Open Recap: Merfolk and Oko take down Montreal


This past weekend when the Open Series traveled to Montreal for a Modern Open, we were taught one unexpected lesson — don’t sleep on Merfolk.

Kevin Burroughs took down Simic Urza in the finals with his Simic Merfolk deck in what was truly a David versus Goliath affair.

Your Open champ, Kevin Burroughs.

Obviously Simic Urza has been absolutely dominant as of late across the Modern format, but on Saturday the powerful artifact strategy did not have what it took to triumph over Merfolk. Burroughs defeated Philippe Asselin in the finals.

It’s interesting because since the release of Modern Horizons Aether Vial decks have really struggled to maintain the traction they had last year when Humans rose to the top of the metagame. I’m not saying that Merfolk is the answer to finding the tribal creature deck that can succeed in this new metagame, but Burroughs definitely made a case for it this past weekend.

Notably, Kevin added green to the traditional Merfolk shell in order to splash Oko, Thief of Crowns, a card that has been dominant in Modern as of late. The staying power that Oko provides really makes up for the card disadvantage the deck incurs from it’s four copies of Force of Negation which makes me like this version of the deck a lot.

Your Montreal Open Top 8.

Joining those two in the Top 8 was Jean-Philippe Goyet on Grixis Shadow, Patrick Wu on Azorius Control, Chris Gray playing Infect, Alexandre St-Pierre trying to keep Jund alive, Sebastien Lachance on Eldrazi Tron and Nicolas Cosgrove playing Storm.

I’d specifically like to highlight Chris Gray’s Infect list from the Top 8 as a deck that I really think might have some legs in the format right now. If you look at the top of the metagame, the only deck that is really well equipped to handle a Glistener Elf is Shadow and if you can dodge that matchup, cleaning up Simic Urza is trivial.

Infect is another deck that Oko has helped immensely. We’re seeing this new planeswalker creep into basically every deck that can cast him and immediately helping their ability to create sticky boards and deal with problematic permanents. And honestly, that’s only going to happen more as people continue to work him into their builds.

While these players were making their mark on the Open Series in the main event, we had players on-site all day battling in side events and hanging out at our Face to Face Games booth.

We hosted Commander pods all day long, fired side event Drafts and even offered an absolutely FREE Pioneer side event. Thanks to everyone who came out and made the event a success.

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 Players Tour in your hometown. For all the details — check out our announcement.

Oh and incase you hadn’t heard yet, we’re bringing you a TON of formats next year:

Congratulations to our champion Kevin Burroughs from everyone at Face to Face Games! We’d also like to thank our 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 Saturday, Dec. 7 when we’ll be travelling to beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia for a Modern Open+. Make sure to pre-register and we’ll see you on the battlefield!