Mention certain names, and even those unfamiliar with the typical Premier Play season or Pro Tour results will know who you're talking about. Hall of Famer Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa is one such player, who is less a Magic player, and more a Magic legend.
As a regular sight on the Pro Tour with nine Pro Tour Top 8s to his name, and as a longtime regular content contributor for ChannelFireball, Damo da Rosa is a name many will immediately associate with Magic. He has impressed with his incredible consistency on the Pro Tour for years, and makes his living primarily through playing the game.
2015 World Championship Competitor Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa
So where did it all begin for Damo da Rosa? When did he first discover the game, and the Pro Tour that has led to his ascension as one of Magic's all-time greats?
"I first found out about the game by reading a feature on a magazine about the Saint Seiya anime," Damo da Rosa remembered. "At the time, I was eight or nine-years-old, and I really liked both card games and fantasy things, so a game that was both seemed very interesting. I asked my mom to look it up and she found our local store and took me and my friend there, and we each bought a Fourth Edition starter deck and a pack of Homelands."
"I remember my best card was Inferno—which I played as a 'deal 6 damage to anything' spell because why would something damage your own creatures—but my friend had a lot of the cards that were included in the Fourth Edition rules manual examples, such as White Knight and Fireball, and I was very jealous. He also had Clockwork Beast, which was our biggest creature. Sometime later, we convinced a lot of our school classmates to play, and we spent a lot of our breaks playing the game."
As time went on, so did Damo da Rosa's interest in Magic. And as he continued to play, his rating—a scoring system at the time that determined things such as qualifications for events and byes at Grand Prix—continued to grow.
Eventually, it reached a point where he was qualified to take the next step toward the Pro Tour.
"The first Pro Tour I played was Worlds in 2003, in Berlin," Damo da Rosa recollected. "I was qualified due to South American rating, and Devir, the company that distributed Magic in Brazil, decided to sponsor the trip for all the qualified players from Brazil, Spain, and Portugal. We were about 15 people in total and ended up meeting in a resort in Spain to prepare for the tournament. It was the first time I ever left Brazil, and it was a very surreal experience."
"Playing in the tournament was very exciting, and I got to meet a lot of the players I had only heard about or read articles from. I even played against some of them, like Darwin Kastle and Dirk Baberowski," Damo da Rosa continued. "I ended up finishing in the Top 64, getting $500 for my troubles, which was a lot for a sixteen-year-old Brazilian kid. It was the first time I realized Magic could be more than something I did just for fun."
That realization has led to a phenomenal career in Magic. Now, over a decade later, Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa is one of the game's most decorated Pro Players, known not only as Brazil's best, but also one of the world's greatest. It comes as no surprise to see that Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa will be competing in the 2015 World Championship, where he and the world's best will face off for Magic's greatest title, and one that Damo da Rosa is still looking to obtain.
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.