May 04, 2015

Magic Online Championship Player Profiles: Part 2

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The Magic Online Championship is almost upon us. From Friday, May 15, to Sunday, May 17, a group of the best players on Magic Online will come together to compete for a share of more than $100,000 in cash prizes and, ultimately, the prestigious title of Magic Online Champion.

What led these players to the Championship? How long have they been playing Magic? If they had a theme song that played every time they entered a room, what would it be? To answer these questions, and more, we've interviewed the full line-up of Magic Online Championship participants.

Today’s group of profiles includes a Pro Tour Champion and a member of the Magic Hall of Fame! Learn more about the newest Pro Tour Champion, Martin Dang, as he prepares to compete for his second championship title this year. Meanwhile, Olle Råde, the Sylvan Safekeeper himself and a member of the 2005 Hall of Fame class, shares his approach to the Magic Online Championship as well as his training regimen.

If you missed the first round of Player Profiles, you can read them here. Then, check back on Monday, May 11 for the last group of profiles. Once you've read up on the participants, tune into Twitch.tv/magic beginning May 15 for a live broadcast of the Magic Online Championship!

Click player names below to go directly to their profile, and remember to check back next week for more interviews. Follow the 2014 Magic Online Championship conversation on Twitter with the hashtag, #MTGOChamp!


Martin Dang

Qualified Via Season 12 Vintage Masters Sealed 2014 MOCS Finals

When did you start playing Magic?

I started during Revised Edition.

What is your favorite format to play and why?

I mostly play Limited. I love that you get to play a different deck each time.

What hobbies do you have aside from Magic?

Watching Arsenal win. #COYG

How long have you been on Magic Online?

I created my account during the Magic Online beta test.

What is your favorite Magic Card and why?

Jace, the Mind Sculptor because it won me Nationals.

What deck archetype do you HATE to play against?

Aggro.

What colors do you think best represent you?

Blue and black.

What are you doing to prepare for the Magic Online Championship?

I plan on playing a whole bunch of Magic Online before the event.

Who is your favorite Magic player to watch?

Thomas Enevoldsen and Lars Dam, two players with great understanding of the game.

If you had a theme song that played every time you entered a room, what would it be?

"On Top of the World," by Imagine Dragons.

What record do you think you’ll have at the end of the event?

Top 4.

What is one fact about you that might surprise people?

That it is not all luck like my opponents online sometimes scream at me.

What other Magic results do you have?

I joined Team Rocket! Won Nationals in 2010 and Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir.

How many hours a week do you think you spend on Magic Online?

Ten.

What would winning the Magic Online Championship mean to you?

It would be a major accomplishment for me, and something I would always look back on.

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Jasper De Jong

Qualified Via Season 8 Magic 2015 Sealed 2014 MOCS Finals

When did you start playing Magic?

1998, during high school.

What is your favorite format to play and why?

Powered Cube Draft—it contains the interesting elements of Limited as well as Constructed Magic.

What hobbies do you have aside from Magic?

My hobbies include most board games as well as sports.

How long have you been on Magic Online?

Five years.

What is your favorite Magic Card and why?

Reins of Power. It can catch people off guard, it has great combo-potential, and it is awesome in multiplayer.

What deck archetype do you HATE to play against?

Combo-decks. I’d rather play against my goldfish.

What colors do you think best represent you?

Blue, since I tend to analyze everything I do.

Who is your favorite Magic player to watch?

Luis Scott-Vargas. Aside from being very analytical, he has a very positive attitude and a great sense of humor.

If you had a theme song that played every time you entered a room, what would it be?

"Hocus Pocus," by Focus.

What record do you think you’ll have at the end of the event?

Anything is possible.

What is one fact about you that might surprise people?

I don’t actually own a goldfish.

What other Magic results do you have?

I’ve qualified for two Pro Tours. Not as much as most competitors, I expect.

How many hours a week do you think you spend on Magic Online?

