Growing with Magic: China's Li Bo

Posted in GRAND PRIX BEIJING 2016 on April 17, 2016

By Ben Swartz

As we continue to play Magic, we not only grow as players, but we grow as people. One player who has grown through playing Magic has been China's own Li Bo. After winning the World Championships in 2009 alongside Team China, Li went on to Top 8 three Grand Prix, including a win in Shanghai. I talked to him about how he got started with Magic and how he has transformed over the years.

Li Bo (Center) as part of the 2009 Chinese National Team

Like many of us, Li started playing Magic during his childhood, "I started playing around secondary school in 2000...I saw two seniors playing [and] thought it was interesting." Li continued, "I didn't go to the hobby stores then, I only played with my school mates."

Li found tournaments to be a way to prove how good he was, "In 2005, I participated in my first Grand Prix Trial and I defeated the then National Champion. It was then that I got inspired to play more and started going to stores regularly to practice." After that he was hooked, "We didn't have a lot of options back then and the tournaments were around 20 people or so, however, I got to know a lot of good players who guided me along the way," Li mentioned.

Even after his success at Worlds he didn't think of himself as a pro player—Li loves the game while competing, "I play Magic because I like to hang out with my friends," he explained. After he helped put China on the map at Worlds he showed he was a force to be reckoned with at Chinese Grand Prix—winning in Shanghai in 2012.

As he continued to play in tournaments, Li's approach started to change as he grew. "Over the years, I've grown the most mentally," Li mentioned, "I try my best to play as much as I can and as well as I can, but I also try to focus on enjoying the game more."

While Li has a number of accomplishments, he still has high hopes for his Magic career. "I still hope to have a good Pro Tour result and dream of attending the 24-man World Championship," Li expressed. Unfortunately he has been working more recently, "I don't play as much anymore due to work...I still want to play competitively to gauge if I am good instead of just playing with my friends all the time."

Although Li is out of the tournament this weekend in Beijing, it seems likely we'll be seeing him in another Grand Prix Top 8 in no time.