Feature: The Top 8 Player Profiles

Posted in Event Coverage on May 7, 2005

By Event Coverage Staff

Ryan Cimera

Ryan Cimera

Age: 16

Hometown: Colorado Springs

Occupation: Student

Number of times playing on the Pro Tour: This is my first.

How did you qualify for Pro Tour-Philadelphia? GP Seattle Top 8

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 2

Other Previous Magic accomplishments: Friday Night Magic Champion

What was your record on:
Day 1: 6-0
Day 2: 4-2

What deck are you playing and why? How long did it take you to decide what deck to play? I am playing my sealed deck from last week with 20 extra cards and a sideboard. I had some trouble early on with a black-green list so I asked for a decklist.

Please describe your testing process for your deck. Who built it? Nicotine Jones on MTGO made the early builds. I picked it up and played it in some 8-man tournaments.

What was the most surprising thing you saw during the first 12 rounds? Kai Budde getting mana screwed.

What do you think of your chances in the Top 8? I have beaten that Gifts deck every time this weekend. This one has less removal and Heartbeat/Myojins, so I like my chances.

What do you think of the Pro Tour Players Club? What Level are you? It is pretty cool now that I get something from it.

What is your favorite movie? The one with action in it.

Mark Herberholz

Mark Herberholz

Age: 21

Hometown: East Lansing, Michigan, USA

Occupation: Student / Magic Pro

Number of times playing on the Pro Tour: 12? Maybe?

How did you qualify for Pro Tour-Philadelphia? The Gravy Train

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 1 PT Top 8 (before today), 1 GP Top 8

Other Previous Magic accomplishments:
Top 8 Pro Tour - San Diego 2004
Top 8 Grand Prix - Detroit

What was your record on:
Day 1: 5-1
Day 2: 4-2

What deck are you playing and why? How long did it take you to decide what deck to play? BGWU Splice. I think it's the best deck. I've been set on playing a Splice deck since I started testing, but I got my list on Thursday night.

Please describe your testing process for your deck. Who built it? Rogier Maaten and Gabe Walls built and tuned the deck, but it was my influence that made them play Final Judgment.

What was the most surprising thing you saw during the first 12 rounds? Gabe Walls's belly.

What do you think of your chances in the Top 8? Pretty good. I really like my deck.

What do you think of the Pro Tour Players Club? What Level are you? It's cool, but they should serve lunch like in Atlanta and there should be more pop. I'm Level 3 unless I win it all, then I'm Level 4.

What is your favorite movie? Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Andre Mueller

Andre Mueller

Age: 25

Hometown: Essen, Germany

Occupation: College Student

Number of times playing on the Pro Tour: 8

How did you qualify for Pro Tour-Philadelphia? Won a German PTQ

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 1 GP Top 8, 1 Team GP Top 6

Other Previous Magic accomplishments:

PT New Orleans - 20th

What was your record on:
Day 1: 6-0
Day 2: 3-3

What deck are you playing and why? How long did it take you to decide what deck to play? I played Four-color Control. I picked it up Thursday night when I lost to it all the time with the deck I was originally going to play. It was a last-minute switch.

Please describe your testing process for your deck. Who built it? Harald Stein built it for a Premier Event on Magic Online. Before the Pro Tour I didn't play the deck at all. My only experience with it was the twelve matches I played in this event.

What was the most surprising thing you saw during the first 12 rounds? Against one of the Japanese players I lost Game 1 when he drew 12 off a Myojin of Seeing Winds. In the second game I Extracted for them, and missed! He had sided them out along with his Heartbeats of Spring for a bunch of cheaper Legends!

What do you think of your chances in the Top 8? I should have a small edge in the quarters. The semis look favorable for me no matter who advances. After that, we shall see.

What do you think of the Pro Tour Players Club? What Level are you? I'm Level 3 right now, unless I win the Pro Tour, in which case I'll level up. The additional bonuses are great for players like me, but the very best would rather have their end-of-year payout.

What is your favorite movie? Memento

Jeff Novekoff

Jeff Novekoff

Age: 20

Hometown: Inverness, Ill

Occupation: None

Number of times playing on the Pro Tour: 0

How did you qualify for Pro Tour-Philadelphia? 11th at GP Boston

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 0

Other Previous Magic accomplishments: 11th at GP Boston. Illinois State Champ!!!

What was your record on:
Day 1: 4-2
Day 2: 6-0

What deck are you playing and why? How long did it take you to decide what deck to play? Black Snakes because it matches well with Gifts and White Weenie. I copied the deck from a friend. I didn't play it once before the Pro Tour.

