Top 8 Player Profiles

Posted in Event Coverage on July 26, 2015

By Marc Calderaro

Here are your final eight players who made it through the Texas gauntlet to make it to the top of Grand Prix Dallas/Fort Worth.

Aryeh Wiznitzer

Age: 31

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Previous Magic accomplishments:

Some amount of Top 32s.

What did you play Saturday, and how did you do?

Mardu, splashing for Suppression Bonds for no real reason. 8 – 1.

What did you draft today, and how did that go?

White-Blue Rares 3 – 0. Multiple bombs win in draft.

Black-Red Rares 2-0-1 (ID). Greg Orange passed me the nuts in pack two, but it would out OK for him in the end.

What were your best commons or uncommons this weekend? Why?

Who needs uncommons when everyone is passing you rares?
(Whirler Rogue to be honest.)

What do you want open for pack one, pick one? Why?

Chandra's Parents [Pia and Kiran Nalaar] because it's the best card and red is a strong color.


Dan Jordan

Age: 24

Hometown: Albany, New York

Previous Magic accomplishments:

3 Pro Tour Top 16s
3 Grand Prix Top 8s

What did you play Saturday, and how did you do?

Blue-Red Aggro, 8-1.

What did you draft today, and how did that go?

Red-White both time. 3-0, 2-1.

What were your best commons or uncommons this weekend? Why?

Enshrouding Mist

What do you want open for pack one, pick one? Why?

The Siege-Gang Commander guy [Pia and Kiran Nalaar] because it is the best rare in the set.


Ross Merriam

Age: 26

Hometown: Middletown, Connecticut

Previous Magic accomplishments:

Top 8 Grand Prix Cleveland 2015
2 SCG Invitational Top 8s

What did you play Saturday, and how did you do?

8-1 with White-Black rares.
Tragic Arrogance, Kytheon's Irregulars and Mage-Ring Responder

What did you draft today, and how did that go?

3-0 with U/w Miscreant Aggro (5 Faerie Miscreants)

2-1 with Blue-Red Thopter Aggro
Both decks were great.

What were your best commons or uncommons this weekend? Why?

Veteran Sidearm, because my decks were full of small creatures.
Suppression Bonds was great in my sealed deck.

What do you want open for pack one, pick one? Why?

Hangarback Walker. A great card that lets me stay open.


Joel Larsson

Age: 23

Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden

Previous Magic accomplishments:

2nd place at Pro Tour Gatecrash, three Pro Tour Top 16s, 5 Grand Prix Top 8s, Swedish National Team three times (captain twice), and almost Winter Champ.

What did you play Saturday, and how did you do?

Red-White Midrange, 8-1.

What did you draft today, and how did that go?

Blue-Black with two Jace, Vryn's Prodigy, Languish, Priest of the Blood Rite, and sick uncommons.
Blue-Red-black. Artifacts with really good four-drops.

What were your best commons or uncommons this weekend? Why?

Jace, Pia and Kiran Nalaar, and Molten Vortex.

[Those are not commons or uncommons, Joel.]

What do you want open for pack one, pick one? Why?

Jace, Vryn's Prodigy. It dictates the draft around you and is nuts.


Shuhei Nakamura

Age: 33?

Hometown: Don't know anymore.

Previous Magic accomplishments: I'm a retired Magic player. I forgot.

What did you play Saturday, and how did you do? Blue-Red, I went 9-0. Sword of the Animist saved me from a lot of mana screw.

What did you draft today, and how did that go? White-Black, 1-2. White-Red, 3-0.

What were your best commons or uncommons this weekend, and why? Alchemist's Vial, helped save me from mana screw. Call of the Full Moon also won games, even when I only drew two lands.

What do you want to open for pack one, pick one? Why? Planeswalkers, because they're a great signal and very good.


Gregory Orange

Age: 22

Hometown: Top

Previous Magic accomplishments: 9th place, Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir; Top 8 at Grand Prix Minneapolis in 2014, Top 25 at Pro Tour Magic 2015.

What did you play Saturday, and how did you do? I had a great red-green deck.

What did you draft today, and how did that go? My first deck was an awesome white-green deck with a good curve. My second deck was a bad white-blue deck with a bad curve.

What were your best commons or uncommons this weekend, and why? I had two Zendikar Incarnate in my Sealed pool that were really good.

What do you want to open for pack one, pick one? Why? I want to open the best card in the set so I don't lose.


Nathaniel “Pandabeast24” Smith

Age: 20

Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska/Houston, Texas

Previous Magic accomplishments: 2015 Magic Online Championship competitor; 29th at Pro Tour Fate Reforged; Silver pro now.

What did you play Saturday, and how did you do? Black-green rares. I went 8-1 with mythics plus some bad cards.

What did you draft today, and how did that go? White-black, the deck was good and I went 2-1. Then red-green beats. I went 3-0 but the deck wasn't very good. Act of Treason is OP though.

What were your best commons or uncommons this weekend, and why? Act of Treason… no one plays around it. Also Deadbridge Shaman. Discard one plz!

What do you want to open for pack one, pick one? Why? I'm not sure, maybe Jace?


David Ochoa

Age: 33

Hometown: Hayward, California

Previous Magic accomplishments: Top 8 at Pro Tour Return to Ravnica; five Grand Prix Top 8s; Nationals Top 4 and then finalist. Allegedly won a round of a draft video.

What did you play Saturday, and how did you do? White-blue, went 7-2 (including three byes).

What did you draft today, and how did that go? Blue-red, went 3-0. Then white-black; went 3-0.

What were your best commons or uncommons this weekend, and why? Fiery Impulse, Topan Freeblade and Ringwarden Owl.

What do you want to open for pack one, pick one? Why? Hangarback Walker. It's great and colorless.

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