TOP 8 PROFILES

Posted in Event Coverage on February 20, 2017

By Hallie Santo

The Top 8 of Grand Prix Vancouver featured five Pro Tour regulars and three hometown heroes from north of the border. Before they started their matches, we asked each of the players about their deck choices for the weekend and got to know them a little better.


Name:
Josh Utter-Leyton

Age: 31

Occupation: Software engineer, game designer, and, according to Alexander Hayne, has-been

Hometown: Rohnert Park

Previous Magic Accomplishments: 5 PT Top 8's, Player of the Year, two-time US National Champion

What deck did you play, and why?
Death's Shadow Jund. Sam Black said it was great.

What was the best card in your deck?
Death's Shadow

Would you play the deck again after this weekend? What would you change?
A similar deck, but it would certainly not have Tarfire in it.

What does making Top 8 mean to you?
Qualifying for the next two PTs and not letting my Team Channel Fireball Fire teammates down.



Name:
Jason Simard

Age: 38

Occupation: Hospital employee

Hometown: Winnipeg, MB

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
2 Top 8's at Canadian Nationals a long time ago
Played at PT Chicago 1999

What deck did you play, and why?
Mono White Eldrazi Death and Taxes Hybrid
I've been playing D&T for years and the Eldrazi splash really takes the deck to the next level

What was the best card in your deck?
Thought-Knot Seer or Shining Shoal, depending on the match-up

Would you play the deck again after this weekend? What would you change?
Yes, always. Not too much without a meta shift.

What does making Top 8 mean to you?
It feels like a major accomplishment as it's my first major tournament in many years. Magic is a game I've loved for over 20 years. It's awesome.



Name:
Samuel Black

Age: 34

Occupation: Magic writer/player

Hometown: Madison, WI

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
2 Pro Tour Top 8's
13 Grand Prix Top 8's
Team Worlds win

What deck did you play, and why?
Death's Shadow Delirium
Caltash77 won too much with it on MTGO and it looked great

What was the best card in your deck?
Death's Shadow

Would you play the deck again after this weekend? What would you change?
Yes. I'm not sure.

What does making Top 8 mean to you?
I probably don't have to worry about missing Gold this year.



Name:
Eric Severson

Age: 25

Occupation: PhD student in Applied Math

Hometown: Davis, CA

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
Gold Pro
4 other Grand Prix Top 8's (including GP Vancouver 2016)

What deck did you play, and why?
Abzan Company. Mulliganned off Affinity because Ari Lax said this deck was great again and it is my favorite Modern deck.

What was the best card in your deck?
Archangel of Thune. Unbeatable threat on its own and infinitely combos without using the graveyard.

Would you play the deck again after this weekend? What would you change?
Yes. Maybe include main deck Tidehollow Sculler to help against combo decks Game 1.

What does making Top 8 mean to you?
My first Modern Top 8 makes me feel more well-rounded. I don't need to worrying about the Pro Tours as much to hit Gold again this year!



Name:
Jon Stern

Age: 39

Occupation: Magic player and writer

Hometown: Montreal/Victoria

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
1st, Grand Prix Atlanta
1st, Grand Prix Atlantic City

What deck did you play, and why?
Affinity. It's a great deck and I have experience with it.

What was the best card in your deck?
Mox Opal

Would you play the deck again after this weekend? What would you change?
Yes. Probably cut Blood Moon or Rule of Law.

What does making Top 8 mean to you?
Pro points and a chance for a trophy!



Name:
Nathaniel Knox

Age: 16

Occupation: Student

Hometown: Vancouver, BC

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
Top 4 at a WMCQ

What deck did you play, and why?
I played Burn because it was the only deck I could borrow.

What was the best card in your deck?
Inspiring Vantage

Would you play the deck again after this weekend? What would you change?
Maybe. I would cut one Kor Firewalker for a Path to Exile in the sideboard.

What does making Top 8 mean to you?
It's pretty cool. Making my first Pro Tour ever is very exciting!



Name:
Jonathon Zaczek

Age: 31

Occupation: Merfolk Master

Hometown: Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
Being Merfolk's champion

What deck did you play, and why?
Merfolk! It's the best deck in Modern.

What was the best card in your deck?
Master of Waves. Do you hear the sound of the wave?! The Master has arrived!

Would you play the deck again after this weekend? What would you change?
I will always play this deck. The card slots are so flexible that you can customize it for ANY metagame.

What does making Top 8 mean to you?
Making Merfolk Great Again!



Name:
Gerry Thompson

Age: 32

Occupation: Writer, StarCityGames.com

Hometown: Elk River, MN

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
9th Place, SCG Players' Championship

What deck did you play, and why?
Jund Death's Shadow. It has a clock and disruption. Wrapter and Sam Black both wanted to play it. If we three are all on the same deck, it's probably busted.

What was the best card in your deck?
Death's Shadow

Would you play the deck again after this weekend? What would you change?
Yes! Very little, but could see changing a color.

What does making Top 8 mean to you?
More pro points!

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