MTG Pro Tour drama teaches important lesson: Never trust your opponent

Drama over conceding matches at Regional Championship Montreal for a Magic: The Gathering Pro Tour 2023-2024 season invite has ended, but no rules have been changed. 

Draws and concessions have been in the MTG hot seat before at high-level tournament play, especially when a seed invite is on the line. The Pro Tour helped remove some of the controversy by allowing players who hit 12 match wins an automatic advancement to the top eight playoffs. But Regional Championship organizers, like the recent RC in Montreal, are allowed to have their own rules in place. This led to a verbal agreement between MTG players Brian Bonnell and Eduardo Sajgalik, in which one would concede if their final match of the time went to time, allowing the player with the stronger board state to advance and earn a Pro Tour invite

MTG Pro Tour drama teaches important lesson Never trust your
Good intentions will only go so far. Image via WotC

The match hit time and was unable to end without either a concession or a draw. But Sajgalik didn’t concede, as was agreed upon, even though Bonnell had a stronger board advantage through his Domain Ramp deck. This earned Sajgalik a 13th-place finish with both players missing out on the Pro Tour invite. The Magic community was quick to blast Sajgalik for poor sportsmanship, resulting in a public apology from the veteran player. The apology wasn’t received well by the Magic community until Bonnell decided it was time “to put this whole thing to bed and move on with our lives.” 

“I just wanted to clear the air about the events at the Canadian RC this past weekend” Bonnell said. “Sajgalik [@walaoumpa] reached out to me yesterday to offer his sincerest apologies. I accepted his apology and I sincerely wish him the best moving forward.”

Matches like Bonnel and Sajgalik had at RC Montreal aren’t common but they do happen. The only way to prevent controversy from drawn matches at the end of a tournament is to change the overall rules, creating uniform results at both RC and Pro Tour tournaments. It’s also advisable to not trust your opponent and always play to your best ability.  

The next Pro Tour tournament of the MTG 2023-2024 season will run from June 28 to 30 at MagicCon Amsterdam.

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