Top 4 Profiles

Posted in Event Coverage on April 2, 2017

By Corbin Hosler

More than 500 teams entered the fray at Grand Prix San Antonio, but just four rose above it to compete in the final rounds of the tournament. Here are the 12 players that comprised those teams.


Greg Orange/Adam Jansen/Andrejs Prost

Name: Andrejs Prost

Age: 25 (today!)

Hometown: Anchorage, Alaska

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Two Pro Tour Top 8s, two Grand Prix Top 8; Far Northwest Champion.

Who did you team with this weekend and why? Adam Jansen and Greg Orange – they’re both sickos.

What decks did you play? Affinity, no one has ever Ancient Grudge’d me.

What’s the secret to success in Unified Modern? Good teammates, deck and matchup familiarity.

What deck is best positioned against Death’s Shadow right now? Death’s Shadow on the play.

What does this Top 4 mean to you? A perfect birthday gift, I get to finally go to Japan, and more good times with Hot Sauce Games.


Name: Adam Jansen

Age: 36

Hometown: Zion, Illinois

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Top 8 Grand Prix Detroit; winner at Grand Prix Vancouver.

Who did you team with this weekend and why? Greg Orange and Andrejs Post because they’re friends and skilled magicians.

What decks did you play? Jund, Affinity and White-Blue Control.

What’s the secret to success in Unified Modern? Same as non-unified Modern – play a deck you know and like.

What deck is best positioned against Death’s Shadow right now? White-Blue Control.

What does this Top 4 mean to you? I’m back on the Pro Tour.


Name: Greg Orange

Age: 24

Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Gold pro, two Grand Prix Top 8s, 9th, 18th and 20th at Pro Tours.

Who did you team with this weekend and why? I teamed with Jansen and Prost.

What decks did you play? I played White-Blue Control. It seemed to have a good Death’s Shadow matchup.

What’s the secret to success in Unified Modern? Nice decks and format familiarity.

What deck is best positioned against Death’s Shadow right now? Durdly White-Blue Control, of course.

What does this Top 4 mean to you? It means I am a maximum of two points away from Gold.


David Ochoa/Matt Severa/Andrew Baeckstrom

Name: David Ochoa

Age: 35

Hometown: Oakland, California

Previous Magic Accomplishments: One Pro Tour Top 8; five Grand Prix Top 8s; two Player’s Championship Top 16s.

Who did you team with this weekend and why? Matt Severa and Andrew Baeckstrom because they asked.

What decks did you play? Four-color Death’s Shadow, Bant Knightfall and Affinity.

What’s the secret to success in Unified Modern? Mastery.

What deck is best positioned against Death’s Shadow right now? Death’s Shadow, on the play.

What does this Top 4 mean to you? I have to change my flight.


Name: Matt Severa

Age: 37

Hometown: Madison, Wisconsin

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Winner of Grand Prix Washington D.C. 2016, Grand Prix Louisville 2016 and Grand Prix Denver 2016.

Who did you team with this weekend and why? Andrew Baeckstrom and David Ochoa because they’re great.

What decks did you play? Jund Death’s Shadow, Bant Knightfall and Affinity.

What’s the secret to success in Unified Modern? Play decks you know.

What deck is best positioned against Death’s Shadow right now? White-Blue Control.

What does this Top 4 mean to you? Less time to practice Team Limited for Grand Prix Mexico City.


Name: Andrew Baeckstrom

Age: 28

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Top 4 at Grand Prix Louisville; member of the 2014 U.S. National Team.

Who did you team with this weekend and why? Matt Severa and David Ochoa. I’ve been on Pro Tour teams with them and they both play and prepare great.

What decks did you play? Jund Death’s Shadow, Affinity and Bant Knightfall.

What’s the secret to success in Unified Modern? Playing three solid decks that you are comfortable with.

What deck is best positioned against Death’s Shadow right now? White-Blue Control, but you pay a price against the rest of the field.

