Posted in Event Coverage on March 15, 2015

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

Brian Braun-Duin has been doing it the hard way for the last year. Despite not achieving Gold status, Braun-Duin has managed to qualify for every Pro Tour since Pro Tour Theros. Even more impressive, he did so without a testing team up until the most recent, Pro Tour Fate Reforged, where he worked with Team Revolution. Recently, Braun-Duin was picked up by team TCGPlayer for Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir testing. There’s little doubt that Braun-Duin is on track to become the next big thing in the Magic world.

How good is Brian Braun-Duin? Shortly, after Pro Tour Theros, Braun-Duin won GP Louisville and established Black Devotion as the deck to beat in Standard. A year later, Braun-Duin won the Legacy Grand Prix (widely considered the most skill-intensive format) in New Jersey that was north of 4,000 players. More recently, he lost in the semifinals of the StarCityGames Players' Championship. Seriously, this dude can sling some spells.

Braun-Duin didn’t start playing until his years at Virginia Tech. One of his friends had a bunch of old cards. They threw together a couple decks and started battling. He quickly moved on to more competitive play.

“I got really into it!”

Braun-Duin dreamed of playing on the Pro Tour, but it didn’t seem realistic until Brad Nelson, Todd Anderson, and Gerry Thompson moved to town to work for StarCityGames.

“Once I was surrounded by all these great players, I knew my Pro Tour aspirations were realistic.”

Braun-Duin has alligator blood. He keeps qualifying for the Pro Tour no matter how hard it seems the universe tries to throw him off. I asked what Braun-Duin felt he was doing differently than other players that allowed him to qualify with such consistency. Braun-Duin’s secret to success is no secret, he puts a lot of time into practicing and is always critical with himself.

“I might be putting more hours into the game than anyone else. Every week, I spend virtually all my time practicing for the next weekend’s event; trying to find the perfect deck or strategy.”

Braun-Duin and Brad Nelson are the latest additions to Team TCGPlayer. Braun-Duin is extremely excited about the mix of players they’ve put together for this event. He feels they have the minds they need for both Constructed and Limited. Most importantly, he feels that the group will be comfortable enough with one another to be honest and not sugarcoat things for testing.

Braun-Duin is realistic about his goals. Last year, he barely missed Gold and he’s aiming to secure it by the end of this season. In fighting shape and better set up to perform well at a Pro Tour than ever before, Brian Braun-Duin is making it happen.

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