TOP 8 PROFILES

Posted in Event Coverage on May 23, 2016

By Marc Calderaro

After many rounds of Swiss and some great games of Magic, the Top 8 for Grand Prix Los Angeles is set! Learn more about this event's Top 8 competitors, their history at the top tables, and more by taking a look through the Top 8 profiles.


Simon Slutsky

Age: 33

Hometown: Pasadena, CA

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
Day 2 at GP Oakland (6-3), PPTQ Finalist

What did you play this weekend, and why?
Merfolk. I know it well and it seemed well-positioned.

What was the best card in your main deck, and why?
Spreading Seas, sadly. Lots of my opponents had cards stuck in their hands because of it.

What was the best card out of your sideboard, and why?
Gut Shot. It's versatile and crucial against Melira combo and the mirror.

What is your story of triumph getting to this Top 8?
Practice, dedication to the deck, and knowing when to trust the pros. I couldn't have done it without seeing Ondřej Stráský's list.


Ethan Brown

Age: 13

Hometown: Portland, Oregon

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
12th Place at TCGPlayer States

What did you play this weekend, and why?
Affinity. It's the only good Modern deck I have and it's my favorite.

What was the best card in your main deck, and why?
Cranial Plating. It pumps your creatures if you have a lot of artifacts.

What was the best card out of your sideboard, and why?
Blood Moon. It randomly destroys people.

What is your story of triumph getting to this Top 8?
I came in 7-2 and then went 6-0, beating a lot of good players and getting really lucky.


Javier Dominguez

Age: 29

Hometown: Barcelona, Spain
Previous Magic Accomplishments: 9th Place at Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar, GP Paris Winner

What did you play this weekend, and why?
Jund. I just carefully listened to Willy Edel, and then did the opposite.

What was the best card in your main deck, and why?
Kalitas! It's just the only bomb.

What was the best card out of your sideboard, and why?
Damnation. I played against lots of Cavern of Souls decks.

What is your story of triumph getting to this Top 8?
I needed one point to lock Gold, so I made it! Thanks to DEX Protection for making it possible.


Pascal Maynard

Age: 23

Hometown: Quebec City

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
10th GP Top 8, Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch Top 8, Canadian National Team 2010

What did you play this weekend, and why?
Bant Eldrazi. Our team got help from the original designer of the deck, Todd Stevens. We tuned the deck, and most of us played it this weekend. I played it so I can cast Turn 2 Thought-Knot Seers.

What was the best card in your main deck, and why?
Eldrazi Temple. It's just too unfair.

What was the best card out of your sideboard, and why?
Either Engineered Explosives or Stony Silence. Both just won me games by themselves.

What is your story of triumph getting to this Top 8?
Had to 6-0 Day 2 to make it.


Joe Lossett

Age: 36

Hometown: Newport Beach, California

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
5 StarCityGames Open wins

What did you play this weekend, and why?
R/G Tron. I've been working on it for quite a while now, and I'm a big believer in sticking with one deck instead of switching it up for every event.

What was the best card in your main deck, and why?
Ancient Stirrings has to be the best cantrip in the format. It does everything. Need a land? Here you go! Need an unbeatable eight-drop? Here you go!

What was the best card out of your sideboard, and why?
Warping Wail. Crumble to Dust is not a very friendly card.

What is your story of triumph getting to this Top 8?
I was playing against Abzan Company. My Grafdigger's Cage was holding back his entire hand. He drew and played Qasali Pridemage and passed, because what difference did it make? SUDDEN SHOCK!


Corey Burkhart

Age: 24

Hometown: Alta Loma, CA

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar Top 25, 4th GP Top 8 this season (1 Standard, 2 Modern, 1 Team Sealed)

What did you play this weekend, and why?
Grixis Control. Ancestral Vision is exceptionally powerful. Cryptic Command seemed to be well-positioned, and I have a natural affinity for very grindy decks.

What was the best card in your main deck, and why?
Snapcaster Mage. It has the flexibility of a blue card, the power of a green card, and casts all your best spells (sans Ancestral Vision). The loops with Cryptic Command and Kolaghan's Command are too great to pass up.

What was the best card out of your sideboard, and why?
Izzet Staticaster. Always is, and always will be. The card answers many troubling "go wide" strategies, as well as combo elements like Infect, which I played against three times.

What is your story of triumph getting to this Top 8?
Playing a control deck in a sea of combo and aggressive decks. Winning each game is very rewarding, as you don't get the "free wins" other decks get.


Cuong-Alexander To

Age: 23

Hometown: Norwalk, California

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
Qualified for Pro Tour Shadows Over Innistrad

What did you play this weekend, and why?
Affinity. It's the deck I have the most experience with.

What was the best card in your main deck, and why?
Steel Overseer. I played four Affinity mirrors matches in a row on Day 2.

What was the best card out of your sideboard, and why?
Etched Champion. It's almost impossible to kill.

What is your story of triumph getting to this Top 8?
I took each round one at a time and let the wins add up.


Erik Carson

Age: 27

Hometown: Roseburg, Oregon

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
17th Place at GP San Antonio 2012, multiple Day 2 cashes, 2 StarCityGames Legacy Top 8's

What did you play this weekend, and why?
Abzan Company. It is difficult to disrupt and probably the most consistent and redundant deck in Modern.

What was the best card in your main deck, and why?
Collected Company. It allows you to win out of nowhere, especially when backed by Chord of Calling.

What was the best card out of your sideboard, and why?
Qasali Pridemage. It beats the most common sideboard card against me, Grafdigger's Cage. Anyone could have it in their board!

What is your story of triumph getting to this Top 8?
This is my first Top 8, which has led to my first PT invite. I drove 12 hours to be here. I am beyond stoked!

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