What does this Top 4 mean to you? A nice validation of the many hours spent preparing.


Gerald Fabiano/Eli Kassis/Ben Lundquist

Name: Eli Kassis

Age: 33

Hometown: Binghamton, New York

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Top 8 at Grand Prix Charlotte in 2016; six Pro Tour cashes and 18 PTQ wins.

Who did you team with this weekend and why? Ben Lundquist – have you met him? And Gerald Fabiano – he’s a baller and a shot caller.

What decks did you play? Madcap Moon, Jund Death’s Shadow and Bant Knightfall.

What’s the secret to success in Unified Modern? Surprise and consistency.

What deck is best positioned against Death’s Shadow right now? Jeskai Nahiri

What does this Top 4 mean to you? It means returning to the Pro Tour, lots of pride and hard work playing off.


Name: Gerald Fabiano

Age: Medium

Hometown: Belleville, New Jersey

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Three Grand Prix wins and a Pro Tour Top 4.

Who did you team with this weekend and why? Ben Lundquist and Eli Kassis; they’re great friends and I trust their play.

What decks did you play? Madcap Moon, Death’s Shadow and Bant Knightfall.

What’s the secret to success in Unified Modern? Never give up!

What deck is best positioned against Death’s Shadow right now? Four Celestial Purge. Four Lightning Bolt. Four Path to Exile. That’s the start of it.

What does this Top 4 mean to you? Ben and Eli back on the Pro Tour where they belong.


Name: Benjamin Lundquist

Age: 30

Hometown: Gloversville, New York

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Six Grand Prix Top 8s, 2006 National Team.

Who did you team with this weekend and why? Gerald Fabiano and Eli Kassis because I couldn’t find a better team in time.

What decks did you play? Death’s Shadow, Madcap Moon and Bant Knightfall.

What’s the secret to success in Unified Modern? The team played tight and were there for each other when we made mistakes to get us back in a positive mindset.

What deck is best positioned against Death’s Shadow right now? Burn, but it’s still close.

What does this Top 4 mean to you? 42.


Reid Duke/William “Huey” Jensen/Owen Turtenwald (Peach Garden Oath)

Name: Reid Duke

Age: 27

Hometown: Sugar Loaf, New York

Previous Magic Accomplishments: 2011 Magic Online champion, two Pro Tour Top 8s, 19 previous Grand Prix Top 8s.

Who did you team with this weekend and why? William Jensen and Owen Turtenwald.

What decks did you play? Grixis Control, Eldrazi Tron and Abzan Death’s Shadow.

What’s the secret to success in Unified Modern? Choose three proactive decks.

What deck is best positioned against Death’s Shadow right now? Burn.

What does this Top 4 mean to you? The big two-oh! (20th Grand Prix Top 8).


Name: Owen Turtenwald

Age: 27

Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Two-time Player of the Year

Who did you team with this weekend and why? Peach Garden Oath

What decks did you play? Grixis, Eldrazi Tron and Death’s Shadow.

What’s the secret to success in Unified Modern? Play a Death’s Shadow deck.

What deck is best positioned against Death’s Shadow right now? Mirror.

What does this Top 4 mean to you? $$$


Name: William “Huey” Jensen

Age: 34

Hometown: Millis, Massachusetts

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Hall of Fame, class of 2013, 21 other Grand Prix Top 8s, five Pro Tour Top 8s.

Who did you team with this weekend and why? Owen Turtenwald and Reid Duke because we swore an oath in a peach garden.

What decks did you play? Owen on Grixis, me on Eldrazi Tron and Reid on Abzan Death’s Shadow.

What’s the secret to success in Unified Modern? Team with Owen and Reid.

What deck is best positioned against Death’s Shadow right now? Eldrazi Tron.

What does this Top 4 mean to you? It means the Peach Garden Oath has a 5/8 conversion rate in team Grand Prix.

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