Olivier Books Road Trip to Invitational

Posted in Event Coverage on March 16, 2005

Six men enter, one man leaves!

That is actually Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and not Road Warrior, but you get the idea. This is a new voting category for players who approach the game as an opportunity to see the world. They travel for different reasons and in different circles, but all of these players are likely to show up on the roster of a Grand Prix anywhere in the world.

(Profiles by Brian David-Marshall)

WINNER: Olivier Ruel (30.4% of vote)

While Olivier has similar stamps in his passport as his brother, his claim to the Road Warrior title comes with the joy with which he pursues it. Oliver spent the weeks leading up to Pro Tour-Nagoya staying with friends in Japan and even playing in one of the Japanese prerelease events for Betrayers of Kamigawa. He was one of the very first players to reach out to the Japanese Pro community and seems as ease with his French countrymen as he is practicing his mock-fu with his many Japanese friends.

2003-2004 Pro Points: 58 (tie-8th) | Nagoya Pro Standings: 62 (2nd)

Richard Hoaen (5.1%)

Over the past three seasons, Hoaen’s worst Limited finish was 22nd in Chicago back in the 2002-03 season. Since then, he has finished 8th in Yokohama, 10th in Amsterdam, 12th in San Diego, and 11th in Nagoya. On top of that, he has not posted a record worse than 5-1 during the Limited portion of Canadian Nationals over the past three seasons. It is a remarkable streak that gets Rich onto the short list of top Limited players in the world -- to be mentioned in the same breath as Anton Jonsson and Nicolai Herzog. During that time he has traveled to events all over the world, staying on the top of his game and making the most of that unique opportunity. He recently had to go all-in to reach Nagoya (along with fresh Invitationalist Sam Gomersall) and was rewarded with a Top 16 finish.

2003-2004 Pro Points: 33 (tie-41st) | Nagoya Pro Standings: 27 (tie-45th)

Masahiko Morita (11.1%)

A year ago, this would have been seen as an ironic entry. Morita, the holder of 13 Grand Prix Top 8 appearances, had been content to dominate his native Japan but rarely travel. But look out, world. Morita has started to cast his gaze outside the APAC region. His string of Top 8s started in Hiroshima 2000-01 and continued to Yokohama, Shizuoka, Fukuoka, Nagoya, Sapporo, Bangkok, Yokohama, Sendai, Kuala Lumpur, Yokohama (again), and Osaka . . . but then came a 6th-place finish at GP-Boston. And a 22nd-place finish at GP-Seattle. And an 15th-place finish with Masashi Oiso and Katsuhiro Mori at Pro Tour-Atlanta. The man is starting to cash checks written out in dollars, folks, and not just yen. The Magic world might never be the same.

2003-2004 Pro Points: 35 (tie-37th) | Nagoya Pro Standings: 42 (15th)

Jeroen Remie (14.3%)

A powerhouse Dutch player, Remie is often viewed as an American by regulars on the Pro Tour. Sure, his mannerisms match many a U.S. player, but when a man from the Netherlands' city of Dongen can order "the usual" in an Indiana restaurant, that has to count for something. So does a string of Top 8 appearances that includes PT Seattle 03-04 (a win with Von Dutch), GP New Jersey 03-04, GP Lyon 03-04, PT Houston 02-03, and Worlds 2003 in Berlin. In preparation for PT Atlanta, he and Jelger Wiegersma trekked to the wilds of New Jersey to practice the team format with the TOGIT crew.

2003-2004 Pro Points: 52 (12th) | Nagoya Pro Standings: 48 (11th)

Antoine Ruel (15.7%)

Antoine got to the top of the Nagoya standings by the sweat of his brow and the wings of many an airplane. Just looking at the stops where Antoine has reached the Top 8 should give you idea of how many commas are in his frequent flier account: Vienna 05, Sendai 03-04, Sevilla 02-03, San Paolo 01-02, Curitiba 01-02, London 01-02, Moscow 01-02, Prague 00-01, Cologne 00-01, Amsterdam 01-02, Porto 01-02, and Cannes 99-00. He has Grand Prix Top 8 appearances on more continents than most players have Top 8s, period.

2003-2004 Pro Points: 68 (4th) | Nagoya Pro Standings: 69 (1st)

Eric “Danger” Taylor (23.4%)

EDT was one of the foremost theorists about Magic: The Gathering from the earliest usenet musings about the new card game. Even back in those days he would travel for Pro Tour Qualifiers and would show up in New York one week and be in Columbus the next. He still hammers away on the Pro Tour circuit when not qualified, and is as likely to be seen on the player roster of a European Grand Prix as he is a North American event. His Barbie travelogue which chronicled his adventures driving from PTQ to PTQ should be the handbook for aspiring Road Warriors everywhere.

2003-2004 Pro Points: 5(tie-384th) | Nagoya Pro Standings: 4 (tie-399th)

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