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Pro Tour Kaladesh Players to Watch: Seth Manfield

Seth Manfieldseth-manfield-at-worlds-2015-with-trophy

Age: 26
Residence: Laurel, MD, USA
Team: East West Bowl
Qualified via Pro Club Platinum Level, Grand Prix Sydney
Pro Points: 280 lifetime (14 in 2016–17)
Pro Tour Debut: Pro Tour Geneva 2007
Pro Tours Played: 17
Best Pro Tour Finish: 3rd (PT Shadows over Innistrad)
Median: 59
Top 8: 2 Pro Tours and 9 Grand Prix (5 wins)
Record on the Last 8 PTs: Limited 33–15 (68.8%), Constructed 49–27–3 (62.5%), Total 82–42–3 (65.4%)
Seth’s PT Results: http://www.mtgptresults.com/player/seth-manfield
Planeswalker Level: 49 (Archmage)

Q: You have had a lot of success in Limited, as well as in Constructed, and with different types of decks. Are there any formats that you prefer to play? Any archetypes you lean toward when several good options present themselves?

I prefer Limited because it comes more naturally to me, and it is the format I feel like I can fall back on even if the Constructed metagame is crazy, or if there is one particular deck dominating the format. Recently I have been putting more time and energy into Constructed though, and it has clearly paid off. I really enjoy Team Limited, so that is the one format in which I would like to make a GP Top 4, and have yet to do so.

All things being equal, I like to play control decks or archetypes, with which I can create a gameplay edge over my opponents. Sometimes I will put a twist into the sideboard and if my opponents don’t know how to sideboard against me, I can take advantage of that. I used to be scared to take a control deck to a Pro Tour, but now it doesn’t worry me as much.

seth-manfield-at-gp-dallas-2013-top-8Q: Last season the Player of the Year race was basically between you and Owen the whole time. You had an early lead in part due to winning the World Championship against Owen. Then Owen crushed for most of the remaining first half of the season. The second half of the season went better for you, and you managed to go into the final Pro Tour of the season with a sizable lead over Owen. But in the end, Owen made Top 8 of PT Eldritch Moon. Was winning the Pro Player of the Year title your main goal for that season? For some people, coming in second would be great motivation to try even harder. Others might feel that they had poured everything they had into that one season, and that they could not maintain that level of investment for another season. How did you deal with coming in second? And what are your goals going forward?

I admit that I really did want to win Player of the Year. Even though I was locked for Platinum this year because of my win at the World Championship, I wanted to keep going strong and play in a bunch of events. Part of the reason why I think I tried so hard was that I saw a chance to win Player of the Year, and I am hoping that in the future I will have the opportunity to play for my country at the World Magic Cup. That seems like a very special event, but it is tough to make it with so many strong players in the U.S. I am happy with how last season went as I performed way beyond my expectations going into the season, but going into Pro Tour Eldritch Moon, I did have a goal to win Player of the Year—it just didn’t break my way for that one tournament. Owen also had a great season and he is well deserving of the title. I am not upset about not winning the title, and I hope to put myself in a position to do so again. Having come so close, I know I can get back to the same spot in years to come, though it always takes a bit of luck.

Q: In a discussion about “who is the best Magic player in the world right now,” your name would probably make it on the short list for most people. Does that feel real to you?

I appreciate being recognized, and I believe that my results speak for themselves. I don’t think too much about how great a player I am in relation to others. What I can say is that everyone makes mistakes—I know I do. That is what helps make Magic a great game—there is always some way to improve your game. Within the next few years, I would like to make a case for being in the Hall of Fame. Hopefully I continue to do well in order to make it into the Hall. Being among the elite players throughout the history of the game is a special accomplishment and the ultimate way to be recognized for an exemplary Magic career.seth-manfield-at-gp-daytona-beach-2007-top-8

Q: Wizards recently announced that they were launching a team series for the Pro Tour. You are on one of the newer teams, East West Bowl. Is the team series something that gets you and your team excited? Is it something that your team wants to win to show the Magic world that East West Bowl is for real, or will it be just something that happens if it happens?

East West Bowl has had a lot of discussion surrounding the team series, as I’m sure is true for a lot of the bigger testing teams. I expect that the big testing teams as we know it will break apart a bit in order to create their six-man teams. The process for selecting a team from a larger group of people means that not everyone is going to be happy, but I’m sure that everything will work itself out. As players, the money, prestige, and dream of playing alongside teammates at the World Championship are huge. The team series is going to change Pro Tour play as we know it, and I’m excited for that prospect. There are so many strong groups of players out there and in order to get to be one of the top two teams in the team series, your entire team has to do well at all the Pro Tours. This is something that is not fully in your control as an individual player. Going into the team series, I would look at doing well as a bonus if my personal season is also going the way I want it to.

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