Top 8 Profiles

Posted in Event Coverage on September 13, 2015

By Adam Styborski

Stybs has played Magic the world over, writing and drafting as part of the event coverage team and slinging Commander everywhere his decks will fit.

After many rounds of Swiss and some great games of Magic, the Top 8 for Grand Prix Oklahoma 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.



Jasper Johnson-Epstein

Age: 25

Hometown: Madison, WI

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Two Pro Tour Top 50 appearances, five Pro Tour appearances, too many Grand Prix close calls.

What did you play this weekend, and why? Burn. It has served me well for many years, so I saw no reason to give it up.

What was the best card in your main deck, and why? Grim Lavamancer. My very favorite Magic card, it provided some very useful angles of attack by mowing down opposing creatures and players indiscriminately and despite blockers.

What was the best card out of your sideboard, and why? Electrickery. It’s the best creature control you can find against Affinity, Bogles and Infect.

What was the most surprising deck you played against this weekend? Footsteps of the Goryo/Protean Hulk combo. A blast from the blast.

Are you and Ally against the Eldrazi, or resigned to be consumed by them? Who am I to stand against Emrakul?



Joseph Reiter

Age: 23

Hometown: Omaha, NE

Previous Magic Accomplishments: 42nd at Grand Prix Omaha

What did you play this weekend, and why? Affinity. I couldn’t build a Grixis Control or Grixis Twin list that I liked, so I went to Affinity as a fallback.

What was the best card in your main deck, and why? Cranial Plating. There’s something amazing about top decking five or more points of damage when you need it.

What was the best card out of your sideboard, and why? Ghirapur Æther Grid. The card was amazing in creature matchups and really sealed the deal for some of my games.

What was the most surprising deck you played against this weekend? A Naya Zoo deck similar to the Naya Blitz back in Return to Ravnica-Innistrad Standard. I haven’t seen Burning-Tree Emissary or Ghor-Clan Rampager in a while.

Are you and Ally against the Eldrazi, or resigned to be consumed by them? Against the Eldrazi. Maybe I ignite my spark!



Brian Braun-Duin

Age: 29

Hometown: Roanoke, VA

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Won Grand Prix New Jersey and Louisville.

What did you play this weekend, and why? Blue-Red Twin. Was lost in Modern and Sam Pardee said it was great so I blindly followed him.

What was the best card in your main deck, and why? Snapcaster Mage. Easily one of the top five cards in Modern, maybe the best.

What was the best card out of your sideboard, and why? Pyroclasm. It killed a lot of 1/1 spirits and other assorted small things.

What was the most surprising deck you played against this weekend? Elves. It’s not too weird but most of my matches were against known quantities.

Are you and Ally against the Eldrazi, or resigned to be consumed by them? Resigned to be consumed.



Paul Rietzl

Age: 30

Hometown: Scottsdale, AZ

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Pro Tour Hall of Fame member; four Pro Tour Top 8s and 13 Grand Prix Top 8s.

What did you play this weekend, and why? Merfolk. I haven’t dusted off Revised Islands in a while.

What was the best card in your main deck, and why? Æther Vial! It’s very hard to play against.

What was the best card out of your sideboard, and why? Spell Pierce. It’s to be able to interact with my linear aggro deck.

What was the most surprising deck you played against this weekend? Elves!

Are you and Ally against the Eldrazi, or resigned to be consumed by them? Truly resigned.



Andrew Sullano

Age: 23

Hometown: Dallas, TX

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Day 2 at Pro Tour Return to Ravnica and Avacyn Restored. I also rode in the same car as Zac Elsik.

What did you play this weekend, and why? Elves, because I own foil Heritage Druids.

What was the best card in your main deck, and why? Heritage Druid, because I got to play my entire hand.

What was the best card out of your sideboard, and why? Chameleon Colossus. It’s got protection from black and is uncounterable.

What was the most surprising deck you played against this weekend? Merfolk, because Hibernation is a thing.

Are you and Ally against the Eldrazi, or resigned to be consumed by them? Ally.



Zac Elsik

Age: 28

Hometown: Dallas, TX

Previous Magic Accomplishments: 17th at Pro Tour Avacyn Restored

What did you play this weekend, and why? Lantern Control because it has the highest win-rate against all non-Burn Modern decks.

What was the best card in your main deck, and why? Lantern of Insight. It removes variance from my opponent’s and my draws.

What was the best card out of your sideboard, and why? Welding Jar. It’s a one-for-one answer to sideboard cards from my opponent.

What was the most surprising deck you played against this weekend? Gerry Thompson’s Grixis Jace value deck with Rise // Fall.

Are you and Ally against the Eldrazi, or resigned to be consumed by them? Ally.



Matthew Duggan

Age: 28

Hometown: Albuquerque, NM

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Two State Championships.

What did you play this weekend, and why? Scapeshift, because it’s a one-card combo.

What was the best card in your main deck, and why? Repeal and/or Scapeshift.

What was the best card out of your sideboard, and why? Dispel. It’s great against all kinds of different decks.

What was the most surprising deck you played against this weekend? Nothing special.

Are you and Ally against the Eldrazi, or resigned to be consumed by them? Well, I win games with a Zendikar land (Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle) so…. kill all the Eldrazi.



Benjamin Thomas Miller

Age: 18

Hometown: Ankeny, IA

Previous Magic Accomplishments: I’ve won Friday Night Magic, and went 0-3 at Grand Prix Omaha.

What did you play this weekend, and why? Modern, because it’s my favorite format.

What was the best card in your main deck, and why? Amulet of Vigor, because it enables combo kills with Summer Bloom and Primeval Titan.

What was the best card out of your sideboard, and why? Leyline of Sanctity to prevent discard and Liliana of the Veil.

What was the most surprising deck you played against this weekend? I played against Jund six times.

Are you and Ally against the Eldrazi, or resigned to be consumed by them? Eldrazi are awesome. You have to love their power.

 

 

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