TOP 8 PROFILES

Posted in Event Coverage on July 31, 2016

By Marc Calderaro

After many rounds of Swiss and some great games of Magic, the Top 8 for Grand Prix Sydney is set! Learn more about this event’s Top 8 competitors, their history at the top tables, and more by taking a look through the Top 8 profiles.
 



Name: Ben Stark

Hometown: Coral Springs, Florida

Age: 32

Occupation: None

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
- Pro Tour Paris Champion
- Pro Tour Hall of Fame
- 4 Pro Tour Top 8s; 18 Grand Prix Top 8s

What color combination was your Sealed Deck? What your best card and why?
Black-Red. Collective Defiance–All three modes were really useful.

What color combinations was your 1st draft deck? What your best card and why?
White-Black. Hope Against Hope. Won every game.

What color combinations was your 2nd draft deck? What your best card and why?
Green-Blue-white. Tamiyo, Field Researcher. Planeswalkers are good.

What card surprised you the most this weekend?
Hope Against Hope.

What's at stake for you this week—here and at Pro Tour Eldritch Moon (if applicable)?
Platinum. If I get 15 points between two events.



Name: Santiago De Paoli

Hometown: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Age: 29

Occupation: Customer Service

Previous Magic Accomplishments: Top 64 PT Paris, 2011 (40th)

What color combination was your Sealed Deck? What your best card and why?
Red-White. My best card was Mirrorwing Dragon, because I had a few pump spells.

What color combinations was your 1st draft deck? What your best card and why?
Green-Black. Liliana, the Last Hope, because she likes to go “Infinite Zombies”.

What color combinations was your 2nd draft deck? What your best card and why?
Red-White. The equipment that gives +2/+2 (Cultist's Staff). My deck was mediocre.

What card surprised you the most this weekend?
The equipment I just mentioned.

What's at stake for you this week—here and at Pro Tour Eldritch Moon (if applicable)?
I just want to experience the whole Pro Tour and being able to prepare for it with Team DEX Army makes it even better.



Name: Zen Takahashi

Hometown: Auckland, New Zealand

Age: 19

Occupation: Student/Writer for MTG Mint Card

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
- Top 4 Grand Prix Sydney 2013
- Top 8 Grand Prix Sydney 2015
- Team member for this year's New Zealand World Magic Cup team

What color combination was your Sealed Deck? What your best card and why?
White-Black splash blue, Bygone Bishop. The only bomb in my deck.

What color combinations was your 1st draft deck? What your best card and why?
Green-Red Werewolves, Vildin-Pack Outcast. My deck had three Waxing Moon!

What color combinations was your 2nd draft deck? What your best card and why?
Blue-Red Spells, Mercurial Geists. The biggest payoff creature for the archetype.

What card surprised you the most this weekend?
Graf Harvest

What's at stake for you this week—here and at Pro Tour Eldritch Moon (if applicable)?
I had 14 Pro points going into this GP, so I needed a Top 8 to lock Silver. I've managed to get there so I'm now qualified for the next three Pro Tours! Now I have to book a new flight for the Pro Tour next weekend!



Name: Thierry Ramboa

Hometown: Marseille (France)

Age: 29

Occupation: MTG Retailer

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
2011 National Team
Bunch of Top 16 at GPs

What color combination was your Sealed Deck? What your best card and why?
RB. Uncaged Fury, because it helped set up lethal very easily.

What color combinations was your 1st draft deck? What your best card and why?
WG. Clear Shot, because often it does a 2 for 1.

What color combinations was your 2nd draft deck? What your best card and why?
RB. Olivia's Dragoon, because it's a free Madness enabler, cheap cost, and also sometimes a Delirium enabler.

What card surprised you the most this weekend?
Vildin-Pack Outcast

What's at stake for you this week—here and at Pro Tour Eldritch Moon (if applicable)?
I have 25 Pro Points at the moment, so final at the GP or X-6 at the Pro Tour would mean I reach Gold.



Name: Ben Seck

Hometown: Sydney, Australia

Age: 38

Occupation: Creative Director, Walt Disney Company

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
Top 8 Pro Tour Yokohama 2003
GP Melbourne 2003 Winner
GP Cape Town 2002 Winner

What color combination was your Sealed Deck? What your best card and why?
Black-Green, splashing Blue. Ishkanah, Grafwidow for obvious reasons.

What color combinations was your 1st draft deck? What your best card and why?
Almost Mono-White, splashing Black. Subjugator Angel, great finisher.

What color combinations was your 2nd draft deck? What your best card and why?
White-Black Delirium, Sanctifier of Souls. It allowed me to come from behind.

What card surprised you the most this weekend?
Lashweed Lurker

What's at stake for you this week—here and at Pro Tour Eldritch Moon (if applicable)?
I needed an invite to Pro Tour Honolulu, so this will help in chaining some PTs together.



Name: Jan Ksandr

Hometown: Prague

Age: 23

Occupation: Student

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
Few cashed out GPs, 89th GP Krakow

What color combination was your Sealed Deck? What your best card and why?
Blue-Red, Wharf Infiltrator

What color combinations was your 1st draft deck? What your best card and why?
Black-White, Bruna, the Fading Light

What color combinations was your 2nd draft deck? What your best card and why?
White-Green, 2 mana wolf (Ulvenwald Captive), transforming for 7 mana. I had a lot of 4 drops, so it helped me playing them Turn 3.

What card surprised you the most this weekend?
Drag Under

What's at stake for you this week—here and at Pro Tour Eldritch Moon (if applicable)?
Going to the GP and PT, I wanted to qualify for PT Honolulu.



Name: Seth Manfield

Hometown: Laurel, Maryland

Age: 25

Occupation: Dad, Magic player

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
2 Pro Tour Top 8s, World Champion, five Grand Prix wins

What color combination was your Sealed Deck? What your best card and why?
Black-Red, Mirrorwing Dragon. It is so tough to kill!

What color combinations was your 1st draft deck? What your best card and why?
Black-Red Olivia, Mobilized for War. Signature on-color bomb.

What color combinations was your 2nd draft deck? What your best card and why?
Black-Red, Weaver of Lightning. Perfect in a control deck with lots of spells.

What card surprised you the most this weekend?
Savage Alliance

What's at stake for you this week—here and at Pro Tour Eldritch Moon (if applicable)?
If I win, I bad-beat Brian Braun-Duin for GP Player of the Year.



Name: Scott Lipp

Hometown: Kansas City, MO

Age: 32

Occupation: Owner of Spanky's Card Shop

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
2 GP Top 8s
Top 16 - GP Vegas

What color combination was your Sealed Deck? What your best card and why?
G/B - Clear Shot

What color combinations was your 1st draft deck? What your best card and why?
G/W Humans - Clear Shot

What color combinations was your 2nd draft deck? What your best card and why?
R/W - Lone Rider

What card surprised you the most this weekend?
Clear Shot

What's at stake for you this week—here and at Pro Tour Eldritch Moon (if applicable)?
I needed to go 11-4 to lock Gold.

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