Sideboard Online Event Coverage

Posted in Event Coverage

By Wizards of the Coast

1998 World Championships
Pictures of National Teams


Argentina

Douglas Maioli (National Champion)
Gero Maier (Runner-up)
Ricardo Buccolo (3rd)
Ezequiel Do Rego (4th)

Having held their nationals only two weeks ago, Argentina was among the last teams to be set for the World Championships. With no college vacation during the year and only two weeks between Nationals and Worlds, the Argentinians had little or no time to prepare. The team notes their worst format is Rath Cycle constructed. Still, members Ricardo Buccolo (Pro Tour Chicago '97) and Gero Maier ('97 Worlds, Pro Tour Chicago) have previous experience on the international scene.

Australia

Rod Ho (National Champion)
Yaro Starak (Runner-up)
Matt Dickinson (3rd)
Dane Coltman (4th)

Led by three time National Champion player Rod Ho ('97 and '98 Australian National Champ) and Dane Coltman (2nd Sydney Invitational, PT NY '98), the Australians are looking to finish strong in the team event and possibly place several players in the top 64 of the individual competition. Australians back home will appreciate knowing that Rod Ho has acquired another goat to replace the one he lost at last year's Worlds.

Belgium

Dominique Coene
Jean-Louis D'Hondt
Kurt Foket
Peter Gysemans

While many competitors this year are relative newcomers to the Pro Tour circuit, Belgium is represented by several experienced players. Kurt Foket, who qualified using a Bloom deck, finished 14th at PT Paris and 2nd at GP Lyon. Peter Gysemans, 22nd finisher at Worlds '97, qualified using a 5-color-weenie deck - mostly black and red, with all one casting cost creatures. Jean-Louis D'Hondt made finals using a blue/green Tradewind deck with Overruns and Dominique Coene, one of the top finishers at GP Amsterdam, won the tournament using a deck similar to Gysemans'.

Brazil

Romario Tavora (National Champion)
Marcello Rodrigues Leone (Runner-up)
Sergio Longo Junior (4th)
Marco Antonio-Giudice Machado (5th, Alternate)

Featuring three team members from San Paolo, Brazil managed to get quite a bit of practice in for this year's Worlds. Feeling that they are the lowest underdogs in the tournament, they feel, as dogs, they'll fight to the death. Though they don't expect to finish that high, team member Marcello Leone did make one bold prediction, "We will finish ahead of France!"

Canada

Pete Radonjic (National Champion)
Nick Chen (Runner-up)
S. Ryan Kirk (3rd)
Terry Tsang (4th)

Canada represents one of the stronger teams in this year's Worlds competition. Pro Tour veterans Pete Radonjic and Terry Tsang highlight the team, with Nick Chen and Ryan Kirk looking to prove themselves in their first major international competition. Team practice has been limited to internet sharing of deck ideas due to the distance of the competitors from each other. Look for the Canadians to do well in most formats.

Chile

Fabian Andrade
Rodrigo Sanchez
Eduardo Vyhmeister

The Chilean national team is represented by only three players this year. Rodrigo Sanchez finished in the 3rd place - just as he did last year - using a Natures Revolt/Pendrell Mists lock deck. Eduardo Vyhmeister finished second using a Sligh deck and Fadian Andres Santander won it all using a black-white Bottomless Pit deck with Cursed Scrolls and Null Brooches.

The Chile team members feel their best performance should be during the draft portion of Worlds.

Czech Republic

Petr Blatny
Rudolf Kucera
Martin Laznovsky
Ivan Stanoev

This country produced our last year's national champion - Jakub Slemr, and will surely do well this time around. The czechs include Rudolf Kucgra and Petr Blatni who qualified using a "Godzilla" reanimator deck. Ivan Stanoev, PTNY 97 finalist, also qualified using a graveyard manipulation deck - but 5 color WW was able to defeat these strategies and come out on top, making Martin Laznovsky a national champion.

Finland

Arto Hiltunen
Mikko Punakallio
Mikko Snygg
Tomi Walamies

Top players from Finland qualified using a variety of strategies. Arto Hiltunen, top 16 finisher of Pro Tour-Paris played Sligh. Tomi Walamies, top 16 finisher of PTNY '97 used a white weenie with four Firestorm as the only off-color cards. Mikko Snygg made finals using a green/white prison and Mikko Punakallio won the tournament using the classic mono-blue "Draw-Go" deck.

France

Manuel Bevand
Fabien Demazeau
Marc Hernandez
Pierre Malherbaud

Among the strongest teams this year, the French national team includes Marc Hernandez, arguably the best player in France and an editor of the popular French Magic publication "Lotus Noir". Hernandez has done well in several title events in the past and many French players are glad to see him back on the 'tour. In the third place is the consistantly good Pierre Malherbaud, who qualified using a Sligh deck.

