Top 5 Players of the Weekend
Learn more about five players who put up a great weekend through a high finish, interesting deck, or memorable moment.
5. Todd Stevens
Todd Stevens has shown he is right at home with Modern, the format where four of his eight Open Top 8s have come from, along with his team Top 8 last weekend with Tannon Grace and Brennan DeCandio where he played Modern. Stevens stuck with Eldrazi Tron, the deck he played at the Team Constructed Open in Louisville, and entered the elimination rounds as the top seed. As the top seed, however, Stevens had to play Brad Nelson and his Grixis Death’s Shadow build. Stevens wouldn’t be able to advance past the quarterfinals once again, as Nelson took him down in two brief games. The Top-8 finish will pull Stevens within 10 points of Brennan DeCandio in the Seasonal SCG Tour® rankings, after DeCandio managed a Top-16 finish for himself. Check out Stevens’ Eldrazi Tron decklist here.
4. Jacob Haversat
In a Top 8 with seven different archetypes, Jacob Haversat championed the wackiest deck of them all. Haversat showed that just because Summer Bloom is banned, Amulet decks are still a very real deal. After securing his Top 8 berth by defeating Reid Duke in Round 14 of the Swiss, Haversat entered the Top 8 as the No. 4 seed with a matchup against Craig Berry on Scapeshift. Haversat proved superior in the battle of big-mana decks, moving onto the semis with a 2-1 win. In the semis, Brad Nelson waited with Grixis Death’s Shadow. Haversat liked his spot against Death’s Shadow builds, but Nelson kept him in check with timely discard spells and removal against his Sakura Tribe-Scouts. Haversat was never able to snowball out of control with Primeval Titans, falling in two games. Check out Haversat’s Amulet Titan decklist here.
3. Reid Duke
In a format where most Jund and Abzan players have shifted to Death’s Shadow decks, Reid Duke went back to old faithful – Jund. Duke had planned on playing a version of Death’s Shadow, but after the rise in popularity of the Counters Company deck, he circled back to traditional Jund, packing plenty of removal for Company and Shadow decks alike. After an 11-0 start, Duke dropped three matches in a row before coming out on top of his win-and-in match in Round 15 against Timur Babakol on Eldrazi Taxes. Once in the Top 8, Duke defeated Ryan Hovis on Sultai Death’s Shadow before meeting Ben Friedman in the semifinals. Friedman, on Dredge, had defeated Duke in the Swiss and would stand in his way once again. Duke knew the matchup was rough and it didn’t get any easier in Game 2 after he took a few mulligans down to four cards. Duke couldn’t stop the zombies and dropped the match in two, leaving Friedman to face Brad Nelson in the finals. Check out Duke’s Jund decklist here.
2. Ben Friedman
After seeing how Dredge preformed in his teammate’s hands last weekend in Louisville at the Team Constructed Open, Ben Friedman knew he wanted to play the deck – with a few changes. Friedman gave Insolent Neonate the axe and loaded his build up with Collective Brutality and Dark Blast so he could fight Burn and Counters Company. The tweaks worked as Friedman cruised into the Top 8 as the No. 3 seed, facing James O’Shaughnessy on Grixis Death’s Shadow in the quarterfinals. Friedman pulled out a close three-game set and got to face Reid Duke on Jund in the semis. Friedman gave a repeat performance of what happened in the Swiss when the two met and moved into the finals to face Brad Nelson, also on Grixis Death’s Shadow. For Friedman, it was another finals appearance against a Nelson family member after his runner-up finish to Corey Baumeister at Grand Prix New Jersey. The tense finals went the distance and came down to one final draw step as Nelson ripped the land he needed to have enough mana to kill two blockers and attack for lethal, handing Friedman another finals loss. Check out Friedman’s Dredge decklist here.
1. Brad Nelson
Brad Nelson had waivered on even coming to #SCGBALT, knowing he had a full schedule of Magic tournaments on the horizon. Nelson ended up coming, having a weekend outing with Todd Anderson and Ross Merriam, even convincing Anderson to play the same version of Grixis Death’s Shadow. Cut to 15 rounds later and Nelson faced a win-and-in match against Jesse Piland on Counters Company. Nelson won the tight match that went to turns, allowing him to sneak into the Top 8 as the eighth seed. This Top 8 marked No. 10 for Nelson, with two wins – the second of which dating back to his last individual Open in Knoxville, where he won with B/G Delirium. Once in the elimination rounds, Nelson took down Todd Stevens in two quick games before doing the same to Jacob Haversat in the semis. Ben Friedman and Dredge made up Nelson’s finals opponent, with both players already winning an Open in Baltimore. The games in the finals didn’t go many turns, but the turns were action packed and full of decisions for both players. Nelson eventually went for it in Game 3, pulling the trigger on his only Kozilek’s Return, setting up a two-turn kill if things went his way. After Friedman deployed two blockers and a lethal counter attack on his next potential turn, Nelson found a land off the top and had the resources to kill off the blockers to attack for the win. Check out Nelson’s Grixis Death’s Shadow decklist here.