Residence: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Team: Face to Face Games
Qualified via Pro Club Platinum Level, Grand Prix Pittsburgh
Pro Points: 174 lifetime (15 in 2016–17)
Pro Tour Debut: Pro Tour Gatecrash 2013
Pro Tours Played: 10
Best Pro Tour Finish: 1st (PT Shadows over Innistrad)
Top 8: 1 Pro Tour (1 win) and 5 Grand Prix
Record on the Last 8 PTs: Limited 31–14 (68.9%), Constructed 45–27–2 (61.7%), Total 76–41–2 (64.4%)
Steve’s PT results: http://www.mtgptresults.com/player/steve-rubin
Planeswalker Level: 48 (Archmage)
Q: On the Pro Tour you had one of the highest Draft win percentages of all players in the last 2 years, yet at the Grand Prix level you have had success mostly in Standard events. What do you consider your strong suit, and what do you prefer to play, Constructed or Limited? More specifically, your successful decks have all been midrange. Is that your style, or do you like to pilot other decks too?
Limited is certainly my expertise and my preferred format. I developed all aspects of my game through frequent “The O” Booster Drafts at Carnegie Mellon University, which was once a hub for competitive Magic players. I played mostly Limited while learning competitive Magic, and that gave me a solid foundation and the fundamentals to succeed.
Being flexible is valuable in Magic. People know me most for midrange styles in Standard, but I would consider myself an aggro and Limited player at heart. Recently, midrange has consistently performed well for me, so I have become proficient at tuning and piloting them.
Q: During 2014-15 you played a very successful Pro Tour season, but for some time after that season people saw you as “that Platinum Pro nobody knows.” How did you end up in that spot, and was that something that bothered you?
I ended up Platinum after back-to-back-to-back 11-5 records at Pro Tours, going from no status whatsoever to Platinum. I didn’t Top 16 any of those events, and I never found myself in a featured match. As a result, I flew under the radar, which by all means was fine by me. It didn’t bother me at all—I always focus and put all my energy into concentrating on the Magic itself.
Q: A few months ago you won Pro Tour Shadows over Innistrad. Did this change how people interact with you, or maybe even some part of your self-image?
People interact with me the same way, but there are significantly more people who talk to me or recognize me. I’m still exactly the same in terms of my self-image. I still love traveling the world playing Magic with my friends, competing in tournaments, and improving my game. Winning the Pro Tour did give me the exposure and drive to finally finish and publish the article I’d been meaning to write.
Q: You haven’t been playing on the Pro Tour for long, but you have already worked with many different people and teams. You were originally part of team TCG, then formed your own team, taking arguably the best guys from the TCG group and eventually ended up on Face to Face. Considering that you have been quite successful throughout this time, it is a little unusual to have switched teams so many times. What motivated those team changes? Is Face to Face the team you are going to be on for the foreseeable future? Does the upcoming team series play a role in that?
Changing teams for me is just part of the process of pushing myself to be the best that I can be. If I change teams, it’s because it’s what I think is best for my overall performance, which is a view that has changed for me, since previously I wanted to team with people I liked the most. I treat testing for Pro Tours rather seriously, so I usually have a business minded relationship with whomever I’m working with. Wherever I seem to land, I always seem to make new friends and enjoy myself regardless. I’m on Face to Face for PT Hawaii, but for any PTs beyond that, in addition to the team series, I’m undecided who I will team with.