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2013: The Year That Was

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The letter T!his is going to be the last new edition of The Week That Was before we get started up again in the new year. As we head into 2014, I wanted to look back at the year that is coming to a close. There have been some truly incredible moments, powerful new cards, dominant strategies, and some pretty amazing players who find themselves in the middle of a dominant run that puts them on the Top 25 Pro Player Rankings. Who better than members of that elite and ever-shifting club to help me look back at The Year That Was?

Positions will almost certainly have shifted by the time this finds its way into your browser window, but all players' rankings featured here were of December 5th, 2013.

No. 25 Luis Scott-Vargas

2013 Card of the Year:

Pack Rat may have missed the twelve-month cutoff by a few months, but all of my play with the card has been this year, so I'm going with it. Opening Pack Rat (and Mizzium Mortars) at back-to-back Sealed GPs, and Top 8ing both, was huge for me. Thanks to Pack Rat, I was able to hit Platinum last year despite struggling most of the year, which spawned the term "Ratinum." Of course, Pack Rat has recently proven that it's not just a Limited card, and is easily one of the loudest cards in Standard right now, most recently winning the last three Standard US GPs, one of which was Owen's second GP win in a row.


2013 Deck of the Year:

When I think of 2013, the deck that comes to mind is Esper. For better or for worse, myself (and most of Team ChannelFireball) played Esper at a lot of the big tournaments, and despite mixed results, it did get me the Pro Tour Top 16 I needed to hit Platinum at Pro Tour Dragon's Maze.

2013 Personal Highlight of the Year:

Getting inducted into the Hall of Fame, and doing so in the same class as Ben Stark and William Jensen. Magic has been a huge part of my life, and having that dedication recognized is a huge honor and one of my proudest accomplishments. Second to that, making "Top 8" at the Team Grand Prix in Providence with Paul Cheon and Eric Froehlich was awesome, since there's nothing better than playing Magic at a big tournament with two of your closest friends (and doing well to boot).

New Year's Resolution:

I'd like to play well. Winning would certainly be nice (and I'd hope to see a little more of that next year), but that usually accompanies good play, and if I can play at a level I'm happy with, I'll be satisfied.

2013 Breakout Player of the Year:

Reid Duke is my choice for breakout player. He hit Platinum and qualified for the World Championship by winning his last round at Pro Tour Dragon's Maze, then followed that up with a win at Grand Prix Miami and a finals appearance at the World Championships. It wasn't a secret that Reid was very good, and his outstanding results really demonstrated that.


Reid Duke at Pro Tour Dragon's Maze

What Color Best Describes Tournament Magic in 2013?

I've got to go with blue here. Sphinx's Revelation had a very large impact on my deck selection over the last year, and now there's even a tier one deck that plays twenty-one Islands and won the last Pro Tour!

2013 Moment of the Year:

Seeing Shahar Shenhar win Worlds was incredible. Not only was I doing commentary and watching it unfold live, seeing Shahar transform from "little kid at my local card shop" to "six-foot-tall Magic World Champion" is amazing. I know I've told the story many times, but watching Shahar grow up as a person and a Magic player has been awesome. It will be interesting to see if he can win Player of the Year this year, as he's dead set on doing so.

No. 24 Christian Calcano

2013 Card of the Year:

I think I'd have to say Nightveil Specter. It's the best card in the top two decks in Standard at the moment (Mono-Blue and Mono-Black). It has also been a good sideboard option for Esper.


2013 Deck of the Year:

For me it's Esper Control. The previous Standard format wasn't too great for me. I could never find a deck I liked. But after Standard rotated, control became viable again, which is one of my favorite styles of play in Magic.

2013 Personal Highlight of the Year:

Definitely getting my second PT Top 16 in Dublin. It's the reason I made into the Top 25.

New Year's Resolution:

My goals for 2014 are to acquire more GP finishes (I only have two) and make a serious run at the Platinum level.

2013 Breakout Player of the Year:

Honestly, I think the only true answer to this question is the trio of William Jensen, Owen Turtenwald, and Reid Duke. Over the past year, those three have become really close friends and I think as a result they've all taken their game to a very high level.


William, Reid, and Owen build Team Sealed Decks at GP Providence

What Color Best Describes Tournament Magic in 2013?

Blue. It's the best color.

