Longtime Magic player Mike Sigrist may be a name that many on from the American Pro Tour competitors are very familiar with, but it wasn't until this season that he gained worldwide renown, where a series of big finishes allowed Sigrist to climb the Platinum Pro Tour Players Club ladder, step-by-step, until he realized that he had surpassed the final rung and had reached heights that he hadn't thought possible in his season.
After all, why stop with just Platinum when you can also win the title of 2014-15 Player of the Year? Needless to say, for someone who came into the 2014-15 season with only one lifetime Grand Prix Top 8, it didn't seem possible to leapfrog the top dog of the race, Eric Froehlich, in the final rounds of Pro Tour Magic Origins. Sigrist overcame the odds, solidifying himself as the 2014-15's Player of the Year through only one method: reaching the finals of Pro Tour Magic Origins, his second Pro Tour Top 8 of the season.
2015 World Championship Competitor Mike Sigrist
For Sigrist, it is hard to imagine coming this far after such humble beginnings in the mid-1990s, with tales that match many from the time.
"My friend bought a Fourth Edition double starter deck after finding a twenty dollar bill on the ground," Sigrist recalled of his origins with the game. "We started playing the game with our own rules until we learned the real rules, and then I bought myself a Revised starter deck and a few packs of Fallen Empires. I opened a Tundra and traded my 'stupid land' for a Holy Strength."
"The first deck I built was a Black-Red land destruction deck with Demonic Hordes and Baron Sengir at the top end," Sigrist remembered. "I would go to local tournaments at a store nearby and eventually got the bug, and I started playing more competitive tournaments like PTQs. I always love drafting since I first learned about it. Now, I am going to the World Championship and feel very fortunate my friend found that twenty dollar bill on the ground."
Eventually, Sigrist earned his first qualification for the Pro Tour, where he got his first taste of the competition at that level and when his fire began to ignite.
"My first Pro Tour was Los Angeles 1999," Sigrist said. "The tournament was on my sixteenth birthday, and I flew out with my friend Jeff Magid who was also playing in his first Pro Tour. I felt like I was in over my head after seeing all the great players there and I may have been. I didn’t Day Two, but still had the time of my life playing on 'the boat'. I was hooked in and wanted to compete at a high level from then on out."
Sigrist had been a mainstay at events, but never had his big breakthrough. This season was different. Coming off of his first Grand Prix win in Washington, D.C., in June last year, Sigrist started off the season on the right foot with a Pro Tour semifinalist appearance at Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir in Honolulu, Hawaii, last October. It was his first Top 8, and propelled him into the top spots all season long. Sigrist then earned another Grand Prix title in Providence this June, almost a year after winning his first GP trophy. The win accelerated him into Platinum status of the Pro Tour Players Club, giving him an outside chance of seizing the 2014-15 Player of the Year title with a very, very deep run at Pro Tour Magic Origins…
…which he did, with a second place finish in his second Pro Tour Top 8, and the perfect end to a spectacular season.
Now, Mike Sigrist has the chance to win Magic's greatest title at PAX Prime. Will he succeed in what is going to be one of the most challenging and exciting events of the year?
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.