Open+ Recap: Death’s Shadow takes down Toronto


There are few in the Modern format that feel as close to cheating as tapping that one single black mana and putting a 12/12 Death’s Shadow on the stack. It feels like you’re playing Legacy and your opponents are playing Standard. Your deck is in a league of its own.

Jason Qian got to experience that feeling repeatedly this past weekend when the Open Series traveled to Toronto for a Modern Open+ and he hoisted the trophy on the back of his Sultai Shadow deck — qualifying him for the upcoming Players Tour.

Your Open+ champ, Jason Qian.

Jason defeated Eric Peacock and his CrabVine deck in the finals. This graveyard deck, built around Vengevine and Hedron Crab, has been flying under the radar a little bit ever since the banning of Faithless Looting. That said, it still has some absolutely busted draws and Eric made that clear on Saturday.

As for Death’s Shadow, we all know how good this deck can be in the right metagame. Shadow does a pretty good job of disrupting all of the Urza, Lord High Artificer decks that are really popular in Modern right now and that’s made it one of the format’s best decks in recent weeks. Qian’s build in particular is massively disruptive, using both discard and counterspells to keep control of the game, while also featuring Tarmogoyf as a massive secondary threat. These golgari-based Shadow decks have started to usurp Grixis as the build-of-choice due to their higher threat density and the ability to play Nurturing Peatland. I love Qian’s deck and am not surprised he was able to take down the trophy looking at how well it’s set up against the field.

Your Modern Open+ Top 8.

Joining our two finalists in the Top 8 was Tse Shuen Wan who played a sweet Temur Snow brew, Andrew Barbosa on Grixis Shadow, Sacha Akow Burning people out, David Goldfarb on Tron, Jamie Archdekin on Simic Urza and Nicholas Flemming who actually beat me to make Top 8 and crush my dreams with his Ponza deck.

Walking around the venue on Saturday it was clear to me that Urza was the deck to beat and Shadow was doing a pretty good job of beating it. There was a ton of Shadow at the top tables and almost all of the recognizable faces in the room were on one of those two decks.

While Jason was taking down the Open in the main event we had players on-site battling in side events and hanging out at the Face to Face Games booth all day long. We fired a whopping 14 Commander pods and ten side drafts and even hosted a FREE Pioneer side event in order to help celebrate the launch of the new format.

Now, before I leave you for the week, I have to give you an update on the Open Series if you haven’t heard yet. As we announced last week, in 2020 we’re bringing you the F2F Tour — your path from LGS to Players Tour. This change will be bringing you everything you loved about the Open Series, plus the addition of our F2F Tour Weekends, which will give you a shot to qualify for the Player’s Tour in your hometown. For all the details — check out our announcement.

Congratulations to our champion Jason Qian from everyone at Face to Face Games! We’d also like to thank our awesome sponsors — Ultimate Guard and Oakie Doakie Dice — and our equally awesome judge staff who ran a smooth event all day long!

With our tournament series growing every week we’ve added a feedback point of contact to our workflow in order to create the best events possible for you all in the future. If there are any changes you’d like to see from our events email us at:

The next stop on the series is coming up this weekend on Saturday Nov. 23 when we’ll be traveling to beautiful Calgary, Alberta for a Modern Open+ and sending our champion to the upcoming Players Tour! Make sure to pre-register and we’ll see you on the battlefield.