Please describe your testing process for your deck. Who built it? I copied Rafal Arendt's deck and didn't test because I was too busy.

What was the most surprising thing you saw during the first 12 rounds? Me winning

What do you think of your chances in the Top 8? Not bad. It depends on who draws Sakura and Reach.

What do you think of the Pro Tour Players Club? What Level are you? Level 2. I like the club but don't let it run out of food.

Olivier Ruel

Olivier Ruel

Age: 23

Hometown: Lille, France

Occupation: Level 6 Mage

Number of times playing on the Pro Tour: 30

How did you qualify for Pro Tour-Philadelphia? Pro Points

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 11 GP's, 4 PT's

Other Previous Magic accomplishments:

8th Edition Prerelease Champion

What was your record on:
Day 1: 5-1
Day 2: 5-0-1

What deck are you playing and why? How long did it take you to decide what deck to play? Sway of the Stars / Heartbeat of Spring. I didn't have much time to playtest, but I wanted to play Myojin of Seeing Winds, so I built a deck around it.

Please describe your testing process for your deck. Who built it? Not much testing, just tried to put all the cards I liked in the same deck. I built it with help from my brother (especially the sideboard), and was inspired by Go Anan.

What was the most surprising thing you saw during the first 12 rounds? Go Anan not winning the LCQ.

What do you think of your chances in the Top 8? Pretty good. I'm not playing my best, but my deck is amazing.

What do you think of the Pro Tour Players Club? What Level are you? I liked it when it was announced. Now that I'm Level 6, I love it.

What is your favorite movie? It's a toss-up between Battlefield Earth, Rocky 4, and every Steven Seagal movie.

Gadiel Szleifer

Gadiel Szleifer

Age: Turned 16 last week

Hometown: Homewood, Illinois, USA

Occupation: Student

Number of times playing on the Pro Tour: This is my 7th

How did you qualify for Pro Tour-Philadelphia? Pro Points

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: GP Chicago, PT Columbus

Other Previous Magic accomplishments:

None.

What was your record on:
Day 1: 5-1
Day 2: 5-1

What deck are you playing and why? How long did it take you to decide what deck to play? Gifts, because it's the best deck. It only took me a few minutes to pick.

Please describe your testing process for your deck. Who built it? The mailing list put it together, then once I knew I was playing it I tested endlessly for about a week.

What do you think of your chances in the Top 8? They are fine unless I play Kenji.

What do you think of the Pro Tour Players Club? What Level are you? It's raw. I'm Level 4, 5 if I Top 4 tomorrow.

What is your favorite movie? Shrug, a few.

Kenji Tsumura

Kenji Tsumura

Age: 18

Hometown: Hiroshima, Japan

Occupation: Pro

Number of times playing on the Pro Tour: 10

How did you qualify for Pro Tour-Philadelphia? Pro Points

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: GP Osaka Top 4, PT Atlanta Top 4

Other Previous Magic accomplishments: 2004 Finalist Japan Nationals

What was your record on:
Day 1: 4-2
Day 2: 6-0

What deck are you playing and why? How long did it take you to decide what deck to play? Heartbeat. Itaru Ishida gave me the deck. Two weeks.

Please describe your testing process for your deck. Who built it? I worked with friends in Tokyo. Itaru Ishida.

What was the most surprising thing you saw during the first 12 rounds? In Round 12 when there were still 9 players and I had to play.

What do you think of your chances in the Top 8? I thought they were very good if I made no mistakes.

What do you think of the Pro Tour Players Club? What Level are you? Very x2 Good. Right now I am Level 4 but a Top 4 finish gives me Level 5.

What is your favorite movie? Miyazaki anime movies.

Steven Wolfman

Steven Wolfman

Age: 25

Hometown: Toronto

Occupation: Computer Engineer - looking for work

Number of times playing on the Pro Tour: Aomething like 10 times

How did you qualify for Pro Tour-Philadelphia? PTQ

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 1

Other Previous Magic accomplishments: Team PT/Masters finalist with 2020

What was your record on:
Day 1: 5-1
Day 2: 6-0

What deck are you playing and why? How long did it take you to decide what deck to play? GWU. It has a solid match-up against almost all decks.

Please describe your testing process for your deck. Who built it? Built by Richard Hoaen. I tested mainly with Hoaen in person and a few games on Apprentice.

What was the most surprising thing you saw during the first 12 rounds? Multiple draws in the last few rounds.

What do you think of your chances in the Top 8? It is going to be a challenge but I think it is winnable.

What do you think of the Pro Tour Players Club? What Level are you? I like it but I had 0 Pro Points before this PT.

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