A Recap: The First Ever Hunter Burton Memorial Magic Open

judge staff with trophy and motorcycle

The first Hunter Burton Memorial Open took place on Saturday, March 22, 2014 at the Fort Worth Convention Center. There were 169 players at the inaugural event. The format was Standard for the eight Swiss rounds followed by a booster draft using the original Modern Masters set printed in 2013.

Hunter’s parents, Greg and Dona Burton, began work on this event over six months previous when they reached out to friends of Hunter’s. They wanted to create an annual event that would remember their son, who took his own life in July, 2013. The Burtons envisioned a tournament that would feature everything that Hunter loved about Magic. A competitive atmosphere and impressive prizes were a must. The Burton family delivered big time.

Five thousand dollars in cash prizes, all for the top eight finishers. A case of booster packs awarded to players outside of the top eight. An impressive trophy onto which the names of the top eight finishers would be engraved. A wristwatch valued at over a thousand dollars for the winner. Limited edition playmats and dice for the top eight finishers.

The playmats were not created specifically for this tournament. They were, in fact, from Grand Prix Richmond, which took place two weeks before the Hunter Burton Memorial. These playmats featured artwork from Eternal Witness, Hunter’s favorite Magic card. David Ashcraft, a local player and friend of Hunter’s, collected eight of these special playmats, at significant personal expense, and gave them to the tournament.

As a matter of fact, the image of Hunter’s favorite Magic card was everywhere at this event. On the top eight playmats, on small buttons given away by the event, painted on the custom Harley Davidson motorcycle brought into the hall by Hunter’s father Greg, and tattooed on the leg of Hunter’s sister, Casey Burton. At the end of the day, just for good measure, a single copy of Eternal Witness was found in the champion’s booster draft deck.

It was an extraordinary day of healing for Hunter’s family and for the Texas Magic community. Hunter’s mother and father and sister were at the event all day long. Players who knew and missed Hunter sat down and talked with Hunter’s family throughout the day. Greg Burton showed off his motorcycle, literally covered in custom painted images from Hunter’s favorite Magic cards. Hunter’s sister Casey picked out the Tissot watch that was given to the tournament champion Robert Berni. Hunter loved high end watches and the Burtons began a tradition at this tournament of awarding the winner with the kind of watch that Hunter would have loved.

Tissot watch

The tournament was officiated by a top flight team of Texas judges led by David Hibbs. The highest ranking judge in Texas, David was one of the first judges in Texas to reach level three in Wizards of the Coast’s judge program.

Top Eight Standard Decks

These decks are listed in the order they finished in the Swiss portion of the tournament. Also included are the opponents faced by each of the top eight players during the Swiss rounds.

1st after Swiss – Hal Brady – Golgari Dredge
2-0 vs Courtney Smith
2-0 vs Parker May
2-0 vs Erica Dow
1-2 vs Philip Marschall
2-1 vs Lawson Zandi
2-1 vs Radley Coplan
2-0 vs Alex Huebner
2-1 vs Ian Jasheway

7 Forest
7 Swamp
4 Overgrown Tomb
2 Golgari Guildgate
3 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Grisly Salvage
4 Herald of Torment
2 Shadowborn Demon
3 Elvish Mystic
2 Deathrite Shaman
4 Nemesis of Mortals
4 Commune with the Gods
4 Nighthowler
2 Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord
4 Lotleth Troll
4 Satyr Wayfinder

SIDEBOARD:
2 Whip of Erebos
3 Golgari Charm
1 Shadowborn Demon
4 Mistcutter Hydra
2 Thoughtseize
3 Lifebane Zombie


2nd after Swiss – Brock Mosley – Black/White Control

2-1 vs Daniel Getreu
1-2 vs Tuan Doan
2-0 vs Jeffrey Serwinski
2-1 vs David Honn
2-1 vs Robert Tatu
2-0 vs Christian Flodstrom-Sconce
2-0 vs Jon Toone
2-1 vs Michael Ferri

3 Pack Rat
3 Blood Baron of Vizkopa
3 Lifebane Zombie
3 Desecration Demon
2 Obzedat, Ghost Council
4 Thoughtseize
2 Underworld Connections
2 Read the Bones
3 Bile Blight
4 Hero’s Downfall
2 Devour Flesh
1 Whip of Erebos
1 Ultimate Price
1 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
12 Swamp
4 Godless Shrine
4 Temple of Silence
2 Orzhov Guildgate
4 Mutavault

