Magic: The Gathering New Capenna Championship Results
The Magic: The Gathering New Capenna Championship was the latest set championship contested in the classic trading card game, and boy was it a good one. It lasted from May 20th to May 22nd and it was packed with excitement. 223 players entered the tournament to battle in both Standard and Historic formats for their cut of a $450,000 prize pool, as well as an coveted invitation to the Magic World Championship XXVIII. Only the players who won a match in the Top 8 playoffs were invited to the World Championship.
Both Standard and Historic Constructed configurations were used in a span of 15 Swiss rounds. Rounds 1 through 3 were Standard Constructed, rounds 4 to 7 were Historic Constructed, and so on to round 15. When players got their 12th win, they advanced to the Top 8 Playoffs. All matches in the Top 8 bracket were contested as a Best of 3, with the exception of the Title Match, which was a Bo3 set of Bo3 games.
13 spots for the World Championship had already been taken by the players who performed well at the Neon Dynasty and Innistrad Championships. Champion Yuta Takahashi also has his spot reserved, on the obvious account of being the defending champion. The rest, however, were wide open for players to take.
A total of 7 Swiss rounds were played on day one. Players needed at least four match wins to advance to day two, and all of the records from day one would be carried over. The first three rounds were Standard, and only 28 players had a perfect 3-0 score.
There were only two players that remained undefeated throughout the first day: Stefan Schütz and David Inglis. 12 players succeeded in having a 6-1 record. Three players, Greg Orange, Yuma Koizumi, and Simon Nielsen, managed to snag a very respectable 5-2 record.
Out of all the players that managed to get to day two, only 8 moved onto the playoffs. Inglis is the only player that remained undefeated after 9 rounds; everyone else picked up at least one loss.
Day two ended by establishing the Top 8. It also lead to the League invites to Worlds. Last but not least, it concluded with the selection of the Challenger invites to the Magic World Championship.
Tristan Wylde-LaRue, Orange, Drew Baker, Nathan Steuer, Jim Davis, Julian Wellman, Nielsen, and Koizumi earned invites to Worlds in the Challengers race. Shota Yasooka, Inglis, Logan Nettles, Reid Duke, and Matti Kuisma got invites for Worlds for the League race.
And who were the players that advanced to the double-elimination bracket playoffs?
Jan Merkel, Yasooka, Zachary Kiihne, Mike Sigrist, Hisamichi Yoshigoe, Nielsen, Karl Sarap, and Inglis were the lucky ones.
Out of all eight incredibly skilled players, Merkel easily got himself to the Title Match by playing a Jeskai Hinata deck. Players did have a second chance in the lower bracket, where Nielsen was waiting with an Esper Midrange deck.
After a loss to Nielsen in the upper bracket, Yoshigoe cruised through the lower bracket with his Naya Midrange deck, but Nielsen, who had been knocked down in a later round, was ready. The Esper Midrange deck came out on top, leading Nielsen to the Title Match.
The Title Match
Merkel and Nielsen were ready to go at each other when the finals arrived. Winning here would be Merkel’s second Pro Tour level event of his career. Regardless of the result here, both players will advance to the World Championship, but that was the last thing on their minds.
Merkel’s Jeskai Hinata vs. Nielsen’s Esper Midrange. Three matches would decide who wins it all in the New Capenna Championship. In a matchup between two midrange decks, both players had to take every advantage they could find.
As an example, Merkel wanted to preserve his life total with cheap removal whilst accumulating cards with Expressive Iteration. Nielsen, on the other hand, wanted to establish an early threat using Wedding Announcement.
Merkel had already beaten Nielsen that day. He also beat them in the first finals match by deploying Hinata, Dawn-Crowned and Magma Opus at a significant moment.
The next game started out with Nielsen having a pair of Wedding Announcements. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t manage to establish a lethal threat throughout the game. Once again, in the end, Hinata and Magma Opus have decided the victor.
Nielsen then managed to win two games in a row and even the Title Match at one match each. Everything was evened up, and it would appear that anyone watching was in for a treat. From here, it could go both ways, and fans had their predictions.
In the end, it would seem that Hinata, Dawn-Crowned, and Goldspan Dragon, followed by Magma Opus, was too much to handle for Nielsen. The incredible Merkel managed to earn his second title by winning the New Capenna Championship.
The New Capenna Championship was indeed full of excitement, all the way through to the Title Match. We have seen an amazing display of all kinds of skills during these hard-fought battles. Merkel and his Jeskai Hinata deck prevailed, allowing him to win the entire thing.
Apart from ongoing qualifiers for the World Championship, the next major Magic: The Gathering tournament will come in the form of the 2022 Magic Online Champions Showcase Season 1 on June 18th!