Matthew Costa has been a fixture of the Pro Tour since 2011. Last year, Costa was unable to attend a Pro Tour and now he finds himself in an unfamiliar position. Costa is, for the first time in a long time, not qualified for the upcoming Pro Tour Fate Reforged.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Costa to talk about his current situation and his plans to reforge his own fate.
Jacob Van Lunen: "When did you start playing Magic? Competitively?"
Matthew Costa: "I started playing in 2002, but I was just playing casually with friends. My first sanctioned event was the Eighth Edition prerelease. My first PTQ was during Lorwyn Block in late 2007. I played my first Grand Prix in 2009 and found myself playing in my first Pro Tour six months later."
JVL: "You've been on the Pro Tour for quite some time now and you've experience a lot of success playing against some of the best players in the world. What advice do you have for players that are looking to improve their game."
MC: "The absolute most important thing is to love Magic. When you miss the second day of competition at a Grand Prix and you're upset because you can't play another six rounds of competitive Magic, then you're in a pretty good place. I love playing Magic. I've always wanted the opportunity to play more and bigger events. In terms of actual progression, there's no substitute for putting in the time and learning from mistakes."
JVL: "Despite a lot of early success, last year didn't go tremendously well for you. Was there a particular life event, sentiment, or responsibility that took precedence over Magic this last year?"
MC: "Last year, I was in my fourth year of business school at Boston College. I needed to focus on school and friends while I had the opportunity to do so. I actually would have been Silver if I had showed up to Atlanta for the Pro Tour last year, but I had responsibilities I couldn't ignore."
JVL: "You currently find yourself in the precarious situation of not being qualified for the next Pro Tour. Today, you have an opportunity to change that. What would securing an invitation to Pro Tour Fate Reforged mean to you?"
MC: "It would mean everything. I've already played in ten Pro Tours, but I want to play more. I've had the opportunity to work with an incredible team [ChannelFireball's The Pantheon] these last few years. I want to go back to them and continue learning and helping them test for events. Magic is a big part of my life. Watching the Pro Tour from home would obviously be fun, but I know I'd be wishing I was a part of the action."
JVL: "What do you consider the weakest part of your game? How are you working to improve in that area?"
MC: "I think sometimes I play a bit quickly and rely on intuition too much. Using intuition is important, but I do it too often, especially in the early rounds of a tournament. It often takes me a few rounds to get into the groove of things and start playing at the level I'm capable of. I need to work to get into the right mindset in round one instead of trying to build momentum over the course of a day."
Currently sitting at 10-0, Costa has a very real shot of making it back on the Pro Tour with his last possible chance. Will Costa prove that he has what it takes to stay in the big leagues? Stay tuned for continuing coverage of Grand Prix Ottawa to find out!