SIDEBOARD:
2 Doom Blade
1 Blood Baron of Vizkopa
1 Devour Flesh
1 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
2 Underworld Connections
1 Erebos, God of the Dead
2 Sin Collector
3 Duress
2 Revoke Existence


3rd after Swiss – Robert Berni – Mono Black Control

2-0 vs Carver Hayes
2-0 vs Kevin Grubbs
2-1 vs Andy Truong
1-2 vs Robert Tetu
2-1 vs Cory Brister
2-0 vs Max Dressler
2-1 vs Cory Schultz
2-1 vs Jeremiah Linebarger

17 Swamp
4 Mutavault
4 Temple of Silence
4 Pack Rat
4 Desecration Demon
4 Hero’s Downfall
4 Nightveil Specter
4 Thoughtseize
4 Underworld Connections
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
3 Bile Blight
2 Devour Flesh
1 Doom Blade
1 Ultimate Price

SIDEBOARD:
4 Duress
3 Lifebane Zombie
3 Dark Betrayal
2 Erebos, God of the Dead
2 Devour Flesh
1 Doom Blade
4th after Swiss – Tuan Doan – Mono Black Control
2-0 vs Max Dressler
2-1 vs Brock Mosley
2-1 vs Ryan Cox
2-1 vs Josh Stewart
2-0 vs Shawn Hughes
2-1 vs Alex Huebner
Draw vs Linh Nguyen
Draw vs John Schemmel

15 Swamp
2 Watery Grave
4 Temple of Deceit
4 Mutavault
4 Pack Rat
4 Nightveil Specter
4 Desecration Demon
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
4 Thoughtseize
1 Ultimate Price
3 Devour Flesh
3 Bile Blight
4 Hero’s Downfall
4 Underworld Connections

SIDEBOARD:
2 Notion Thief
1 Bile Blight
2 Erebos, God of the Dead
3 Duress
2 Dark Betrayal
4 Lifebane Zombie
1 Doom Blade

5th after Swiss – Linh Nguyen – Green/White
2-1 vs Matthew Lowry
2-0 vs Jason Blackmor
2-0 vs Clinton Whitehurst
2-0 vs Alex Andrup
2-1 vs Trevor Hunt
2-1 vs John Schemmel
Draw vs Tuan Doan
Draw vs Philip Marschall

8 Forest
7 Plains
4 Temple Garden
4 Temple of Plenty
2 Ajani, Caller of the Pride
2 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
4 Experiment One
4 Fleecemane Lion
3 Loxodon Smiter
4 Soldier of the Pantheon
4 Voice of Resurgence
4 Advent of the Wurm
4 Selesnya Charm
4 Boon Satyr
2 Gods Willing

SIDEBOARD:
1 Archangel of Thune
2 Celestial Flare
2 Courser of Kruphix
3 Mistcutter Hydra
3 Rootborn Defenses
2 Unflinching Courage
2 Unravel the Aether

6th after Swiss – David Palmer – Blue/White Control
2-1 vs Michael Ferri
2-0 vs Stephen Marshall
0-0- 1 vs Shawn Hughes
1-1- 1 vs Jacob Brockette
2-1 vs Andres Hernandez
2-0 vs Ivan Contreras
2-0 vs Aaron Vesper
2-0 vs Trevor Hunt

5 Island
3 Plains
2 Mutavault
4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Temple of Enlightment
4 Temple of Silence
4 Temple of Deceit
1 Elixir of Immortality
2 Syncopate
2 Quicken
4 Azorius Charm
4 Dissolve
3 Divination
4 Detention Sphere
3 Jace, Architect of Thought
4 Supreme Verdict
4 Sphinx’s Revelation
1 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
1 Aetherling
1 Fated Retribution

SIDEBOARD:
2 Pithing Needle
2 Gainsay
2 Last Breath
2 Blind Obedience
2 Jace, Memory Adept
1 Fated Retribution
1 Negate
1 Revoke Existence
1 Trading Post
1 Opportunity

7th after Swiss – Philip Marschall – Blue/White Control
2-0 vs Louie Vandermolen
2-0 vs James Stokes
2-0 vs Mahendra Raval
2-1 vs Hal Brady
2-0 vs Leonard Untung
2-1 vs Justin West
0-2 vs John Schemmel
Draw vs Linh Nguyen