It varies greatly between 0 at the moment, and 40 during the period in which I managed to qualify for the Magic Online Championship.

What would winning the Magic Online Championship mean to you?

It would be nice to finally cross it out on my to-do list.

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Magnus Lantto

Qualified Via Season 9 Legacy 2014 MOCS Finals

When did you start playing Magic?

Started around 1995-1996. Nationals in 1999 was my first "real" tournament.

What is your favorite format to play and why?

Probably Modern. The decks are powerful and complex and it's very diverse. Before this year I would have described myself as a Limited specialist, though.

What hobbies do you have aside from Magic?

I really enjoy food and drinks and love trying out new restaurants, a hobby that goes really well with travelling to Grand Prix and Pro Tours!

How long have you been on Magic Online?

I've been playing online almost from the launch, but took a break from Shards of Alara through the Scars of Mirrodin block.

What is your favorite Magic Card and why?

Birthing Pod. I've always loved toolbox strategies, with Birthing Pod and Survival of the Fittest coming to mind as great cards. After my win at Grand Prix Milan 2014, Birthing Pod is definitely my favorite.

What deck archetype do you HATE to play against?

I really remember hating the last Standard, especially playing against Mono-Black Control.

What colors do you think best represent you?

Probably green in Constructed and white in Limited.

What are you doing to prepare for the Magic Online Championship?

I'm happy to have a teammate of mine (Olle Råde) qualified as well so that will probably greatly improve the testing. I'll do most of the testing just grinding Magic Online, but its great to have someone to discuss the formats with.

Who is your favorite Magic player to watch?

William “Huey” Jensen maybe? I remember once watching him play at a Pro Tour wondering how he could be on such a hot streak and what really set him apart from the rest of us. Then he went right on to do a series of plays I would not have made myself and won a game few others would have.

If you had a theme song that played every time you entered a room, what would it be?

Although I'm quite far from Techno Viking in my looks, I'd love to have followers dancing to some good techno wherever I went.

What record do you think you’ll have at the end of the event?

I think I'll do pretty well and end up in the playoffs. After that anything can happen.

What other Magic results do you have?

My only major result is a win at Grand Prix Milan 2014, but I've had a good run the last year with high average finishes across the board.

How many hours a week do you think you spend on Magic Online?

A lot...40-50 maybe.

What would winning the Magic Online Championship mean to you?

I would be able to really focus on Magic for a year or two. Right now I travel to what I can, but work often gets in the way. With a win, I would be able to work less and travel to everything!

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Olle Råde

Qualified Via Season 7 Holiday Cube Sealed 2014 MOCS Finals

When did you start playing Magic?

On a dark night in the summer of 1994, just after Legends had perished from the shelves and everyone was eagerly awaiting the next expansion.

What is your favorite format to play and why?

Modern 8-man queues, with Affinity. It makes for fast games with few clicks required. I made 125 QPs in one season playing nothing but that.

My favorite Draft format is Tempest, Stronghold, Exodus, both for total nostalgia and since it’s a great format. With Tempest Remastered coming out this summer it will be exciting to rediscover Rath and once again meet the crew of the Weatherlight!

What hobbies do you have aside from Magic?

Travelling, food, drink, reading, and enjoying culture ranging from art-house films to the UEFA Champions League. I’m also a big fan of coffee.

How long have you been on Magic Online?

Since beta.

What is your favorite Magic Card and why?

Sylvan Safekeeper. Legacy staple and great design.

What deck archetype do you HATE to play against?

Anything too reactive, like the Blue-White Control deck that Ivan Floch won a Pro Tour with. Tons of people picked it up online and for WMCQs. Everyone was playing super slow and that deck was already a pain to play against to begin with.

What colors do you think best represent you?

Red and white, particularly in combination. I used to consider myself the national leader of the Boros guild. It also seems like most the decks I won with in the nineties had either Spiders or a combination of Savannah Lions and Lightning Bolts.

