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Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica Player to Watch: Luis Salvatto

Luis Salvatto

Twitter: @LuisSalvatto
Age: 30
Residence: Buenos Aires Argentina
Team: Hareruya Latin
Qualified via Pro Club Platinum Level, Pro Tour 25th Anniversary Top Finisher, 2017–18 Team Series Top Teams
Pro Points: 184 lifetime (#1 in Argentina)
Pro Tour Debut: World Championships 2011
Pro Tours Played: 10
Career Median: 70.5
Best Pro Tour Finish: 1st (PT Rivals of Ixalan 2017)
Top 8: 2 Pro Tours (1 win), 7 Grand Prix (2 wins)
Other Accomplishments: Super Sunday Series 2015 Champion, 2nd with Hareruya Latin at the 2017–18 Pro Tour Team Series

Q: Last year you won Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan. Looking back on this event one year later, did that win change your life?

It changed my life, of course. People who were not my friends or family often treated me differently, like I was a star. But my friends and my family didn’t change how they interacted with me, in part because I didn’t change my ways either.

After winning the Pro Tour I also sold my business to play Magic full-time. (I had considered it already, but it only happened after I won the Pro Tour.)

Q: After Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan you continued to have success. At the end of the last season we saw you, Reid, and Seth traveling around the globe, trying to lock up the Player of the Year title. Eventually, you and Seth ended up with the exact same number of Points. Thus, you two will face each other heads-up for the title in Atlanta.

How do you approach this rare event? The Pro Tour is certainly more lucrative, but the Player of the Year title is a very unique achievement that very few players ever realistically get the chance to achieve. How do you balance your preparation between those two events, and what do you find more important, winning Player of the Year or doing well at the PT?

This event is so special and unique, and I am 100% focused on it. Actually, testing for the playoff also helps me to prepare for the Pro Tour, and I really want to have a good deck for the Pro Tour. The playoff is more important to me, though, since you never know when you will have another chance to become Player of the Year, and Pro Tours happen frequently, so there is always another chance to do well.

Q: Committing yourself to the Player of the Year race meant that you had to travel even more than usual this year. For a player from Argentina that entails very long travel times and great expenses. With all the variance in the game this would be daunting for anybody, but you also have responsibilities since you have a family. How do you manage? Doesn’t it put an extreme amount of pressure to perform on you to spend so many resources on such trips?

Well, I promised my girlfriend a trip to Buenos Aires in August. So I lost a few girlfriend points in my hunt for Pro Points. But it was a very special occasion, so my family understood what it meant to me and supported me.

Q: When you are around one cannot help but notice that you seem to be one of the happiest Magic players. You are always smiling and in a good mood. Do mana screw and bad beats never get to you?

The way I see it, if you manage to become a pro player and you are not happy and grateful about your situation, what else would make you happy?

Of course, I’ve lost games to mana screw and bad beats, but I’ve also won because of that, and things tend to even out. You need to remember the good things when bad things happen.

Magic is still a game and I try to enjoy it as much as I can, even when competing at the highest level. Maybe sometimes I am a bit too kind to my opponents and lose a bit of EV. But I appreciate when, after a game, people say that despite the result, it was a pleasure to play a relaxed game with me. I believe that trying to make your opponents nervous or tense gives them a bad play experience, and I would prefer that everyone playing this game enjoys it.

I work hard to maintain this mindset about the game, and sometimes I get frustrated or mad too, but I try to remember all these things, and that a few years ago, I was dreaming about qualifying for just one Pro Tour. If I’m not happy with all of this, then it’s because of me, not because of the situation I am in.

 

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