From 218 players and two days of competition, the Top 8 of Pro Tour Phyrexia emerged–congratulations to the players returning for the Sunday Pioneer playoff!
Like fellow Top 8 competitor Nathan Steuer, Derrick Davis too came up via the Magic Online Championship Series, but he's been making the rounds in much more than that, including a Players Championship appearance at the NRG Series earlier this year. His run through the Pro Tour Phyrexia field was done largely off-camera as he battled up the standings, and his decisive victory in the final round over the ubiquitous Rakdos Midrange deck was enough to send one of the Enigmatic Fires players in the room to the Top 8.
Duke is an indomitable force in competitive Magic, notching a storied Magic Hall of Fame career totalling seven Top Finishes with Pro Tour Phyrexia. The 2011 Magic Online champion is renowned for his stalwart kindness and fierce focus on improving his play, which brought him within a match win of the Magic World Championship in 2013.
Now, he joins teammate Gabriel Nassif in a Top 8 showdown to claim his first Pro Tour trophy.
10 years of effort have come together for Ferber, a Regional Championship Top 8 competitor with years of experience on the Grand Prix circuit who is putting it all into action in a memorable Pro Tour Phyrexia run. After finding success at the Championship in Atlanta, he went back to the testing board and hit the Magic Online and Magic Arena queues to get in as much Phyrexia: All Will Be One draft as possible and leaned on the familiarity he had with Lotus Field combo to break through.
The last remaining undefeated player at Pro Tour Phyrexia, Benton Madsen was practical following his perfect 8-0 Day 1. "I could just as easily lose every round tomorrow," is how he put it; but when Saturday dawned, the Manhattan native was again up to the challenge, turning in a strong enough performance to pay off his excellent start and earn his first career Top Finish.
Another Regional Championship qualifier, another Top 8 appearance. Matsuura joins the crowd of RC Top 8 competitors who converted their chance at the Pro Tour, and he did it largely on his own, besting the online queues in preparation for his trip to the United States. On top of that, he spent most of Pro Tour Phyrexia playing under the feature match lights, a stressful experience that has undone many a fierce competitor before. But not Matsuura, and now his memorable run will continue into the Top 8.
A legendary Magic Hall of Famer from France, Nassif has seen the heights of the Pro Tour as both 2004's Player of the Year and Pro Tour Kyoto champion in 2009. Having taken a break from the game, Nassif returned to discover the joy of streaming Magic. His Top Finish at Pro Tour Phyrexia is his 16th.
He may need to find room for another trophy soon as well.
The two-time Magic Online Champions Showcase winner and reigning Magic World Champion isn't showing any sign of slowing down, making back-to-back premier event Top Finishes with his Top 8 at Pro Tour Phyrexia. As a vanguard of Magic's newest champions, it's easy to overlook Steuer's early play with his even younger success at Grand Prix San Diego back in 2015; a veteran of Sunday battles.
If anyone can stop Magic's hottest player, it'll have to happen on a Pro Tour Sunday.
Yasooka is one of Japan's most prestigious competitors, racking up his 12th Top Finish at Pro Tour Phyrexia across a career spanning titles such as Player of the Year and Pro Tour Kaladesh champion. The Magic Hall of Famer has been a Team Pro Tour champion (Charleston, 2006) and World Magic Cup team champion for Japan (2017). For nearly every event there has been for Magic, Yasooka has been incredible, including his qualification by making Top 8 at his Regional Championship.
A decorated veteran winning at the return of the Pro Tour would be history making history once again.