Seth Manfield – interview
Seth Manfield: “I don’t think I will ever stop playing Magic”
By Juani Salas
Seth Manfield was just 10 years old when he discovered Magic. He was just a kid with a hobby where he
thought big creatures, like Craw Wurm, were the really powerful cards. So he bumped into the solution:
he bought a Planeshift booster pack and opened a Death Bomb: on your face, Wurm.
“It took me a couple years to fully understand the rules, but when I played with friends we sometimes
made up how to play as we went,” said Seth Manfield, who clearly learned the rules well years later,
that little boy became a pro member of the Hall of Fame and managed to win a World Cup, Pro Tours
and Grand Prixs (yes, in plural).
In addition to his commitments as a Pro player and member of the (now defunct) MPL, Seth build up his
stream and he can be found on Twitch in SethManfieldMTG.
“Magic isn’t a static game. It’s constantly changing and making you work harder to understand
everything that’s going on within the game,” said Seth regarding what he likes most about the game, in
an interview he gave to TournamentMTG.
Juani Salas: Which is your favorite card and why?
Seth Manfield: Civic Wayfinder. I really enjoyed original Ravnica block limited and Civic Wayfinder was a
really great card in that format.
JS: Which deck did you enjoy playing the most?
SM: Heartbeat of Spring combo. There was something about understanding all the different lines, and
ways to make extra mana that kept me engaged with it.
JS: What card or mechanic did you hate or did you wish it has never come out? Why?
SM: I have a love/hate relationship with Planeswalkers. I look back to the way MTG used to be before
the addition of planeswalkers, before the new mulligan rule, when damage went on the stack. Actually,
MTG has really shifted over the years. It’s hard to point to one thing that really didn’t work out, as
WOTC does seem to adjust after making a clear mistake, like in the case of companions. Sometimes I get
sick of a deck when it gets played a lot like Izzet Phoenix or Golgari Food, but there is normally
eventually a rotation of decks and hat excited me.
JS: Among all your victories in the game, which one did you enjoy the most and why?
SM: It would have to be my World Championship win in 2015. That was when I really broke out as a top
pro MTG player, and I was able to continue to play at a high level with the best in the world since that
time. I got emotional after the win because it was always a dream of mine to win that event.
JS: Which was your most painful defeat? Why?
SM: My most painful defeat came when I lost to Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa in the top 8 of Pro Tour Hour
of Devastation. I was up two games to zero in a best of five matches, and then went on to lose the
match after Paulo mulliganned to five in game three. I punted game three of that match, and out
thought myself on how to sequence my cards, which ultimately cost me. It’s the times when you let a
close match go, when you know you could have won that stick with you.
JS: What are your thoughts on the current situation of Magic and competitive play: with the return of
the Pro Tour, the MOL and MTGA events, without announcements of the GPs and the cancellation of
SM: Personally I’m sad that you can no longer truly be a “pro” Magic player. Even though the name
“pro” is a part of the Pro Tour, there really isn’t a way to simply play Magic full time, which used to be
the case even back in the days when we had the Pro Player’s Club before the MPL. However, for the
larger part of the community having events to play in is a big win. I am looking forward to getting back
to playing tabletop Magic again, even if the OP system has undergone a significant overhaul over the
past few years. I do wish GP’s would return. Personally those were my favorite events to play in.
JS: What do you think about Alchemy and the digital exclusive cards?
SM: There reaches a point where WOTC overextends themselves, and I believe that’s what happened
with Alchemy. When you try to promote one format, it leaves another behind. Historic was in my
opinion, and should continue to be the main format of focus on MTGA outside of the formats that
mirror paper play. I don’t think the community has a ton of interest in Alchemy, and once a format loses
favor I think it’s best to put focus elsewhere.
JS: What are your next challenges in Magic?
SM: Building my stream, I will be putting in a lot more hours on Twitch (SethManfieldMTG).
JS: What does it mean to you to be a member of the Hall of Fame?
SM: When I got into the HOF it was a really big deal to me at that time. I can remember how emotional
that moment was, and I will cherish what that meant to me. Unfortunately, the HOF and its meaning has
shifted a bit since my induction. I’m waiting to see what the next HOF class will look like, and what the
meaning behind being a member of the hall will be going forward.
JS: Magic is turning 30. What is the best gift the game has given you outside of the competitive scene?
SM: Certainly the friends and people I have met along the way of reaching the point I’m at today.
JS: What does Magic mean in your life?
SM: Magic remains an amazing game at its core, I don’t think I will ever stop playing it. Even when I’m
not competing in events I like to play casually as a way to socialize too.
It’s been 21 years since Seth opened that Death Bomb and in those years thousands of Magic games,
tournaments, wins, losses, and miles traveled alongside a game he loves.
“There is a lot to discover and learn about the game. Don’t get discouraged by losing, it’s part of the
process. Find what aspects of the game you enjoy the most and stick with that,” said Seth to all the
players. Enjoy the game, that’s what it’s all about, that seems to be Seth Manfield’s secret