11 Island
4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Temple of Enlightenment
1 Azorius Guildgate
3 Mutavault
1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
1 Godless Shrine
4 Cloudfin Raptor
4 Judge’s Familiar
4 Frostburn Weird
4 Tidebinder Mage
4 Thassa, God of the Sea
4 Nightveil Specter
4 Master of Waves
1 Ephara, God of the Polis
4 Detention Sphere
2 Bident of Thassa

SIDEBOARD:
3 Jace, Memory Adept
2 Revoke Existence
2 Glare of Heresy
1 Domestication
1 Claustrophobia
1 Rapid Hybridization
1 Nullify
2 Gainsay
2 Negate

8th after Swiss – John Schemmel – White/Red
2-1 vs Drew Iafrate
2-0 vs Chris Schoppe
2-1 vs Aaron McNeely
2-1 vs Michael Taggart
2-1 vs Justin West
1-2 vs Linh Nguyen
2-0 vs Philip Marschall
Draw vs Tuan Doan

10 Plains
4 Temple of Triumph
4 Sacred Foundry
4 Mutavault
4 Brave the Elements
3 Boros Charm
2 Ajani, Caller of the Pride
2 Spear of Heliod
4 Dryad Militant
4 Soldier of the Pantheon
4 Boros Elite
3 Imposing Sovereign
4 Precinct Captain
4 Daring Skyjek
3 Banisher Priest
1 Brimaz, King of Oreskos

SIDEBOARD:
2 Boros Reckoner
1 Banisher Priest
1 Ajani, Caller of the Pride
1 Boros Charm
1 Renouce the Guilds
2 Gods Willing
2 Celestial Flare
3 Glare of Heresy
2 Electrickery

Top Eight Booster Draft:

Players found the prospect of drafting in the top eight a little odd after playing Standard for eight Swiss rounds. The reason behind the top eight draft was another nod to the memory of Hunter Burton. Hunter was a great constructed player (he took a Zoo deck all the way to the semifinals of Pro Tour Austin in 2009) but he also loved booster draft. Having a booster draft at the end of a long day of constructed play also ensures that the winner of the tournament will be a truly fine player, a player capable of dominating two very different formats on the same day.

The top eight finishers were seated randomly around a table. The players found their Eternal Witness playmats and limited edition top eight dice waiting for them. In the middle of the table was the large Hunter Burton Memorial trophy and five thousand dollars in one hundred dollar bills. Once randomly seated, each player knew that his quarterfinals opponent was seated four places away from him, directly across the table. Furthermore, each player knew that he could not play the player on his direct left or right side until the finals.

top eight players drafting MM

Here are the top eight draft decks of the first annual Hunter Burton Memorial Open. They are listed by the players’ final finishing order.

1st place – Robert Berni – White/Green Sword of Fire and Ice
2-0 vs Linh Nguyen
2-0 vs Hal Brady
2-0 vs Philip Marschall

9 Plains
7 Forest
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Adarkar Valkyrie
1 Amrou Seekers
1 Avian Changeling
3 Flickerwisp
1 Ivory Giant
2 Otherworldly Journey
1 Path to Exile
1 Test of Faith
2 Veteran Armorer
1 Echoing Courage
1 Eternal Witness
2 Giant Dustwasp
2 Masked Admirers
1 Moldervine Cloak
2 Penumbra Spider
1 Sporesower Thallid

SIDEBOARD:
1 Gleam of Resistance
2 Sandsower
1 Terashi’s Grasp
1 Veteran Armorer
1 Citanul Woodreaders
1 Greater Mossdog
1 Hana Kami
1 Penumbra Spider
2 Sporoloth Ancient
1 Thallid Shell-Dweller
1 Walker of the Grove

 

2nd place – Philip Marschall – Green/White + Black/Red with Knight of the Reliquary
2-1 vs Brock Mosley
2-0 vs David Palmer
0-2 vs Robert Berni