2013 Moment of the Year:

Watching three of the greatest players in this game's history get inducted into the Hall of Fame. I hope to join them there someday.

No. 22 Ari Lax

2013 Card of the Year:

Loathsome Catoblepas. Sometimes you need a hammer and all you have is a plastic spork.

If you want a real, less personally directed answer, Domri Rade. The card has proved itself as an easy-mode control killer in Block, Standard, and Modern.


2013 Deck of the Year:

The Jund Aggro deck Emanuel Sutor and I played at Pro Tour Gatecrash. It was my first event running a larger team, and our testing all came together to point to it being awesome. Only Manu and I played the deck, but it was phenomenal for that one event.

2013 Personal Highlight of the Year:

Grand Prix Providence. Starting the season off with a great finish, having two good friends qualify off of it, and the overall experience of a team tournament were awesome.

New Year's Resolution:

Get better at Pro Tour Limited. I've struggled to get a hold of the formats early on, and it's shown in my dead even record.

2013 Breakout Player of the Year:

Seth Manfield. He went from someone who had a couple great finishes five years ago to having a six-month stretch of a GP win, two more GP Top 8s, a PT cash, and an MOCS win. Honorable mention to Raymond Perez for being the local guy who finally broke through like everyone knew he would.


Seth Manfield, winner of Grand Prix Kansas City

What Color Best Describes Tournament Magic in 2013?

Green. Not only was it the best color over a season of Standard and Modern, this was a year of major growth for the game: Grand Prix Vegas, the return of the fourth Pro Tour, the end of the first full Pro season with the new changes, and much more.

2013 Moment of the Year:

Craig Wescoe's reaction to Top 8ing Pro Tour Dragon's Maze: "Ok, now how do I win the next three?"

No. 21 Craig Wescoe

2013 Card of the Year:

Judge's Familiar. It won back-to-back Pro Tours as a four-of. No other card has done that this year.


2013 Deck of the Year:

The Gruul deck Kibler went undefeated with at Worlds, which suddenly went from non-existent to most-played deck in the format literally overnight (since the World Magic Cup started the very next day and was filled with his deck). The following weekend, nearly every single Grand Prix trial on Day 0 of the GP was won by his exact list. I've never seen a deck take off so quickly, and I've been around for a long time.

2013 Personal Highlight of the Year:

My personal highlight was walking out into the lobby before my PT Dragon's Maze final match and seeing my teammates all huddled around a table vigorously testing my final matchup, and then Ari Lax excitedly telling me: "You sideboard zero cards, you have not lost a single game pre- or post-board in our testing, and you are about to win this Pro Tour."

New Year's Resolution:

My minimum goal for 2014 is to stay on the Pro Tour for another year, which means hitting at least Gold in the Pro Player's Club. I would especially like another crack at the World Championship, but I realize that is asking a lot. I would also like to help my teammates hit Gold or better for next year. We finally have a stable roster of players and our team morale is high. I'm very excited for 2014.

2013 Breakout Player of the Year:

Makihito Mihara made his fourth and fifth Pro Tour Top 8s this year, cementing him as a slam dunk on next year's Hall of Fame ballot. His decks and play have impressed me a lot. With all due respect to Shuhei Nakamura, Yuuya Watanabe, and the handful of other top-notch Japanese players, Mihara may quietly be the best right now.


Makihito Mihara at Pro Tour Dragon's Maze

What Color Best Describes Tournament Magic in 2013?

Judging by my box of Standard playables, I have nearly as many white cards as all the other colors combined. Then again, this tends to always be the case with me.

2013 Moment of the Year:

Last year we had the miracle Bonfire by Team Chinese Taipei to end Team USA's World Magic Cup, and this year I think it had to be the miracle Rakdos's Return by Team France to win the World Magic Cup in Amsterdam. Clutch draw steps in key matches tend to be the most exciting and memorable moments in Magic, at least for me.

No. 20 Raphaël Lévy

2013 Card of the Year:

Rakdos's Return. How can you forget Rich Hagon yelling RAKDOS'S RETURN and singing our national anthem at the very end of the WMC?


2013 Deck of the Year:

It's a close call between Bears and Wolfs (the mono-green aggro deck we played at the WMC) and Mono-Blue Devotion that Team Revolution played at PT Theros. We (Frenchies) designed both decks and had a lot of success with them.

