Open+ Recap: Zhang’s Eldrazi dominate Vancouver


After an incredible year on the Open Series, this past Saturday we celebrated our last event of 2019 when we traveled to Vancouver, British Columbia for a Modern Open+!

After the last card was drawn First Strike podcast staple and all-around good guy Jonathan Zhang was crowned champion!

Your Open+ champ, Jonathan Zhang.

Zhang chose Eldrazi Tron as his weapon of choice on Saturday and of course, with the expansion of the WPN system, his win means that we’re also sending Zhang to the upcoming North American Players Tour in addition to his prizes.

Zhang, or FinalNub if you frequent Magic Twitter, is a prominent voice in the Canadian Magic scene. He’s even a writer on this very site and tends to be quite the creative graveyard deckbuilder.

Eldrazi Tron has surged in popularity over the past few months with the rise of Urza as the deck to beat in Modern. The deck is quite unique in that it has good matchups against both Urza decks thanks to Karn, the Great Creator and Death’s Shadow thanks to Chalice of the Void.

It’s pretty tough to find other decks with positive matchups against these two top decks, and it’s for that reason we saw two copies of Eldrazi Tron in the Top 8 on Saturday. Zhang triumphed over Paul de Blois and his Devoted Druid deck in the finals. I’m told that Paul is a bit of a Druid master in Western Canada and he definitely lived up to his reputation on the weekend.

Your Vancouver Open+ Top 8.

Joining them in the Top 8 was our second Eldrazi Tron pilot Zachary Philley, Rowan Burns-Kirkness on Grixis Shadow, John Millsip playing Dredge, Liam Malcolm on an awesome Bant Control deck, Greg Larson playing Eli Kassis’ Sultai Urza deck he wrote about a few weeks back and Sarah England who played Infect.

In addition to her Top 8 performance on the weekend, Sarah England also spent her time between matches taking some incredible photos of the event. Check them out in the slideshow below!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Over the course of 2019 on the Open Series we’ve witnessed quite the overhaul of the Modern format. Aether Vial decks like Humans and Spirits kicked off the year by putting up big results. Then we had the Phoenix era, where the combination of the powerful Izzet deck and Dredge ultimately got Faithless Looting banned. And now here we are, Urza, Eldrazi and Death’s Shadow all duking it out for the top spot.

One deck I’d like to highlight from the Top 8 in particular is John Millsip’s Dredge list. The deck obviously took quite the hit with the banning of Looting, but John showed us this weekend that it can still compete. These Urza and Shadow lists are really skimping on graveyard hate and that may be just what Stinkweed Imp and company need to rise once again.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Now, before I leave you for the week, I have to give you an update on the Open Series if you haven’t heard the big news yet. As we announced recently, in 2020 we’re bringing you the F2F Tour — your path from your LGS to the 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.

And in 2020 we’re bringing you a TON of formats. It’s not just Modern anymore:

Thank you to everyone who came out and helped make 2019 a great year for us at Face to Face Games. We look forward to bringing you even more tournaments and content in 2020! If you have any feedback that we can use to help make your F2F Tour experience even better next year, feel free to reach out to us at

Last but not least I’d like to thank our sponsors Ultimate Guard and Oakie Doakie Dice for helping make this event possible and our amazing judge staff for running a smooth tournament all day long!

The next time you’ll be seeing us is in the new year when we travel to Vancouver once again for the first stop on the new look 2020 F2F Tour. That’s right, two straight in Vancouver! Make sure to pre-register and we’ll see you on the battlefield on Jan. 25 to kick off the new year in style!