2007 PRO TOUR SEASON
Hot off the presses! Wizards of the Coast released its 2007 Pro Tour schedule after my deadline, so we can't go into great detail today. But check it out here and we'll be back next week to break it all down. Hot topics will undoubtedly include the two European stops (Geneva and Valencia) and the new Two-Headed Giant Limited format for next year's team Pro Tour.
Lifetime Winnings: $36,900 Lifetime Points: 109 Pro Tour Top 8: 2 GP Top 8: 0
Bachmann was a founding member of the East Coast Assassins and was a terror on that seaboard's Magic scene. His two Pro Tours were evenly split between Limited and Constructed and came back-to-back in the 1998 season. He reached the Top 4 each time before being repelled by David Price and Jon Finkel, each of whom would go on to win those respective events.
Kurt BurgnerLifetime Winnings: $41,740 Lifetime Points: 109 Pro Tour Top 8: 3 GP Top 8: 0
Burgner was a product of California's Costa Mesa Women's Club, the unlikely home to the left coast's best Magic players. Burgner quietly finished in the Top 16 in two of his first four Pro Tours across the first two seasons. He began making noise in year three with a Top 4 finish in Mainz. His best finish came in 2000 when he reached the finals of Pro Tour-Washington D.C. as a member of Team Game Empire along with Brian Selden and Alan Comer.
Lifetime Winnings: $123,502 Lifetime Points: 226 Pro Tour Top 8: 5 GP Top 8: 6
Rob is one of three people on this year's ballot with at least five Pro Tour Top 8 finishes. The Your Move Games founder has done just about everything there is to do in the game of Magic, including designing tournament-winning decks, winning a Pro Tour, running a store, writing about the game, organizing tournaments, and nurturing the New England Magic scene that could conceivably push four players into the Hall of Fame by the time the induction ceremony rolls around this winter in Paris. Fittingly, Rob won his lone Pro Tour as a member of team Your Move Games at the very first team Limited Pro Tour event.
Svend Geertsen from his Top 8 in Nice.Lifetime Winnings: $63,955 Lifetime Points: 163 Pro Tour Top 8: 4 GP Top 8: 1
Denmark's Svend Geersten was all of 21 years old when he made his last Top 8 finish at Pro Tour-Nice. When you think of Svend you think of Rogue Elephant, the card he used to stampede into the Top 8 of Worlds 1997 with Stompy when he was just 17. He continued to display a predilection for small, efficient creatures when he made the Top 8 of Pro Tour-Los Angeles with Jackal Pups. He also posted two Limited Top 8s (including his third-place finish in Nice).
Lifetime Winnings: $41,345 Lifetime Points: 142 Pro Tour Top 8: 1 GP Top 8: 0
Tom Guevin has only one Pro Tour Top 8 on his resume and yet has become a part of the Magic lexicon as “tight Tommy.” Tom reached the finals of the second Pro Tour falling to fellow New Englander "Hammer" Regnier. He is a larger-than-life character and his antics often obscure the fact the he was a central figure in YMG's success testing, designing, and tuning decks for the Boston powerhouse squad.
Lifetime Winnings: $39,625 Lifetime Points: 137 Pro Tour Top 8: 2 GP Top 8: 3
Brian Hacker seemed more like a rock star than a Magic player. He is perhaps most well known as the inventor of the modern tournament report, attacking for two, and the concept of redundancy. In addition to his Pro Tour success, Brian was an accomplished writer and perhaps one of the best color commentators in the history of the Pro Tour. He also once picked Mtenda Lion over Kaervek's Torch.
Lifetime Winnings: $143,742 Lifetime Points: 281 Pro Tour Top 8: 5 GP Top 8: 5
Dave's lifetime Pro Points totals are the highest on this year's ballot and he is one of three eligible players with at least five Pro Tour Top 8s (he also has two ninth-place finishes on top of that). None of the players added to the ballot in Year Two have more than four. With just under 50 Pro Tours in his career, Dave managed to finish in the money in more than half of them. Dave made the Top 32 of the first four Pro Tours and maintained that level of consistency throughout his career, including finishing in 26th in his last individual Pro Tour. Dave's one Pro Tour victory came alongside Rob Dougherty and Darwin Kastle at Pro Tour-Washington D.C.
Lifetime Winnings: $96,283 Lifetime Points: 164 Pro Tour Top 8: 5 GP Top 8: 2
Scott Johns firmly established his place in Pro Tour history at the close of the first season when he earned his third Top 8 finish out of four possible Pro Tours. The only Pro Tour he missed Top 8-ing was the very first one, which he did not attend. After three straight Top 8s, Scott would eventually rack up five Sunday seatings, notching that elusive win in his last appearance (as a member of Potato Nation). As a key member of deck think tanks such as Mogg Squad and Godzilla, Scott had a hand in many winning deck designs. Scott's contributions to the game include his work with independent strategy sites such as Mindripper and Brainburst. He currently helms this very site.
