Saturday, 5:15 p.m. - The Brazilian Mark Herberholz

Posted in Event Coverage on September 17, 2011

By Rich Hagon

Rich Hagon combines a deep knowledge of the players of the Pro Tour with a passionate love of the game. He's a regular commentator for Pro Tour and Grand Prix live video coverage, and is the official Pro Tour Statistician. He has been covering Magic events since 2006.

Sometimes I get myself into a lot of trouble. Last year, I wrote a piece from here at Brazil Nationals with my tongue wedged so firmly in my cheek it required subsequent surgery. In it, I took some blurry photos of Magic players, and wove the entirely fictitious tale of many globally famous players coming from around the world to not play in Brazil Nationals. Among them were such luminaries as Sam Black, Ben Lundquist, Guillaume Wafo-Tapa, Michael Jacob, and a certain Pro Tour Honolulu Champion, Mr. Mark Herberholz.

Mark Herberholz

Needless to say, none of those sterling gentlemen were in fact present at the event last year, but it turned out that some jokes are too good to pass up. Meet André Franco:

André Franco

This is the man I described as Mark Herberholz. And guess what? It stuck. Now everybody he plays with calls him Mark Herberholz, and it's all my fault. When I heard about this, I was suitably apologetic. Fortunately, he had some good news to share:

'I've just qualified in the Last Chance Qualifier.'

I was suitably pleased for him, but surprised that he wasn't already qualified. He's pretty good at the game, so I didn't quite understand it.

'Ah, well, I wasn't able to play at Regionals this year' he smiled. 'You see, I went travelling to play Magic in Europe. I got to play in Grand Prix Prague and Grand Prix London, and although I didn't do anything special in either event, it was still great to travel the world and play some high-level Magic.'

I was fairly sure I'd seen him at the Pro Tour. Turns out I was right, sort of.

'Yes, I was at the Pro Tour, but I've never been on the Pro Tour. I went with some friends to Puerto Rico to play in the Last Chance Qualifier and have a holiday there.'

So now he's one stage closer to getting to the Pro Tour itself, and this weekend a top 4 finish will do that. How did the LCQ go?

'Well it was the first one I entered. They're all 32 player events, so you have to go 5-0 to qualify. I was playing UR Twin, and to be honest every match was pretty easy. I beat Caw-Blade in the final, so now I'm into Nationals.'

Will he change his deck for the main event?

'Possibly. In the LCQ I expected to see a lot of mono-red decks, because they're quite easy to get the cards for, and I think there'll be less mono-red in Nationals itself. I'll still be playing UR Twin though.'

At the time of writing, André had a rocky start, going 1-2 in his three rounds of Standard. Still, next it's on to draft. Perhaps he can draw on the inspiration of his more famous lookalike to pull out a 3-0 performance. In any case, while his Brazilian friends may continue to call him the Brazilian Mark Herberholz, we now know better.

André Franco. Remember the name.

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