6 Forest
6 Plains
1 Mountain
1 Swamp
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Vivid Grove
1 Vivid Meadow
1 Pyrite Spellbomb
1 Skyreach Manta
1 Amrou Scout
1 Auriok Salvagers
1 Blinding Beam
1 Bound in Silence
1 Cloudgoat Ranger
1 Feudkiller’s Verdict
1 Ivory Giant
1 Saltfield Recluse
1 Death Rattle
1 Executioner’s Capsule
2 Citanul Woodreaders
2 Durkwood Baloth
1 Giant Dustwasp
1 Kodama’s Reach
1 Search for Tomorrow
1 Sporoloth Ancient
1 Thallid Shell-Dweller
1 Tromp the Domains
1 Knight of the Reliquary

SIDEBOARD:
1 Aether Spellbomb
1 Arcbound Wanderer
1 Blinding Beam
1 Ivory Giant
1 Kithkin Greatheart
1 Pallid Mycoderm
1 Deepcavern Imp
1 Citanul Woodreaders
1 Echoing Courage
3 Greater Mossdog
1 Kodama’s Reach
1 Krosan Grip
1 Thallid Shell-Dweller
1 Woodfall Primus
1 Errant Ephemeron
1 Perilous Research
1 Vedalken Dismisser

 

3rd place – Hal Brady – Blue/White + Black Affinity
2-0 vs Tuan Doan
0-2 vs Robert Berni

8 Plains
7 Island
1 Swamp
1 Terramorphic Expanse
3 Arcbound Stinger
1 Bonesplitter
2 Myr Enforcer
1 Bound in Silence
1 Court Homunculus
1 Meadowboon
2 Sanctum Gargoyle
2 Test of Faith
1 Echoing Truth
1 Esperzoa
1 Etherium Sculptor
2 Faerie Mechanist
1 Mulldrifter
1 Perilous Research
1 Traumatic Visions
1 Executioner’s Capsule
1 Kitchen Finks

SIDEBOARD:
1 Vivid Marsh
1 Epochrasite
2 Frogmite
1 Amrou Seekers
1 Cenn’s Enlistment
1 Otherworldly Journey
1 Faerie Mechanist
1 Latchkey Faerie
1 Mothdust Changeling
1 Perilous Research
1 Take Possession
1 Vedalken Dismisser
1 Blightspeaker
1 Death Denied
1 Death Rattle
2 Thieving Sprite
1 Warren Weirding
1 Fury Charm
1 Hammerheim Deadeye

 

4th place – David Palmer – Red/Blue Storm
2-1 vs John Schemmel
0-2 vs Philip Marschall

9 Mountain
6 Island
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Vivid Creek
1 Pyrite Spellbomb
1 Careful Consideration
1 Dampen Thought
1 Peer Through Depths
1 Perilous Research
2 Reach Through Mists
2 Desperate Ritual
2 Empty the Warrens
2 Glacial Ray
1 Grapeshot
1 Grinning Ignus
3 Lava Spike
1 Mogg War Marshal
1 Pyromancer’s Swath
1 Tribal Flames
1 Electrolyze
1 Manamorphose

SIDEBOARD:
1 Chalice of the Void
1 Myr Enforcer
1 Absorb Vis
1 Death Denied
1 Pththisis
1 Raven’s Crime
1 Street Wraith
1 Thieving Sprite
1 Fiery Fall
1 Stingscourger
2 Tar Pitcher
1 Tribal Flames
1 Citanul Woodreaders
1 Greater Mossdog
1 Reach of Branches
1 Summoner’s Pact
1 Thallid
1 Tromp the Domains
1 Worm Harvest

5th place – Brock Mosley – Red/Blue Flyers
1-2 vs Philip Marschall

7 Mountain
7 Island
1 Academy Ruins
1 Vivid Crag
1 Vivid Creek
1 Aether Spellbomb
1 Arcbound Worker
1 Myr Retriever
2 Pyrite Spellbomb
2 Echoing Truth
1 Errant Ephemeron
1 Mulldrifter
1 Reach Through Mists
2 Thirst for Knowledge
1 Traumatic Visions
1 Vedalken Dismisser
1 Empty the Warrens
1 Glacial Ray
2 Mogg War Marshal
2 Rift Bolt
1 Ryusei, the Falling Star
1 Shrapnel Blast
1 Electrolyze

SIDEBOARD:
1 Relic of Progenitus
1 Runed Stalactite
1 Cenn’s Enlistment
1 Erratic Mutation
1 Mothdust Changeling
2 Peer Through Depths
1 Traumatic Visions
1 Absorb Vis
1 Festering Goblin
1 Rathi Trapper
1 Blood Moon
1 Brute Force
2 Hammerheim Deadeye
1 Rift Elemental
1 Thundering Giant
1 Thallid Shell-Dweller
1 Plumeveil