Randy Buehler posted his Hall of Fame ballot last week but has had some second thoughts about how to approach the ballot statistically. Under a new statistic that gauges a player's peak median performance, Randy feels he may have slighted Justin Gary when composing his ballot. You can read all about the new stat and Randy's updated take on Justin here.
Lifetime Winnings: $58,370 Lifetime Points: 133 Pro Tour Top 8: 4 GP Top 8: 0
Mark Justice was the most famous professional Magic player before the Pro Tour even existed, having played in the Top 8 of Worlds the previous year – something that does not count toward his four career Top 8s. The former U.S. National Champion immediately started the Pro Tour off his first Top 8 finish. His last Top 8 came in the third season of the Pro Tour – also in New York City. Justice never won a Pro Tour but came as close as the finals twice. In 1998, Mark authored Magic: The Gathering – Advanced Strategy Guide.
Lifetime Winnings: $26,965 Lifetime Points: 110 Pro Tour Top 8: 0 GP Top 8: 3
Gary Krakower is a two-time Canadian National Champion and Grand Prix winner. On the Pro Tour he has multiple Top 16 finishes and is best known for teaming up with Matt Vienneau and Mike Pustilnik as the Ancient Kavu. Gary continues to play and was recently spotted at Grand Prix-Toronto near the top tables.
Lifetime Winnings: $31,470 Lifetime Points: 100 Pro Tour Top 8: 3 GP Top 8: 3
Kroeger has played in less than 20 Pro Tours over the course of his career. He kicked off with an eighth-place finish at Pro Tour Dallas – his second Pro Tour bid – and capped his career with a sixth-place finish at Worlds 2003 in his home country of Germany. In addition to his career as a player, Peer has written extensively for the European community about the game and the people who play it.
Lifetime Winnings: $19,460 Lifetime Points: 107 Pro Tour Top 8: 0 GP Top 8: 1
While Pete Leiher never reached the Top 8 of a Pro Tour, he did rattle off three straight Top 32 finishes in the second season and finished as high as ninth at Worlds 1999. Pete was a member of TongoNation and worked closely with Mike Long throughout his career.
Lifetime Winnings: $102,669 Lifetime Points: 191 Pro Tour Top 8: 4 GP Top 8: 4
Mike is one of the hardest players in the ballot to write about because he has such a polarizing effect on the Magic community. The facts: Mike was a member of winning U.S. Nationals teams three separate times and also won Pro Tour-Paris with the progenitor of all combo decks – ProspBloom. Mike employed one of the game's all-time mind tricks while winning that tournament when he asked Finals opponent Mark Justice if it was really necessary for them to finish the game once he demonstrated that the deck's engine was humming. The only problem was that he had discarded his only remaining win condition to get it kickstarted.
Lifetime Winnings: $26,553 Lifetime Points: 100 Pro Tour Top 8: 0 GP Top 8: 7
Long before most of the current Japanese Pros were even playing Magic at their local stores, Satoshi was regularly finishing in the money of Pro Tours. He was one of the first Japanese Pros to cash when he finished 39th at Pro Tour-Dallas. He would finish as high as 11th on the Pro Tour but his contributions to the game are far greater than the sum of his winnings. He provided inspiration for the later generations of Japanese Pros to travel around the globe playing Magic.
Lifetime Winnings: $88,352 Lifetime Points: 228 Pro Tour Top 8: 3 GP Top 8: 9
Steve OMS battles alongside Finkel and his brother Dan at Pro Tour-Charleston.Steve was playing on the Pro Tour from day one, albeit upstairs at the Junior tables – numbers that are not factored into his lifetime statistics. Steve broke through to the big leagues at the end of that first season. After a couple of solid finishes, Steve placed himself firmly in the center of the argument over the best Limited player on the planet. Matt Place bested him during the finals of Mainz but the following season Steve emerged victorious from a Pro Tour-Los Angeles Top 8 scrum in that included the likes of Mike Long, Svend Geertsen, Patrick Chapin, Worth Wollpert, and his finals opponent Jon Finkel.
Lifetime Winnings: $39,910 Lifetime Points: 133 Pro Tour Top 8: 3 GP Top 8: 4
The Meddling Mage has been an active voice in the Pro community as both an advocate and commentator since the game first starting gaining traction on the internet. He finished in the Top 32 of two of his first three Pro Tours before rattling off back-to-back Top 8s to start the 1997 season. He would continue to post money finishes before returning to Sunday at the 1998 Worlds. Chris came close to another Top 8 in 2004 with The Max Fisher Players at Pro Tour-Seattle. He also reached the finals of the Legacy Grand Prix in Philadelphia last season with a black-white homebrew.
