Top 8 Profiles

Posted in Event Coverage on November 12, 2017

By Marc Calderaro

Learn more about Grand Prix Atlanta's Top 8 competitors—including who they are, what they've done in the game, and more—by taking a look through their profiles!


Name:
Ben Stark

Age: 34

Hometown:Coral Springs, Florida

Occupation:None

Previous Magic Accomplishments:

Pro Tour Hall of Fame

4 Pro Tour Top 8s

23 Grand Prix Top 8s

Grand Prix Indy and Mexico City champion

Day 1 Score:7-2

Day 2 Score: 6-0

What was the most important card or secret tech in your deck, and why?

[playing Desert Red]

Sand Strangler AKA Flametongue Kavu

What is your best and your worst matchup?

Best—Energy

Worst—Control

What was your favorite memory of the weekend?

Flipping Treasure Maps

What does this Top 8 mean to you?

Pro Points and money.
 




Name:
Lawrence (Andy) Vess

Age:28

Hometown:Atlanta, Georgia

Occupation:Finance

Previous Magic Accomplishments:

2 SCG Open Top 8s

Day 1 Score:8-1

Day 2 Score: 5-0-1

What was the most important card or secret tech in your deck, and why?

[playing Mardu Vehicles]

Heart of Kiran: It’s not a secret, but one of the most powerful, (somewhat) forgotten threats.

What is your best and your worst matchup?

Best: Temur Energy

Worst: Ramunap Red

What was your favorite memory of the weekend?

Getting high fives from my friends after winning Round 14.

What does this Top 8 mean to you?

A chance to go to Spain and play on the Pro Tour.




Name:
Corey Baumeister

Age:27

Hometown:Fargo, North Dakota

Occupation:Magic

Previous Magic Accomplishments:

4th Standard Grand Prix Top 8 in a row, 5th this year.

Day 1 Score:8 -1

Day 2 Score: 5 - 1

What was the most important card or secret tech in your deck, and why?

[playing Temur Energy]

River’s Rebuke, Paul Dean wouldn’t shut up about it the card, so I had to play it.

What is your best and your worst matchup?

Best is God-Pharaoh’s Gift [decks]. Worst is White-Blue Approach.

What was your favorite memory of the weekend?

Having another close call with my bro.

[Brother Brad Nelson lost the last two rounds to miss Top 8, which would’ve made three Bash Brother Top 8s this year.]

What does this Top 8 mean to you?

It means I am the only one to do four in a row. Very happy.




Name:
Sam Zakrzewski

Age:25

Hometown:Madison, Wisconsin

Occupation:Software tester

Previous Magic Accomplishments:

12-3 at a few Grand Prix, qualified for some RPTQs and SCG Invitationals

Day 1 Score:8-1

Day 2 Score: 4-1-1

What was the most important card or secret tech in your deck, and why?

[playing Four-Color Energy]

Lightning Strike. Was for the mirror to kill Nissa on the draw/planeswalkers in general. Killed a fair amount of Chandras and one opponent with it.

What is your best and your worst matchup?

Don’t have a best other than the bye. All are close. Worst is probably Approach decks.

What was your favorite memory of the weekend?

Just hanging with friends and meeting people on the way.

What does this Top 8 mean to you?

Finally broke through and am very excited for a Pro Tour. Also that when my brother tries to help me build a deck, it works pretty well.




Name:
Alex Lloyd

Age:28

Hometown:Manchester, New Hampshire

Occupation:Career Transition services

Previous Magic Accomplishments:

Top 8 Grand Prix Worchester (the Nicol Bolas one)

L-1 Judge

2x Pro Tour competitor—Return to Ravnica & Fate Reforged

Day 1 Score:6-1-2

Day 2 Score: 6-0

What was the most important card or secret tech in your deck, and why?

[playing Esper Approach]

The Scarab God in the sideboard—stretched opponents’ answers too thin.

What is your best and your worst matchup?

Worst — Aggro (hence Fatal Push)

What was your favorite memory of the weekend?

Dip N’ Dots = Results

What does this Top 8 mean to you?

It means I’m not living in my Magic past anymore. Nice to have recent results!




Name:
Sergio Garcia

Age:27

Hometown:Madrid, Spain

Occupation:Co-owner of Tiendaitaca.com Magic store

Previous Magic Accomplishments:

Grand Prix Madrid 2010 Top 10

Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir Top 52

Day 1 Score:8-1

Day 2 Score: 5-0-1

What was the most important card or secret tech in your deck, and why?

[playing Four-Color Energy]

Hostage Taker, it just wins all the long games.

What is your best and your worst matchup?

Best – Energy.

Worse – Mono-White Vampires

What was your favorite memory of the weekend?

Winning by using both Vraska, Relic Seeker and Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh’s ultimate in the same turn, when my opponent was at 50 life during the fifth extra turn.

What does this Top 8 mean to you?

Everything. I have been playing and dedicating my life to the game, judging and in my store. And this is something I always desired.




Name:
Petr Sochůrek

Age:23

Hometown:Prague, Czech Republic

Occupation:Pro Player

Previous Magic Accomplishments:

5 Grand Prix Top 8s (2 wins, 1 finals, 1 Top 4, 1 Top 8)

2 more Grand Prix X-2s

Pro Tour Top 16

Team Revelation Pro Player

Day 1 Score:9:0

Day 2 Score: 3:2:1

What was the most important card or secret tech in your deck, and why?

[playing Four-Color Energy]

Hour of Devastation—no one expects it and it just wrecks them.

What is your best and your worst matchup?

Best: Non-Mirror

Worst: Mirror

What was your favorite memory of the weekend?

Wrecking people with Hour.

What does this Top 8 mean to you?

Makes me feel better after a bad Pro Tour.




Name:
Trey Van Cleave

Age:42

Hometown:Louisville, Kentucky

Occupation:Buy, sell, play Magic

Previous Magic Accomplishments:

8 Grand Prix Top 8s

3 Grand Prix wins

15-year gap between Grand Prix Top 8s

Semis of 1st Masters event

Day 1 Score:8-1

Day 2 Score: 5-1

What was the most important card or secret tech in your deck, and why?

[playing Ramunap Red]

4 Rampaging Ferocidon + 4 Harsh Mentor main for the “Soft lock” against Temur Energy. I went 6-0 against Temur.

What is your best and your worst matchup?

It looks like Temur is, so I’m going with that.

What was your favorite memory of the weekend?

When I realize I had locked Top 8 and called my family. It’s exciting to play for something or someone bigger, or in this case much smaller than me since I’m 6’5”.

What does this Top 8 mean to you?

This is more meaningful than my first Grand Prix win because I respect the journey now.

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