Interview: Seth Manfield Talks World Championships, The Best Deck, and More

by in Magic: The Gathering Arena | Oct, 7th 2021

I love Magic: the Gathering, and am super excited for MTG World Championship XXVII, as well as having the chance to interview Seth Manfield, a Pro-Magic player. He’s one of the top 16 players that will be coming to face off for a share of a 250,000 dollar prize pool. Players from the MPL and Rivals Leagues, plus the breakthrough competitors of the Challenger, Rivals, and MPL Gauntlets are all going to be throwing down, but there can be only one winner. That winner will receive the lion’s share of the purse and will have their likeness featured on a future Magic: the Gathering card. Originally, we had a question posted about what MTG decks Seth Manfield thought he’d see, but at the time of writing, I had not seen the decklists were posted – so that interview question has been omitted. You can see the full decklists right here.

For those who haven’t heard of Seth Manfield before this interview, he is an American MTG player and is a former World Champion. Seth is a Magic Hall of Famer and won the 2015 World Championship, has five Grand Prix wins, and four Pro Tour top eights. He’s got a very impressive track record of putting wins down, and I’m looking forward to seeing how he shakes up against the other best-of-the-best. We talked about the Magic World Championship XXVII with Seth Manfield, what deck he thinks is the best, what the meta feels like, and what the future may hold. 

Jason vs. Seth, Best of One:

Jason: Again, thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Seth! Magic World Championship XXVII is coming up, and you’re going to be taking part. As a player with an incredibly rich history of success, how are you feeling going into the tournament?

Seth: I’m feeling ok, but know the competition will be stiff. I’m also prepping on my own so that makes it a bit more challenging. 

Jason: In your estimation, what is the absolute best deck going in? Is there anything going on that simply cannot be stopped?

Seth: Mono Green Aggro. That’s the deck I’m playing, in my testing, it was the clear best deck. 

Jason: One of the more difficult hurdles to some about playing MTG is the actual deckbuilding itself. What is the thought process that you go through when building something for competitive Magic? 

Seth: Sometimes it’s about tuning specific cards for specific matchups, making sure you have the right ratio of lands to spells, stuff like that. There isn’t a specific process, it comes with experience.

Jason: What is the greatest challenge you face when making split-second decisions in competitive MTG? 

Seth: Sometimes decisions are a bit of guesswork based on trying to figure out what decks your competitors will be playing.

Jason: Do you feel there are any real negatives when it comes to Netdecking?

Seth: Yes. You need to try the decks out and come to your own conclusions, trust yourself not the internet.

Jason: It feels like we’ve got some new styles of decks and gameplay thanks to Innistrad: Midnight Hunt. Do you have any Standard deck archetypes that might not be competitive, but are still fun?

Seth: I like the Black-Green Snow decks with cards like Blood on the Snow, but they got pushed out by the Alrund’s Epiphany strategies. 

Jason: Magic Worlds is happening not too long after a Standard Rotation as well. How are you feeling about our new staples and the current meta?

Seth: Well it feels like mostly a two-deck format between Mono-Green and Izzet-based Epiphany, and this will be a tough format for other decks to break through without some bans. 

Jason: Speaking of competitive Magic, we’re going to see some changes, with the MPL and Rivals Leagues being dissolved. Are there any benefits to players going into the 2022 season, or is this going to harm competitive Magic? 

Seth: The direction we are going in is not good for Competitive Magic. We are hoping to hear something directly from WOTC about their new ideas around competitive MTG as we start to include more in-person play in the mix. 

Jason: If you could make any changes to competitive Magic: the Gathering, what would you offer up? 

Seth: Well I would bring back the name Pro Tour, there is such a big history around the Pro Tour that I think many players can relate to. 

Jason: It takes a lot of work and skill to get good at Magic: the Gathering. Do you have any advice for new players who get into the game through, say, MTG Arena or at their LGS and want to play competitively?

Seth: Don’t expect to become a pro overnight, or even in a single year. Find you enjoyment for the game first, don’t force yourself, and continue learning. You have to lose a lot before you reach the high levels of play. 

Jason: How do you remain focused during long tournaments? What tips or tricks on this do you have for others?

Seth: I pace around my house in between rounds, but everyone should do their own thing.

Jason: What does the future hold for you in Magic after Worlds XXVII?

Seth: It’s unclear, I’m hoping to put more energy into my stream. 

Jason: Out of all of your time, do you have any favorite decks? If so, what are they?

Seth: I loved Tooth and Nail back when that was a top Standard deck. MTG has evolved since then, but ramping into a card you usually cast for 9 mana to win the game was fun for me. 

You can watch the Magic World Championship XXVII, with Seth Manfield and many other players on Twitch, starting Friday, Oct. 8th. The matches will run through Sunday, October 10th, each day things kick off at 9 am PDT. 


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