While Sweden's Magnus Lantto was excited to have won $25,000 for his victory in this year's Magic Online Championship, it was the two additional prizes that were given to the winner at that event that had him the most excited.
One of those prizes, of course, was an invitation to compete in this year's World Championship event. For the thirty-four-year-old Magic player, it was a chance to compete against some of the world's best on Magic's most exciting tournament stage, and the opportunity to reach a milestone that he has long chased.
However, the second prize was perhaps a bigger win. Lantto's victory at the Magic Online Championship granted him Gold status in the Pro Tour Players Club, which ensured that he would be able to attend Pro Tours through the one in Sydney next year. His desire to enjoy his travels, and the foods and cultures of new places that he has visited, can continue for another twelve months.
2015 World Championship Competitor Magnus Lantto
Lantto's having one of the best years Magic wise in his life, which has included a storied history with the game.
"I started way back in 1996 or 1997," Lantto remembered. "A friend of mine gave me a Fourth Edition starter deck that he got at a gaming convention. We didn't fully understand the rules at first, but it was still a pretty sweet game that we played on and off for the years to come. It wasn't until a few years later though, when I found the tournament scene and I got really hooked. It's through this game I've realized how competitive I am as a person, but it took something I was good at to get that side of me going."
Lantto's competitive drive motivated him to work toward the Pro Tour in the years following.
"I grinded the Pro Tour Qualifier scene for a few years in the early 2000s," Lantto recalled. "I had a good group of players around me and got close several times, but just couldn't get the win. At some point though, I had a really hot streak in side event drafts, and other small tournaments together with not losing a lot in the Limited PTQs, and all of a sudden my rating was up there with a lot of the pros. At that time, the Top 25 players got invitations based on rating, and finally I had a shot! I went to a PTQ and did calculations after every round. Finally, at 3-0, I felt confident I was high enough and dropped on the spot. I didn't get any travel award, but the invitation was all I was after, and I finally got to play on the Pro Tour."
"I qualified for Pro Tour Nice 2002, and the format was Limited which I considered my specialty. Once there though, it was far from easy. I was nervous, didn't have a team, and hadn't tested enough. I learned the hard way that the Pro Tour is on an entirely different level then your local tournament scene or even the Grand Prix circuit."
For a while, Lantto's fire had burned out and he ultimately faded away from the game... until he returned in recent years, where he traveled to a Grand Prix with some old friends.
"That's actually what got me back into the game after a long break from tournament Magic," Lantto explained. "Going to a GP with some good friends from the past and just having a good time sounded like a great trip, but once there, my competitive spark was lit again and since then I've put in a ton of effort to get to the top."
Those efforts paid off. Lantto got his first Grand Prix Top 8 and win at Grand Prix Milan last December, and he followed that up in short order with his win at the Magic Online Championship.
Now, Lantto's competitive spark will bring him to Seattle, where he will be one of twenty-four players all vying for Magic's greatest title.
The 2015 Magic: The Gathering World Championship takes place in Seattle, Washington, during PAX Prime on August 27, 28, and 30. To learn more about this year's competitors, head over to the 2015 World Championship Competitors page, and check back every weekday leading up to the World Championship for new profiles on each of this year's competitors.