Magic: the Gathering


Interviewing Thoralf Severin, winner of Mythic Championship IV

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We interviewed Thoralf Severin right after he won the Mythic Championship IV

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We interviewed Thoralf Severin right after he won the Mythic Championship IV, in a time where Hogaak was still there in Modern Metagame. But we fill like Thoralf was so nice, that we should make this interview more accessible to everyone, thus translate it now.

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When did you start in Magic: The Gathering and how was it like to enter the competitive scene?

I started to play Magic around Nemesis with friends from my school. They dropped it fairly quickly, but I strived to play more and more. I remember playing an Odyssey block constructed GP in germany. Germany in total was very competetive in magic, Berlin wasn't so I didn't play a lot of tournaments for a long time.


Today you are a player who lives exclusively on Magic?

Definitely not. Living of tournament magic is extremly difficult and can really only be done with a lot of content creation - something I didn't get to.

What is your favorite format and why?

Limited, specifically Chaos Draft. I am not a fan of playing the same deck for many many hours, so I like the diversity of limited.

How was your journey to MC IV?

I was a bit out of the loop for competetive magic, but when Arne Huschenbeth moved to berlin, him, Jasper Grimmer and myself formed a team, that traveled to every european GP. Especially on team GP's we were extremely successfull, which got me to hit exactly gold until (included) Barcelona.

Since the appearence of Karn, the Great Creators, most of Tron's players have been adapting their lists to include the card. You have, however, opted for a list closer to the traditional archetype. What is the reason for this choice?

I started with the small Karn and I was really disappointed. Karn rarely won on the spot and was mostly very difficult to keep alive. There are no creatures to defend and no artifacts to get, that helped once he was gone. Bridge was usually bad, because of too man cards in hand. When Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis became so popular, we really wanted the Leylines in our sideboard and that was also not possible with all those artifacts for Karn. The tipping point was, that we wanted to have more space for all 4 Wurmcoils and 3 Walking Ballista. I played 2 leagues with the MC4 list and went 10-0. It felt great.

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Another interesting choice from your list is the inclusion of the fifth forest in place of the Ghost Quarter. Would you keep this choice for the future?

There were hardly any matchups, where the ghostquarter was needed anymore. In addition to that, there were a lot of matchups where we wanted a lot of basics, specifically UW control and Eldrazi tron (with Crucible). You do need some green sources and the addition of Blast Zone (which is mendatory!) means one less slot.

In the end I felt (my team still played Ghostquarter), i wont play as much Tron and Inkmoth Nexus decks since they seemed to be less played.

Usually Tron has a hard core of Cards that cannot be changed. Tutors effects (like Expedition Map) or cantrips for example. You, however, have dared to remove 1 Chromatic Sphere from the list, making some Tron players go crazy. Is it possible to do It without fear of run out of green mana?

I was saying this to my team since London. The new mulligan rule allows you to do this. I have played a lot of games with tron and the way you are actively mulliganing for tron allows you to not need those extra tiny percentages on drawing a tron pice with a Sphere. Before that, you needed to keep most 2 tron pieces hands, because you just couldnt mulligan to a better hand. Therefor you needed a lot of redraws to make those hands work. Now, with basically mulliganing everything that cant make tron, you need one of those cyclers and mostly exactly one. They are fine in the late game, as they get a new card, but I wanted one more big card. That also fit well with the 5th forest.


How do you generally evaluate Tron's position in the current Modern goal?

Definitely a good deck, especially when people arent prepaired. If nobody plays Damping Sphere or less Fulminator, less Extraction, less Stony Silence, etc. your stability carries you through the games. Additionally your matchups against UR Phoenix and Jund and E Tron and Urza are pretty good, while we were about even on Hogaak. Right now,

we are even significantly ahead against Hogaak, but i think we shouldn't be much better than 50%.

Do you defend Hogaak's ban? If this happens, what should change in the Metagame?

I do think it can be defeated, but the costs of diversity are just too high. I, personally, would rather exclude some cards, so that more decks (and whole stategies) can be played, than to have the metagame of playing one deck or a deck that beats that one deck.

Unfortunately that would make tron a bit worse in my opinion, since a lot of bad matchups (like burn, or Scapeshift or storm) are currently being forced out and they would certainly return. Also people would have more sideboard slots. Modern has huge potential to be an awesome format with lots of different decks and interactions.

Last question. About the Ghost Quarter, it seems you preferred to have a better list overall (having more green mana), but in response you have a worst match up with decks that have Inkmoth Nexus. This is something that has been discussed for a long time and Channel Fireball wrote an article about itlink outside website: "It is better to have a deck that have good match ups and bad match ups than to have a deck that wins 50% of the time against everyone". What do you think of this statement? In this mythical championship did you play against an inkmonth nexus deck anytime?

i agree with this statement, but it was also paired with the fact, that i really didnt expect there to be many inkmoth decks. you are correct, i made it much weaker against those to get some advantage somewhere else. I did play against hardned scales in the swiss and then in the finals (same guy)

In the end i didnt play UW or E tron, so my 5th forest wasnt obviously better. I think in the end, if you have really no idea what people play, running Ghost Quarter is probably a good idea especially if people are not switching easily to a different (newer deck)

Thank you very much for the interview.

No worries :) was a pleasure!