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Coming right up, Honolulu!

June 4, 2009
Pro Tour Honolulu 2009 is just about to start and it’s time to get psyched! Last time the Pro Tour came to the island of Oahu it was a blast, not only for the actual participants but also for the people watching. In 2006, the format was Standard and Craig Jones managed to beat Oliver Ruel in a very exciting semifinals where he drew the now famous 16k$ Lightning Helix (see below) to take himself to the finals (where his run was ended by Mark Herberholz). And man, we sure hope it will be as exciting this time around.

This year the format is Shard of Alara Block Constructed/Alara Block Booster Draft. Block Constructed is a format I personally have very little experience with myself, as I haven’t really bothered playing because the current PTQ season is Standard, not Block Constructed as it normally is. However, judging from the last MODO Championship Top8 there is going to be a lot of Bloodbraid Elves, which isn’t too hard to imagine. The card draw in this block isn’t very good so therefore is card with incremental advantages (such as the Planeswalkers) or cards with cascade are very key in this format. In fact, there were 32 (i.e. all the decks played 4 of them) Bloodbraid Elfs in the Top8. But what’s really surprising to me is the fact that there were also 24 Sprouting Thrinax aswell. Seems like there will be a lot of Jund at Honolulu…

I have more experience with the limited part of the Pro Tour however, I mean it’s the current draft format! I have done a couple of drafts with Alara Reborn and for what I can tell from the drafts I have done is that the format has gotten a bit faster. Out went a pack of Shard of Alara with Obelisks and high costed cycling stuff and in came Alara Reborn with borderposts and bears. Another issue is that many people (including myself) feels that the overall powerlevel of the card is higher in Alara Reborn compared with the other two sets. And as a reaction to that is that people pick manafixing more aggressively in the first two packs so they can pick up as much goodness in Alara Reborn. And if you look at archetypes, Esper is still amazing, aggressive GW is still amazing but 5cc has lost some of it’s glory due to the format has picked up speed with Alara Reborn.

That was my little interlude to Pro Tour Honolulu, hope you liked it and be sure to catch some coverage. Will LSV continue his amazing run? Will Japan retake some lost ground? All this will be revealed this weekend. Until next time…

PS, for you planning on watching the webcast on Sunday,  Hawaii is in the time zone GMT -10 but many countries (including my precious Sweden) have daylight saving time, which means that you have to add another hour. For example, 9 a.m. in Honolulu is 9 p.m. in Stockholm. Just as a reminder.

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