6th place – Tuan Doan – Blue/White + Red Flyers
0-2 vs Hal Brady

6 Island
6 Plains
1 Mountain
2 City of Brass
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Vivid Creek
1 Bonesplitter
1 Epochrasite
1 Runed Stalactite
1 Amrou Seekers
1 Blinding Beam
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
2 Hillcomber Giant
1 Kithkin Greatheart
1 Saltfield Recluse
1 Veteran Armorer
1 Echoing Truth
1 Errant Ephemeron
1 Esperzoa
1 Keiga, the Tide Star
1 Latchkey Faerie
1 Pact of Negation
1 Pestermite
1 Fiery Fall
1 Rift Bolt
1 Lightning Helix
1 Oona, Queen of the Fae
1 Plumeveil

SIDEBOARD:
1 Paradise Mantle
1 Kataki, War’s Wage
1 Sanctum Gargoyle
2 Erratic Mutation
1 Perilous Research
1 Petals of Insight
1 Drag Down
1 Festering Goblin
1 Peppersmoke
1 Fiery Fall
1 Stinkdrinker Daredevil
1 Thundercloud Shaman
1 Thundering Giant
1 Citanul Woodreaders
1 Incremental Growth
1 Tooth and Nail
1 Trygon Predator

7th place – Linh Nguyen – Green/Red + White Monsters
0-2 vs Robert Berni

8 Forest
7 Mountain
1 Plains
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Avian Changeling
2 Blind-Spot Giant
1 Countryside Crusher
1 Fiery Fall
1 Greater Gargadon
1 Rift Bolt
1 Stinkdrinker Devil
1 Thundering Giant
1 War-Spike Changeling
1 Citanul Woodreaders
1 Durkwood Baloth
3 Giant Dustwasp
1 Kodama’s Reach
1 Nantuko Shaman
1 Penumbra Spider
1 Reach of Branches
1 Search for Tomorrow
1 Sporoloth Ancient
1 Sylvan Bounty
1 Verdeloth the Ancient

SIDEBOARD:
1 Chalice of the Void
3 Kithkin Greatheart
1 Crush Underfoot
2 Fury Charm
1 Molten Disaster
2 Stingscourger
1 Stinkdrinker Daredevil
1 Tar Pitcher
1 Echoing Courage
1 Moldervine Cloak
2 Sylvan Bounty
1 Thallid Germinator
1 Thallid Shell-Dweller
1 Walker of the Grove

8th place – John Schemmel – Black/Blue Faeries
1-2 vs David Palmer

11 Swamp
6 Island
2 Latchkey Faerie
2 Pestermite
2 Spellstutter Sprite
2 Blightspeaker
3 Faerie Macabre
2 Horobi’s Whisper
2 Marsh Flitter
1 Rathi Trapper
1 Raven’s Crime
2 Thieving Sprite
2 Warren Weirding
2 Mind Funeral

SIDEBOARD:
1 Spell Snare
1 Bridge from Below
2 Deepcavern Imp
2 Dreamspoiler Witches
1 Facevaulter
1 Faerie Macabre
1 Festering Goblin
1 Mad Auntie
1 Stinkweed Imp
3 Syphon Life
3 Warren Pilferers
1 Warren Weirding
1 Dragonstorm
1 Fury Charm
1 Echoing Courage
1 Lightning Helix

The Aftermath

The first annual Hunter Burton Memorial Open was rewarding in so many ways. Money was collected for charity. That first year the charity in question was North Texas Easter Seals. Texas Magic players had a big, new tournament that the community could call its own, a unique tournament on the event calendar. The Burton family enjoyed a connection with an important part of Hunter’s life. Hunter had chased competitive Magic hard and fast since first qualifying for the Pro Tour in 2008. Hunter traveled the world and accumulated tens of thousands of dollars in prize money. The Burtons announced that they were committed to several more years of the Hunter Burton Memorial Open, promising to make them even bigger and better than this first one had been.

A month later, Robert Berni gave a shout out to the first annual Hunter Burton Memorial Open when he won Grand Prix Phoenix. When Robert was asked how he prepared for the Grand Prix, he said, “I won the Hunter Burton Memorial a few weeks ago.”

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