2013 Personal Highlight of the Year:

See 2013 Card of the Year. :)

New Year's Resolution:

I've started doing the coverage on GPs in Europe and I've been enjoying that a lot. With the new five-GP cap rule, I'm happy I can just sit out for one or two tournaments, not to get too burned out. I definitely want to reach Platinum (not in too bad of a shape at the moment), and try to play the WMC next year again; I'll probably have to play in WMCQs since Jérémy is very far ahead. Also very excited about the World Championships.

2013 Breakout Player of the Year:

Jérémy Dezani. He'd been winning a lot last year, but it's nothing compared to what he's achieved in just a couple months. Top 8ing two GPs and winning a Pro Tour. Except for people who knew about the French players, no one really paid attention to him before and now he definitely is a force to be reckoned with .


Jérémy Dezani, winner of Pro Tour Theros

What Color Best Describes Tournament Magic in 2013?

Blue! Haven't you heard? France is back, allez les bleus!

2013 Moment of the Year:

Back in January, Itaru Ishida passed away and it was something very emotional for a lot of my Japanese friends. The game has been around for a long time, and Pro players passing away has never been something we really wanted to think about. But it's a reality...

No. 19 Brian Kibler

2013 Card of the Year:

The most memorable card to me this year has to be Domri Rade. It's exactly the kind of Planeswalker I like—powerful in the right kind of deck but not ubiquitously good—and it happens to fit into decks I really enjoy. Not only was it a key feature of my Gruul deck from Worlds, but I also made Top 8 at the Modern GP in San Diego with a Domri Naya deck, which was sweet.


2013 Deck of the Year:

I'll likely remember my Standard Gruul deck from Worlds, which I built in the days leading up to the event and totally turned the format on its head.

2013 Personal Highlight of the Year:

My personal highlight was getting to play in the World Championship again. The tournament is a lot of fun, and I really needed a good finish at the last Pro Tour in order to make it back, and I was able to pull it off.

New Year's Resolution:

I want to make Platinum and get back to the World Championship. I expect it will be hard, as I haven't had a great start to the season and I have a lot of competing demands on my time that make it hard for me to play quite as much Magic as others these days, but I'm going to try.

2013 Breakout Player of the Year:

Reid Duke, no question. Reid went from "MODO Guy" at last year's Players Championship to earning his way back by Pro Points this year, and then dominating the event until the finals, on top of an incredible year in Grand Prix. He has proven himself to be among the best players in the game.


Reid Duke, winner of Grand Prix Miami

What Color Best Describes Tournament Magic in 2013?

Green, because it's been growing like crazy. Grand Prix are absolutely immense now, even if they're not all as big as the record-breaking GP Vegas.

2013 Moment of the Year:

Gerry Thompson joining Wizards. Gerry was one of the great active deck builders and writers, and his decision to go work for Wizards has left a void in his absence. He will be missed.

No. 18 Alexander Hayne

2013 Card of the Year:

It probably has to be Burning-Tree Emissary. That card, in all the aggro decks that Saito put out despite not being qualified, was a defining factor at PT Gatecrash, and was also important in the Mono-Red Aggro decks at PT Dragon's Maze. Then it was used basically as a mana-ritual for devotion decks at PT Theros. Definitely was the scariest card coming out of all the aggressive decks.


2013 Deck of the Year:

Probably Hexproof. I won't forget Jon Stern winning GP Atlantic City and always having to deal with people playing that deck afterwards. I hated the deck, but you had to be prepared for people playing it. As far as I can remember, there hasn't been a deck like it before, where playing dorks and suiting them up was your plan.

2013 Personal Highlight of the Year:

Winning GP Kyoto with Rich Hoaen and Mike Hron. While my first GP win in Calgary also was this year, something about it being a team event made it all the much sweeter. Plus, I love Japan, and everyone there was amazingly nice.

New Year's Resolution:

Top 8 another Pro Tour. I want to show that I am here to stay, and that I can indeed rumble with the best, and looking long-term I would ideally like to put up a Hall of Fame–worthy resume, of which Pro Tour Top 8s are the number-one thing. A Top 8 would also get me Platinum and likely an invite to the World Championship and perhaps Canadian captaincy.

From a more technical standpoint, I want to get better at Draft. I always find I can do fairly well in Constructed, and I feel the past year I have really gotten better at Sealed Deck, but I feel like I have slipped in my drafting ability, perhaps because it hasn't improved as much as the others.

