What started as a Dane-splosion at the World Magic Cup quickly became a team takeover by the end of the 2014-15 Premier Play season, and Martin Dang represents one of the key pillars when the story of the Danish invasion morphed instead into the story of the new team to watch out for: Team Thommo.
Coming seemingly out of nowhere, longtime player Dang saw his first Premier Play success at Grand Prix Liverpool when he earned his first GP Top 8 and win all in one weekend. However, before that he had already secured an invitation to Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir thanks to winning one of the Magic Online Championship Series events. For that Pro Tour, he was introduced to Team Thommo, featuring some of Europe's top Magic players, including Martin Müller from the 2014 World Magic Cup winning team.
2015 World Championship Competitor Martin Dang
One Pro Tour later, and suddenly Dang had his first Pro Tour Top 8, first Pro Tour win, and one hell of an emergence into the upper echelons of professional Magic players. It has been a momentous year for the Dane, and many years in the making for a player whose origins with the game started with some of Magic's very first cards.
"I started playing Magic during Revised," Dang recalled. "My cousin got me into it, and at first I was very hesitant about spending all of my allowance on a card game, but he convinced me regardless. We then spent that whole weekend talking about and playing with the cards nonstop, where his best card was Craw Wurm while mine was Sea Serpent, and from that point we were hooked."
"Every week, our local store had a trading day and we went there every single Tuesday just to trade and play, and little by little we got to know the people there and made new friendships, including many people who I still talk to this day. I didn't play tournaments until much later. I remember playing Dirtcowl Wurm Armageddon at my first sanctioned tournament. I didn't do too well, but I won some matches, which ignited my thirst for competitive Magic."
Dang eventually found his way onto the Pro Tour a few years later, and while it didn't quite go as planned, many of the events that transpired created a lasting impression.
"My first Pro Tour was in Nice 2002," Dang recollected. "I went there with Peter Gottlieb, a good friend of mine who wasn't qualified but tagged along anyway just to experience the Pro Tour. In Nice, we met up and stayed with the other four guys qualified from Denmark: Svend Geertsen, Lars Dam, Peter Myrvig, and Ulrik Tarp. The format for Day 1 was two booster drafts and a record of 4-2 would advance to Day 2. I was very excited, but got a bad draft deck which resulted in a 0-3 record. I went 3-0 in the second draft, which lifted my mood a bit."
"On Day 2, I played in a Team PTQ for the next Pro Tour. The team was Peter Myrvig, Ulrik Tarp, and I and we actually ended up winning that PTQ. I remember winning a deciding match with a mulligan to 3. I had Nantuko Shade and two Swamps, and got there. Svend Geertsen made it all to the semifinals of that Pro Tour and he treated us all to a winner's dinner, so all in all it was an amazing introduction to the Pro Tour. I had a great time and was very happy to have gotten to know the other Danes. Lars was the one who introduced me to Team Thommo, whom I've had so much success with."
Amazingly, after more than a decade, Lars Dam and Martin Dang found themselves once again testing for the Pro Tour together alongside a crew of Magic players young and old. The testing paid off, as did Dang's expertise, as his Pro Tour win cemented him a seat in this year's World Championship event. He and the rest of the Team Thommo competitors will be preparing together for this event, and given that the team has two Pro Tour trophies from this season, it's easy to look to Dang and his teammates as favorites in this event.
For a season that was defined early by the Daneblast witnessed at the World Magic Cup and shaped by the European contingency of Team Thommo, it should come as no surprise that Dang and his teammates will be followed closely throughout the tournament.
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.