Manuel Bevand, member of international team The Legion, has done very well indeed this season - he would be qualified for Worlds on PT points if he did not place in top 4. Bevand used a "Draw-GoLem" - modified version of a popular mono-blue control deck. Finally, the French nationals were only the second sanctioned tournament for the champ - Fabien Demazeau. Demazeau played a 5-color Sliver deck, with very few cards in it that were not Slivers. Simple yet apparently solid strategy proved to be too much for all of Demazeu's opponents as he proceeded to win goimg 9-0 through the constructed portion of the Nationals.

On a side note, there was a soccer match between team France and team Brazil Tuesday morning, replaying the finals of the 1998 World Cup. The French won again, with a final score of 4-1.

Germany

Daniel Brickwell
Florian Dworak
Dirk Hein
Janosch Kuhn

A single team ruled the German nationals as both the 4th place finisher Daniel Brickwell and the winner Dirk Hein used the "Julie Sligh" deck to qualify. Their national team also includes Florian Dworak who qualified with 5cKaslte - this tournament is a third Pro-level event for this competitor. Finally, Janosch Kuhn is a part of the team this year. Kuhn finished in the 2nd place at Worlds 1997 and will surely try to do even better this time.

Germany includes some of the youngest players in this tournament. Kuhn is 16 and Hein, the national champion, is only 15 years old.

Hong Kong

Au Yeung Hong Ming (4th)

As the lone representitive of Hong Kong, Au Yeung Hong Ming is happy to be making his third Worlds appearence (1996 and 1997 Hong Kong Champion). A freelance illustrator, Ming was able to make the trip while the rest of the team couldn't find a sponsor and had to work.

Hungary (see below)

Indonesia

Arvan Pratama (Alternate, 5th Place Nationals)

In a case of a team being stripped of its top players due to visa problems, Indonesia managed to send only Arvan Pratama, an alternate, to this year's World Championships. A player with three years experience playing the game, Arvan is looking forward to his first Worlds competition. An ironic sidenote is that Arvan was the only player from Indonesia's top eight who couldn't attend the APAC Championships, while the other top seven couldn't fill in to replace the no-shows for Worlds.

Ireland

Fergus Deffely
Michael Higgins
Oliver Hyde
Justin Walsh

Sligh was a very popular strategy during the 1998 Irish nationals as both the winner and finalist - Fergus Deffelly and Ollie Hyde - used that deck. Hyde's version was a 5-color Sligh while Deffelly went with a more popular mono-red version. Justin Walsh qualified using a Tradewind-Geddon deck he named "playground". Perhaps the most interesting is the story of the 4th place finisher Michael Higgins. Higgins did not have a type 2 deck to play, so he threw something together out of mostly commons - cards like Gravedigger, Striped Bears and a single Dark Ritual. Due to either playing skill or luck, the deck later named "Pure Poetry" worked well enough to qualify Higgins for Worlds.

Israel

Eviatar Olpiner
Doron Omri
Uri Peleg
Nadav Zivelin

Due to organizational problems, the Israeli team was unable to attend last year. Today they are here in full force, ready to make up for that absence.

Eviatar Olpiner finished in fifth place using a Sligh deck but was able to play on the team replacing Gareth Levin who was unable to attend. Uri Peleg, probably the youngest competitor in this event at the age of 14, made 3rd using a blue bounce deck. Nadav Zivelin made finals with mono-blue. Doron Omri, a long time tournament organizer and Magic enthusiast won the nationals using a Bloom deck.

The team expects to perform best during the Rath cycle portion of the tournament but is not as confident in type 2 or draft.

Italy

Tommaso Natale (National Champion)
Andrea Paselli (Runner-up)
Nicola Rebagliati (3rd)
Simone Morbidelli (4th)

With the Italian Nationals held in early June, the Italian team has had two months of practice leading up to this year's Worlds. Though feeling that the constructed formats are their strongest points, the Italians feel the first day of competition (draft) is the most critical if they are to do well as a team. Andrea Paselli represents the only player on the team with previous Worlds experience (1996 Team).

Japan

Toshiki Tsukamoto (National Champion)
Ishida Itaru (Runner-up)
Masashi Ishibashi (3rd)
Tuyoshi Fujita (4th)

The team that should finish highest out of all the Asian theater teams, Japan has been practicing heavily for the tournament and could post a very high team finish, as well as see several of it's members in the money after day three. Led by three time National team member Toshiki Tsukomoto, expect to see the Japanese fielding some of the stronger constructed decks in both Rath Cycle and Type II. A top four finish is very likely.

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