What are you doing to prepare for the Magic Online Championship?

Testing online with fellow competitor Magnus Lantto (Lantto on Magic Online). We both live in Malmö, Sweden and play a ton of Magic together already, ranging from Modern Mondays at the local store to endless hours on Magic Online. He qualified for the Magic Online Championship before I did, which was a great motivation to qualify.

Who is your favorite Magic player to watch?

In no particular order: Luis Scott-Vargas, Paul Cheon and Kenji Egashira (NumotTheNummy). All good players and excellent streamers. I also really enjoy Randy Buehler’s Vintage Super League. But the time difference makes it hard to watch live in Europe.

If you had a theme song that played every time you entered a room, what would it be?

"If I Had a Heart," by Fever Ray. (The opening score of the tv-series Vikings). The artist is actually from the same city as me in Sweden, and as some might recall, I was once dubbed “The Littlest Viking”.

What record do you think you’ll have at the end of the event?

10-5. (Fingers crossed!)

What is one fact about you that might surprise people?

I’m rereading Karl-Ove Knausgårds “My Struggle” for the third time. This time in English after finishing it in Swedish and Norwegian.

What other Magic results do you have?

None in this millenium. Or, actually, I made top 75 at Pro Tour Journey into Nyx in Atlanta 2014.

How many hours a week do you think you spend on Magic Online?

I’d say about 20, although I wouldn’t want to do an actual count.

What would winning the Magic Online Championship mean to you?

To me, just qualifying for the event was a great way to show the people that are skeptical about where Magic Online is heading that it’s possible to enjoy Magic at the highest level both online and in paper. I haven’t really had any success at high level events since I was inducted in the Pro Tour Hall of Fame in 2005, so it would surely be something of a comeback to claim a title in this millenium!

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Marius Schwarze

Qualified Via Season 6 Khans of Tarkir Block Constructed 2014 MOCS Finals

When did you start playing Magic?

Like, 12 years ago. I think the first cards I owned were from Scourge. The first time I tried of playing seriously was at Grand Prix Bochum in 2009.

What is your favorite format to play and why?

Mostly Limited, because I like getting in play with new cards. I like Block and Standard as well, since the number of playable cards isn't that high.

What hobbies do you have aside from Magic?

Watching soccer, meeting friends, sports (kickboxing and fitness).

How long have you been on Magic Online?

I really don't know when I started playing Magic Online, in the beginning I was only playing one Draft every so often. I've been playing more since last year, I guess.

What is your favorite Magic Card and why?

Siege Rhino, not even close. Because its the card that brought me here. To be fair, it's Siege Rhino combined with all the other Abzan cards that are way stronger than the rest in Khans of Tarkir Block Constructed.

What deck archetype do you HATE to play against?

Limited decks that can't be beat.

What colors do you think best represent you?

Abzan, since I've fallen in love with Siege Rhino.

What are you doing to prepare for the Magic Online Championship?

Play Magic Online, I guess. Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir in Brussels might help for Standard as well. In the beginning of March there were Modern Magic Online Championship Series Season Preliminaries, so I tested for that then.

Who is your favorite Magic player to watch?

Nobody I guess. It's nice to see a good game of Magic—doesn't matter if its a pro or anyone else.

If you had a theme song that played every time you entered a room, what would it be?

"Don't You Worry Child," by Swedish House Mafia

What record do you think you’ll have at the end of the event?

Hopefully the best ;)

What is one fact about you that might surprise people?

Thirty minutes before the Block Constructed Magic Online Championship Series Finals, I was thinking about swapping my deck away from Siege Rhino. Luckily, I did not.

What other Magic results do you have?

Nothing spectacular. Some Pro Tour Qualifiers, Top 8s, and two Grand Prix Cashes

How many hours a week do you think you spend on Magic Online?

Since I won the Season Finals, I've invested a lot of time in it—easily 10-plus hours during the current release events.

What would winning the Magic Online Championship mean to you?