2013 Breakout Player of the Year:

I think it has to be Sam Black. His recent string of Top 8s is incredibly impressive, and he is making the rest of us look bad.


Sam Black in the Top 8 at Grand Prix Louisville

What Color Best Describes Tournament Magic in 2013?

For me, probably Gold (player's club level). But really, it probably is blue, once again. PT Theros was won by Mono-Blue, Worlds was won by RWU, Esper was the top dog at PT Dragon's Maze. Then again, I'm biased, as I played blue decks to my three GP Top 8s this year.

2013 Moment of the Year:

Watching Reid Duke redeem himself at the World Championship. He realized what he did wrong, and worked super hard to improve himself and reaped the rewards. It was quite inspiring.

No. 17 Paul Rietzl

2013 Card of the Year:

It has to be Thoughtseize. It's the best card in Standard by a wide margin and gives strong players a double-advantage; their Thoughtseizes are going to be better and their opponents' will be worse than the mean. Not only will strong players take the right card a higher percentage of the time, but they'll be able to use the information to greater advantage. Both my Top 8s this year included decks with 4 Thoughtseize as well, so there is that.


2013 Deck of the Year:

Patrick Chapin's Orzhov Aggro/Midrange deck. It wasn't that powerful, it didn't have great synergies, but boy was it the right deck for the right metagame.

2013 Personal Highlight of the Year:

Making Top 8 of Pro Tour Theros in Dublin. So much has to go right to make Top 8 of a PT and I feel very blessed and lucky.

New Year's Resolution:

Qualify for the World Championship. It seems like such an awesome, intense experience and it would be a great honor. I also want to write more.

2013 Breakout Player of the Year:

Owen Turtenwald. Finally making that first PT Top 8 and winning his first two GPs in back-to-back weekends just let the rest of the world know what a lot of pros have known already: he is easily one of the Top 5 players in the world, and might be the best.


Owen Turtenwald at the 2012 Players Championship

What Color Best Describes Tournament Magic in 2013?

White! Wescoe's GW Beats, Martell's Champion of the Parish–based Aristocrats, Soldier of the Pantheon, and the continued dominance of Supreme Verdict and Sphinx's Revelation across formats.

2013 Moment of the Year:

I'll go with Reid Duke's run at Worlds. Part of my motivation for wanting to qualify was watching Reid's dominance last year. Sometimes I'm just a fan, too!

No. 16 David Ochoa

2013 Card of the Year:

The last year has certainly had its share of powerful cards, and Oxing me to pick one that shines above the rest was tough. I would say that Boros Reckoner tops the list. Magic has gravitated so much toward combat in recent years, and Boros Reckoner is one of the most difficult cards for many creature-based decks to face.


2013 Deck of the Year:

CFB's Red Devotion deck from PT Theros. Burning-Tree Emissary and Nykthos were so powerful together. The deck had some consistency issues, but it was a blast to play and operated on a completely different level when it worked.

2013 Personal Highlight of the Year:

My personal Magic highlight from 2013 was playing in the World Championship in Amsterdam. Even though I only managed to go 6–6, it was still the same awesome experience like the previous year, where I went 5–7.

New Year's Resolution:

My main Magic goal for 2014 is to go 7–5 at the World Championship. I just want one more win than this year. Baby steps, right?

2013 Breakout Player of the Year:

My breakout player of the year is William Jensen. His induction to the Hall of Fame, devotion to the game, and constant increasing success after having been gone for so long is amazing.


William Jensen won Grand Prix Oakland shortly after entering the Hall of Fame

What Color Best Describes Tournament Magic in 2013?

White has played a major role in 2013's high-level tournaments. It was present in Tom Martell's Aristocrats at Pro Tour Gatecrash, Craig Wescoe's White Weenie at Pro Tour Dragon's Maze, and Shahar Shenhar's RWU at the World Championship. Additionally, white symbolizes purity, a quality that seems appropriate for describing the Devotion decks that have dominated since Pro Tour Theros.

2013 Moment of the Year:

Sam Black's trek through GP Albuquerque was quite exciting. His plane got delayed, and he was forced to take a loss in his first round because of it. He went undefeated through the rest of the Swiss.

