Seth Manfield's Origin Story

Posted in Feature on August 21, 2015

By Mike Rosenberg

Mike Rosenberg is a writer and gamer and has been part of the Magic text coverage team since 2011. He joined Wizards as organized play’s content specialist in June 2014.

A quiet performer at the Grand Prix level for years, Seth Manfield did not reach the height of the Pro Tour until the 2014-15 Premier Play season where hard work with his team finally paid off. His breakthrough performance—a Top 8 at Pro Tour Fate Reforged—made Manfield an early contender for Player of the Year. While he did not win the title, his consistency ensured an early lock on Platinum in the Pro Tour Players Club and gave him much needed padding for one of the at-large seats in the 2015 World Championship.

Now a Platinum Pro, and as a content provider for, Manfield has moved into the realm of playing Magic full-time, supporting himself and his family—including his recently born daughter—through his expertise in the game.

2015 World Championship Competitor Seth Manfield

"I began playing Magic way back in the fourth grade, which was around the time Planeshift was released," Manfield remembered. "The only card I remember from the first booster I opened was Death Bomb, because it was the card I thought was the best and coolest at the time. I played Magic casually with friends, though I certainly wasn't playing by the correct rules, and I collected the cards. For one of my birthday parties, I invited a bunch of friends and bought a number of booster boxes, and we even had a Magic themed birthday cake. In fact, Wizards of the Coast sent me a free booster box when they heard about my birthday party! We probably did about five or six drafts, and it was a great time."

"It wasn't until Mirrodin block where I played in my first sanctioned event, which was a draft that I actually won. Friends of mine would get together at each other's houses to play, and I continued to improve my game and gained a better understanding of the rules. My thirst to compete and become better couldn't be quenched as I would compete in any event that I could. I actually won a Pro Tour Qualifier for a Pro Tour in Japan when I was fourteen, and I was very upset when my mom had forbidden me from going. Instead, I contented myself with playing in the Junior Super Series and winning a bunch of scholarship money. I knew that my chance to play at the Pro Tour Level would come eventually."

Manfield was right, and it wasn't long before he found himself traveling to the Pro Tour a few years later.

"My first Pro Tour was in Geneva, Switzerland in 2007," Manfield recalled. "I had chaperones with me—including my aunt, uncle, and cousin—as I was only sixteen, to make my mom more comfortable with my trip. While my family wanted to see Geneva, as is typical at Magic tournaments, I was only interested in battling. This was the only Pro Tour which I played that was solely Limited (Time Spiral booster draft). I actually cashed the Pro Tour. I knew a number of fellow players and was able to gain respect by playing well even if initially being so young threw some people off.

"I remember watching from the sidelines as Kenji Tsumera battled his way to the Top 8, and watching him play helped motivate me to continue and improve. Also in 2007, I won my first Grand Prix, and it seemed that even though I was only sixteen, my success was coming quickly, even at the Pro Tour level."

Manfield's first Grand Prix win in Daytona Beach in 2007 was far from his last. Manfield would eventually prove himself across multiple formats, as he took home Grand Prix trophies in Kansas City 2013 as well as Ottawa 2014. It was in these seasons that his performances picked up, with the 2014-15 Premier Play season being his biggest one yet.

As a longtime gamer, professional Magic player, and now as a father, Manfield will be competing on Magic's biggest stage. Years of success at the Grand Prix level and now at the Pro Tour has led to this. Will Manfield continue to rise?

The 2015 Magic: The Gathering World Championship takes place in Seattle, Washington, during PAX Prime on August 27, 28, and 30. To learn more about this year's competitors, head over to the 2015 World Championship Competitors page, and check back every weekday leading up to the World Championship for new profiles on each of this year's competitors.

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