IQ #5 Recap and The Invitational to Come

The results of our final IQ are in, and final standings for the Invitational Leaderboard are located at

One of the important factors to note is that Invitational Qualifiers are a large source of points for players trying to qualify via the leaderboard.

Most players towards the top of the standings showed up in force on Sunday, as only 4 of the Top 16 players chose not to show. Of those, Scott and I were both mathematically locked, while 3rd place all the way down to 11th place fought for qualification. Some players needed only a top 16 finish to secure the invite, while others needed specific records to earn their spot in February.

At the end of the Swiss rounds, Nicolas Johnson, Peter Phan, and Andrew Goodwin top 16’d, securing Peter his spot, while Andrew and Nicolas had to cross their fingers that Thien, Randy, and Anthony failed to achieve the finishes they needed. Anthony needed a top 4 finish to beat out Nicolas by a single point, while Thien needed a Finals appearance to make it. Randy needed either of those to not happen, as losing his quarterfinals meant he was tied for 9th place with Nicolas.

Both Thien and Anthony lost their quarterfinals matches, while Chase beat out Shiyun to push himself into a semifinals battle. Chase was locked for the invite off of points regardless of his finish, and with a Top 8 prize split, was left playing to push a friend into the invitational alongside him. If Chase won the whole event, then Anthony would make it into the invitational, as Chase would no longer count on the leaderboard. The last Kingslayer in the tournament left unqualified was Tony Boozan — and he would have to fight a rematch of his only Swiss loss in the Semifinals.


In an intense flurry of games, Tony emerged victorious in his series of three against Collector Legion Owner Grim Valdimor. A timely Lyra Dawnbringer sealed the door in game three, as Grim’s low to the ground Boros deck couldn’t push through the flying angel. On the other side of the bracket, Chase found himself squaring off against seasoned player Andrew Son. This battle of the black midrange decks showcased the power of Vraska’s contempt, as Chase’s red splash defeated Andrew’s green heavy Golgari list in two games.

In the conclusive round of the tournament, Tony sought to defend his title as Champion. The winner of the Standard PPTQ earlier in the year, Tony’s innovative Boros list was streamlined against the matchups he expected. This tactic paid off in both tournaments, as there was little Golgari to punish a Boros list designed to beat the aggressive decks. Unable to qualify off of points, Tony would have to win this match to earn his spot in the invitational.

On the other side of the table, Chase found himself locked for the invitational and with a decision of which friend to potentially bring to the Invitational with him. If he conceded to Tony, then they would both make it in. If he played it out and won, then Tony would be out, but Anthony would make it in. Ultimately, Chase decided to concede the match to Tony, recognizing the hard battle his fellow Kingslayer had fought. They promised to play the match out for the camera, and Game 1 we saw a brutal curve from Tony completely dismantle Chase’s gameplan. Chase’s Plaguecrafters and small statted creatures were no match for History of Benalia, and Tony locked up the first game in short order. Moving into the postboard games, Chase found himself with a double Burglar Rat draw, but Tony’s removal spell heavy hand allowed him to answer every threat Chase deployed. Multiple kill spells later, Tony drew The Immortal Sun and slammed a Lyra onto the field. Chase had a kill spell for it, but was unable to remove The Immortal Sun. Tony hit City’s Blessing off of his Arch of Orazca and Chase conceded shortly after, unable to overcome Tony’s card advantage.


Before the tournament, if you asked Tony who was going to win, he would have told you anyone but him. Running back the same archetype from months prior, he set out to conquer the metagame playing Magic the way he wanted to play. Months of hard work and testing paid off in that one decisive moment to register Sacred Foundry. Congratulations Tony, and I can’t wait to test with you for the Invitational.

Below we have the decklists of the Top 8 players, as well as our traditional text summary, as well as a metagame breakdown. If you missed the most intense IQ yet, you can watch the replay at

1st — Tony Boozan on Boros Angels
2nd — Chase Chappell on Rakdos Midrange
3rd — Grim Valdimor on Boros Aggro
4th — Andrew Son on Golgari Midrange
5th — Thien Phung on Selesnya Tokens
6th — Anthony Garcia on Jeskai Nexus
7th — Shiyun Yang on Naya Midrange
8th — Randy Casillan on Izzet Drakes

1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th8thIQ Breakdown

As the first Invitational Season comes to a close, I couldn’t be prouder of the players qualifying alongside me. While the qualification process was very exclusive, every one of us worked hard to get here. There are no free passes with a tournament of this caliber, or with a format this complex. Navigating the early landscape of a new Draft format, while trying to outmaneuver my friends in Standard, is a monumental task. Many of the players I test very closely with have also qualified, and this proves to be one of the few tournaments with a truly level playing field. Every match will be a challenge, and every decision crucial in the battle for Invitational Champion.

While the final details of the Invitational, as well as the next season, have yet to be announced, the gist of the format is that it has Swiss rounds composed of Standard and Draft, with a cut to top 8.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be looking at the list of qualified players and doing both player spotlights and testing approaches for the format.

You can follow Dylan on Twitter @pariahpopular