May 07, 2015

Magic Online Championship Player Profiles: Part 3

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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 marks the final installment in the player profile series. To finish things out, today's profiles include an interview with the reigning Magic Online Champion: Lars Dam! Read about how Champion-status has been treating him the past year and what his strategy is going into the 2014 Magic Online Championship.

Make sure to catch up on MTGO.com if you missed the first or second parts of the Player Profile series. 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.


Lars Dam

Defending Magic Online Champion

When did you start playing Magic?

Back when Ice Age was new.

What is your favorite format to play and why?

Limited. It's just more fun than Constructed after the first 30-40 games.

What hobbies do you have aside from Magic?

I like to play all kind of games.

How long have you been on Magic Online?

I started playing Magic Online the year it came out. I think that is 14 years ago now.

What is your favorite Magic Card and why?

Winter Orb and Rising Waters. I like breaking the symmetry of those cards. Imagecrafter and Tidal Visionary in Limited—great tricksy small creatures.

What deck archetype do you HATE to play against?

Overpowered creature decks like Tarmogoyf and Siege Rhino. Playing against them just doesn’t lead to fun situations.

What colors do you think best represent you?

Blue and red.

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

Play a bit on Magic Online and use the testing from the Pro Tours Dragons of Tarkir and Fate Reforged to help me choose for Constructed.

Who is your favorite Magic player to watch?

At the moment, Trey van Cleave. Overall, probably Noah Sandler.

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

"Pokerface," by Lady Gaga.

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

7-7.

What is one fact about you that might surprise people?

I hate to gamble.

What other Magic results do you have?

Ninth place at Worlds 2004 or 2005 (I cant remember which) and 2nd at Danish Nationals the same year. I was the Magic Online Champion last year. Also, lifetime 4-0 record against Kai Budde in premier events :)

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

A lot less than I used to—3-7.

What would winning the Magic Online Championship mean to you?

It would obviously hard to complain if it happens again, but travelling and testing for every Pro Tour is a time-eating machine. Even so, it would still be pretty awesome to defend the title.


Daryl Ayers

Qualified Via Season 4 Modern 2014 MOCS Finals

When did you start playing Magic?

I started playing Magic right before Time Spiral block was released, with my sister and brother. We used to bash Ninth Edition starter decks against one another until I graduated to Friday Night Magic for the next five years. You aren’t a true Friday Night Magic player until you give someone an Immortal Coil with a Bazaar Trader.

What is your favorite format to play and why?

My favorite format in Magic would have to be Legacy. My loyal Nimble Mongeese have gotten me to two Pro Tours. Plus, how can you say no to cards like Wasteland, Brainstorm, and Force of Will.

What hobbies do you have aside from Magic?

Outside of Magic my hobbies include… well, Magic is pretty much my only hobby now. I was a Boy Scout in high school and eventually I became and Eagle Scout so I suppose you can count that.

How long have you been on Magic Online?

I have had a Magic Online account for a number of years but didn’t start playing a lot until around 18 months ago in which I ended the year in the top 20 in Constructed Qualifer Points. It would be fair to say that, after I got a taste, I jumped head first into Magic Online.

What is your favorite Magic Card and why?

In the sense of having fun it’s easily Hidetsugu's Second Rite. You haven’t lived until you have had to make weird attacks or even use Grove of the Burnwillows to get someone at exactly 10 life.

In a competitive world it’s Tarmogoyf for sure. My refusal to give up the #RUGLyfe led to everything I love about Magic.

What deck archetype do you HATE to play against?

Bogles, Dredge, Affinty, Burn, Tron, and Show and Tell are likely the decks I hate the most. They make me feel like my cards don’t matter and there was nothing I could do to change that. I would rather draw sideboard cards than play well against these decks.

What colors do you think best represent you?

Red, blue, green. This question was too easy.

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

Play test on Magic Online. Only real way to get in the most amount of games on my own schedule.

Who is your favorite Magic player to watch?

I am fond of my own replays. As for watching other players, I have no true preference.

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

"Hey Stephen," by Taylor Swift.

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

Whatever it takes to get to the World Championships.

What is one fact about you that might surprise people?

I have played more rounds of Legacy than games of Standard and Limited combined in the past two years.

What other Magic results do you have?

