Top 8 Profiles

Posted in Event Coverage on January 7, 2019

By Colette LeRoux

After fifteen rounds of Modern, only eight competitors could continue on. Meet your GP Oakland Top 8 players!


Name: Garth Dracoulis

Age: 28

Occupation: Owner of Game Den Layton

Hometown: Layton, Utah

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Winner of two Utah JSS events

What deck did you play this weekend, and why? Hardened Scales. I've been playing Affinity since Mirrodin constructed and it's in a good place right now.

What was the best card out of your sideboard, and why? Nature's Claim. It's fantastic against Burn and Rest in Peace. Shut out to Dampening Sphere vs Amulet.

What does this Top 8 mean for you? It means a lot. I own a game store and kind of stopped playing to run and focus on that, and it feels wonderful to finally play the game competitively again. I want to thank all the people at Game Den who have supported us and helped us get so far.


Name: Sam Black

Age: 36

Occupation: Writer and Magic Player

Hometown: Madison, WI

Previous Magic Accomplishments: 3 PT Top 8s, 16 GP Top 8s, World Cup Top 4, Team Worlds win, won a car

What deck did you play this weekend, and why? KCI I had it together and didn't win enough with Amulet.

What was the best card out of your sideboard, and why? Nature's Claim. It answers the cards that beat me.

What does this Top 8 mean for you? I'm probably not likely to miss gold now.


Name: Eli "the Old Man" Kassis

Age: 35 years young

Occupation: Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Land Lord

Hometown: Binghamton, NY

Previous Magic Accomplishments: 7th GP Top 8, Invitational Winner, GP Champion

What deck did you play this weekend, and why? Arclight. It tested well and did all the fun things.

What was the best card out of your sideboard, and why? Blood moon. It closed out unwinnable games.

What does this Top 8 mean for you? It's my 7th of a (hopeful) eventual double-digit GP Top 8 run, Platinum if I win, bragging rights.


Name: Matt Nass

Age: 26

Occupation: Magic ProLeague member, content creator at ChannelFireball.com

Hometown: Stanford, CA

Previous Magic Accomplishments: 12 GP Top 8s and 5 wins, 1 PT Top 8

What deck did you play this weekend, and why? KCI. It's great.

What was the best card out of your sideboard, and why? Lightning Bolt. It bought me a lot of time to combo.

What does this Top 8 mean for you? A chance to repeat my first GP win (Oakland 2010).


Name: Alex Olson

Age: 25

Occupation: Student

Hometown: Burnsville, MN

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Nothing important, I am BAD

What deck did you play this weekend, and why? UW, it seemed fun to play.

What was the best card out of your sideboard, and why? The tag-team duo of Baneslayer Angel and Lyra Dawnbringer; gaining life is neat.

What does this Top 8 mean for you? Money!


Name: Hunter Cochran

Age: 26

Occupation: Trophy Husband

Hometown: Rogers, AR

Previous Magic Accomplishments: 4 GP Top 8s, 7th place finish at PT 25th Anniversary

What deck did you play this weekend, and why? KCI, because I believe your win rate is directly proportional to the number of opals, stirrings, and faithless lootings in your deck.

What was the best card out of your sideboard, and why? Nature's Claim or the 3rd Sai. Both were clutch in many games.

What does this Top 8 mean for you? Another small step toward scoreboarding Allen Wu, and a much appreciated show of friendship from Roman Fusco, who scooped me into Top 8.


Name: Steven Haker

Age: 16

Occupation: Student

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Previous Magic Accomplishments: 8th in Las Vegas Modern Classic

What deck did you play this weekend, and why? KCI, I'm more comfortable with it than any other deck in Modern.

What was the best card out of your sideboard, and why? Galvanic Blast. It kills Thing in the Ice.

What does this Top 8 mean for you? It's the first time I've done well in a large event, so a lot.


Name: Marshall Jankovsky

Age: 25

Occupation: Software Engineer

Hometown: Cloverdale, CA

Previous Magic Accomplishments: A few Day 2 finishes at some GPs last year, with my best being a 59th at Portland.

What deck did you play this weekend, and why? RG TitanShift. I'm a devoted Valakut player, and RG Shift usually performs best in a broad field.

What was the best card out of your sideboard, and why? Reclamation Sage is always there to bail me out of a bad situation.

What does this Top 8 mean for you? Just a few months ago I started making content for Valakut on my website (Eighteen Damage). I've put in a lot of thought and work and it really feels like it's all paid off.

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