Primary Color: Blue (for control)
Secondary Color: White (mostly for destruction and Serras)
Other Colors: a splash of Green (mostly for mana)
Artifact Use: mostly things that either give a player resources or take them away from an opponent
Mana Producer Ratio: 40% (includes multi-lands, Black Lotus, and all five Moxes)
Creature Ratio: 15% (biggest creature: Serra Angel)
Non-Mana Artifact Ratio: 10%
Spell Ratio: 35%
Major Effect of Deck: slow deck that builds in resources (life, cards, and mana) as it waits
Interesting Note: only one enchantment (Stasis) in entire deck
Comment from Designer: "It's not a fast deck, but it can take on just about anything."
Primary Color: Red (direct damage spells and Kird Apes)
Secondary Color: Green (for small creatures, mana, and the Sylvan Library)
Other Colors: a splash of Black and Blue (for a couple spell staples like Demonic Tutor)
Artifact Use: limited (mostly for mana)
Creature Ratio: 25% (biggest creature: Whirling Dervish)
Non-Mana Artifact Ratio: 3%
Spell Ratio: 32%
Major Effect of Deck: a quick kill, small creature deck with a lot of direct damage
Comment from Designer: "It wins quite a bit."
Zak, 25, is from Rolla, Missouri. A former employee of GE, Zak recently left his job and moved to Palo Alto to become a graduate student in manufacturing systems engineering at Stanford. An admitted "Magic fanatic," Zak attributes learning the game to people in a store he used to frequent in Rolla. Calling Magic a "great stress reliever," Zak revealed t hat he has had more than his share of Magic all-nighters. "The only trouble I have with Magic," said Zak, "is finding people to play."
Reading about the World Championship in The Duelist, Zak decided he needed to be part of it, so he got in his car and drove from Missouri to Wisconsin. "I did not think I'd make it," Zak explained. "My car wasn't in very good shape. During the trip I lost first gear, fourth gear, and reverse." Upon arriving, Zak was unable to find a hotel and was forced to sleep in his car. "The way I figured it, nothing was going to make me miss the tournament."
When asked what advice he would give other Magic players, Zak answered, "The key I think is saying 'I want to decide where in Dominaria we play the game.' That is, I want to set the parameters of our duel." And Zak admits that the sideboard is one of the keys to doing this. "The first game is just a test for the sideboard. Then, if you are able to figure out what you're up against, you can tune your deck to defeat it." You can look for more advice from Zak in his new column in The Duelist.
Bertrand, 23, is from Pantin, France (near Paris). The French National Champion, Bertrand won a free trip to Milwaukee to compete in the World Championship. Bertrand recently finished studies at the I.S.C., a prestigious French business school.
Bertrand says that Magic is very big in France and that one game store, L'oeuf Cube (which sponsored the French Nationals), attracts Magic players from across the country. According to Bertrand, the French tournaments are run very differently from the single-elimination style used by the Duelists' Convocation. Ranked by their performance in previous tournaments, players compete in an elaborate Swiss system in which the players have the opportunity to duel with numerous opponents. The winner is the person who has the best overall record -- a system Bertrand suggests is "fairer and allows everyone to play longer."
As for Bertrand's favorite part of journeying to the States, "It was the trading, definitely. People here will trade with you. This is not always so in France." Bertrand, in fact, admits to building his entire tournament deck (all black border cards, he boasts) completely from trades he made while at the convention. As for his loss to Zak, Bertrand would only say, "I'll be back."
Dominic, 28, is a computer programmer from Brussels, Belgium. Having lost in the finals to Bertrand in the French Nationals, Dominic paid his own way (funded partially by his girlfriend, he added) to come and compete in the World Championship. Unable to preregister for the tournament, Dominic sweated it out when he had to wrangle his way in with a generic conventio nticket. All in all, Dominic says that "it was great fun to play in America. The people here are so calm. I beat someone and they just say 'cool, good game.' It is not like that in Europe."
Cyrille, 20, is a student from Paris, France. Already a role-player, Cyrille took to Magic quickly and soon became one of the top Magic players in France. (Yes, he also was barely beaten out of the French title by Bertrand.) Cyrille said that he swept through th early parts of the tournament, but ultimately lost in a very close semi-final with Bertrand when he encountered that scourge of all Magic players: "mana death." But, added Cyrille, "The trip was not a total loss. So far playing for ante, I have won eight Black Lotuses and six Moxes."