Residence: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Team: Team ChannelFireball: The Pantheon. When I asked about his team, he commented: I’m lucky to be in good company for Madrid. Team Pantheon let me into their elite group and we are currently having a blast in Barcelona, testing. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world right now.
Qualified via Grand Prix Vancouver Top 8
Pro Points: 254 lifetime (4 in 2015–16)
Pro Tour Debut: Pro Tour Amsterdam 2004
Pro Tours Played: 5
Best Pro Tour Finish: 2nd
Top 8: 2 Pro Tours and 1 Grand Prix
Planeswalker Level: 39 (Sorceror)
Q: Most players, when they play their first Pro Tour, wonder how competitive they are at the highest level of the game. Others have a lot of confidence and believe they will crush everybody. It turns out you made Top 8 at your first Pro Tour, and then followed that up with another Top 8 at your second Pro Tour, a feat nobody has accomplished since. How did you feel about your chances before your first PT?
I had a lot of confidence in my game going into my first PT. We have some really great players in Vancouver, and I was shown the ropes for a long time leading up to it. I was also on one of the biggest heaters of my life for about a year leading up to it so I didn’t doubt my abilities. I also always understood that there are many good players in the game and a lot of luck and variance, and anything can happen on a given day. So I went into my first PT confident yet nervous, but definitely ready to give them hell.
Q: After your first PT in 2004 you skipped 3, then played Worlds 2004, made Top 8 again, skipped another 2, played the Team PT in 2005, then played another 2 PTs in 2007 and 2010. People would assume that a player who did well at his first PT would be eager to compete again, or that when he made Top 8 at his first 2 PTs that he might think he would be good enough to make a living on the game at least for some time. What happened to you? How did you end up playing so few PTs?
I never for one minute thought it was a possibility for me to have a career playing Magic. I may have been right or I may have been wrong, but it didn’t intuitively make sense for me so I didn’t even consider it. Twelve years ago wasn’t like today. Now there are a lot more incentives like appearance fees and money from different sources like writing articles and making videos—it seems much more realistic to make a living off the game today. With that said, there could still be a lot more money involved for such an amazingly tough and popular game that I think it will only get better in the near future.
Q: You have rarely played a lot of Magic at a time, but you have never really left the game either. Much like a colleague or close friend wouldn’t notice a lot of changes in a person, because on a day-to-day basis the changes are too small, a frequent competitor on Magic Pro Tours and Grand Prix wouldn’t notice changes in the Magic culture from one tournament to the next. You are more like the friend who visits from time to time and inevitably says “Man, you’ve changed!” So what kind of changes have you noticed in the Magic culture in the last couple of years?
The Magic culture has evolved a lot since I’ve played. I remember talking to you at GP Vancouver about how surprised I was that I genuinely enjoyed the company of almost all of my opponents. I think people playing the game are maturing and the environments are becoming more enjoyable to be a part of. After my match with you for example, we chatted for about 10 minutes about life and then throughout the day we introduced each other to our friends and had a good time. Most of all, I noticed, on average, the players are more enjoyable to play Magic with and also much more fun to have a beer with—it’s a pleasure to be a part of.
Q: What kind of a player are you? On the surface you seem to be a very intuitive player. For example, at GP Vancouver you picked up on clues and played around the correct cards, although the tournament was basically your prerelease. Do you think you play more on intuition than other players? Oh, and is there still some of that CoolAeo professional slacker left in you? That suit at Worlds 2004…
First of all I appreciate the compliment, although it’s not very intense to sit behind four 0/6 walls against the green deck. The GP was my prerelease and I played at about 50% capacity. I built my Sealed pool badly and in the Top 8 I drafted even worse. I do believe my intuition carried me through as far as I went. I told some friends 4 months ago that I wanted to play another PT and in the end I got what I wanted out of the GP, and that’s an invite to Madrid. As for the professional slacker, it’s an ongoing struggle to not let this side of myself totally overpower the rest of me—I try to live a well-rounded, balanced lifestyle. I unfortunately don’t still have that beautiful orange tracksuit. I thought I was so cool in that thing. Kids, eh?