Top 8 Player Profiles

Posted in Event Coverage on August 2, 2015

By Wizards of the Coast

Learn a little bit more about the Top 8 competitors of Pro Tour Magic Origins by reading their player profiles below. 

Kentaro Yamamoto

Age: 30

Hometown: Tokyo, Japan

Occupation: Hareruya pros

Limited Record: 5-1

Constructed Record: 8-1-1

Previous Magic accomplishments: Two Pro Tour Top 8 appearances; four Grand Prix Top 8 appearances.

When and how did you start playing Magic? In junior high, my younger brother taught me how to play.

What Standard deck are you playing and why? Abzan Megamorph, because it's a well-rounded deck.

What Magic Origins card impressed you the most this weekend? Jace, Vryn's Prodigy.

What would winning the Pro Tour mean to you? It was my goal since my 20s. It's something I've always wanted.


Stephen Neal

Age: 29

Hometown: Madison, Wisconsin

Occupation: Graduate student

Limited Record: 4-2

Constructed Record: 9-0-1

Previous Magic accomplishments: Top 8 at Grand Prix Atlantic City; Madison-Milwaukee City Champion.

When and how did you start playing Magic? Some friends started playing in high school, and once I found out about drafting I was hooked.

What Standard deck are you playing and why? Red Aggro, because it's fun to light people on fire.

What Magic Origins card impressed you the most this weekend? Abbot of Keral Keep, because it's card advantage and a threat, all in one.

What would winning the Pro Tour mean to you? It would be the most exciting moment of my life.


Patrick Cox

Age: 31

Hometown: Oakton, Virginia

Occupation: Mechanical engineer

Limited Record: 5-1

Constructed Record: 7-2-1

Previous Magic accomplishments: Two Pro Tour Top 8 appearances, six Grand Prix Top 8 appearances, StarCityGames.com Invitational champion.

When and how did you start playing Magic? I played a bit as a kid during Revised, but I really got into it in college during Mirrodin.

What Standard deck are you playing and why? Red Aggro. Magic Origins added a lot with Exquisite Firecraft and Abbot of Keral Keep. It was beating everything but Green-red Devotion in testing.

What Magic Origins card impressed you the most this weekend? Abbot of Keral Keep.

What would winning the Pro Tour mean to you? Everything. More chances to win is what keeps me coming back.


Stephen Berrios

Age: 30

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Occupation: Attorney

Limited Record: 5-1

Constructed Record: 7-2-1

Previous Magic accomplishments: Grand Prix São Paulo Top 4, Grand Prix Omaha Top 8.

When and how did you start playing Magic?

Seventeenish years ago. Guys from the block taught me how to play.

What Standard deck are you playing and why?

Blue-Red Ensoul Artifact. You get to play Modern while others play Standard.

What Magic Origins card impressed you the most this weekend?

Hangarback Walker.

What would winning the Pro Tour mean to you?

Hi mom!


Paul Jackson

Age: 24

Hometown: Perth, Australia

Occupation: Duty manager

Limited Record: 5-1

Constructed Record: 7-2-1

Previous Magic accomplishments: Winner at Grand Prix Sydney

When and how did you start playing Magic? About 10 years ago, my little brother's friend was playing it in front of me, and I've been hooked ever since.

What Standard deck are you playing and why? Green-red Devotion, it's very consistent and powerful. All hail Atarka!

What Magic Origins card impressed you the most this weekend? Timberpack Wolf.

What would winning the Pro Tour mean to you? It would be a dream come true.


Matthew Sperling

Age: 32

Hometown: San Francisco, CA

Occupation: Lawyer at Addepar

Limited Record: 4-2

Constructed Record: 8-1-1

Previous Magic accomplishments: Pro Tour Top 8, Grand Prix win

When and how did you start playing Magic?

1994, when my local baseball card shop got a box of Revised.

What Standard deck are you playing and why?

Abzan Control. If you predict the metagame, you can tune it to beat anything, and I had Patrick Chapin both predicting and tuning.

What Magic Origins card impressed you the most this weekend?

Rogue's Passage in draft.

What would winning the Pro Tour mean to you?

It would mean that some Worlds testing would happen at my bachelor party, which was planned by Paul Rietzl.


Joel Larsson

Age: 23

Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden

Occupation: Student and Professional Tourist

Limited Record: 4-2

Constructed Record: 8-2

Previous Magic accomplishments: 2nd at Pro Tour Gatecrash, 5 Grand Prix Top 8s, 3 Pro Tour Top 16s, 4-time member of Swedish National Team (three times as Captain) and almost Winter Champ.

When and how did you start playing Magic?

My friend Eric Svensson got me into it during Saviors of Kamigawa and I've played ever since.

What Standard deck are you playing and why?

Red Aggro because it was a great metagame choice, and Searing Blood is nuts right now.

What Magic Origins card impressed you the most this weekend?

Abbot of Keral Keep.

What would winning the Pro Tour mean to you?

Everything and then some!!


Mike Sigrist

Age: 32

Hometown: Foxboro, MA

Occupation: Student / Platinum Pro

Limited Record: 5-1

Constructed Record: 7-3

Previous Magic accomplishments: Top 8 Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir, Grand Prix Washington D.C. Champion, Grand Prix Montreal Champion

When and how did you start playing Magic?

My friend bought a Fourth Edition double starter deck and I was hooked.

What Standard deck are you playing and why?

Blue-Red Ensoul Artifact. Team Face-to-Face and Channel Fireball worked hard on it, and it's the most explosive and resilient deck.

What Magic Origins card impressed you the most this weekend?

Hangarback Walker

What would winning the Pro Tour mean to you?

I think with a win I'd be Player of the Year.

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