Open+ Recap: Urza flies high over Calgary


What an incredible weekend we had in Calgary.

When the Open Series traveled west this past weekend for a Modern Open+, we were greeted with what was the largest turnout in Open Series history. Right off the back of our 2020 F2F Tour announcement, we can’t thank everyone enough for coming out!

And when the celebration came to an end, we crowned a brand new Calgary Open+ champion. Chris Carlile qualified himself for the Players Tour and hoisted our Open trophy — and pineapple — on the back of his Simic Urza deck.

Your Calgary Open+ Champ!

Simic Urza has absolutely burst onto the scene in the last few weeks. It’s an iteration on the original Whirza combo deck that was popular when Urza, Lord High Artificer was first printed in Modern Horizons. But, instead of relying on a combo finish and a bunch of artifacts to win, it’s simply a midrange deck that uses an artifact sub-theme to take advantage of Urza. This was of course made possible by the printing of Mystic Sanctuary in Throne of Eldraine which allows the deck a virtual lock in the late-game with Cryptic Command. Simic Urza made up two of the Top 4 and our winner on Saturday, and is for my money absolutely the deck to beat in Modern right now.

Carlile beat Grixis Death’s Shadow — maybe Simic’s biggest competition — in the finals on his way to the trophy. Shadow is a natural predator to these decks. It possesses a fast clock, a ton of answers to Urza and the cheap disruption necessary to beat the powerful midrange deck. That said, even that complete package wasn’t enough for Marcel Zafra who lost in the finals.

Your Calgary Open+ Top 8.

Joining Chris and Marcel in the Top 8 was, Andrew Huska our second Simic Urza pilot, Drew Howe on Storm, Mark Weedon and Andre Girard who both played Humans, Nik Lyons-Morgan on Infect and Ian Baker who played an awesome Simic version of Hardened Scales splashing for Oko.

All I can really say is: Oko, Oko and more Oko. Our Top 8 is swimming with copies of the new three mana planeswalker, and if I’m being honest I think that trend is only going to continue as players continue to refine their decks in Modern. Like I mentioned off the top we had two copies of Simic Urza which is basically built around Oko, and then two more decks in Infect and Scales that have shoe-horned Oko into their builds despite it being not even on game plan. It’s just such a ubiquitously powerful card that it’s worth finding a way to get it in your deck.

While all of the action was going down in the main event, we had a ton of players joining side events and hanging out at the Face to Face Games booth all day long. We fired a total of 32 side events on the day across a number of different formats including a fifteen person FREE Pioneer side event. We also received a ton of great feedback about the upcoming F2F Tour and players in Calgary were excited that our event this weekend — and at next year’s Magic Weekend’s — was a PTQ.

Now, before I leave you for the week, I’ve got to give you an update about exactly how the F2F Tour is going to work next year. As we announced a few weeks back, 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.

Congratulations to our champion Chris Carlile 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 Saturday Nov. 30 when we’ll be hosting a Modern Open in Monteal, Quebec. Make sure to pre-register and we’ll see you on the battlefield!