Jacob Wilson, currently ranked 11th in the world, has quickly risen up from obscurity to be one of the most impressive Magic players in the world. In just a few years of competitive play, Wilson has already managed to Top 8 four Grand Prix events, winning two of them, and he finished in the finals of a Pro Tour Born of the Gods. Wilson is currently preparing for his debut at The World Championship, the pinnacle of Magic competition.
I sat down with Wilson for a conversation about Magic, life, and his personal expectations.
Jacob Van Lunen: "When did you start playing Magic? Competitively?"
Jacob Wilson: "I started playing right after Magic 2010 came out. I started playing competitively about two months later."
JVL: "Tell me about yourself. What types of things are you interested in besides Magic?"
JW: "I used to play a lot of Tennis. I'm really interested in social justice. I was a gender studies major in college. I think I'd be interested in going into politics at some point. I played a lot of sports when I was younger and I'm very competitive. Unfortunately, I wasn't athletic enough to reach high-level competition with sports. Magic gave me a competitive outlet where I could use my brain and compete against the best in the world."
JVL: "What kinds of Music do you listen to?"
JW: "I really like electronic music and I also listen to some older hippie stuff."
JVL: "Was there a particular point where you realized that you had the potential to do great things in competitive Magic?"
JW: "In 2010, at Grand Prix Portland, I managed to start 12-1. I didn't Top 8, but I had a taste of success and I wanted to make something happen."
JVL: "You've been performing well at every level of competition for some time now, but you've really stepped up your game in the last year. Was there a particular life event that gave you the ability to focus all of your energy on Magic?"
JW: "I took a semester off of school to focus on playing Magic. I'll probably go back soon, but I really wanted to focus on preparing for The World Championship. I really want to do well. I might get burnt out on Magic at some point and need more of a balance in my life, but right now I need to be focused on the task at hand."
JVL: "That's a big life decision. How did your parents react?"
JW: "My parents are really supportive of my Magic playing. They've always let me make these decisions for myself. I qualified for my first Pro Tour when I was 15 and they even let me go to that."
JVL: "Who have you been preparing with for the World Championship?"
JW: "I spent a week testing with Dave Shiels and Matt Costa before Grand Prix New Jersey. Then I spent this last week testing with Alexander Hayne and Jon Stern. Next week, I'll go home and get my last week of testing with Sam Pardee. Pardee and I have been working together since before either of us were qualified for the Pro Tour. Once I get to France, Shaun McLaren and I plan on trading information. I respect Shaun a lot and I would love to work with him, but he prefers not to practice."
JVL: "You've had an absurd amount of success for someone that only started playing so recently. What advice do you have for players that are looking to take their game to the next level?"
JW: "It's important to find someone with similar goals. Sam Pardee and I were just guys that practiced for and went to PTQs together. Neither of us had done anything of note. Now, we've both had a lot of success at every level of competition. Having someone else that shares your sentiment encourages real testing and forces you to attend a lot of events."
JVL: "What are your personal goals with Magic?"
JW: "I want to win a Pro Tour or Worlds. If I'm giving this game everything, then I want to win one of the big events."
Jacob Wilson has only been playing Magic for a few years and he's already managed to have more tournament success than most have in a lifetime. There's surely a lot more to come from this young master. Be sure to follow Wilson throughout this weekend and next weekend at The World Championship.