Top 8 Profiles of Grand Prix Hartford 2018

Posted in Event Coverage on April 15, 2018

By Event Coverage Staff

Behind the seven unique archetypes in the Top 8 of Grand Prix Hartford are the players, from newcomers to veterans. Here are the eight players who advanced to the elimination rounds with a shot at the title.


Name: Max Mcvety

Age: 24

Occupation: Mechanical Engineer

Hometown: Ann Arbor, MI

Previous Magic accomplishments:

Two GP Top 8s; SCG Invitational Champion

What deck did you play this weekend and why?

Black-Red Hollow One. The deck is broken. My two losses were to the mirror match.

What was the best card in your main deck and why?

Faithless Looting. It helps win both your fair and broken draws.

Did any cards or decks surprise you?

Lightning Bolt. I started out the tournament boarding it our a lot, but I realized that was wrong and Lava Spike with upside isn't so bad in this deck.

What does this Top 8 mean to you?

It locks me for Silver Pro Players Club status, and shows that Oliver Tomajko and Ethan Gaeski are great Hollow One deck builders. Also thanks to RIW Hobbies for being a fantastic sponsor.


Name: Michael Mapson

Age: 26

Occupation: Customer Service

Hometown: Phoenixville, PA

Previous Magic accomplishments:

1 SCG Open Top 8. Two-time Game Day Champion. L2 Judge.

What deck did you play this weekend and why?

Amulet Titan. The deck is secretly busted. It’s got good matchups versus basically everything once you figure them out.

What was the best card in your main deck and why?

Primeval Titan—have you read that card?

Did any cards or decks surprise you?

Torpor Orb. It got played against me in both win-and-ins.

What does this Top 8 mean to you?

I’ve finally cashed a Grand Prix that I wasn’t judging.


Name: Gene Friedman

Age: 29

Occupation: Employee for Children’s Services (ACS)

Hometown: Queens, New York City, NY

Previous Magic accomplishments:

Won a RPTQ a few weeks ago. Many PPTQ Top 8s and StarCityGames IQ Top 8s.

What deck did you play this weekend and why?

Burn. It’s my favorite deck and is what I am most comfortable with.

What was the best card in your main deck and why?

Skull Crack. It cancels out Burn’s worst enemy: life gain.

Did any cards or decks surprise you?

No.

What does this Top 8 mean to you?

Every. I’m going to the Pro Tour for the first time regardless of how I do in the Top 8. All my playing and hard work in the game has paid off. It’s my greatest Magic accomplishment to date.


Name: Matt Grahn

Age: 22

Occupation: Student at Quinnipiac University

Hometown: Hebron, CT

Previous Magic accomplishments: 9th at a PPTQ

What deck did you play this weekend and why? Elves, I had the cards and I’ve worked on it since the GP was announecd.

What was the best card in your main deck and why? Shaman of the Pack. It’s a nice punch to the face that helps you win.

Did any cards or decks surprise you? The guy I lost to in the Swiss put Goblin Guide, Ramunap Ruins and Hazoret the Fervent into his Eldrazi aggro deck.

What does this Top 8 mean to you? Not sure yet. I would’ve been happy just making Day 2. Let’s see if my Magic friends from QU step up their game!


Name: Frank Skarren

Age: 27

Occupation: Loan Officer Assistant

Hometown: Merrick, NY

Previous Magic accomplishments: Winner at GP Charlotte in 2013 and GP Philly in 2014. Also made the Top 8 of a SCG Invitational.

What deck did you play this weekend and why? Affinity - I used to play Affinity a lot and I feel like it is in a good place in the meta again.

What was the best card in your main deck and why? Either Cranial Plating or Etched Champion. Plating is busted and Champion is an ace against all the fair decks.

Did any cards or decks surprise you? Not really. A lot of different decks but nothing mindblowing.

What does this Top 8 mean to you? More than I can explain. It’s been a while since I’ve had a strong finish. Getting back on the Pro Tour is huge.


Name: John Sharp

Age: 23

Occupation: Landscaper

Hometown: Preston, CT

Previous Magic accomplishments: Top 8 of Connecticut States in 2007, Day 2 of GP Boston.

What deck did you play this weekend and why? Bogles because the deck is consistent at closing games.

What was the best card in your main deck and why? Ethereal Armor, because it is far better than Lightning Bolt on a bad day.

Did any cards or decks surprise you? Elves. The tribe put up a good fight.

What does this Top 8 mean to you? This Top 8 is a leap from unknown amatuer to the MTG Hall of Fame - here I come!


Name: Matt Nass

Age: 26

Occupation: Game designer and writer at ChannelFireball.

Hometown: Stanford, CA

Previous Magic accomplishments: 9 other GP Top 8s and one Pro Tour Top 8.

What deck did you play this weekend and why? Krark-Clan Ironworks. It fits my style and it’s the best deck.

What was the best card in your main deck and why? KCI, because I need it to win.

Did any cards or decks surprise you? Engineered Explosives because it answers everything.

What does this Top 8 mean to you? Hopefully making the Top 25 so Andy Cooperfauss will stop making fun of me. Also points toward Worlds and Platinum.


Name: Kellen Pastore

Age: 27

Occupation: Phd Candidate

Hometown: Maple Glen, PA

Previous Magic accomplishments: 9th at GP Richmond

What deck did you play this weekend and why? Bogles. Gryff's Boon is very good.

What was the best card in your main deck and why? Gryff's Boon. It’s a recursive threat, I always win when I play it.

Did any cards or decks surprise you? Bogles - it was much better than I thought.

What does this Top 8 mean to you? I get to play more Magic, and Ralph Betesh was right about Gryff's Boon.

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