Crossing the Finish Line on Day 1, Undefeated

Posted in Event Coverage on July 30, 2016

By Tobi Henke

1,244 players had entered the tournament in the morning, but after nine grueling rounds of Sealed Deck play, only three of them still sported a perfect record. Elmer van Eeghen, Luke Southworth, and Conn Desax, pictured here left to right:

The first one to win his Round 9 match was Luke Southworth, a 28-year-old from Preston, England. Southworth had been playing since Invasion, with but one small break. But this was one of his best Grand Prix performances to date.

"I went 12-3 at GP Manchester earlier this year, and I qualified for Pro Tour Theros," Southworth listed as his major previous accomplishments. He was still very much shaking from the experience of his last match of the day, the first game of which had been extremely close.

Luke Southworth

"My deck today was White-Blue Fliers/Tempo/Spirits with Niblis of Frost and Drag Under being the best cards," he said. "The deck was much better than I expected. In fact, everything went much better than I expected. I only lost one game with the deck, went 16-1."

Take a look at his list!

Luke Southworth, 9-0 at Grand Prix Stockholm 2016

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The second player to win his ninth match of the day was Conn Desax, a 23-year-old from Sweden and member of Team Mana Merchant. Previously, he had qualified for a couple of Regional Pro Tour Qualifiers and went 12-2-1 at Grand Prix Utrecht. 12-2-1?

"Yeah, the large one, the one where that wasn't enough to make Top 8," he explained.

Conn Desax

About his deck he said, "Well, the card that impressed me the most was Brazen Wolves. And I took a bit of a gamble with the inclusion of Stitcher's Graft. That card turned out okay, was good at creating blockers and forcing chump blocks.

The actual strongest cards were Duskwatch Recruiter, Impetuous Devils, and especially Ulrich of the Krallenhorde. Shocker, I know," Desax laughed for stating the obvious. "But overall, solid 2-drops and solid removal was what made the deck tick."

Conn Desax, 9-0 at Grand Prix Stockholm 2016

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And then, finally, Elmer van Eeghen joined the club of the 9-0 players, a 25-year-old medical doctor from Amsterdam. When asked whether he had been succesful at Magic before he shrugged, "No, not really. I played a couple of Pro Tours."

He had built a blue-red control deck with a small splash of black. "It wasn't really any one card in particular which stood out but rather the amount of removal spells. Games were often about incremental advantage rather than a big bomb."

Elmer van Eeghen

When pressed for an answer, van Eeghen reluctantly gave Collective Defiance and Dark Salvation as his best cards. Once I got to see his list I understood the problem: His deck was almost entirely made up of great cards.

See for yourselves!

Elmer van Eeghen, 9-0 at Grand Prix Stockholm 2016

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Congratulations to our 9-0 players! These three would have a head start over the competition tomorrow and have a great shot at the Top 8. But in the shadowy world of Innistrad one might encounter many dangers along the way, of course, even if one's steps are guided by an Eldritch Moon. Especially then, probably.




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