Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan Player to Watch: Christian Hauck

Christian Hauck

Twitter: @ChrHauck

Age: 32
Residence: Mannheim, Germany
Team: Phoenix: 404
Qualified via Pro Club Silver Level, PT Ixalan Top Finisher, GP Turin Top Finisher
Pro Points: 65 lifetime, in 2017–18 (#1 Germany, #12 World)
Pro Tour Debut: Pro Tour Amsterdam 2010 (Extended)
Pro Tours Played: 5
Career Median: 147
Best Pro Tour Finish: 6th (PT Ixalan)
Top 8: 1 Pro Tour, 4 Grand Prix, 1 Nationals
Christian’s PT Results: http://www.mtgptresults.com/player/christian-hauck
Planeswalker Level: 46 (Archmage)

Q: You have been playing Magic competitively since around 2010. At that time you qualified for the PT twice. Afterwards you’ve had a bunch of decent results but nothing that would have led anybody to identify you as a future PT Top 8 player. But since about the second half of 2017 you are on a tear: RPTQ win, GP Top 8, PT Top 8, 7-1 at the MOCS, and another GP Top 8. The consistency of these high quality results suggests that you really stepped up your game. How did you manage to level up?

I dedicated much more time into Magic in general, but especially playing online. I also stopped playing decks purely for the reason that I like them and started to focus on the best deck for the current metagame, and played it until I got comfortable with it. In addition to that, I think it is important to get different views on card selection, sequencing etc., which led to regular Skype calls with my friends and teammates where we share our information and discuss difficult decisions. By listening to others I was able to admit my mistakes to myself and measure all of the information, which definitely stepped up my game.

Q: Your success up to and including Pro Tour Ixalan came mostly on the back of Limited and Standard play. Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan is Modern, however, and you declared repeatedly that you do not have much love for this format. How do you approach an event where on one hand, there is a lot on the line for you—Platinum is a possibility this season—and on the other hand you feel you are not at your strongest, and maybe don’t even really enjoy what you have to do to catch up?

I approach the upcoming Pro Tour the same way I would approach every other big Magic tournament. I will put in all the work and dedication I can afford to no matter the format. In Modern, though, I feel that there is not really a “wrong” deck choice. Trying to metagame against the field is nearly impossible with so many playable decks that you can run into. It is hard to get a significant edge, and in the end a lot of your games will come down to matchups and die rolls. This leaves me worried and relaxed at the same time. Nevertheless, I enjoy every challenge in Magic, and Modern is no exception. After diving deeper into the format, I have to admit I kind of like it after all, despite its tilt potential.

Q: Most players that hover around the edges of the Pro Tour for some time dream of achieving a pro level, thus ending the qualification grind, and maybe even making the Top 8 of a Pro Tour once in their life. Being locked for Gold at the end of the season, you have achieved both of these goals in a very short time. Do you have set new goals for this season like reaching Platinum or even going to Worlds? And what comes after? Is sustaining Gold or even more a priority for you in the long run?

I never thought that I would ever be worthy of consideration, but after starting the season with two GP Top 8s and a PT Top 8, Platinum has to be on my radar. It will still be very hard to get there and I likely won’t make it, but after locking up Gold this is the next big step so I will try and go for it. Worlds, on the other hand, is an even more difficult achievement to unlock, and even though I’m tied for Constructed Master at the moment, this tournament still feels out of reach for me.

When it comes to sustaining my pro status, the new point system will give me a hard time because the points I earned in the first quarter of the season will rotate out so much faster. A big finish at the first PT of the season is much worse than it was in the old system. All things considered, it’s hard to predict how I will end the season and if I will be able to sustain Gold in the future. What I can say is that I am looking forward to collecting some more Pro Points during the season and try my best to achieve these goals.

Q: The German Magic scene has been dormant since almost the beginning of the decade. The WMC captain on some occasions just barely made it above 20 Pro Points, German Magic fans were lucky if they got to see one of their own make Top 8 of just one Pro Tour in a given year, none has ever played in the modern Worlds, and finishes at the World Magic Cup were atrocious. To be fair, German players never did all that badly on the GP level, but on the highest level they have not to been contenders for quite some time. But in 2017 we have seen two Germans in Pro Tour Top 8s, rising numbers of players qualified for the Pro Tour, and a very respectable 3rd place at the WMC. Is Germany awakening from its Magical slumber? Do you have any guesses as to when we will see a German player competing at Worlds, or who that will be?

Speaking of competitive play, the German Magic community is kind of split into different regions where every region does their own thing without reaching out to the others. We have a lot of very talented players, but I think other countries do a better job working together as a unit and helping their players to evolve. But recently I feel that the German community is getting more connected, which makes me very happy.

I would love to see a German player competing at Worlds, but as for now I think we have to wait a little to finally see someone breaking through. I can’t tell you who it will be, but I’m certain that I will be watching the coverage and rooting for him or her!


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