Owen Turtenwald's Origin Story

Posted in Feature on August 20, 2015

By Mike Rosenberg

Mike Rosenberg is a writer and gamer and has been part of the Magic text coverage team since 2011. He joined Wizards as organized play’s content specialist in June 2014.

Starting off the 2014-15 Premier Play season with a win at a Team Limited Grand Prix alongside two of his best friends, you could not ask for a better beginning to the year for Owen Turtenwald, who hovered among the top few spots of the season's Top 25 rankings all year.

Turtenwald has had a season that is best described as consistent. That consistently includes an 11th place finish at Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir which, when combined with his slew of 11-4 finishes at this season's Grand Prix alongside his win at Grand Prix Portland, ensured a steady stream of Pro Points on his way to locking up a World Championship seat as one of the at-large invitations.


2015 World Championship Competitor Owen Turtenwald.

Turtenwald's roots with the game took place at a young age, of which he has only so much recollection of.

"I started out playing all sorts of fantasy and strategy games, and it was natural that I eventually tried Magic," Turtenwald tried to recall. "The owner of the local card shop taught me how to play, and the only thing I can remember is attacking with a Starter version of Giant Octopus, and my opponent, the best player at the shop who was patiently helping me learn the game, tried to double block with two Grizzly Bears. The owner said it was too complicated to try and explain double blocking in someone's first game, so he wasn't allowed to do that and eventually just died to my 3/3."

It was a story with amusing roots, and it did not take much for Turtenwald to become hooked. Eventually, and at a very young age, Turtenwald qualified for the Pro Tour.

"My first Pro Tour was Valencia 2007, and Day One was cancelled due to a flood that filled the tournament site with water," Turtenwald recounted. "It was the only time that I know of in Pro Tour history where they ran ten rounds on Day One and four on Day Two, and I had an excellent record with a chance to make Top 8 until I had to mulligan down to four and lose. I finished in 18th place [a finish that awarded $3,500 at the time] which was the most amount of money I had ever won playing a game. I was hooked, and I've played every Pro Tour or Grand Prix I could ever since."

Turtenwald has gone on to put up an incredible career. He obtained the Player of the Year title in 2011 with an utterly absurd season at the Grand Prix level, and since then he has added two Pro Tour Top 8s and three Grand Prix victories to his name.

With that said, while Turtenwald's season was certainly a consistent one, it was also one without any particularly stellar finishes. One can only accrue so many 11-4 finishes before an appetite for a tournament win becomes downright insatiable. Will Turtenwald manage to make that win happen this month at PAX Prime?

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.

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