (Infect)||Bryan Kinsman (Miracles)|
|Daniel Espinoza (Eldrazi)||Bryan Rockenbach (Shardless BUG)|
|Eddie Caudill (Death and Taxes)||Jake Wachtler (4c Loam)|
|Kyle Henriksen (Miracles)||Mike Griffin (Life.dec)|
|Leon Kornacki (Elves)||Paul Kinsman (Grixis Delver)|
|Mike Evans (Jund)||Riad Mourssali (Death and Taxes)|
|Mike Hadley (Goblins)||Tony Murata (12 Post)|
|Zach Zent (Grixis Delver)|
They would play 3 rounds in a Swiss Draft structure (each round, players with the same record would be paired randomly among each other).
At the end of Stage One, we saw the following results:
|Group A||Record||Group B||Record|
|Kyle Henriksen (Miracles)||3-0||Tony Murata (12 Post)||3-0|
|Mike Hadley (Goblins)||2-1||Jake Wachtler (4c Loam)||2-1|
|Daniel Espinoza (Eldrazi)||2-1||Riad Mourssali (Death and Taxes)||2-1|
|Leon Kornacki (Elves)||2-1||Paul Kinsman (Grixis Delver)||2-1|
|Eddie Caudill (Death and Taxes)||1-2||Bryan Rockenbach (Shardless BUG)||1-2|
|Mike Evans (Jund)||1-2||Mike Griffin (Life.dec)||1-2|
|Zach Zent (Grixis Delver)||1-2||Bryan Kinsman (Miracles)||1-2|
|Allen Hobson (Infect)||0-3|
Any 0-3 players were eliminated at this point, then each other player moved onto Stage Two, where they would be paired against another player with the same record, but in the other group.
This pit the previous yearly winners (Kyle Henriksen and Tony Murata, the defending Legacy Series Masters winner and the 2014 Legacy Series winner respectively) in a battle to see who would get the exclusive privilege of play or draw choice in the Top 8.
With the 2-1 finishers, we saw Paul Kinsman vs Daniel Espinoza, Leon Kornacki vs Riad Mourssali, and Mike Hadley vs Jake Wachtler. Daniel Espinoza, Leon Kornacki, and Mike Hadley each locked their spots in the Top 8 while the remaining players would be playing a win and in at Stage Three.
With the 1-2 finishers, this was the first of two elimination battles. Eddie Caudill eliminated Bryan Kinsman, Zach Zent eliminated Mike Griffin, and Bryan Rockenbach eliminated Mike Evans, all in 3 games.
Now there were 3 slots remaining in the Top 8 but six players left. This pit Riad Mourssali up against Zach Zent, Bryan Rockenbach against Jake Wachtler, and Paul Kinsman against Eddie Caudill.
After the dust had settled, we saw Zach Zent, Bryan Rockenbach, and Eddie Caudill fill out the rest of the 2016 Legacy Series Masters Top 8!
Three players who qualified via Championship wins, the two previous Legacy Series winners, and eleven 2016 Legacy Series Top 8s between them, this was going to be a brawl of experience. After a draw of pairings, we saw this bracket for the Top 8 of Legacy Series Masters:
Top 8 Results:
- Kyle Henriksen, winning the match in Stage Two against Group B winner Tony Murata, had the luxury of play/draw throughout the Top 8.
- Tony Murata (12 Post) defeated Zach Zent (Grixis Delver) 2-0, after Tony Murata’s Primeval Titan into Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale locked out Zach’s creatures thanks to a Zach’s Winter Orb.
- Daniel Espinoza (Eldrazi) defeated Leon Kornacki (Elves) 2-1, winning the postboard games as Leon’s mulligans left him a bit behind.
- Kyle Henriksen (Miracles) defeated Eddie (Death and Taxes) 2-1, in the typical Miracles vs Death and Taxes grindfest.
- Mike Hadley (Goblins) defeated Bryan Rockenbach (Shardless BUG) 2-1, in which Mike Hadley escaped the claws of death in game one, where two 6/7 Tarmogoyfs knocked down Hadley’s life total down to 3 by turn 5 but Siege-Gang Commander and his troops stalled out the game long enough to claw his way back into the game and take the game.
- Daniel Espinoza (Eldrazi) defeats Tony Murata (12 Post) after a game 1, turn 1 Chalice of the Void locks out most of Tony’s interaction, including an Endbringer to shut down a Show and Tell’d Primeval Titan. Game two involved an early Eldrazi Mimic into Reality Smasher which Tony could not delay long enough to take control of the game.
- Mike Hadley (Goblins) defeated Kyle Henriksen (Miracles) in two games, after a sandbagged Warping Wail stopped a Terminus from wiping the board of approximately a billion Goblins.
So the finals came down to Eldrazi vs Goblins. Little green men vs an alien army from another world. Tribal Wars.
In game one, an early Endless One came down while Mike Hadley played a Rishadan Port to slow down the deck with a bunch of sol lands. On turn five, a Goblin Chieftain came swinging with haste. Rishadan Port prevented Daniel from equipping his freshly cast Jitte to Endless One. Then on turn six, a Siege-Gang Commander charged in, taking Daniel down to a meager 1 life. At this point, a Jitte wouldn’t save Daniel.
In game two, Mike Hadley mulliganed a couple of hands with no mana, and couldn’t keep up with Daniel’s turn one Jitte into turn two Endless One.
The first two games were over in less than ten minutes. What’s the over/under for game three?
Mike Hadley took the play and led with the classic Aether Vial, but Daniel countered with a Pithing Needle naming Vial. A Skirk Prospector plus Wasteland was Hadley’s second turn play, and Daniel Espinoza played an Ancient Tomb and passed. On Hadley’s next turn, Mogg War Marshall entered the battlefield while Daniel played a second Ancient Tomb. Hadley untapped and played Goblin Matron, grabbing Goblin Ringleader, while Daniel upped the ante by playing Eye of Ugin then slamming Endbringer onto the table, but Hadley had the perfect counter – Stingscourger. With Ancient Tomb taking so much life, and Hadley chipping away with 1/1s, the game was effectively over at this point. A couple turns passed but eventually Daniel had to extend the hand. Mike Hadley wins the 2016 Legacy Series Masters!
Thank you to everyone who played in our events, told people about our events, or even just took a look at our coverage throughout the year. We really appreciate it! Congratulations to Mike Hadley, the AZMagicPlayers.com 2016 Legacy Series Master!