The three constructed formats of Standard, Modern, and Legacy have been the staples of the SCG Tour since its creation, but no events other than the 2015 and 2016 Players’ Championships showcased all three in the same tournament. That is, until this weekend.
The Team Constructed Open in Baltimore this weekend gives 900 players the chance to play their favorite format while battling alongside two friends. Each teammate will champion their format of choice, squaring off in a fifteen-round tournament against some of the best and brightest from the SCG Tour. While the SCG Tour dabbled in Team Limited events back in 2013, this marks its first foray into Team Constructed. In fact, this is the first Team Constructed event (Standard, Modern, and Legacy) since the Magic World Championship in 2011.
Teams will be organized with their Legacy player in Seat A, Modern player in Seat B, and Standard player in Seat C. Team formation varied from friends and siblings sticking together, to format specialists joining forces, to already-formed teams simply deciding which format would be played by which player. While 300 teams are registered for the event, team tournaments often bring out the strongest combination of players available. Here’s a quick preview of some of the teams that stand out on the registration sheet.
Brian Braun-Duin – Jeff Hoogland – Brad Nelson
The team that almost wasn’t leads the way. Current World Champion and No. 21-ranked player Brian Braun-Duin and No. 9-ranked Brad Nelson struggled to find a third teammate as SCG Baltimore filled quickly. At the last minute, the Platinum pros secured SCG Tour Modern ringer Jeff Hoogland to cap their team two days after Nelson Tweeted out for a Modern player to contact him. With BBD on Legacy (coming off a Top 4 finish at the most recent Legacy Grand Prix in Louisville) and Nelson being one of the top Standard players in the world, the team rounded out with one of the biggest names in Modern. The trio brings a tally of 38 Open Top 8s (three wins) and eight Invitational Top 8s (one win) along with their stacked resume.
Sam Pardee – Matt Nass – Ben Stark
The second team with two players ranked in the Top 25 adds a Magic Hall of Famer to bring an impressive group with previous success in team events. Both Sam Pardee and Matt Nass have recent Team Limited Grand Prix wins (Nass won Detroit 2015 along with Pardee and Jacob Wilson, and Nashville in 2014 alongside Wilson and Jesse Hampton), while Ben Stark won Pro Tour Paris in 2011 and entered the Magic Pro Tour Hall of Fame in 2013. With three incredible players on the team, the only question is which players take on what format and with what deck. The GP circuit mainstays also bring six Open Top 8s (one win) with them.
Michael Majors – Tom Ross – Todd Anderson
Next up are some of the most fearsome faces in SCG Tour history alongside a Platinum pro. Todd Anderson, the all-time leader in Open Top 8s, joins 2016 SCG Tour Player of the Year Tom Ross and Grand Prix San Diego 2016 winner Michael Majors as a team to watch. All three players could easily slot into any format, though Majors is coming off a Legacy Grand Prix Top 8 in Louisville, Anderson made Top 8 of the last Standard Open in Richmond, and Ross won the last Modern Open in Columbus in 2016. The team boasts a total of 53 Open Top 8s (twelve wins) and eight Invitational Top 8s (three wins).
Reid Duke – Gerard Fabiano – Andrew Boswell
Though Reid Duke isn’t joined by his Peach Garden Oath teammates, the Platinum pro still has a potent pair of players joining him in Baltimore. Duke has his Sugarloaf, NY friend Andrew Boswell and three-time Grand Prix champion Gerard Fabiano at his side. Duke, the winner of the Legacy Grand Prix in Louisville, is the third player in the top four teams listed with a player that made that event’s elimination rounds. All three members are no strangers to the SCG Tour, claiming 27 Open Top 8s (eleven wins) and six Invitational Top 8s (one win).
Noah Walker – Jacob Baugh – Andrew Tenjum
One of Team Cardhoarder’s trios shows up next, with three players who all had fantastic runs on the SCG Tour in 2016. Legacy stalwart Noah Walker joins Jacob Baugh and Andrew Tenjum. Walker took down the Philadelphia Legacy Open in 2016 and made the Top 8 of Grand Prix Columbus, while few players ended the year better than Baugh. Baugh ended 2016 with a win in the Atlanta Invitational and a Top 4 finish in the Players’ Championship. Tenjum, the notable deck designer and 2016 Players’ Championship competitor, rounds out the team after tuning the Modern U/W Eldrazi deck and Standard W/R Vehicles after the release of Kaladesh last year. The team has 29 Open Top 8s (five wins) and two Invitational Top 8s (one win) to its name.
