Meet the Pros: Daniel Ward
Hey Dan and first of all, huge congratulations on your well deserved victory this weekend! For those unfamiliar with you, can you give a quick introduction of your self? From professional life to magical accomplishments.
I am a Veteran of the US Navy, now working for a drug and alcohol recovery center. Magic has always been a passion to me from the kitchen table to the Pro Tour (I just qualified for my 10th). I have now top 8’ed in five Grand Prix and top 8’ed a World Magic Cup Qualifier.
You managed to take down the Grand Prix in Toronto this weeking piloting Green/White Hexproof. Looking at your list, a few card choices stand out. Talk about the Leylines in the main deck, and Dromoka’s Command and the two copies of Seal of Primordium in the sideboard.
The Leylines in the main deck have always been a consideration depending on the metagame. After speaking with friends about the deck, I made the decision that it was prime for this weekend. Dromoka’s Command was a card that was put in the deck thanks to my friend and trip mate Chris Juilano. I had room for two cards in my sideboard and wanted them to be high impact. With Command comes so much flexibility and it took us about an hour on the ride up to go over all applications which we obviously missed some. In this tournament I did everything from have my opponent sacrifice his Phyrexian Unlife, prevent all damage from Secure the Wastes (Command needs two targets) and have my opponent sacrifice Search for Azcanta, fight Goblin Guide plus have my opponent lose his Eidolon of the Great Revel. Seal of Primordium was something I’m not a big fan of, but if you watched the finals I’m sure glad I had them. So the big thing is they deal with Chalice of the Void while being on board pumping your creature with Ethereal Armor. Pretty much when it’s good it’s great. Also with Affinity and Lantern being popular they are added hate which is great.
According to my research, this weekend wasn’t the first time you sleeved up hexproof creatures and auras at a Modern tournament. Tell us why it was the right choice for this weekend.
In my opinion, Bogles is always good, but in some cases great. This weekend I really liked it since I thought there would be more hate for Lantern and just simply not enough players willing to pick Lantern up (thank god because that matchup is miserable). Humans performed the best at the Pro Tour and going in to the tournament I thought that matchup was a bye, but I was surprised it was way closer. So I thought people would either play Humans or play a deck that beats Humans which is great for a deck with mostly untargetable creatures.
On the flipsde, which metagame changes would make Bogles a bad choice in the future?
I think if people want to beat any deck in Modern, they can. But Bogles is worse when combo is good. Bogels is by definition a fair deck and has trouble when the unfair ones are at the top.
I know you have enjoyed Standard a lot over the years. If you were to give your best sales speech to convince players to play Standard, despite chaotics printings and bannings the last few years, what would it sound like?
My Standard soap box goes as follows. If you like change and not getting bored with playing the same deck, I think you have found a format to enjoy. It’s wide open right now, and the game play is very fun. I think from a deck building standpoint, it’s also a format that allows a shifting meta game.
Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Bloodbraid Elf just got unbanned in Modern. Thoughts?
My thoughts are I do not understand why they would do anything to shake up a format that has finaly been stable and awesome for a while. With that said, I think Bloodbraid Elf is fine to come off, and it will have impact, but not change too much. With Jace, the Mind Sculptor I’m just shaking my head. This card is potentially format warping, and I predict it will make it back on the banned list again.
Thank you so much for taking your time to take part in this interview. If you have any sponsor, twitter handle or twitch stream to share, now is the time!