Qualification for the World Championship and Gold status I guess. Pretty nice things to have :)

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Nathan Smith

Qualified Via Season 10 Khans of Tarkir Sealed 2014 MOCS Finals

When did you start playing Magic?

I started playing Magic right around since the Magic 2013. My friend got me into the game and a few months later I got a taste of the competitive side and wanted more of it. I had played card games competitively before so I just jumped right in.

What is your favorite format to play and why?

My favorite format is definitely Draft. Adaptation is key, and one misstep in the draft can ruin you. When playing the actual games you often have to act on intuition as your information about decks is far more incomplete than Constructed, and this rewards experience.

What hobbies do you have aside from Magic?

I like to work out, watch TV shows, play video games, and hang out with friends. Standard college kid stuff!

How long have you been on Magic Online?

I've been on Magic Online since a few months after I started playing the game. I didn't play a lot of it until I decided to take the game more seriously and decided I wanted to get better.

What is your favorite Magic Card and why?

My favorite Magic card is probably Military Intelligence, mainly because I put a copy in my Mono-Blue Devotion deck for a Magic Online Championship Series tournament as a joke, but the card turned out to actually just be insane and I made the Top 8 of the MOCS with it.

Either that or Pentavus because, in the top 8 of a Pro Tour Qualifier, my friend Donnie Peck gave me a signed copy of it for good luck. I was promptly destroyed in the quarterfinals, but I still have the Pentavus in a binder. No. On second thought it's definitely Military Intelligence.

What deck archetype do you HATE to play against?

I wouldn't say I really hate playing against anything. I guess very linear combo decks are a bore to play against because sometimes there's just nothing you can do and you just die. That always kind of sucks.

What colors do you think best represent you?

This is a tricky one. Probably black, white, and red.

What are you doing to prepare for the Magic Online Championship?

I'm going to play a lot of each format. Mostly the formats that overlap with the other events I'm testing for, so mainly Standard, but I'm not so foolish as to ignore the other formats completely. Vintage especially is going to be a challenge, as it's something I've never played, but I have a great group of friends willing to help me learn the format, so I'm looking forward to it.

Who is your favorite Magic player to watch?

I feel like I learn something every time I watch Reid Duke play. Owen Turtenwald similarly. Huey as well. You know what, I think the Peach Garden Oath can be considered as one player.

If you had a theme song that played every time you entered a room, what would it be?

"Hollaback Girl," by Gwen Stefani. Not close.

What record do you think you’ll have at the end of the event?

It's Magic, anything can happen! I'm just going to play my best and try to win as many matches as possible. Make no mistake, I intend to win >:)

What is one fact about you that might surprise people?

I love Disney movies!

What other Magic results do you have?

I recently played Pro Tour Fate Reforged and placed 29th. 32nd at Grand Prix San Antonio a few months ago. One other Magic Online Championship Series Top 8 in addition to a MOCS win. I made Day 2 of Grand Prix Memphis recently but didn't do so well on the second day, as I woke up sick and could barely stand without throwing up, let alone process complex game states. Hopefully pretty soon I'll be able to put Magic Online Champion in this slot ^_^

How many hours a week do you think you spend on Magic Online?

It really depends. If I'm prepping for an event I play far more, up to 10 hours a day, but if not just a few events here and there. Maybe 20 hours a week. It just so happens that I have a lot of events coming up, though, so I'll be on the grind.

What would winning the Magic Online Championship mean to you?

It would mean more to me than anything I've ever done. I'm currently trying to accumulate enough points to hit the Silver pro level after the good Pro Tour finish I had. I've worked so hard to get better at Magic that winning this tournament and reaching the Gold pro level would be a dream come true. I have so many friends and family members supporting me, so I really want to show them that their faith isn't misplaced and that I have what it takes. All I can do is play my best and hope that things go my way.

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Check back on Monday, May 11, for more Magic Online Championship player profiles! In case you missed them, read the first set of profiles here.



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