Digging Deeper into the Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar Top 8

Posted in Arcana on October 20, 2015

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

Making it to the Top 8 of a Pro Tour can be a life-changing event. People devote huge portions of their lives to Magic, and a Pro Tour Top 8 berth is often the culmination of all that hard work. For others, a Top 8 berth is a reminder of their established greatness. I reached out to friends of this weekend's Top 8 competitors to find out what they think this Top 8 means to the competitors and what it means to them to see their friends on the Sunday stage.

William Jensen to Owen Turtenwald

"Owen, congratulations on your third Top 8. I believe you are one of the game's all-time greats, and this finish will cement you as such in the minds of the entire community. I'm proud of the success you've accomplished since I've come back to the game, but I'm even prouder to call you one of my closest friends. Good luck today in achieving your greatest life goal by winning the Pro Tour."

Dan O'Mahoney-Schwartz to Jon Finkel

"Jon, Steve and I didn't really like you when we first met. You were an insufferable child, but we grew to be very close friends over the years. There was a huge focus on Magic for us in our late teens and early twenties. Since then, we've grown as people and our major focuses have shifted to work and relationships. You 'have it all,' and everyone in this Top 8 is surely hungry for greatness as we once were; victory here probably means as much to them as it did to us back then. You have a lot going for you now, but somehow Magic seems to be the one thing that can pull you back and make you realize how great you truly are. That's what makes Magic so important to us. It's where we strived for greatness and first achieved success in our lives. You coming back and still being on top is validation of our shared histories."

Takehiro Fujimoto to Tamada Ryoichi

[Editor's note: This has been translated from Japanese.] "You recently won a spot on the Japanese World Magic Cup team, and a Top 8 here this weekend means that you're that much closer to Platinum. You are happy. You've been winning a lot lately, and this finish shows that you are a very good player. Many see the Japanese World Magic Cup team and believe Kenji Tsumura and Yuuya Watanabe to be very good, but you do not need their help to succeed. You have the ability to win by yourself."

Joel Larsson to Martin Müller

"You try to act like it's not a big deal, but I can tell this Top 8 means a lot to you. After all, Top 8ing a Pro Tour means a lot to anyone. You're very young and you have a lot of big decisions to make in your life right now; hopefully this experience gives you the confidence you need to navigate your way through. As a player, you're wise beyond your years. I hope this finish encourages you to devote more time to Magic, because I'd love to practice with you for future events. That may be selfish, but I'm very proud of you and look forward to watching you succeed more in the future."

Lucas Siow to Paul Dean

"You've been putting in an amount of work comparable to all the other Toronto players over the last year; you even took time off your job to focus on Magic for a bit. As a friend, it's rewarding to see that all the practice we've put in has finally paid off. A lot of our practice group wasn't even qualified for the Pro Tour, but they put in countless hours to help you get to this point, and your success this weekend validates that effort. You've surrounded yourself with a great group of people. They say you can measure a man by his friends and his enemies, and by that metric I'd be proud to call you my friend."

Luis Scott-Vargas to Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa

"It's awesome to see such a good friend competing in his tenth Pro Tour Top 8, which is absurd by the way. A lot of people might feel that this Top 8 is less significant because of how many you've already accrued, but the significance of the tenth is no different than the first. It's both funny and surprising to me that you managed to do this playing a red deck. Also, you're not doing a very good job of catching Finkel in all-time Top 8s if you keep letting him Top 8 the same ones as you."

Yuuki Ichikawa to Takimura Kazuyuki

[Editor's note: This has been translated from Japanese.] "You were Silver coming into this event, and this finish will help you achieve your goal of becoming Platinum in the coming year by giving you many Pro Points and qualifications for the next two Pro Tours. We've been friends for the last year and you have been great to practice with, because you are such a good Magic player. You may have been unknown before this tournament, but that will change with this Top 8."

Philippe Asselin to Ricky Chin

"I couldn't be happier to see a friend make it to the Top 8 of the Pro Tour, let alone on his first attempt! I feel like this Top 8 would mean a lot to anybody, but it's especially important to you. You were always one of the good local players, but you've recently made a lot of effort to become better, and it's very clearly paying off. Personally, to see someone from my entourage make the Top 8 of this event is also very meaningful. You and I have become friends as weekend warriors. We've gotten to see one another progress through PTQs, PPTQs, RPTQs, and GPs throughout the year. In our world, simply getting to the Pro Tour is a great feat, and the communities we're a part of have been supportive and eager to see us succeed. We've only had a few of us ever even make it to the second day of competition at the Pro Tour, and your Top 8 makes us happy and excited for future Pro Tours because we can now be confident that our community has the potential to do well on the game's biggest stage."

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