Top 8 Profiles of Grand Prix Las Vegas 2018 (Modern)

Posted in Event Coverage on June 17, 2018

By Corbin Hosler

The Top 8 is more than just the decks - here are the players who advanced to the Top 8 of the nearly 2,800-player Grand Prix.


Name: Eli Kassis

Age: 34

Occupation Psychotherapist

Hometown: Binghampton, NY

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Four Grand Prix Top 8s, Top 32 at a Pro Tour, SCG Invitational win.

What deck did you play this weekend and why?
Krark-Clan Ironworks Combo, the deck is unreal good.

What was the best card in your main deck and why?
Krark-Clan Ironworks, it does everything.

Did any cards or decks surprise you?
Played against two Bring to Light Scapeshift decks.

What's the best part about a Magic Grand Prix weekend in Vegas?
So many options and great prizes.

What does this Top 8 mean to you?
My fifth Grand Prix Top 8 feels incredibly fortunate and I'm very happy to play amongst the best of the best.


Name: Patrick Tierney

Age: 23

Occupation Software Engineer

Hometown: Seattle

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Three Grand Prix Top 8s

What deck did you play this weekend and why?
Jeskai. I wanted to play something wacky, but I have great friends and they made play the deck I have the most experience with.

What was the best card in your main deck and why?
Mana Leak. Many opponents cast their best spell into two open mana because Logic Knot wouldn't counter it but Leak did.

Did any cards or decks surprise you?
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria was a lot better than I expected it to be.

What's the best part about a Magic Grand Prix weekend in Vegas?
Getting to cube with all my Magic friends who live all over the country.

What does this Top 8 mean to you?
This Top 8 gets me invites to the next three Pro Tours, none of which I was qualified for, so it means the world to me.


Name: Matt Nass

Age: 26

Occupation Game Designer

Hometown: Stanford, CA

Previous Magic Accomplishments: 10 GP Top 8s, one Pro Tour Top 8

What deck did you play this weekend and why?
Krark-Clan Ironworks, it's the best deck.

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

Did any cards or decks surprise you?
Thopter-Sword was cool.

What's the best part about a Magic Grand Prix weekend in Vegas?
Vegas is a cool city and it has more of a convention feel than other GPs.

What does this Top 8 mean to you?
One step closer to Worlds and Platinum.


Name: Martin Jůza

Age: 31

Occupation Professional Tourist

Hometown: Czech Republic

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Hall of Fame class of 2017. Three Pro Tour Top 8s, 30th GP Top 8.

What deck did you play this weekend and why?
Humans. I mostly just wanted to play the Limited GP so I just figured I'd take it easy and play a good aggressive deck with no preparation. It worked out pretty well.

What was the best card in your main deck and why?
Mantis Rider. It usually came from the top when I needed it.

Did any cards or decks surprise you?
Not really.

What's the best part about a Magic Grand Prix weekend in Vegas?
I get to draft with Limited Edition Beta packs on Sunday.

What does this Top 8 mean to you?
30 is a nice number.


Name: Yuri Ramsey

Age: 39

Occupation Photographer

Hometown: Brisbane, Australia (but I live in Sydney).

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Top 8 of the Super Sunday Series.

What deck did you play this weekend and why?
Mono-Green Tron. It is my favorite deck, and one I stick with most of the time.

What was the best card in your main deck and why?
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. With a lot of Humans and Mardu Pyromancer in the field, Ugin has performed very well.

Did any cards or decks surprise you?
Not really - the decks are pretty well-known.

What's the best part about a Magic Grand Prix weekend in Vegas?
Making Top 8 for the first time! It's also my first Grand Prix outside of Australia, and everyone was very friendly and great to play.

What does this Top 8 mean to you?
A lot. I've been playing on and off for 22 years. I've never been super competitive, but it means a lot after traveling a long way.


Name: Max Mick

Age: 16

Occupation Teenager

Hometown: San Diego

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Top 4 Grand Prix Portland

What deck did you play this weekend and why?
Tron, because I had finals and playing decks other than Tron is hard without testing.

What was the best card in your main deck and why?
The all-powerful Karn father, glory be upon thee.

Did any cards or decks surprise you?
Surgical Extraction is good.

What's the best part about a Magic Grand Prix weekend in Vegas?
The food!

What does this Top 8 mean to you?
Money, Pro Tour, being able to play Battlebond tomorrow instead of doing the PTQ.


Name: Ben Friedman

Age: 25

Occupation Crypto Pauper

Hometown: Las Vegas

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Four Grand Prix Top 8s, consistently mediocre on the Pro Tour. Chief contributor to BarnyardMTG.net!

What deck did you play this weekend and why?
Grixis Shadow. Everyone, including my editor at StarCityGames.com, told me it was unplayable. It has no good matchups but it somehow wins.

What was the best card in your main deck and why?
Mishra's Bauble. Paying mana for things is more outdated than KONY 2012.

Did any cards or decks surprise you?
My good friend and neighbor Rob Pisano played against a deck with the following cards: Grave Titan. Esper Charm. Disallow. Reflecting Pool. What a throwback!

What's the best part about a Magic Grand Prix weekend in Vegas?
I am hosting no fewer than 12 dirty boys at my mansion this weekend. Shoutout to Wallace the GOATs.

What does this Top 8 mean to you?
I will conduct myself with dignity and maturity at the house party being thrown at my palace this evening.


Name: Luke Renaud

Age: 21

Occupation Student

Hometown: Kelowna, BC, Canada

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Lost a bunch of win-and-ins.

What deck did you play this weekend and why?
Devoted Company. It's my pet deck and I like making huge numbers to cast Walking Ballista. It's also good in this meta minus a couple dodgy matchups.

What was the best card in your main deck and why?
Selfless Spirit. I went from one to three in the 75 - the deck is a combo deck, and protecting the combo is better than having a mediocre backup plan.

Did any cards or decks surprise you?
Nothing really.

What's the best part about a Magic Grand Prix weekend in Vegas?
I win, we go out and have a good time, I lose and we go out and have a good time.

What does this Top 8 mean to you?
It still hasn't hit me yet - it's literally what I dream of.

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