5. Brown Outraces Reality Smasher
The last few turns of thirteen-year-old Ethan Brown’s semifinal match against Pascal Maynard were a microcosm of the match-up itself. Game 2 came down to a race between Brown’s 3/3 Inkmoth Nexus and the Canadian pro’s larger-than-life Reality Smasher. An Eldrazi Displacer threatened to foil Brown’s plans, but the wunderkind played to his outs and found a Dismember on top of his library to protect his Nexus, taking the game and the match in style.
4. Legacy Specialists Transition to Modern
Both the names Joe Lossett and Javier Dominguez are almost synonymous with the Legacy format. Dominguez had won Grand Prix Paris in the format, and Lossett has all-but built his entire brand around the Legacy deck Miracles. With both players making the Top 8, they had added another format to their resumes—Modern.
And both reached different markers they had been aiming for. Dominguez finally hit Gold status, and Lossett finally earned his first Grand Prix Top 8. It was a big weekend for both of them. And though they didn’t win the whole thing, both went home with their bellies full.
3. Li Glimpses the Unthinkable
JinLin Li gave hope to Mill players everywhere when he and his Hedron Crabs finished Day 1 with an 8-0-1 record. He took down longtime Tron player Joe Lossett in his Round 9 feature match and won a game against Vidianto Wijaya with just one land on the battlefield and three Archive Traps in hand. Li couldn’t quite replicate his Day 1 success on Sunday, but we doubt this will be the last we see of Blue-Black Mill in Modern.
2. Ethan Brown, the Thirteen-Year-Old Wunderkind
There were whispers of Ethan Brown throughout the weekend. How people kept getting smashed into the ground by this unassuming kid across the table from him.
When his name was called into the Top 8, his eyes lit up. But the lighting up didn’t stop there. In the quarterfinals, Ethan Brown beat down Joe Lossett. Then in the semifinals he beat now-ten-time Grand Prix Top 8er Pascal Maynard.
Though Brown lost in the finals, he has cemented a legacy of being the youngest player to ever be in the finals of a Grand Prix. And soon, he’ll be seeing if he can set some other age records in Sydney, Australia at the Pro Tour.
1. I’ll Take Fish for 17
Merfolk is a deck that never seems to get the love it deserves in Modern. It’s perennially made fun of, even when it puts up Top 8s. Even this weekend, when it was 8 of the Top 100 Day 1 decks, and two of those players were undefeated.
One of those Day-1-undefeated Merfolk players was Simon Slutsky. And in the last game of the Grand Prix, he proved all the haters wrong. With an exact-sies swing for lethal when things looked their bleakest—that Affinity-induced level of bleak—Merfolk is back on the map.
Simon Slutsky defended his California turf, with help from a little surf.