With only six weeks until Pro Tour Born of the Gods in Valencia, the top European players are on a tight schedule. Since the format is modern there as well, a few of them have opted to warm up by participating here in Prague. 9th ranked Jeremy Dezani, winner of Pro Tour Theros admits that his testing for Valencia hasn't really started, but his travel plans have been set.
"Since I live in Paris I will play the Legacy Grand Prix there the weekend before the Pro Tour, and our entire team is meeting up in Paris a few days before it and we fly to Valencia the Monday after to continue testing," he says.
The team he is talking about is Team Revolution, made up by a French players like Pierre Dagan and 20th ranked Raphael Levy, along with American top players like Melissa deTora. "Me, Melissa and Raphael are also playing the team Grand Prix in Barcelona the weekend after the Pro Tour," Dezani explains.
Winning the Pro Tour in Dublin in October granted Dezani Platinum Pro status for the duration of this season and the next, but he still has his eyes on one race and aims to play a few more Grand Prix to win it. "I really want to be the Player of the Year. Right now I am in the lead over Sam Black by one point, but I hope to make top 8 in at least one more Grand Prix this season to make sure I stay ahead," he says.
The current Player of the Year, 4th ranked Shahar Shenhar, also has a substantial travel plan the weeks leading up to Pro Tour Born of the Gods. After this weekends Grand Prix he's headed to Sacramento for a Theros limited Grand Prix, after that to Vancouver for one in standard before he heads back to Prague. "We're gathering the entire Team Channel Fireball in Prague to test the week before the Pro Tour," he says, admitting that he unfortunately will skip the Grand Prix in Paris to have more time to test.
With that much traveling, and already Platinum Pro level status for this season and the next, one can't help but wonder, where does he find the fire to motivate him to play in all these events?
"Well, it's more than just traveling, it's amazing to get to see friends from all around the world, and when I get back to Israel in between events it's nice to be back home and relax preparing for the next one," says Shenhar.
And even though there hasn't been any large tournaments during the holidays, don't think that he hasn't been busy playing the game he loves. "Since the holiday cube was available on Magic Online I played about a 40 of those," he says.
What other top players are fine tuning their travel arrangements for the next six weeks, and what weird teams will form for the Pro Tour? Come Grand Prix Paris in February and we will for sure have more interesting tales to tell.