High Fidelity

Posted in Feature on May 25, 2006

By Olivier Ruel

Have you ever seen the movie “High Fidelity” by Stephen Frears?
John Cusack plays a record store owner, and there is this one thing he does all the time, Top 5. Like the Top 5 heart breaks, the Top 5 songs to play at a funeral...
The movie is not fantastic but definitely worth watching and Jack Black is pretty good in it. Hmm, so, well, where's the point?
I'm gonna play John Cusak and give you a few Top 5.

My Top 5 best memory at Magic

1) PT Honolulu, final round: An intentional draw just brought me in the Top 8; Antoine can still make it if he beats Shu Komuro and two other results turn in his favour. Everything went well, but we knew we’d have to wait for another 20 minutes. It was so stressful!!! Were we going to enter together a PT Top 8 for the first time in seven years in the gravy train? Results are being announced, Randy Buelher explains there is less than 0,1 % difference between eight and ninth place. Now it's 50-50, all the Frenchies are gathered, “and in eighth place, from France...”
I didn't even hear Antoine's name being called, only the explosion of joy of everyone around us. We fell in each other arms and I felt like this moment would last forever.

2) My brother Antoine winning Pro Tour Los Angeles: Usually I stay calm while playing, even in a PT Top 8. But watching my brother playing... It was the first time as I had missed his two previous Top 8s, and the games against Billy Moreno were soooooo close. That was such a relief when Antoine won, I felt like I was in a dream, it made me much happier than any individual result I've had.

3) PT Washington 1999, my second PT, teaming with Antoine and Florent Jeudon (both playing for the first time on the tour): We're playing final round for money against a Japanese team. After the Draft, we were laughing so much about how badly they drafted (I don't think I’ve actually ever disrespected any Magic player) that we hardly turned our decklists on time. Arriving at the table, we bet on who will win first. I win my match in 7 minutes (including shuffling, still my best score on the PT), and look left, only to discover that both my teammates have lost their first game. Antoine loses game 2 also, while Flo comes back to 1-1. The decisive battle showed the higher number of misplays I've ever seen in my life by one player, Florent’s opponent. I can't remember them all, but for instance, the guy has Ticking Gnomes, an enchantment that allows him to pay two life to return it from graveyard to hand and Flo is at two life. The guy doesn't sac/reanimate/sac again. And he had about ten plays as obvious to take the game. At some point I was so sure the game was lost that I actually cried. Flo, who was then the best player of the team, managed to comeback, when the additional turns were called. On turn 5, Florent eventually drew his deck's spoiler, Catastrophe, chose to destroy all lands, and swung forcing his opponents to chump block with his last blocker. Flo was just one turn from winning. His opponent, who probably didn't know what an additional turn was, just conceded then, and Team Phénomène J finished in 11th place.

4) GP Helsinki 2005, I'm 14th before last round. I consider conceding to my opponent who seems like a nice guy, and who's going to make Top 8 if he wins while I've no chance. Eventually, I don't, as I beat Antoine earlier and I would consider it disrespecting to kick him out of Top 8 to send someone else in. I win my match, and assume I'll finish 11th. The problem is my roomate Jean-Charles Salvin's Top 8, so Antoine and I will have to wait for him. While Top 8 is being announced, I'm playing casual games with Antoine, and suddenly I hear: “And in eight place, from France – At this point I look around me, since I didn't know there was any other French player in contention for Top 8, could it be? – Olivier Ruel.” Oh...My...Goood! The smile I had on my face at this very moment stayed on for another four hours until I actually won the whole thing.

5) GP Porto 2001, I'm in Top 8, seated on Antoine's right. We had played infinite team rochester in Mercadian bloc, so we would just teamdraft against the rest of the table. First pick Rui Mariani (Antoine's opponent) takes green, the best card coming to me is black, I'll pass it to Antoine for black was the best color against green, and so on for 45 picks. After winning against David Williams and Ryan Fuller I have to face Antoine, I'm up a game but I lose the finals. It was only my second individual GP Top 8, and I didn't realize how amazing the tournament we had just performed was, otherwise I would have enjoyed it a lot more.

My top 5 favourite locations for events

1) San Francisco: after winning my national, I spent one month in SF with Alex Peset, this guy I didn't know at all before he came third at French Nationals. The youth hostel (The Green Tortoise) we stayed in was fantastic, we were continually meeting people from all over the world, practicing English, and the town itself was great. Alex and I became very close, and few months later we moved in together and created our own magazine, Level Up. We had to stop activities in November 2005, but the experience was great and definitely made me a better Magic player as I had to playtest constructed a lot to make my columns interesting.

2) Kyoto: probably the most beautiful city I went out of my 70-80 trips abroad. So pretty, and peaceful, and so in Japan, definitely the best country I've been to.

3) Tokyo: I'm 19 when I get to Japan first. I only know Japan through Mangas (Japanese comic books). There, I discover another aspect of the civilized world, a brand new way of thinking, very helpful people and great food. I buy lots of mangas too. I can't read them? I don't care; I'll just have them two years before anyone in France. Everything there is just so exciting!

4) Prague: not for the PT itself, but the two GPs before, which were held on the best venue ever. The town itself is one of the prettiest and of the cheapest I've seen. On my first trip there my bro made Top 8 and we had invited our mom who was cheering us, while on the second one I met my closest friend. On the third one, two weeks ago, I almost made Top 8 of a PT, and, as always, I've had a lot of fun.

5) Avignon, where was held French National 2001 where I made the National team for the first time. It was held in « Le Palais des Papes », a very pretty rock-made building. The weather was so good that the final was actually played outside.

My Top 5 favorite movies:

1) Comme si de rien n'était, Pierre-Olivier Mornas (2003)

2)The Hours, Stephen Daldry (2002) The two movies that made me cry the most definitely. They are always the ones I keep the best memory from.

3) Amélie from Montmartre, Jean-Pierre Jeunet (2001)

4) Kenshin Tsuhiku Hen OAV, Kazuhiro Furuhashi (2001, France, earlier in Japan) Very beautiful manga, very dark, great music.

5) Forrest Gump could have made it but there have already been enough movies that made me cry, so could have Porco Rosso, but I'll go for Kids Return, Takeshi Kitano (1997), my discovery of the Japanese cinema and of a great movie maker.

More Top 5 in my next column!

I wrote this article listening to Belle and Sebastian/DEAR CATASTROPHE WAITRESS and the sound of Alex playing Megaman on PSP.

Olivier's Corner will soon fade away - instead, a new column 'Ask the Pro' will be created on the Tournament Center. You'll have the opportunity to ask me any question you have through this column and you'll find there my answers on a regular basis

You can already send your questions at olivierscorner@hotmail.fr

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