Shelby and Koelten Grissom standing between the Black and Green God-Eternals
For married couple Shelby and Koelten Grissom, MagicFest Minneapolis was the perfect opportunity to show off their mastery of a deck that they both knew really well, Jund. “I would describe us both as Green Black players,” states Shelby. “We both play midrange, anything fair,” adds Koelten. They finished the weekend at 9-5-1 and 11-4, respectively, with similar versions of the deck. The key difference according to them is the single Ghost Quarter played by Koelten that can be recurred with their favorite card: Wrenn & Six.
Koelten Grissom, 11-4
3 Blackcleave Cliffs 1 Blood Crypt 3 Bloodstained Mire 1 Forest (347) 1 Ghost Quarter 1 Mountain (343) 2 Nurturing Peatland 2 Overgrown Tomb 2 Raging Ravine 1 Stomping Ground 2 Swamp (339) 3 Verdant Catacombs 2 Wooded Foothills 3 Bloodbraid Elf 3 Scavenging Ooze 2 Seasoned Pyromancer 4 Tarmogoyf 3 Liliana of the Veil 3 Wrenn and Six 1 Abrupt Decay 2 Assassin's Trophy 3 Fatal Push 4 Inquisition of Kozilek 1 Kolaghan's Command 3 Lightning Bolt 1 Maelstrom Pulse 1 Nihil Spellbomb 2 Thoughtseize Sideboard 1 Ancient Grudge 2 Collective Brutality 1 Collector Ouphe 3 Fulminator Mage 4 Leyline of the Void 1 Nihil Spellbomb 2 Plague Engineer 1 Vraska, Golgari Queen
Shelby Grissom, 9-5-1
4 Blackcleave Cliffs 1 Blood Crypt 3 Bloodstained Mire 1 Forest (347) 1 Mountain (343) 2 Nurturing Peatland 2 Overgrown Tomb 2 Raging Ravine 1 Stomping Ground 2 Swamp (339) 3 Verdant Catacombs 2 Wooded Foothills 3 Bloodbraid Elf 3 Scavenging Ooze 1 Seasoned Pyromancer 4 Tarmogoyf 1 Tireless Tracker 3 Liliana of the Veil 3 Wrenn and Six 1 Abrupt Decay 2 Assassin's Trophy 2 Fatal Push 4 Inquisition of Kozilek 1 Kolaghan's Command 4 Lightning Bolt 1 Maelstrom Pulse 1 Nihil Spellbomb 2 Thoughtseize Sideboard 1 Ancient Grudge 2 Collective Brutality 1 Collector Ouphe 1 Damping Sphere 2 Fulminator Mage 1 Grafdigger's Cage 2 Nihil Spellbomb 2 Plague Engineer 2 Surgical Extraction 1 Vraska, Golgari Queen
“This was our first time playing the same deck,” says Shelby, “it sucks finding the cards to build two copies of Jund.” Shelby and Koelten have been married for nearly two years but met playing Magic after the release of Khans of Tarkir. Shelby played her first Grand Prix with Koelten two weeks after she picked up the game, and according to them, it went horribly. “My only win was a bye and I lost to a 7-year-old populating 5/5 Wurm Tokens – but I had a lot of fun.” Koelten is quick to jump in that she is a great player and has won multiple Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifiers (PPTQs) since then.
“We are starting to get competitive,” says Koelten, but that is an understatement. As mentioned, Shelby has won many PPTQs and Koelten has been one match away from a Mythic Championship on several occasions. This is not the first time they have made Day 2 of tournaments either, just the first one where they did so together. They have also both earned money on other Magic tournament circuits and in the coming months they are planning to travel three weekends of each month for Magic. What is clear is their drive to succeed: they both have aspirations of playing in Mythic Championships. I joke that maybe Shelby could be the next Reid Duke with her love of Green Black and Koelten agrees that she definitely could be. They laugh as they describe their terrible playtesting tendencies but when prompted about their strengths and weaknesses they show nothing but support for each other. Shelby admires Koelten’s ability to pick up any deck to great success, and Koelten praises Shelby’s acuity, stating, “you’re smarter than everyone, especially me. You’re good at finding lines.”
MagicFest Minneapolis is full of highlights for them. Having moved from Iowa to North Carolina last year, it meant a weekend surrounded by old friends. As for the Grand Prix itself, Koelten excitedly shares a story of locking his Humans opponent out of the game with a turn two Collector Ouphe. Shelby was thrilled to play her first feature match – beating Hogaak in the process. On the weekend as a whole, Shelby agrees with Koelten who said, “my opponents were all a joy to play against: happy, having fun. I also really enjoyed playing Jund.” Lastly, Shelby won the Play it Forward award for being the top scoring female/non-binary player in the event.
When they are not playing Magic at a MagicFest, they are playing Magic on Arena or at local tournaments. Other than that? “We play games… lots and lots of games. And we go to the beach.” With this much dedication to the game, their success is inevitable. Keep your eyes open for the power couple of Shelby and Koelten at your next MagicFest, and congratulations to them for the stellar finishes in Minneapolis!