TOP 8 PLAYERS

Posted in Event Coverage on March 15, 2015

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

1844 players rocked and rolled their way to Cleveland on Saturday morning with dreams of being crowned champion of Grand Prix Cleveland. Only 220 had strong enough records to continue on to the draft portion of the tournament this morning. The dust settled, and now only 8 remain. These are your Top 8 competitors for Grand Prix Cleveland!


Name: Christian Calcano

Age: 26

Hometown: New York City, New York

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Four Grand Prix Top 8s (1 win)

What did you play in Sealed, and why? What was your record?

Black/White splashing Red and Green. Red for Arc Lightning, Mardu Charm, and a rare dragon. Green for Abzan Charm. Had five dual lands to support the splashes. Also had Mastery of the Unseen and Master of Pearls. 8-1

What did you play during your drafts, and why? What were your records?

Red/White Aggro (3-0) and Green/White (2-1). Red/White Aggro is my favorite archetype and the cards were there. Second draft I opened Warden of the First Tree and two High Sentinels of Arashin.

What was the best play you saw all weekend?

I didn't see this, but one player told me his opponent cast Villainous Wealth for six hitting Ponyback Brigade and three other creatures with three or less power. He untapped and cast Mob Rule for a lethal attack.

What are you looking forward to most in Dragons of Tarkir, and why?

Ojutai's Command because #value.



Name: Yuuya Watanabe

Age: 26

Hometown: Kanagawa, Japan

Previous Magic Accomplishments: 3 Pro Tour Top 8, 7 Grand Prix wins, 2 Player of the Year titles, 2007 Rookie of the year.

What did you play in Sealed, and why? What was your record?

Five color with all my rares. 7-2

What did you play during your drafts, and why? What were your records?

Jeskai 3-0 with four rares. Sultai 3-0 with zero rares >_<

What was the best play you saw all weekend?

Too many rares!

What are you looking forward to most in Dragons of Tarkir, and why?

Ojutai Exemplar



Name: Ross Merriam

Age: 26

Hometown: Middletown, Connecticutt

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Over ten SCG Open Top 8s, 13-2 GP NJ 2014

What did you play in Sealed, and why? What was your record?

8-1 with Green/White splashing Blue and Black. My bombs were Mastery of the Unseen and Dromoka so I built around them. I sideboarded into Green/Blue splashing White and Black several times and it was likely a better build because of Cancel and Disdainful Stroke's strength against other bombs.

What did you play during your drafts, and why? What were your records?

3-0 with Green/Blue splashing White. I opened Dromoka and Blue was open in pack one. Green was open in pack two. 2-1 with Green/Red Aggro. I took Red cards like an idiot. Never take Red cards.

What was the best play you saw all weekend?

Most exciting play was in round 9 when I had to block the right one of two morphs with no information at all. I won the coin flip and here I am.

What are you looking forward to most in Dragons of Tarkir, and why?

Hopefully finding a tempo deck to break the midrange monotony of Standard.



Name: Jake Mondello

Age: 18

Hometown: Waterford, Connecticutt

Previous Magic Accomplishments:

Forced Ross Merriam to listen to “Shake it Off” for over three hours straight on repeat.

What did you play in Sealed, and why? What was your record?

Black/Red splashing White. It was my only playable configuration and I had to play two copies of Mardu Runemark. 8-1.

What did you play during your drafts, and why? What were your records?

Everything but Red in both drafts. Abzan Ascendancy in both drafts. 6-0

What was the best play you saw all weekend?

What are you looking forward to most in Dragons of Tarkir, and why?


Name: Eric Blanchett

Age: 29

Hometown: Haverhill, Massachusetts

Previous Magic Accomplishments:

Top 64 Grand Prix Orlando 2014. Top 16 Grand Prix Providence 2013.

What did you play in Sealed, and why? What was your record?

Black/White splash for Butcher of the Horde and Shaman of the Great Hunt. 8-0-1

What did you play during your drafts, and why? What were your records?

Black/White Control. Green/Black Ugin. Black has a strong common pool in Fate Reforged. I have had success playing slower control decks in draft.

What was the best play you saw all weekend?

I got to turn six Ugin. That was fun. Otherwise, everyone was a nice person that played well.

What are you looking forward to most in Dragons of Tarkir, and why?

I'm not familiar with the set yet.


Name: Bill Tsang

Age: 21

Hometown: Richmond, British Columbia, Canada

Previous Magic Accomplishments:

What did you play in Sealed, and why? What was your record?

Mardu Aggro, I'm usually a two color kind of guy, but my pool had Archfiend of Depravity so exceptions were made.

What did you play during your drafts, and why? What were your records?

Red/White Aggro. It's all I know. 6-0

What was the best play you saw all weekend?

Act of Treason targeting Hooded Hydra, five you, Collateral Damage, make five 1/1s, Go.”

What are you looking forward to most in Dragons of Tarkir, and why?

Red cards!


Name: Andrew Cuneo

Age: 39

Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Previous Magic Accomplishments:

Top 8 Pro Tour New York in 2000 and 2001

What did you play in Sealed, and why? What was your record?

Jeskai because of the available card draw. I had Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise. 7-2

What did you play during your drafts, and why? What were your records?

Blue/Red splashing Flying Crane Technique. 3-0

White/Black warriors with six one-drops. 3-0

What was the best play you saw all weekend?

My opponent used Mardu Charm to Duress me when I had setup a kill the next turn with Temur Battle Rage.

What are you looking forward to most in Dragons of Tarkir, and why?

Haven of the Spirit Dragon because it reminds me of Buried Ruin.


Name: Gerard Fabiano

Age: 31

Hometown: New Jersey

Previous Magic Accomplishments:

Top 4 Pro Tour Boston 2002. Three Grand Prix wins.

What did you play in Sealed, and why? What was your record?

Temur because my rares were in those colors. 9-0

What did you play during your drafts, and why? What were your records?

Four color both times with a combined six copies of Rakshasa's Secret. 2-1 in both drafts.

What was the best play you saw all weekend?

Rakshasa's Secret.

What are you looking forward to most in Dragons of Tarkir, and why?

Silumgar's Command seems really fun!

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