Daryl Ayers – Dan Musser – Shaheen Soorani
One of many teams anchored by a Legacy Lands master, Daryl Ayers joins Dan Musser and Shaheen Soorani for a team with quite the history. Ayers has a Legacy Open win with Temur Delver back in the Treasure Cruise era, but has since gone on to crushing basically everyone he plays with Lands. Soorani, the Esper aficionado and lover of expensive sorceries, brings a pedigree of control decks in Standard, while Musser got roped into playing Modern (though he did make the Top 8 of the last Modern Open with Bant Eldrazi) and ended up the target of many jokes from his two friends. The group has a combined 22 Open Top 8s (three wins) and five Invitational Top 8s.
Harlan Firer – Kevin Jones – Brad Carpenter
“The Daddy” and World Magic Cup competitor, Kevin Jones, has good friends and SCG Tour veterans Harlan Firer and Brad Carpenter by his side. Both Jones and Carpenter made the 2016 Players’ Championship and tested with Firer before the end-of-the-year event. Jones put Modern Grixis Delver on the map in 2016, winning the Dallas Modern Open and championing the deck at the World Magic Cup. Carpenter had one of the best three-event stretches of anyone on the SCG Tour last year, winning the Modern Open in Orlando, the Modern Classic in Indianapolis, and the Standard Classic in Milwaukee in a row. Firer has his own Open win from 2014 as the group has seventeen Open Top 8s (four wins), but hasn’t broke through on the Invitational level yet.
Max Tietze – Jay Imperiale – Jim Davis
The 2015 Players’ Champion teams up with an Invitational winner and an old-school player with Pro Tour and Grand Prix success. Jim Davis spearheads a team with plenty of success from back in the day. Davis had a strong 2016, topped with a Standard Open win in Baltimore on the release weekend of Shadows over Innistrad. Max Tietze, the winner of the Baltimore 2012 Invitational, did his share of winning in the early years of the SCG Tour. Jay Imperiale, a Long Island, NY player, has a pair of Pro Tour Top 16 finishes along with four Grand Prix Top 8s. Imperiale goes way back with Davis, as the two used to travel together for Pro Tours. The group has eighteen Open Top 8s (four wins) and six Invitational Top 8s (one win).
Ben Friedman – Frank Vanderwall – Adam Yurchick
One of most colorful characters in Magic joins a longtime Magic veteran and Magic Online Modern grinder for an under-the-radar team. Ben Freidman, one of two SCG Tour players to hold the unfortunate title of two-time Invitational runner-up, can’t be missed at tournaments thanks to his results and usual cowboy hat or Hawaiian shirt. Friedman has six-time GP Top 8er and GP Houston 2010 champion Adam Yurchick and Modern specialist Frank Vanderwall at his side for SCG Baltimore. While Vanderwall might be the relative unknown on the team, the proud father of quintuplets is making the trip from Madison, WI to battle with his friends. The team has a combined nine Open Top 8s (one win) and five Invitational Top 8s.
Tannon Grace – Todd Stevens – Brennan DeCandio
The best-dressed player on the SCG Tour joins a back-to-back Open winner and Hearthstone commentator for what Mark Nestico coined “Team Dreamy AF.” Todd Stevens burst onto the SCG Tour scene in a big way in 2016 by making the Players’ Championship and popularizing two Modern decks by playing and winning with early builds of Bant Eldrazi and W/R Prison. DeCandio won the Atlanta Standard Open at the end of 2016 and the Columbus Standard Open at the start of 2017 with differing builds of B/G Delirium. DeCandio was on pace for a third win, starting 8-0 at SCG Richmond, but struggled on Day 2 to end the dream. The two teamed up with Grace, a player with a Grand Prix Top 8 and Open Top 8 roughly seven years apart, who has refocused on Magic after playing poker and working as a Hearthstone commentator. The group has ten Open Top 8s (two wins).
SCG Baltimore kicks off at 10:30 AM ET Saturday on twitch.tv/SCGTour with Round 1 of the Swiss. Join Matthias Hunt, Ryan Overturf, and the rest of the SCG Tour team for all the action this weekend!