No. 15 Martin Juza

2013 Card of the Year:

Probably Grisly Salvage, I enjoyed casting that card in both Limited and constructed throughout most of the year.


2013 Deck of the Year:

This one is easy—Jund. It's just always there, no matter what format it is.

2013 Personal Highlight of the Year:

As a whole it was the trip to GP Singapore and GP Sydney at the beginning of the year. We stayed a little extra time after that, saw the Australian Open and went to Fiji and Vanuatu, where we got to see an active volcano. Play the game, see the world at its finest.

New Year's Resolution:

Top 8 a Pro Tour, make Platinum again, and get in the Hall of Fame.

2013 Breakout Player of the Year:

You could make a reasonable case for a lot of people, but Shahar probably impressed me the most, very quickly turning from "that kid who won a GP" to one of the best players in the game right now.


Shahar Shenhar, winner of Grand Prix San Diego 2011

What Color Best Describes Tournament Magic in 2013?

I don't think there is one; all five colors have been represented in the last three PT-winning decks and this year just showed that you can win with pretty much anything in any format. Who would've thought a year ago that mono-white would be one of the best Legacy decks or that mono-black would be one of the best decks in Standard?

2013 Moment of the Year:

I'm gonna go with GP Vegas. It was an awesome time for 4,500 people in a great city with probably the best set for Limited in a really long time.

No. 14 Eric Froehlich

2013 Card of the Year:

For me personally, the most memorable would likely be Gyre Sage, as it was a card that nobody had used and nobody really used after the fact that helped carry me to the Top 8 at PT Gatecrash. The card with the most impact on that deck to have a far reach on Standard, and even in my modern Jund deck that I Top 8ed GPSD with, was Thundermaw Hellkite, however. That thing was a beast.


2013 Deck of the Year:

Even though I played it in 0 Pro Tours, the likely most powerful deck in Standard at the end of the season was Jund, while also being the most dominant strategy in Modern. We ended up playing Jund or Jund equivalents in both portions of Worlds this year.

2013 Personal Highlight of the Year:

My personal Magic highlight was certainly the feeling of the crowd erupting when I was about to win my final round of PT Gatecrash to make my third Top 8. It was a rare time when I was simply overcome with emotion to the point of needing to take the mic to say a few words on camera.

New Year's Resolution:

My goals for 2014 are to play the best Magic I can and compete in as many events as I can. Making Platinum or the World Championship again would be amazing, but I don't think those goals are currently realistic. Reaching Gold status would be great to continue playing the game competitively into the future.

2013 Breakout Player of the Year:

It's hard to pick just one breakout player this particular year. Everything Josh Utter-Leyton and Shahar Shenhar have done has been truly impressive. I think the answer would have to be Reid Duke, as now there isn't a person on the planet who doesn't know how great he truly is. Owen Turtenwald winning back-to-back GPs the same year as Top 8ing his first PT likely makes him "player of the year," but since he has already won the ACTUAL PotY title, I think he is disqualified from this question. Also of note is Huey Jensen; after such a long hiatus from the game, coming back in such a dominating fashion that I believe he is the current world's best, but can you really be a breakout player when you're in the Hall? Comeback player of the year for sure!


Reid Duke in the finals at Grand Prix Detroit

What Color Best Describes Tournament Magic in 2013?

I don't think that any color defined tournament Magic in 2014, which is part of what makes it great. PT Gatecrash had four distinctly different three-color decks in the Top 4. GW Weenie won a PT. Mono-Blue won a PT. Jund dominated all formats.

2013 Moment of the Year:

The highlight of 2013 for me was seeing three great friends in Luis Scott-Vargas, Huey Jensen, and Ben Stark make the Hall of Fame. Pillars of the game, great players who play the game right, and all great people. Huey making it was the real highlight as I couldn't imagine a universe where he wasn't a first-ballot Hall of Famer, so finally getting the long overdue recognition he deserved was amazing

No. 12 Owen Turtenwald

2013 Card of the Year:

It has to be Thragtusk because I made Top 8 of Pro Tour Gatecrash with four in my deck and it's a truly incredible card.

2013 Deck of the Year:

Jund was incredible and I will never forget it.

2013 Personal Highlight of the Year:

I'm trying not to repeat myself too often here but it's got to be making Top 8 of the Pro Tour.

New Year's Resolution:

Win a Team GP, Pro Tour, and the World Championship... and a Pro Tour.