Top 8 in my first Legacy Grand Prix, missed on tiebreakers in the second, won a Star City Games Open with 4 Kird Ape in my deck…in 2015.

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

I don’t have to answer that. Just know it’s enough to win a Magic Online Championship Season Finals, plus.

What would winning the Magic Online Championship mean to you?

Winning would mean a chance to knock Shahar off his throne and get back onto the Pro Tour. I have never played Magic for money, but I wouldn’t say no to $25,000.

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Timothy Divelbliss

Qualified Via Season 12 Vintage Masters Sealed 2014 MOCS Finals

When did you start playing Magic?

I started playing around 1997. I remember my first starter as Fifth Edition and my first booster as Weatherlight.

What is your favorite format to play and why?

I like playing Limited formats. I like to draft whatever the current block is on Magic Online. I just have more fun playing Limited over Constructed.

What hobbies do you have aside from Magic?

I am an avid hunter, particularly deer hunting. I play a lot of other games. I also like to go to concerts—I'm a big fan of Say Anything.

How long have you been on Magic Online?

I've been playing since 1997 when my younger brother showed me the game. I took several long breaks during that time. I came back to the game and starting playing Magic Online around three years ago.

What is your favorite Magic Card and why?

My favorite card is Jace, the Mind Sculptor. It does everything I want it to do and Planeswalkers are awesome.

What deck archetype do you HATE to play against?

I hate playing against combo decks that pretty much play solitaire, like Eggs and Amulet Bloom for example. I'm glad those types of decks exist—I'd just rather not play against them.

What colors do you think best represent you?

A while back I took the clan test on the Planeswalker Points website. It said I was Gruul, and I agree.

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

Right now I am just playing a lot of Standard and drafting a lot.

Who is your favorite Magic player to watch?

I like watching Luis Scott-Vargas a lot. He seems to pull wins out of thin air. He's also pretty funny when he is streaming.

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?

I'm going to be optimistic and guess x-4 or x-5.

What is one fact about you that might surprise people?

I hate coconut.

What other Magic results do you have?

None really. A good many Pro Tour Qualifer Top 8s. Winning the Last Chance Qualifier was my first time qualifying for the Pro Tour.

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

Since I got into the Magic Online Championship, I've been playing at least 20 hours a week on Magic Online.

What would winning the Magic Online Championship mean to you?

It would be an honor—I would be in very good company. It would also mean my wife will let me take a year off to play Magic, and that is something I would really enjoy.

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Lucas Duchow

Qualified Via Holiday Cube Sealed Last Chance Qualifier

When did you start playing Magic?

Around when Tempest was released.

What is your favorite format to play and why?

Sealed. I enjoy the deck building part of it.

How long have you been on Magic Online?

Since it launched.

What is your favorite Magic Card and why?

Werebear won me an Extended and Block Pro Tour Qualifier with decks that had it.

What deck archetype do you HATE to play against?

There aren't any.

What colors do you think best represent you?

Blue, white, and red.

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

Practicing and asking others for advice.

Who is your favorite Magic player to watch?

Andrew Cuneo.

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

7-5.

What other Magic results do you have?

Won States and some Pro Tour Qualifiers. I cashed one Grand Prix.

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

Six.

What would winning the Magic Online Championship mean to you?

Qualifying for more Pro Tours and the World Championships would be great.

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Maxime Martin

Qualified Via 2014 MOCS Player of the Year Event

When did you start playing Magic?

Back in 1997, with the release of Fifth Edition. I was in high school, and a friend of mine introduced me to Magic.

What is your favorite format to play and why?

Probably Cube Draft and Cube Sealed, as it allows a lot of creativity while playing with very cool cards.

What hobbies do you have aside from Magic?

Kickboxing, which I practice competitively between two and four times a week.

How long have you been on Magic Online?

I created my own Magic Online account in 2012.

What is your favorite Magic Card and why?

Pit Keeper! I developed a taste for Magic-based puns throughout the years, especially during the Time Spiral block. From there it was only a matter of choosing between BradPitKeeper and PrismaticLensArmstrong. Since I’m not a big fan of doping, the choice was obvious :)

What deck archetype do you HATE to play against?

Blue draw-go control decks in Constructed.

What colors do you think best represent you?

Probably green. I’m a big fan of ramping mana and efficiently costed creatures. I enjoyed playing Pod for the most part of 2014 and, although it stung a little, I think banning it was legit.

