Grand Prix Phoenix Top 8 Profiles

Posted in Event Coverage on March 19, 2018

By Corbin Hosler

Eight players, eight different decks. That's the headline entering the Top 8 of Grand Prix Phoenix. Here are the players behind those decks.


Name: Tate Donovan

Age: 27

Occupation: Butcher

Hometown: Phoenix

Previous Magic accomplishments: Scrubbed out of Nationals last year

What deck did you play this weekend and why? Green-White Taxes. I just want to cast Thalia and blow up lands.

What was the best card in your main deck and why? Thalia, because she’s Thalia.

What was your best sideboard card? Mark of Asylum. It protects all your Bears and everyone has to read it.

Did any cards or decks surprise you? Not really.

What does this Top 8 mean to you? A lot. First Top 8 at a Grand Prix and my first Pro Tour! I’m very excited to go back to Richmond and redeem myself.


Name: Alexander Corwith

Age: 20

Occupation: Student

Hometown: Glendale

Previous Magic accomplishments: I watched all of Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch

What deck did you play this weekend and why? Mono-Green Tron. I like Karn and Emrakul.

What was the best card in your main deck and why? Emrakul, the Promised End. Mindslaver is good and fun Magic design.

What was your best sideboard card? Thought-Knot Seer. It makes Storm not an instant loss.

Did any cards or decks surprise you? Deflecting Palm.

What does this Top 8 mean to you? It is cool I suppose. This redeems my gaming career.


Name: Matt Nass

Age: 26

Occupation: Game Designer

Hometown: Stanford!

Previous Magic accomplishments: Pro Tour Top 8 appearance, nine Grand Prix Top 8s counting this.

What deck did you play this weekend and why? Krark-Clan Ironworks. Tested a ton on Magic Online.

What was the best card in your main deck and why? Krark-Clan Ironworks, but the most surprising one was Buried Ruin.

What was your best sideboard card? None, my main deck did most of the work.

Did any cards or decks surprise you? Played against Thalia a bunch, which is scary.

What does this Top 8 mean to you? A better chance at my first Platinum and Worlds appearance.


Name: Vikram Kudva

Age: 25

Occupation: Software Developer

Hometown: Seattle, WA

Previous Magic accomplishments: Multiple Top 32s at Grand Prix. Won an SCG Open in Denver in 2015. Been to a couple of Pro Tours.

What deck did you play this weekend and why? Bant Knightfall. I thought it would be the best iteration of a Company deck to jam multiple combos.

What was the best card in your main deck and why? Knight of the Reliquary. Great midrange and combo card.

What was your best sideboard card? Worship. Not many people are ready for it, and I thought Eldrazi would be everywhere to beat Jund.

Did any cards or decks surprise you? I didn’t expect some pros to be on Krark-Clan Ironworks, but my test group found the interaction a couple of months ago, so I knew it was good.

What does this Top 8 mean to you? This is my first Grand Prix Top 8, so it means a lot.


Name: Sung-Jin Ahn

Age: 23

Occupation: Quitting my job if I win this GP.

Hometown: Boulder, Colorado

Previous Magic accomplishments: 0-5 at GP Santa Clara, cash finish at GP OKC.

What deck did you play this weekend and why? Bright to Light Scapeshift. I think the format has slowed down enough for the deck to do well. I like control decks with a combo finish. Also all my friends thought it was bad.

What was the best card in your main deck and why? Cryptic Command. You can’t win if you don’t stop your opponent from winning.

What was your best sideboard card? Engineered Explosives. Because I killed myself by running Madcap Experiment into it and played much tighter the rest of the way.

Did any cards or decks surprise you? Krark-Clan Ironworks. I thought that deck was a meme.

What does this Top 8 mean to you? That my practice hasn’t been a waste of time.


Name: Steve Locke

Age: 30

Occupation: Environmental Engineer

Hometown: Ames, IA

Previous Magic accomplishments: Champion Grand Prix Minneapolis 2017

What deck did you play this weekend and why? Humans. I think it is a top five Modern deck and suits my playstyle

What was the best card in your main deck and why? Every piece plays its part.

What was your best sideboard card? Dismember.

Did any cards or decks surprise you? Krark-Clan Ironworks.

What does this Top 8 mean to you? I don’t have to play Sealed Deck at the upcoming RPTQ now.


Name: Michael Hughes

Age: 30

Occupation: Store Manager

Hometown: Los Angeles

Previous Magic accomplishments: RPTQ qualifications

What deck did you play this weekend and why? Red-Green Eldrazi because a pile of hyper-efficient threats and removal seemed good.

What was the best card in your main deck and why? Eldrazi Temple. It enables the most busted draws and can be found off of Matter Reshaper and Ancient Stirrings.

What was your best sideboard card? Grafdigger’s Cage due to the deck being soft to graveyard strategies.

Did any cards or decks surprise you? I saw lots of artifact-based decks, which surprised me, but it makes sense due to fewer Stony Silence being around.

What does this Top 8 mean to you? Diligence and persistence pays off!


Name: Pierson Laughlin

Age: 25

Occupation: NFL/NBA Drug Tester

Hometown: Hanford, CA

Previous Magic accomplishments: Taught Cody Lingelbach everything he knows.

What deck did you play this weekend and why? Jund. I’ve been playing the deck for a long time but had never cast a Bloodbraid Elf before Round 1 of this tournament, so I had to know what the hype was about.

What was the best card in your main deck and why? Inquisition of Kozilek - it’s just good in every matchup.

What was your best sideboard card? Collective Brutality. It’s really versatile and leads to some huge blowouts against Burn.

Did any cards or decks surprise you? Bloodbraid Elf - the hype was real.

What does this Top 8 mean to you? Glad to be back on the Pro Tour after a lot of near-misses.

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