2013 Breakout Player of the Year:

Reid Duke; now nobody can deny his greatness.


Reid Duke at Grand Prix San Antonio 2012

What Color Best Describes Tournament Magic in 2013?

Black; most of my best decks play it.

2013 Moment of the Year:

William "Huey" Jensen getting inducted into the Hall of Fame was an incredible moment.

No. 11 Tom Martell

2013 Card of the Year:

Most memorable for me was definitely winning PT Gatecrash, so the most memorable cards are either Falkenrath Aristocrat, which won my final game against Joel, or Blasphemous Act, which pulled out the miracle win against EFro. Honorable mention to Lingering Souls.


2013 Deck of the Year:

It has to be the Aristocrats.

2013 Personal Highlight of the Year:

Definitely winning the PT.

New Year's Resolution:

I want to return to and win Worlds. I was thrilled to be there this year but unhappy with my result.

2013 Breakout Player of the Year:

I think Shahar. Getting to work with him for Worlds let me see his potential firsthand and he really delivered on it.


Shahar Shenhar in the semifinals of the World Championship

What Color Best Describes Tournament Magic in 2013?

I'm going to say blue, which would be my answer every year.

2013 Moment of the Year:

The runs by Owen and Sam over the last few months have been incredible. It has been fun to watch them dominate these tournaments.

No. 10 Jérémy Dezani

2013 Card of the Year:

I made two GP Top 4s with Jund in Standard this year, but it's difficult for me not to choose a card from Mono-Blue Devotion—which gave me a PT title and a GP Top 4. So Thassa, God of the Sea takes the first place in my heart this year. The card has the power to be insane versus creatures and can continue to attack for 5 pts after a Supreme Verdict.


2013 Deck of the Year:

I enjoyed thinking about how to build our Bant Kessig for PT Gatecrash. This deck played Farseek and four colors, so your card pool was very important and you had so many options for building it. For example, having sideboard slots for cards like Gisela, Blade of Goldnight. All of the group, maybe ten members, made Day Two with it, and we were the top team with the best finishes in the tournament, so it was a good job.

2013 Personal Highlight of the Year:

For sure my PT Theros title; this is the biggest achievement a player can have and it's an honor to join the group of players who have won a PT.

New Year's Resolution:

I have my qualification for the World Championship with the Top 24 players in the world and Platinum level for the next two years. I will try to continue winning Pro Points to be the national champion this year and fight for PotY.

2013 Breakout Player of the Year:

This year, France won the last title it was missing, World Team champion. This is in large part Raphaël Lévy's work. It was the best achievement of his career. This year, he has made Top 50 in all three PTs. We have so many famous players in France, but Raphaël is special. He is the guy who has played in all the PTs in the last twelve years and he stays as enthusiastic as a guy who is attending his first. All players take a break or have a bad period in Magic when they don't win anything, except Raphaël.


Hall of Famer Raphaël Lévy on his way to a Top 16 at Grand Prix Strasbourg

What Color Best Describes Tournament Magic in 2013?

Wafo-Tapa would certainly respond "blue" to this question; I'm giving the same answer for different reasons.

2013 Moment of the Year:

I was in front of my computer, alone in my room. I was watching the World Magic Cup final with Team France. I don't think that I have ever been as involved in a game that I was not playing in. The Rakdos's Return topdeck just gave me enjoyment and happiness. Thank you Timothée Simonot for that moment.

No. 8 Willy Edel

2013 Card of the Year:

Nightveil Specter. It was one of my favorite cards in Gatecrash but saw no play until Theros—besides Block Constructed. It is one of the most important cards in the two "big" decks of 2013 in my opinion, Mono-Blue and Mono-Black Devotion.


2013 Deck of the Year:

It's a tie between Domri Naya before Theros and Mono-Black Devotion post Theros. I'm of course biased here, but Domri Rade is my favorite Planeswalker ever printed and he found his place in a very good deck, which became my favorite and gave me several GP money finishes—including a finals appearance. Since Odyssey, every single set everyone speculates if Mono-Black will be a deck again. It took soooo long, but Mono-Black is back.

2013 Personal Highlight of the Year:

Playing the WMC. We were so close to the Top 8 that I still dream with it. I will do my best to play it again next year.

