Top 8 Profiles of Grand Prix Richmond 2018 (Standard)

Posted in Event Coverage on September 2, 2018

By Alexander Ullman

After 8 rounds the 786 players in the Standard Grand Prix Richmond were cut down to 171. After another 7 rounds, we have a Top 8!


Name: Joe Stempo

Age: 31

Occupation: Server

Hometown: Catasauqua, California

Previous Magic Accomplishments: StarCityGames Invitational Top 8, SCG Open Top 8

What deck did you play this weekend and why?
Blue-Black Midrange. Played a bunch of games with Bant Nexus of Fate and it felt terrible. Went with an old standby instead.

What was the best card in your deck and why?
One Witty Boi (Champion of Wits)! It's Faithless Looting on a body.

What, if anything, was the most surprising deck you played against this weekend?
Grixis Dragos. It wasn't Flame of Keld, Black-Red Aggro, or Esper Control.

What does this Top 8 mean to you?
First Pro Tour!!!


Name: Oliver Tiu

Age: 20

Occupation: Student

Hometown: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Previous Magic Accomplishments: This is my 6th Grand Prix Top 8 this year.

What deck did you play this weekend and why?
Blue-White Control. Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is still good.

What was the best card in your deck and why?
Teferi; it has cool abilities.

What, if anything, was the most surprising deck you played against this weekend?
Black-Red Aggro - wasn't expecting that.

What does this Top 8 mean to you?
Just another Sunday.


Name: Mike Sigrist

Age: 35

Occupation: Magic Player and content producer

Hometown: Foxboro, Massachusetts

Previous Magic Accomplishments: 2014-15 Player of the Year

What deck did you play this weekend and why?
Blue-Black Midrange. Wanted to test for Worlds.

What was the best card in your deck and why?
The Scarab God.

What, if anything, was the most surprising deck you played against this weekend?
Nothing surprised me.

What does this Top 8 mean to you?
It's been a while since I won a trophy...


Name: Seth Manfield

Age: 27

Occupation: Professional Magic Player

Hometown: Columbia, Maryland

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Pro Tour Ixalan winner, 2015 Worlds winner

What deck did you play this weekend and why?
Red-Black Midrange because Brad Nelson told me to.

What was the best card in your deck and why?
Karn, Scion of Urza. It can provide insane card advantage.

What, if anything, was the most surprising deck you played against this weekend?
No surprises.

What does this Top 8 mean to you?
At least one point towards the Player of the Year race.


Name: Joel Sadowsky

Age: 24

Occupation: Whole Foods

Hometown: Columbia, Maryland

Previous Magic Accomplishments: World Magic Cup competitor and one-time Pro Tour competitor.

What deck did you play this weekend and why?
Esper Control because Torrential Gearhulk, Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, and Vraska's Contempt are great.

What was the best card in your deck and why?
Search for Azcanta because it smoothed my draws.

What, if anything, was the most surprising deck you played against this weekend?
None.

What does this Top 8 mean to you?
I get Bronze, play on the Pro Tour, and finally reach one of my goals!


Name: Alfredo Torres

Age: 28

Occupation: MTGO Grinder

Hometown: Venezuela

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Won 2 PTQs and two-time World Magic Cup Competitor

What deck did you play this weekend and why?
Red-Black Aggro. It's the best deck.

What was the best card in your deck and why?
Rekindling Phoenix

What, if anything, was the most surprising deck you played against this weekend?

None

What does this Top 8 mean to you?
PT again and maybe captain.


Name: Alex Hon

Age: 30

Occupation: Accountant

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

Previous Magic Accomplishments: 5 StarCityGames Open Top 8s, 2 PT scrubouts

What deck did you play this weekend and why?
Red-Black Aggro. It was the deck I've been playing all year and most comfortable with.

What was the best card in your deck and why?
Whichever land came into play untapped on turn 4. Can't miss 4th land drop with RB.

What, if anything, was the most surprising deck you played against this weekend?
None.

What does this Top 8 mean to you?
Dream come true. Glad I can represent ATL.


Name: José Esteban Alvarez Ortiz

Age: 21

Occupation: Student

Hometown: Dominican Republic

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Back to back National Champion, 2017-18, 2018-19

What deck did you play this weekend and why?
Black-Red Aggro, is the most complete deck with very flexible sideboard read for any match-up.

What was the best card in your deck and why?
Rekindling Phoenix

What, if anything, was the most surprising deck you played against this weekend?
Mono-Green Stompy

What does this Top 8 mean to you?
Pro Tour for the first time and going toe to toe with some of the best players in the world is a privilege and a good challenge.

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