The Next-Next-Next-Next-Best Thing To Being There
- Cory Herndon
The Los Angeles Pro Tour holds a special place in the heart of many Magic players. Among all the "PTs," it has the most sense of history about it. And most importantly, this tournament is held on a really big (dare I say titanic) boat called the Queen Mary. It's on this mighty ship, which has been everything from a transatlantic cruise liner to a World War II troop carrier to the classy hotel it is today, that qualified players and qualification hopefuls alike have gathered. A few will eventually go on tot he World Championships. The remaining players, along with any remaining guests and other attendees, will be forced to walk the plank according to naval tradition.
Because so many of these folks will most likely end up in the drink by Sunday (and since yours truly was more or less chained to the Duelist booth), I thought I'd get some of their thoughts on this year's Pro Tour. Here, then, are the gooey musings I scooped out of their heads.
Michael Williams, 17, Junior Super Series Qualifier from Colorado Springs, Colorado
On what he's been doing since this morning: "Been trading, talking to Pro Tour players like Jon Finkel. I even got to play against him, although the match was called because the next Pro Tour round was starting. I was about to get my combo working, too."
On the crowd: "Everyone's been really nice, I haven't seen any arguments or anything like that, although I haven't played any official games yet. I qualified for the Sunday event, so we'll see how I do then."
On Magic's Sixth Edition: "I think that the new rules are going to be a little difficult for all the players to get used to, but once the veteran players get used to it, they'll probably like it better. It will make it easier for new players because it keeps things like combat consistent. It'll make the game more stable. Whenever I teach a new player, they tell me that all the rules and errata [in Fifth Edition] make it too frightening to learn."
Jeff Barrow, 10, Junior Super Series Qualifier (the youngest at the tournament) from Reno, Nevada
On what he's been doing since this morning: "I've been looking around. I saw a guy with purple hair."
On what he'll do if he wins: "If I get the scholarship money in Florida, I'm going to UC Berkeley.
On his favorite deck: "Suicide Black is my favorite."
Nancy Mosby, Mother of Junior Super Series Competitor Corbin Mosby and Owner of Magic Dragon Games in Boise, Idaho
On PTLA: "I've never been to a Pro Tour before, since this is the first time that Corbin has qualified. He's really an obsessive Star Wars player. One thing I've noticed is that everyone looks really normal here on day one. I'll bet everyone is a lot more frazzled by Sunday."
On closed-circuit game broadcasts: "I'm glad I'm not in the championships-I don't think I'd want to play a game on that big TV screen."
On the Boise gaming scene: "We do non-sanctioned tournaments every Saturday. They're non-sanctioned because until recently, we didn't have a judge available, and if they're sanctioned, well, I can't play. A lot of people just go to Salt Lake City for sanctioned stuff."
On Sixth Edition: "I like it, but a lot of the players around the store would like to see a class of tournaments dedicated to truly "classic" tournaments that use the Fifth Edition rules."
Pete Venters, artist (who recently learned the hard way that he has painted more Magic cards than anyone else-if you don't count Alpha) from Seattle, Washington
On PT-LA: "It's my first Pro Tour, although I've been to a few World Championships. It was quite a surprise to me walking in, because it's a lot bigger and flashier than I expected. It's cool! I'm impressed."
On the most repetitive question he's been asked today: "'Is your autograph hand hurting yet?' Look, everyone uses their hand throughout the day! I'm painting all day, usually. The only thing that's hurting is my craning neck."
On his most-signed card: Survival of the Fittest from Exodus. It's amazing. I even blew through all of the art proofs. Gone.
On having the most cards in Magic: "I've signed more cards than any of the artists. I was talking to rk post, asking him how it was going. He said he hadn't had any 'Pete-sized lines' yet, which made me laugh-because it was horribly true. I can't see the end of my line."
On what he wants most from this Pro Tour: It's a tie between a foil copy of Blessed Reversal (because that's my BIG portrait of Urza) and someone to actually STOP my damn autograph line fifteen minutes before I'm done."