New Year's Resolution:

I'd love to reach Platinum again, play the WMC and WC again (improving my finish) but my biggest dream is to be inducted to Hall of Fame. Last year I got eighteen votes and I got two GP Top 8 this season. Maybe with some good PT finishes I can be in real contention now.

2013 Breakout Player of the Year:

Shahar Shenhar. His performance at the World Championship was really impressive. I considered him one of the Top 20 players in the world, now I think he is clearly at least Top 5. Even though he is Platinum in the last two or three years, 2013 was his big year in my opinion.


2013 World Champion Shahar Shenhar

What Color Best Describes Tournament Magic in 2013?

Blue. It was in the finals of PT Gatecrash, was part of the PT Dragon's Maze winning deck (4 Judge's Familiar, heh), won the World Championship, and won PT Theros. Between control decks and blue devotion it really dominated the year.

2013 Moment of the Year:

Shahar Shenhar winning the WC. It was really touching to see all his family there to see his win, which is pretty unusual. He is a really nice guy and totally deserved it.

No. 6 Sam Black

2013 Card of the Year:

Thassa, God of the Sea. I love the design of the Gods, and they stand out in a way that's very memorable. Thassa in particular has been great for me.


2013 Deck of the Year:

Mono-Blue Devotion.

2013 Personal Highlight of the Year:

My entire trip around Pro Tour Theros and the following GP success.

New Year's Resolution:

Keep doing what I do.

2013 Breakout Player of the Year:

Honestly, I don't feel great about answering myself, but me, Reid Duke, Owen Turtenwald, and William "Huey" Jensen.


Sam Black, who launched a string of Top 8 finishes with Pro Tour Theros

What Color Best Describes Tournament Magic in 2013?

Um, blue I guess, but I don't really relate to the sentiment expressed in the question.

2013 Moment of the Year:

Reid Duke's run at the World Championship, particularly coupled with the Oath Brothers' success.

No. 5 Shuhei Nakamura

2013 Card of the Year:

May I say Thundermaw Hellkite? I'm kidding, it is from M13. Burning-Tree Emissary.


2013 Deck of the Year:

Brian Kibler's Gruul deck from Worlds.

2013 Personal Highlight of the Year:

I think I became the only person to be a Grand Prix winner in each of the Magic regions.

St Louis/Philadelphia from North America, Hiroshima from Japan, Stuttgart from Europe, Costa Rica from South America, and Hong Kong from Asia.

New Year's Resolution:

To get to Platinum and getting to play in the World Championship again.

2013 Breakout Player of the Year:

It has to be Owen Turtenwald winning back-to-back Grand Prix.


Owen Turtenwald, after winning second Grand Prix in a row in Albuquerque

No. 4 Shahar Shenhar

2013 Card of the Year:

I would have to say Obzedat, Ghost Council is the most memorable.


2013 Deck of the Year:

Definitely the GW Boggle deck Reid Duke played at the World Championship, was the last obstacle I had to go through and the odds were extremely against me.

2013 Personal Highlight of the Year:

Winning the World Championship!

New Year's Resolution:

Making the Top 8 of a Pro Tour.

2013 Breakout Player of the Year:

William "Huey" Jensen, easy answer. Even though he was considered one of the best to play the game earlier in his career, after he came back he had around half a year of very little success, but after that he quickly showed everyone how great of a player he really is. I am very proud of the fact I got to witness all this.


William Jensen in the finals at Grand Prix Dallas/Fort Worth

What Color Best Describes Tournament Magic in 2013?

Blue is by far the most dominant color this year. Whether it is Esper, RWU, UW, or just Mono-Blue Devotion, it's always at the top tables.

2013 Moment of the Year:

When Luis Scott-Vargas, Ben Stark, and William Jensen became HOFers.

No. 2 Josh Utter-Leyton

2013 Card of the Year:

The bulk of the past year has been all about Ravnica, and nothing says Ravnica to me like the shocklands. If I have to pick just one of them, it would be Hallowed Fountain, as it alongside Supreme Verdict and Sphinx's Revelation have been the one real constant in Standard over the past year.


2013 Deck of the Year:

Guess I already answered this one—UWx control.

2013 Personal Highlight of the Year:

Winning Player of the Year with my Top 8 at PT Dragon's Maze, pretty hard to top that!

New Year's Resolution:

Qualify for Worlds. It's such an amazing tournament experience and I would be extremely disappointed to not be part of it. Outside of just 2014, the goal I have my sights set on is to win a Pro Tour.

