Voting for the Hall of Fame is a complicated process. I feel that as long as each voter is taking it seriously and voting what they believe is best, there are very few guidelines you have to follow.
Rather than talk about those who I did not vote for, I’m just going to talk about those I did.
I voted for Efro last year, and he had an incredible year since then. His stats are incredibly good, with 4 Pro Tour Top 8’s and 6 more Top 16’s, along with a plethora of Grand Prix results (including being forced to carry his team in multiple Team GPs). Equally important, and this is something I really look for in a Hall of Fame candidate, is how Efro’s peers regard him. He has had a legitimate claim to being the best player in the world this last year, that level of mastery matters. Being a true master of the game is very important, and the level at which Efro has been playing is elite. This is what separated Efro from the pack last year, in my eyes, and given how much he’s dominated in the year since, it is no surprise that most others have come around as well.
Efro also has really stepped up his contributions to the community. He would be the first to tell you that his online persona has not always been the most positive, but that’s really something he’s turned around. It makes me very happy as both his friend and a member of the Magic community to see Efro using his powers for good, and becoming more of an active contributor. His stints in the booth have been awesome, he records a weekly podcast (Constructed Resources) and he’s much more approachable than he was before. I also love the fact that Efro cares so much about Magic; the passion he displays for the game is a point in his favor. I’d be lying if I said Efro wasn’t one of my closest friends, but I do think his stats speak for themself, and that’s without even counting his community contributions over the last year (which are significant).
I think Efro is a slam-dunk, and he is the first member of my ballot by a mile.
I came very close to voting for Willy last year, and this year I was convinced. His community contributions were even greater than I was aware of, and those plus his four Pro Tour Top 8’s were enough to make up for his relatively few other PT finishes. Paulo wrote a very good account of what Willy has accomplished here, and I can only add my own experiences to that. I’ve personally seen how far Willy goes out of his way to foster the Magic community in Brazil, both on the PT level and locally. He ran a tournament in his store that paid for the winner to attend Grand Prix Vegas, despite knowing he was guaranteed to take a loss on it, which is an awesome gesture. He’s also very supportive of any player who qualifies for the Pro Tour, and I’ve seen him test with, lend cards to, and even act as travel agent to many such players.
Willy Edel is the second name on my ballot.
A lot of what I see in Mark are qualities that more recent voters/players may not be aware of. He has four Pro Tour Top 8’s and a win, which is significant, but that’s not the only reason I’ve voted for him over and over. Mark was another player who I consider a true master, which is a quality that is very important to me. When Mark was at his peak, he was one of the best players in the world, and that’s not something I say lightly. He was also a very talented deckbuilder, and the decks he built propelled himself and others to success in tournament after tournament (most recently shown at Pro Tour Nagoya, where David Sharfman and Pat Cox both made Top 8 with the Puresteel Paladin deck he worked on – a Pro Tour Mark didn’t even attend). Mark suffers in part because his accomplishments aren’t recent, and because his playskill and deckbuilding prowess are not as well-known as I believe they should be. I’d love for Mark to come back and start playing again, as I believe that is likely what it would take for him to be inducted, but I’m happy voting for him this year regardless.
My last vote is Mark Herberholz, and my ballot is as follows: