Posted in Event Coverage on November 22, 2005

By Wizards of the Coast

Alan Comer Despite Comer's five Pro Tour Top 8s, he is known more for his work as a deck designer...His decks were always dynamic, exciting, and unexpected...TurboXerox, MiracleGro, and ComerZilla shook up the Constructed world when they hit the tables for the first time...A driving force behind Magic Online as a Wizards of the Coast employee...Returned to the Pro Tour after leaving the company.
Class of: 2005
Hometown: Seattle, WA, USA
Debut: Pro Tour-Columbus 1996
Career winnings: $79,085
Lifetime Pro Points: 192

Alan Comer's career was cut short not by a lack of interest or waning skills, but by his decision to join Wizards of the Coast to work on Magic Online. At the time of his election into the Hall he was the only member of the class who was not eligible to play in this year's World Championships. That changed when Alan retired from his position and rejoined the ranks of Professional Magic players during the summer of 2005.

Alan Comer made a reputation on good sportsmanship and unique deck construction.

Alan is the only member of the class without a Pro Tour victory (despite an impressive five trips to the Sunday stage) – a void he hopes to remedy soon. An Englishman living in California, Alan's first Sunday appearance was (fittingly enough) aboard the Queen Mary in his adopted home state. He took third place at Pro Tour-Los Angeles 1997 and joked – in reference to the David Mills' disqualification – that his semifinal loss to Tommi Hovi was actually the closest he has ever come to winning a Pro Tour.

"Yeah, for me, the one that got away was Pro Tour-L.A. II," Comer said. "Whilst I have come second twice – once in Barcelona, and one in the Team event at D.C. – I feel that the closest was actually L.A. In L.A., it came down to mana troubles in Game 5 against Hovi, with the winner facing Dave Mills, who unfortunately got himself DQ'ed. However, I was playing three colors, and the risk that you take with three colors is exactly what brought me down."

Despite multiple second-place finishes without winning an event, the lack of a champion's trophy was not the lasting regret of Alan's Pro Tour career.

"Ironically, the real unfinished business for me is never having played at the Invitational," he said. "The Invitational is an event where people really get to showcase some pretty strange ideas for decks, and they don't have to be perfect. The event had more of a relaxed atmosphere."

Alan is heralded as one of the great deck designers, working with such luminaries as Zvi Mowshowitz and Scott Johns to come up with some of the game's most popular and enduring decklists, such as Comerzilla, Turbo Xerox, and Miracle-Gro. Despite that Constructed prowess, it is interesting to note that all but one of his Top 8s were either Limited Pro Tours or featured a day of Limited play (in the case of Worlds 1998).

Limited dominance aside, it was his ability to completely warp Constructed formats with his creations that many voters cited as a primary consideration when voting. Even without a Top 8 at Grand Prix-Vegas, his Turbo Dryad deck – later known as Miracle-Gro – completely transformed the metagame in the wake of that event.

As the Selection Committee votes began to trickle in over the summer, Alan began to obsess – Fatal Attraction-style – over the voting process and realized how much he wanted the honor of being inducted in with the first Hall of Fame class.

"Watching the Hall of Fame balloting has been driving me nuts since people started commenting that I was getting votes," he said. "In the beginning, I never really expected to have a chance. I personally put myself about sixth on the list, and knowing how I did at Invitational votings, actually expected to finish like ninth or lower. Once the votes came in, I became very excited about the possibility. I made up a chart to show how people had voted and kept track of all the ballots that had come in. At one point, I went so far as to start Googling for them after I found out that there were some on other web sites. In short, I became a wreck, thinking way too much about the possibility that I might make it. Then people started projecting that I would make it and the thought that I might not make it was worse. The honor I feel from just being voted in is extreme!"

Alan Comer, circa 2005.

Comer was looking forward to another trip to Japan for the induction ceremony and to playing a little Magic, even before his departure from Wizards made him eligible for Worlds. At the time of the announcement that he was to be part of the Class of 2005, Alan beamed, "I will definitely attend [the induction ceremony]. I have really enjoyed every trip I have taken to Japan. It is a wonderful country with wonderful people. I hope to take some sightseeing in before the events start. I will also play. Of course, working for Wizards prevents me from playing in sanctioned events like the Pro Tour and the side drafts, so I am not sure who I will play against. I am sure I will find somebody!"

His comments at the time definitely foretold that his lifetime qualification for the Pro Tour would not lay fallow for long. "I am sure that one day I will use it. If I ever leave Wizards of the Coast, I will certainly go back to playing on the Pro Tour."

Judging by how Alan has jumped back into playing in preparation for Worlds by spending many, many hours drafting Ravnica, truer words were never spoken.

As for who would thank for his induction into the Hall of Fame, Alan didn't have to think long for an answer.

"Scott Johns and Zvi Mowshowitz," came Alan's immediate response. "Magic isn't a solo game, and every successful player has a whole suite of people who helped, whether through playtesting, theorizing, or just being there when things were rough.

"Both of them are great playtest partners, and also had great ideas for how to solve deck problems. In particular, they have played against more crappy decks than anybody should ever have to at that level. For every successful deck I made, only they can give you an idea of how many crappy ones littered to road to progress. They were also a big part of why I stuck with the game for so be with friends.

"Larry Janiec was also very supportive," added Comer. "More than anybody, he was the person who was always there to bounce random ideas off of. Turbo Xerox would never have existed with out him. I came back from Pro Tour-Paris with an idea for a decklist, and Larry liked it, built it and played it exclusively for a long time. Every week, we would get together, and he would say what was working, and what wasn't. We would make changes based on the feedback he gave me. In effect, my playtesting of the deck was almost nil, and it is a tribute to Larry that his analysis of what was working and what wasn't was so good we could tune it without any playtesting on my part."

By Format

Format W L D BYE Matches Win %

By Event Type

Event W L D BYE Matches Win %
Pro Tour1681078028359.36%
Grand Prix775464718456.20%

By Event

Event Date Finish W L D BYE Matches Win %
Pro Tour-Columbus 7/6/1996 23 7 6 0 -
1995-96 Season 7 6 0 0 13 53.85%
Pro Tour-Atlanta 9/13/1996 26 6 3 0 -
Pro Tour Dallas-Type II 11/23/1996 74 5 4 0 -
Pro Tour-Los Angeles Day 3/1/1997 3 9 3 0 -
Pro Tour-Paris 4/11/1997 25 7 4 1 -
Pro Tour-New York 5/30/1997 63 5 5 0 -
1996-97 Season 32 19 1 0 52 61.54%
Pro Tour Chicago 10/10/1997 65 5 2 0 -
Pro Tour-Mainz 12/5/1997 48 6 5 1 -
Pro Tour-Los Angeles 3/6/1998 177 3 4 0 -
Pro Tour-New York 4/17/1998 27 9 4 1 -
Grand Prix-Indianapolis 6/27/1998 17 6 3 1 3
1998 World Championships 8/15/1998 8 14 7 1 -
1997-98 Season 43 25 4 3 75 59.72%
Pro Tour-Chicago 9/25/1998 71 7 6 1 -
Pro Tour-Rome 11/13/1998 50 8 6 0 -
Grand Prix-San Francisco 1/23/1999 4 8 3 1 3
Grand Prix-Barcelona 2/6/1999 26 5 3 0 3
Pro Tour-Los Angeles 2/26/1999 122 4 3 0 -
Pro Tour-New York 4/30/1999 25 9 4 1 -
1999 U.S. Nationals 7/3/1999 61 5 4 0 -
1999 World Championships 8/13/1999 32 11 7 0 -
19998-99 Season 57 36 3 6 102 59.38%
Pro Tour-Washington D.C. (Team) 9/5/1999 2 -
Pro Tour-London 10/15/1999 99 4 3 0 -
Grand Prix-San Diego 11/20/1999 18 6 3 1 3
Pro Tour-Chicago 12/3/1999 5 11 3 1 -
Grand Prix-Seattle 1/15/2000 49 4 4 0 3
Pro Tour-Los Angeles 2/4/2000 118 4 3 0 -
Pro Tour-New York 4/14/2000 29 9 5 0 -
2000 U.S. Nationals 6/10/2000 21 7 4 1 -
2000 World Championships 8/4/2000 209 7 9 0 -
1999-2000 Season 52 34 3 6 95 58.43%
Pro Tour-New York (Team) 10/1/2000 63 -
Grand Prix-Dallas 10/28/2000 61 3 5 0 3
Grand Prix-Phoenix 11/11/2000 89 1 3 0 3
Pro Tour-Chicago 12/1/2000 111 4 3 0 -
Grand Prix-New Orleans 1/6/2001 37 5 4 1 3
Pro Tour-Los Angeles 2/2/2001 166 5 8 0 -
Grand Prix-Boston 2/24/2001 3 9 3 1 3
Grand Prix-Detroit 3/31/2001 119 3 3 0 2
Pro Tour-Barcelona 5/4/2001 2 13 3 1 -
2001 U.S. Nationals 6/2/2001 92 5 5 0 -
2001 World Championships 8/10/2001 42 11 7 0 -
2000-01 Season 59 44 3 14 120 55.66%
Grand Prix-Denver 8/18/2001 144 1 3 0 3
Grand Prix-Santiago 8/25/2001 41 5 5 0 3
Grand Prix-London 9/1/2001 187 1 3 0 3
Pro Tour-New York (Team) 9/9/2001 20 -
Pro Tour-New Orleans 11/2/2001 137 4 3 0 -
Grand Prix-Atlanta 11/17/2001 25 6 4 0 3
Grand Prix-Las Vegas 12/8/2001 9 7 2 1 3
Grand Prix-Houston 1/5/2002 10 7 3 0 3
Pro Tour-San Diego 1/11/2002 45 9 5 0 -
Pro Tour-Osaka 3/15/2002 64 7 6 1 -
Pro Tour-Nice 5/3/2002 73 8 6 0 -
2002 U.S. Nationals 5/31/2002 184 2 4 0 -
2001-02 Season 57 44 2 18 121 55.34%

  • The format for Pro Tour-Los Angeles was Mirage Rochester Draft and it was the first time that format was used in a high-level event. It was the first of five Top 8s for Comer – four of which were Limited format.
    vs. Jon Finkel 2 2 0
    vs. Darwin Kastle 1 1 1
    vs. Tommi Hovi 0 3 1
    vs. Olle Råde 0 0 0
    Total 3 6 2

  • Alan posted two more money finishes during the 1997-98 season including 24th place in Pro Tour-Paris – the first Pro Tour to take place outside of the United States. The format was Mirage Block Constructed.
  • There were a couple of more money finishes for Comer before he reached the Top 8 of 1998 World Championships. His deck was the Cali Nightmare, a Rec-Sur deck that was also played by that year's World Champion Brian Selden and fellow Top 8 competitor Scott Johns.
  • Urza's Saga Block Constructed at Pro Tour-New York 1999 saw Alan Comer post a Top 32 finish but he did not return to the Sunday stage until Team Game Empire (Comer, Kurt Burgner, and Brian Selden) reached the finals of the first three-person team Pro Tour in Washington D.C. 1999.
  • His lone Constructed Top 8 was Chicago 1999 when as a member of the Mogg Squad – a constructed deck cabal that included Zvi, Scott Johns, and Alan Comer – he got as far as Sunday with the Tinker-based Suicide Brown.
  • Comer finished in 29th place for the Masques Block constructed Pro Tour-New York 2000. The Rising Waters deck he used for that tournament was the product of one of the best Constructed teams of all time, which included himself, Zvi Mowshowitz, Scott Johns, and eventual winner Sigurd Eskeland.
  • Alan's best individual finish came at Pro Tour-Barcelona 2001. He reached the finals of the Invasion Draft tournament before falling to Kai Budde in the middle of Budde's historic run. It was also Comer's last Top 8 appearance before taking on a job at Wizards of the Coast, which left in him ineligible for competition.
  • Alan took second place at the SoCal Regional Championships with a rare-less deck known as TurboXerox. The deck, which revolutionized the way people approached Constructed formats, cheated on its land count and was full of cantrips to make up for the seeming lack of land.
  • ComerZilla was another Regionals creation that served Alan well and featured one of the first viable reanimation strategies in Constructed history.
  • Alan's most famous deck is undoubtedly MiracleGro, a.k.a. TurboDryad. The deck featured Quirion Dryad, and the cantrip-fueled velocity of TurboXerox to make the dryad real big, real fast. The deck finished ninth at Grand Prix-Las Vegas but has been a Constructed Staple ever since.
  • Listed below are the decklists from Alan Comer's Top 8 appearances on the Pro Tour and World Championships, as well as some of his most notable rogue creations.

    Alan Comer

    Download Arena Decklist

    Alan Comer (Game Empire)

    Download Arena Decklist

    Alan Comer (Game Empire)

    Download Arena Decklist

    Alan Comer - Suicide Brown

    Download Arena Decklist

    Alan Comer

    Download Arena Decklist

    Alan Comer

    Download Arena Decklist

    Alan Comer - Turbo Dryad (MiracleGro)

    Download Arena Decklist

    Alan Comer - Comerzilla

    Download Arena Decklist

    Alan Comer - Turbo Xerox

    Download Arena Decklist


    All files are Windows Media Player format.

  • Hall of Fame Highlight Reel (53 MB)
  • 2005 Worlds: Alan Comer Interview (6.6 MB)
  • 1997 U.S. Nationals Interview (5.3 MB)
  • Prou Tour-Los Angeles 1997 Semifinals: Alan Comer vs. Tommi Hovi (13 MB)
  • Pro Tour-Barcelona 2001 Finals, Game 1: Alan Comer vs. Kai Budde (28 MB)
  • Pro Tour-Barcelona 2001 Finals, Game 2: Alan Comer vs. Kai Budde (26 MB)
  • Pro Tour-Barcelona 2001 Finals, Game 3: Alan Comer vs. Kai Budde (11 MB)
  • Pro Tour-Barcelona 2001 Finals, Game 4: Alan Comer vs. Kai Budde (13 MB)
  • Pro Tour-Barcelona 2001 Awards Ceremony (9.6 MB)
  • Photo Gallery

    Alan Comer's skill as a deckbuilder changed the face of Magic several times.

    Alan Comer at Pro Tour-Barcelona 2001, one of his five Top 8 appearances.

    Alan Comer with the rest of Game Empire (Brian Selden and Kurt Burgner ) at Pro Tour-Washington, D.C. 2000. Also playing on Sunday were Jon Finkel and Team Antarctica and Darwin Kastle and YMG, who won the event.

    Alan Comer at Pro Tour-San Diego 2002, in one of his last Pro Tour appearances before joining Wizards of the Coast.

    Alan Comer at Worlds 2001, showing his characteristic joy in playing Magic.

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