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Luis Salvatto Wins Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan


This weekend Modern returned to the Pro Tour in Bilbao. Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan was the first Pro Tour to feature non-Standard Constructed rounds since the Eldrazi dominated Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch two years ago. The format's diversity was on full display all weekend with a litany of archetypes performing well. At the end of Saturday only eight players on seven different strategies remained:

  • Pascal Vieren, who entered the Top 8 with only draws to blemish his record on Blue-Red Young Pyromancer.
  • Luis Salvatto, in his second Pro Tour Top 8, on Lantern Control.
  • In his fourth Pro Tour Top 8, Ken Yukuhiro took Black-Red Hollow One into the fray.
  • 2017 World's Finalist Javier Dominguez playing 5-Color Humans.
  • Pro Tour Amonkhet Champion Gerry Thompson on Mardu Pyromancer in his third Pro Tour Top 8.
  • Reid Duke piloting Abzan in his third Pro Tour Top 8.
  • Jean-Emmanuel Depraz on Traverse Death's Shadow]/card].
  • Andrea Mengucci, also on 5 Color Humans, in his third Pro Tour Top 8.

  • The elimination rounds started with a pair of five game matches. Reid Duke, whose Top 8 finish (combined with teammate Jon Finkel's amazing 27th Pro Tour Top 16) put Team Ultimate Guard at the top of the Pro Tour Team Series standings, facing off against Ken Yukuhiro of Musashi - last year's Pro Tour Team Series Champion. In five games Yukuhiro's deck, powered by [card]Burning Inquiry and Goblin Lore, overcame Duke on his beloved base Black-Green midrange deck.

    At the other table it was Salvatto against Depraz. These two players were piloting some of the more well known -

    and feared - decks in the field. Depraz was in his first Pro Tour Top 8 while Salvatto had a stressful Round 16. Against teammate Lucas Esper-Berthoud, Salvatto got a game loss in game as he failed to desideboard properly after Round 15. He managed to win two in a row to secure his spot on Sunday. It took five games but Salvatto found himself in the Quarterfinals shortly thereafter.

    In the second set of Quarterfinals, Pascal Vieren continued his undefeated streak by dismantling Andrea Mengucci in three straight games. Mengucci, the eigth seed going in, was not able to muster enough offense with his 5 Color Humans deck. Humans fared no better in the hands of Javier Dominguez, who fell in four games to Gerry Thompson.

    The first Semifinal had Salvatto squaring off against Yukuhiro. Salvatto, with his copies of Ensnaring Bridge was able to shut down Yukuhiro's offense in the first two games. Once the players moved into sideboarded games, Yukuhiro was able to steal two back in a self admitted horrible matchup. Alas, the Japanese pro was not able to pull the upset and Salvatto secured his spot in the Pro Tour Finals.

    The second Semifinal started with two quick wins for Pascal. He was on the precipice of entering the finals undefeated but Gerry Thompson managed to push back in games three and four. The final game started strong for the Blue Pyromancer deck, suspending an early Ancestral Visions but Thompson was able to thread the needle and pressed his advantage to find himself in another Pro Tour Finals.

    The Finals could have dragged on for quite some time. Lantern Control can take quite some time to win and with Thompson having access to maindeck Kolaghan's Command, the possibility of drawn out games existed. Game one could have been just that, but once Salvatto assembled the lock, Thompson scooped his cards up. Once Luis was in a similar position in the second game, Thompson was more than ready to move to his sideboard. It proved to be a fruitless move as Salvatto was able to lock up the game, the match, an the Pro Tour title.

    Congratulations to Luis Salvatto - your Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan Champion!

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