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

Like all online events, my preparation will consist mainly of testing with my teammate from Magic Online, GrinderZ Ggb (Jeremy Berthoux), in all the different formats. Since the Magic Online Championship is such a big deal for us, we’ve decided to launch our own website and publish articles and videos describing the journey that brought me here today.

Who is your favorite Magic player to watch?

I like Sam Pardee’s streams. He plays pretty well and uses the Magic Online interface swiftly and efficiently, which makes his stream very enjoyable to watch.

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

"The Ecstasy of Gold," by Ennio Morricone.

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

The best possible (I hope!).

What is one fact about you that might surprise people?

A sideboarded Feed the Clan won me the Magic Online Championship Series Player of the Year Event Finals!

What other Magic results do you have?

I don’t play that many paper events, but on Magic Online I managed to Top 8 four Magic Online Championship Series events since January 2014, all in Limited (nothing very impressive yet!).

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

Way too many in my girlfriend’s mind! Between 20 and 30 hours a week I’d say…

What would winning the Magic Online Championship mean to you?

It would mean that I’ll play the Magic World Championships and next year’s Magic Online Championship, which would be totally awesome!

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Aleksa Telarov

Qualified Via Season 11 Standard 2014 MOCS Finals

When did you start playing Magic?

I started playing when Guildpact came out.

What is your favorite format to play and why?

Probably Limited, although I like Standard more over time.

I like Limited because I always know every single trick an opponent can have (which I wouldn't say is very widespread among players), therefore, I'm able to play as optimally as I can. But I suck at drafting and my Draft decks are always a train-wreck.

As for Standard, I always loved breaking Standard and mostly trying to not play the best cards/strategy for the current Standard at the time, but rather to think outside the box and try to beat the best cards/deck/combos. That's excluding Faeries, which I played non-stop while they were Standard-legal. Most people who didn't play Faeries will probably hate me forever for admitting that :D

What hobbies do you have aside from Magic?

I enjoy participating in most sports like, swimming, water polo, football(soccer), table tennis, occasionally basketball and volleyball, throwing flying disk (frisbee), and the one that I enjoy most, a sport mostly known to our region called picigen.

Other then sports, I like travelling, collecting stuff, occasionally playing computer games, and working on my projects and incorporating ideas into them.

How long have you been on Magic Online?

I've been on Magic Online since the end of 2009.

What is your favorite Magic Card and why?

I don't really get attached to cards that much.

Now, don't get me wrong, I like some cards a LOT, but since I don't have an answer off the top of my head, I don't have a favorite one. My favorite cards are the ones tied to memories—the cards I've received from friends through special occasions, like my birthday, or through a great game of Magic against an opponent I've just met. My friends sometimes give me cards because they love me—I usually get them to sign those for me so that a part of me can go back to that moment to reminiscence about the great times we had.

What deck archetype do you HATE to play against?

None in particular, but if I had to choose, it would probably be Mono-Red Burn because any player on the planet, regardless of game-play skills, can beat me by throwing cards in my face. There's the everlasting "I need to top-deck a burn spell and I get it every single time!"

Other than that, I dislike when a single card defines a format, so I try to go around it. The latest example of that is Siege Rhino.

What colors do you think best represent you?

None. I just play the cards I enjoy and try to make them work.

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

I will be testing online and playing paper Magic.

Who is your favorite Magic player to watch?

I immediately like a player when I see them make a great play. Unfortunately I don't have a clear answer for you. Owen Turtenwald, Matt Hoey, and Patrick Dickmann are some names off the top of my head.

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

"Bad," by Michael Jackson.

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

Easy win.

What is one fact about you that might surprise people?

I'm actually really really good looking.

What other Magic results do you have?

I made Top 8 in Grand Prix Vienna, lost two win-and-ins in Grand Prix Milan, I've been a National Champion for six years now, won some big tournaments on Magic Online, and I've also made it to Day 2 in a bunch of Grand Prix and made Top 64 multiple times.

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

A lot! Five hours a day, I would say.

What would winning the Magic Online Championship mean to you?

It be a pretty big deal. Being the best Magic Online player for a year seems good to me! Being a Gold pro would help a lot financially since I travel to pretty much every European Grand Prix anyway. Being qualified for every Pro Tour would be a dream come true.

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