Owen Turtenwald has been playing high-profile Magic events for the better part of the last decade. Turtenwald first broke onto the competitive scene with a Top 8 at Grand Prix Columbus in 2007. Since then, he's gradually been on the up and up. Over the last year and a half, all of Turtenwald's hard work finally paid off. Turtenwald now has multiple Pro Tour Top 8s, multiple Grand Prix victories, and is currently ranked first in the world in the Top 25 Pro Rankings.
I sat down with Turtenwald to discuss his relationship with Magic, his ability to progress, and his plans for the future.
Jacob Van Lunen: "When did you start playing Magic? Competitively?"
Owen Turtenwald: "I started playing Magic in 2001. I didn't start playing competitively until 2007."
JVL: "When did you decide that you wanted to make a career out of Magic?"
OT: "I haven't yet done that."
JVL: "Fair enough. What steps have you taken to ensure your success?"
OT: "I practice a lot and go to a lot of tournaments. The best way to succeed in Magic is to go to a lot of tournaments."
JVL: "What tips do you have for players looking to improve their game?"
OT: "I got a lot better by playing Magic Online."
JVL: "You've successfully surrounded yourself with some of the game's best players. What have you learned from working with people like William Jensen and Reid Duke? What qualities do you feel you've helped improve in each of them?"
OT: "They are both excellent at Magic. Some of the greatest. No. The greatest players I've ever met. Before I met them, my preparation process for tournaments didn't even resemble what it is now. They're dedicated to improvement and they've refined how I get ready for tournaments. To be honest, I'm not really sure what I brought to their games."
JVL: "You spent many years doing reasonably well, but you've only recently established yourself as the best player in the world, or at least one of the best? What did you change about your approach to the game that gave you the ability to break through that final barrier?"
OT: "I used to just not prepare. I would show up to tournaments and play my best, but I wasn't putting the work in. Now, I care. I do my best to be ready for everything before I show up to the event."
JVL: "What are your goals in regards to Magic going forward?"
OT: "I hope to win a Pro Tour at some point."
JVL: "You don't have Hall of Fame aspirations?"
OT: "I'm not interested in thinking about things like that. I just want to play my best at every tournament I show up to. If people decide that I deserve to be in The Hall of Fame some day, then that'd be great, but I'm not thinking about that when I'm playing."
Owen Turtenwald is the best Magic player in the world. Turtenwald has proven, time and time again, that he's capable of anything. There's no one that brings a tighter game to the table more consistently. Turtenwald's focus is more powerful than emotion, more powerful than ambition, the only thing that matters is bringing the best game to the table every time.