2013 Breakout Player of the Year:

Reid Duke. His performances at the two Players Championships are extremely representative of his rise from "MODO guy" to one of the game's true elite players.


Reid Duke at the 2013 World Championships

What Color Best Describes Tournament Magic in 2013?

Green—growth best describes tournament Magic in 2013.

2013 Moment of the Year:

It's Game 3 of Round 14 of PT Dragon's Maze, and LSV needs to win these last three rounds to get Platinum. He's facing down an Assemble the Legion and a huge swarm of tokens and knows his opponent has a Counterflux in hand, so Luis has no outs. He draws Jace, casts it... AND IT RESOLVES! The instant he plusses it, the opponent realizes his huge blunder. Luis goes on to win that game and his next two matches. (Then Luis goes on to never win another match.) Runner up is Game 5 of Martell vs EFro from PT Gatecrash. Two close friends battling in one of the most intense and closest games I've seen, with great non-textbook plays made on both sides.

No. 3 Reid Duke

2013 Card of the Year:

Scavenging Ooze. I used the card to success in both Standard and Modern Jund after its M14 printing.


2013 Deck of the Year:

Jund.

2013 Personal Highlight of the Year:

Winning Grand Prix Miami with Standard Jund.

New Year's Resolution:

Compete in the World Championship again. Top 8 a Pro Tour.

2013 Breakout Player of the Year:

Sam Black.


Sam Black in the Top 8 of Grand Prix Albuquerque

What Color Best Describes Tournament Magic in 2013?

I'd say black. With the printing of Deathrite Shaman and the reprinting of Thoughtseize, black is the core of the highest portion of the successful decks across all formats.

2013 Moment of the Year:

Owen Turtenwald getting his first and second GP wins in back-to-back tournaments, after twelve previous Top 8s!

No. 1 Ben Stark

2013 Card of the Year:

I think Mutavault is the most influential (Standard) card to come out this year.


2013 Deck of the Year:

I think Jund kinda dominated the first half of the year.

2013 Personal Highlight of the Year:

Getting into the Hall of Fame. I got my fourth Pro Tour Top 8 at the start of this year in PT Gatecrash, which then gave me a big a HOF push. Then being inducted itself was amazing; my parents had never been to a Pro Tour, so having them there was incredible, and my girlfriend and sister, it was just an amazing experience.

New Year's Resolution:

I can't expect to run as well in 2014 as I did in 2013. I just hope that I can keep drawing well and putting up some solid finishes.

2013 Breakout Player of the Year:

Shahar Shenhar. Before 2013 I would say he was one of those kids with some good GP results waiting to breakout at the next level, then he did it this year by winning the World Championship and cementing himself as one of the top-ranked players in the world.


Shahar Shenhar at the finals of the 2013 World Championship

What Color Best Describes Tournament Magic in 2013?

Well, black I guess, I felt like Jund was the most dominant deck for the first half of the year and obviously it's three colors, one of which being black, and now Mono-Black has been the deck to beat in Standard for the past month or so, with Pod and Jund still being pretty dominant in Modern.

 

November Player of the Month (No. MTGPoM): Owen Turtenwald


Owen Turtenwald - Player of the Month

To the shock of exactly no one, the Player of the Month was the man who won back-to-back Grand Prix titles to punctuate a GP career that had seen him make a GP Top 8 a dozen times previously, without achieving that goal. I saved Ben Stark's 2013 Moment of the Year to illustrate the magnitude of Owen's accomplishment and the respect he has earned from his peers.

Ben Stark's 2013 Moment of the Year:

Owen Turtenwald winning back-to-back Grand Prix. It's just so rare someone accomplishes that and he really put in his dues. He was one of the most successful GP players of all time before those wins, but he never ran well in the Top 8s, so it was great to see him get those back-to-back 1st places that he has long deserved.





 
Brian David-Marshall
Brian David-Marshall
@Top8Games
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Brian David-Marshall is a New York–based game designer who has been involved with Magic since 1994, when he started organizing tournaments and ran a Manhattan game store. Since then, he has been a judge, a player, and one of the longest-tenured columnists on DailyMTG.com, as he enters his second decade writing for the site. He is also the Pro Tour Historian and one of the commentators for the Pro Tour.

 
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