Back in September, the mercenary team Illuminati headed to the lights and cameras of the Pro Tour Top 4 stage, but fell to underdog French team Les Plus Class. Many assumed Mowshowitz, Shvartsman and Gary were more than capable of winning the whole thing that Sunday, and assumed fate had simply dealt them a cruel hand. This weekend offered a chance for redemption, and Illuminati showed up in top form, clearing through the swiss rounds and beating the relatively inexperienced Team Cardshark in the Semifinals. It seemed that they could be able to achieve the goal of a team tournament title, which slipped out of their grasp at Madison Square Garden.
The only problem? They hit a wall in the Finals made up of The Jokas. The Championship team, made up of Kyle Rose, Eric James and Norman Woods has apparently been playing too much poker lately to spend any effort on Magic. However, they made the trip out to Jersey this weekend, and emerged victorious. Many Europeans have speculated that the interest in Poker among many American players has contributed to the downfall of the once dominant United States, but in the case of The Jokas, that theory can go right out the window. This especially applies to Kyle Rose, who was a dominant presence on the Pro Tour a few years ago, with a Pro Tour Championship and National Championship under his belt. With a Grand Prix victory now added to his resume, Rose is well on his way to becoming one of Magic’s most recognizable names yet again.
This event was the first premiere event to use the Odyssey Team Limited format with Judgment. The skewed power in the colors as defined by each pack has practically set the blueprint for where teams should seat specific drafters, hoping to optimize access to black in Torment, and green and white in Judgment. Will an advanced draft metagame emerge from this blueprint, or will teams stick to common wisdom in an effort to get the best cards possible? These questions will be answered at Worlds, during the Team Rochester Draft portion of the event.