Lifetime Winnings: $42,272 Lifetime Points: 163 Pro Tour Top 8: 1 GP Top 8: 3
David Price was a founding member of Team Deadguy, which included Chris Pikula, Tony Tsai, Worth Wollpert, and Jon Finkel. He made the most out of his only Pro Tour Top 8 appearance in Los Angeles, winning with Jackal Pups and Cursed Scrolls. Dave was an inspiration to a legion of PTQ players as he chronicled his qualifier exploits each week in his weekly columns. He would also go on to be the editor-in-chief of the Magic Dojo.
Lifetime Winnings: $100,475 Lifetime Points: 208 Pro Tour Top 8: 3 GP Top 8: 7
Lovingly known as Mikey P, Pustilnik has won everything there is to win in the game of Magic shy of an Invitational. He won Pro Tour-Los Angeles in 2001 against a Top 8 field that included the likes of Jon Finkel, Kamiel Cornelissen, Kyle Rose, and Benedikt Klauser. That same year he won the Masters Series in New Orleans defeating Zvi Mowshowitz, Noah Boeken, and Chris Benafel. He even racked up one of his two Grand Prix wins that calendar year with the crowd-pleasing Rock and his Millions in Las Vegas.
Lifetime Winnings: $22,160 Lifetime Points: 101 Pro Tour Top 8: 2 GP Top 8: 0
An intimidating sight for anyone across the table from Hammer.Better known as Hammer, this former professional arm wrestler imbued the early Pro Tour with his colorful personality. His most important contribution to early Pro Tour history was in making the Top 8 of the first two events and winning the second one. At the time it was unclear to many early observers if Magic was about skill or luck. Hammer provided a compelling case for the former.
Lifetime Winnings: $90,772 Lifetime Points: 162 Pro Tour Top 8: 3 GP Top 8: 4
When the Pro Tour stopped in Prague earlier this season, it honored the Czech Republic's most famous player with a Sponsor's Exemption invite to the event. In 1997 Jakub took on all comers at the Wizards of the Coast Tournament Center en route to winning the World Championship with his three-color Black Weenie deck. He would return to the Top 8 of Worlds in 1999. Jakub was a contributing member to the powerhouse team Mogg Squad that included Scott Johns and Zvi Mowshowitz.
Lifetime Winnings: $66,905 Lifetime Points: 155 Pro Tour Top 8: 3 GP Top 8: 2
Canada's Gab Tsang had some unfinished business to take care of in 2005. Gab burst upon the scene with back-to-back Top 8s in the second season of the Pro Tour. He would go on to post dozens of money finishes but it was not until Pro Tour-Atlanta in 2005 that he would finally hoist a trophy alongside his teammates David Rood and Gabriel Nassif. Gab was essential in cementing Canada's reputation as a Magic powerhouse when he was part of the Canadian squad that won the team portion of Worlds '97.
Lifetime Winnings: $25,993 Lifetime Points: 122 Pro Tour Top 8: 1 GP Top 8: 0
A beloved member of the Canadian Magic community, Terry was the 2001 Canadian National Champion and was a member of the National team in 1998 when the team finished in the Top 4 of Worlds. Terry's lone Top 8 came at Pro Tour-New York with Tinker. He has had multiple Top 16 finishes in his career.
Lifetime Winnings: $24,960 Lifetime Points: 122 Pro Tour Top 8: 1 GP Top 8: 4
Canadian Matt Vienneau recently wrote about his lone Top 8 experience on the Pro Tour for this very site. On the Grand Prix circuit, Matt has reached the Top 8 four separate times with two trophies to show for his efforts. Matt is known as a Limited specialist and all of his action in elimination rounds came with 40-card decks. One of the most talented writers to tackle the game, Matt recently helmed Limited Information for this site.
Whew! That's a lot to digest. But we're far from finished…check back next week for 24 more mini-profiles as we delve into the new names on this year's ballot.
Ask the Pro
After the events of Grand Prix-Malmo and the subsequent DCI investigation, Olivier Ruel's Ask the Pro column went on hiatus. Now that the investigation is complete, Olivier has chosen a few of the most frequently asked questions about the situation and answered them in his final Ask the Pro.
Firestarter: The Man Behind the Deck
As I was writing about Svend Geersten and his Stompy deck from Worlds 1997, I began to think about players who become associated with certain decks or types of decks – Dave Price or Dan Paskins and Mountains; Shota Yasooka and control decks; etc. What is your favorite tandem of player and deck? Use the forums to share your thoughts on this matter as well as anything else that might strike your fancy.