Event Recap

Team Triumph: Zak, Michael, and Aaron Dominate Red Deer Modern Horizons 3 Super Qualifier

The F2F Tour Red Deer 2024 Round 7 event was a spectacular showcase of skill and strategy, with 35 teams entering the Modern Horizons 3 Team Sealed Super Qualifier. Zak Turchansky, Michael Zhao, and Aaron Robinson emerged victorious, demonstrating impressive synergy and expertise as they navigated the challenges of the event and secured their win.

I had the opportunity to catch up with Zak, Michael, and Aaron to discuss how this winning team came together and their experiences during the event.

KYT: How did you create your team? Just two really good friends who are coincidentally both into software based on their Twitter bios?

Zak: Michael Zhao and I actually went to junior high together, and he briefly dated one of my best friends at the time all the way back around 2007. We weren’t super close at the time, but after high school, we met back up at Magic events at Wizards Comics in Edmonton and reconnected.

Aaron met the Edmonton Wizards Comics crew around Dragon’s Maze when he first came to the game shop I’d been playing and working at for a few years. We kind of hit it off pretty quickly as he took sets off some of our best players like Bo Su.

Zak Turchansky right before the start of the event.

While we’ve played variants of this team configuration for a while, I think the first time we played together was in 2018 at some local events, and it’s been one we’ve run back a few times I think. It mostly came down to us just all being really good friends first, and teammates were a consequence of that. We play off each other’s strengths and weaknesses really well. Except Zhao—that guy has no weaknesses ;p.

The fact that all three of us are software devs is actually 100% coincidence, haha!

KYT: What did you think of the Sealed format? It sounds like you had a broken deck for the Sealed portion. How did your teammates fare?

Zak: We had six complete rare bricks in our Sealed pool (two lands, two medallions, two Winter Moons), and most of the rest of the Jeskai rares ended up in my deck, so I was stoked my teammates could win with decks as rare-lean as they were.

I’m enjoying the format a reasonable amount. Not as much as MH1 but way more than MH2 (I have Junk Winder trauma).

I really like the energy decks and have done a ton of losing with Eldrazi, so both in our practice Sealed the night before and for the main event I just pigeonholed myself into energy. One skill I’ve been really developing recently is playing decks with a lot of physical moving pieces really quickly: see my 14th place RC Ottawa One-Ring/Jace self-mill deck as another example, or Gardevoir-ex from Pokémon TCG. Since the format is slow, making sure you’re able to physically manipulate and track complicated board states is a lane I enjoy staying in. I was proud to come out of the day with zero draws, although we did have one very close game 3 that went to turn 5.

In the top 4 drafts, I was worried about being able to get a critical mass of energy cards, especially with three people trying to hate-draft me. So I ended up with a GW modify deck in the first draft, but after staying open I noticed Conduit Goblins coming around reliably so I was able to position myself as the main Boros energy drafter since I wasn’t being contested. I still think that deck was cracked even though I lost my set 2-0.

KYT: Michael, what about your experience with the format?

Michael: I think the format is pretty slow, with lots of interesting small synergies on top of the major archetypes. My Sealed deck was pretty medium, just a lot of removal spells and two-for-ones. My first draft deck was Siege-Gang turbo with a ton of Eldrazi spawn synergy—multiple Spawn-Gang Commanders wheeled!

Draft deck 2 was an unbeatable insane Izzet energy deck, with two copies of Aether Revolt and all the best blue energy makers.

KYT: And Aaron, how did you find the format and your decks?

Aaron: Yeah, the format is slow, with lots of tracking and upkeep. Games are pretty interesting and get to cool board states that involve the trading of resources. My Sealed deck was fine—good but missing some of the good spawn makers, leaving me a little slow against the fast decks. My first draft deck was UB control with a Kozilek top end, lost to the Detective’s Phoenix recursion and not enough reach or fliers. Draft 2 was a great GB deck with a fair bit of counter shenanigans.

KYT: Congratulations on your fantastic performance, Zak, Michael, and Aaron! Your teamwork and strategy were truly impressive. Well done!

Congratulations to the other top 4 teams as well!

As we conclude our recap of the Red Deer event, we look forward to our next stop on the F2F Tour. Join us in Toronto on July 6 for more exciting Magic: The Gathering action and unforgettable moments.

For more details on the upcoming event, visit F2F Tour Toronto.

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