Feature: Firsts

Posted in Feature on August 18, 2012

By Blake Rasmussen

Blake is the content manager for DailyMTG.com, making him the one you should email if you have thoughts on the website, good or less good (or not good). He's a longtime coverage reporter and hasn't turned down a game of Magic in any format ever.

You'll always remember your first.

Your first deck. The first game you won. The first time you owned a Shivan Dragon. The first time you traded a Mox for said Shivan Dragon. The first time you won a tournament.

What kind of first were you thinking of?

Magic has had a lot of firsts of its own throughout its nearly twenty-year history, including this weekend, which, in case you haven't heard, is the very first World Magic Cup. This event features a never-before-used mixed team format, challenging some of the best players in the world to adapt anew at nearly every stage of the tournament.

For that reason, many of the players, judges, humble coverage reporters, and staff will never forget this weekend. With the crowning of the team champions on Sunday, this weekend will go down in Magic lore among other historic firsts.

So let's take a look back at some of those firsts over Magic's storied past.

First Magic World Champion: Zak Dolan (USA), 1994

First World Championship runner-up: Bertrand Lestreé (France)

First World Championship deck:

Zak Dolan's Angel Stasis

Download Arena Decklist

Although Dolan's deck contains a ton of one-ofs, many of the cards were not restricted at the time, such as powerhouses Ley Druid, Kismet, and Siren's Call.

First Team World Champions: United States (Mark Justice, Henry Stern, Peter Leiher, Michael Long), 1995

First Non-United States Team World Champions: Canada (Gary Krakower, Michael Donais, Ed Ito, Gabriel Tsang), 1997

Mike Long was also on the 1996 United States national team that took the title. Canada was the lone team to break the US stranglehold on the team title until a heartbreaking 2nd-place finish in 2002. Since then, only two US teams have won the world team title (2003 and 2008).

First Pro Tour: New York

First Pro Tour winner: Michael Loconto (USA)

First Pro Tour runner-up: Bertrand Lestreé (France)

Bertrand Lestreé made a habit of finishing second to Americans early on in Magic's history. The first Pro Tour was in the format "modified" Standard, where each deck not only had to be Standard (then Type II) legal, but also had to include at least five cards from every legal expansion, making Serrated Arrows a very popular card.

First Pro Tour Player of the Year: Olle Råde (1996)

First Pro Tour Rookie of the Year: Randy Buehler (1997–1998)

Olle Råde would go on to be immortalized as Sylvan Safekeeper. Both players would also be voted into the Hall of Fame, Buehler in 2007 and Råde in 2005.

First non-US Pro Tour: Paris (1997)

Winner of the first non-US Pro Tour: Mike Long (USA)

First player to win two Pro Tours: Tommi Hovi (Finland)

First back-to-back Pro Tour Winner: Kai Budde (Germany)

Hovi won Pro Tour Los Angeles in 1997 and PT Rome in 1998. Budde won Pro Tour New York in September 2001 (as part of a team with Marco Blume and Dirk Baberowski) and PT New Orleans in November 2001. It was part of an incredible stretch where he also won PT Chicago in December 2000, PT Barcelona in May 2001, and was also the Player of the Year for the 2000–2001 season.

First Grand Prix: Amsterdam, Netherlands (1997)

First Grand Prix Champion: Emmanuel Vernay (France)

First Invitational: 1997

First Invitational Winner: Olle Råde

First Invitational Card Printed:Avalanche Riders (aka, Darwin Kastle)

Råde won the first Invitational, but didn't claim his prize for several years. As a result, his card—Sylvan Safekeeper—was not printed until Judgment. Terry Soh is the only former Invitational winner playing in the World Magic Cup this weekend.

First Raphael Levy Grand Prix win: Lyon, 1997

Most recent Raphael Levy Grand Prix win: Austin, 2012

Levy is France's team captain. France is the 5th seed in the Top 16. Despite Levy finishing as high as 4th in Worlds, he has never been on the French national team before this year

First Brian Kibler Top 8: Grand Prix Toronto, 1997

Most recent Brian Kibler Top 8: Grand Prix Anaheim, 2012

Levy and Kibler are easily the longest tenured Pro Tour players here this weekend. Only Jon Finkel really rivals them for time between first tournament success and most recent, having Top 8ed Pro Tours in 1997 and 2012. Kai Budde made his first major Top 8 at Grand Prix Birmingham in 1998 and later Top 8ed Grand Prix Paris in 2011.

First Major Luis Scott-Vargas Top 8: US Nationals, 2006

By comparison, Scott-Vargas' first breakout tournament came a full nine years after teammate Kibler tasted his first Top 8 success.

First Magic: The Gathering Prerelease:Ice Age, in Toronto, Canada

Mark Rosewater talks a bit about the event here.

First Hall of Fame class: 2005: Jon Finkel, Darwin Kastle, Tommi Hovi, Alan Comer, and Olle Råde

First World Magic Cup: This weekend! (2012)

First World Magic Cup Champions: Stay tuned...

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