Frank Karsten is The Fanatic!

Posted in Event Coverage on February 17, 2006

By Wizards of the Coast

Fanatic is taken from the word fan...

Okay, it is actually the other way around but the two words diverged long ago into very different meanings – especially when it comes to Magic. A fan of Magic is someone who appreciates the game and enjoys the thrill of competition – when they can find time to play. On the other hand, a fanatic can't be kept away from the tournament venue, off the draft queue, and has to be reminded to eat.

(Profiles by Brian David-Marshall)

Winner: Frank Karsten (23.2% of votes)

What becomes a fanatic most? For me, it is cryptic scribbled notes ranging from Frank Karsten's List for Nagoya to his recent grid that illustrated his arcane but effective method for laying out a Ravnica/Guildpact Sealed Deck card pool – part periodic table, part Sudoku solution. Magic always seems to be on his mind whether he is churning out competitive-looking decks in his weekly column, discussing high-level strategy, or dissecting a Limited format.

2005 Pro Points: 61 (tied for 8th place)

Akira Asahara (14.1%)

There is very little in the way of virtual Magic in Japan. While Magic Online has become a ubiquitous testing tool for the rest of the world, it has not taken off in Japan the same way. As he does with many of his deck choices, Akira Asahara goes against the grain. He is a well-known MTGO fixture and has shown up recently in the Hall of Champions with a match total exceeded by few other top Pros.

2005 Pro Points: 51 (tied for 13th place)

Alan Comer (5.8%)

Alan Comer went from programming Magic Online to using it non-stop to prepare for Worlds 2005 after leaving Wizards' employment and getting inducted into the Pro Tour Hall of Fame. Alan was always known for playing in any and all tournaments he could find, and has gone back to his old ways – tearing up the local tournament scene, playing in front of his computer monitor, and scrambling to get in as many side events as possible at Worlds.

2005 Pro Points: 2 (tied for 796th place)

Sam Gomersall (10.8%)

You need look no further than the 2005 Magic Invitational to find evidence of Sam Gomersall's fanaticism. While taking part in an Invitational draft, Sam had another window open with another draft using his personal account. Despite all the lures and distractions of E3, it was Magic Online that was the focus of Sam's attention – so much so that tube feeding was nearly required. Sam parlayed that fanaticism into his first Grand Prix title this season in Hasselt.

2005 Pro Points: 27 (tied for 58th place)

Rich Hoaen (5.6%)

The amount of time Rich Hoaen spends drafting online is legendary and he was recently rewarded with a victory at Grand Prix-Richmond. Rich is never without a draft set, whether in real life or sitting next to a computer. It is entirely unclear which came first: the Hoaen or the Magic Online draft queue. But it is equally unclear if either could exist without the other.

2005 Pro Points: 36 (tied for 30th place)

Anton Jonsson (7.0%)

I don't think Anton Jonsson sleeps ... at least not when at a premier-level event. Morning, noon, or night, a somewhat disheveled Jonsson will be sitting with his friends cracking packs and making picks. How else do you get to be one of the top Limited players of all time? And Anton is not keeping it to himself, either. He strives to make others better through his all-too-infrequent columns on the Limited format and with protégés such as Johan Sadeghpour and Simon Carlsson.

2005 Pro Points: 40 (tied for 25th place)

Tomohiro Kaji (6.7%)

Not too long ago, Tomohiro Kaji was a good PTQ player from Japan – good enough that he believed it was worth his while to fly to the U.S. for a Last Chance Qualifier. While he did not earn the spot, he played in every side event he could enter for practice. If there is one word to describe Kaji, that would be it – practice. Even by Japanese standards, he is a fanatical playtester who loves to play in tournaments. It was his initiative that put the four-person Japan-to-Richmond trip into action and he will apparently be spearheading many similar trips in the coming months.

2005 Pro Points: 64 (6th place)

Antti Malin (9.1%)

Not many Pros take part in much live sanctioned Magic outside of Pro Tours or Grand Prix-level events. Of all the Pros Level 3 or higher in the Pro Players Club, only two took part in more real-life sanctioned Limited events than rising star Antti Malin – and neither of those were close to his Pro Tour success. He reached his first Top 8 during Pro Tour-London, the high point of a season that included two more Top 24s and five money finishes. One can only imagine how well he must do at the local store drafts.

2005 Pro Points: 45 (18th place)

Shuhei Nakamura (5.7%)

So picture this: You are playing at the World Championships and have earned a berth in the Top 8 for Sunday. What would be a relaxing way to spend your Saturday while the National teams slug it out? If you answered, "Sign up for an iPod tournament and play Magic all day long and win – natch," you may very well be Shuhei Nakamura. Shuehei just loves to play. In addition to two Pro Tour Top 8s and one 9th, he also played in – and won – the local Osaka Champs.

2005 Pro Points: 67 (5th place)

Josh Ravitz (12.0%)

When Josh Ravitz loans out decks to his friends for big tournaments, their opponents are constantly dazzled by uniform APAC basic lands and black-bordered foreign first editions of every card in the deck. A Magic Fanatic in all things, Josh puts in as much effort assembling the most beautiful personal collection on the Pro Tour as he does in his increasingly impressive tournament performances. A former No. 1 ranked Magic Online player, Josh continues to put in the hours even now that he's started college. His dedication and his time spent playing online has had telling results in his tournament performances over the past year.

2005 Pro Points: 29 (tied for 46th place)

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