The Quest For Limited Master with Christian Calcano

Posted in Event Coverage on June 11, 2016

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

The Magic World Championship pits twenty-four of the world's great pros against each other to see who will win the biggest title Magic has to offer. With a prize purse of $150,000, Pro Points at stake in each match, and the greatest players in the game competing against each other over three days, the World Championship is Magic's most memorable event each year.

Last October, new avenues were announced for qualification to The World Championship. Christian Calcano’s ears perked when he heard about the Draft Master slot.

“‘That’s for me,’ I thought, ‘That’s how I’m getting to The World Championship.’”

Calcano has always felt that Limited was the strongest part of his game. Over the last year, his game has continued to improve.

“I don’t say stuff like this. I’m not trying to be cocky. But maybe. Maybe I’m the best Drafter.”

Calcano’s current 14-3-1 Draft record at the Pro Tour is currently in 2nd place for the Draft Master World Championship slot. Only Jon Finkel (Yep, that guy) is ahead of him with a 15-3 record.

Calcano credits his Draft success to his willingness to break rank.

“I hate Draft pick orders and guides. This card may be better than that card, but maybe that card is what my deck needs. I’m not just trying to have good cards. I’m trying to have a good deck.”

So, how does Calcano dive into a new Limited format with such success?

“I like trying a lot of things when I’m drafting a new format. At the beginning, I lose a lot. I lose most of my matches. I love it. I just sit there losing with all sorts of color combinations and strategies. Every time I lose I learn about the shortcomings of a strategy. Eventually, I run out of new things to try and I go back to the strategies that I’ve won with. I try those a bunch and learn more before settling on what I believe to be the best strategies. Depending on the depth, public knowledge, and power of a particular strategy, I may even end up forcing that deck at the Pro Tour.”

Calcano was interrupted by a friend, “Hey man!”

“Hold on one second. I’m spitting my Limited game in this interview,” Calcano laughed. “Where was I? Oh yea! So the way you draft should also be dependent on the reputations of those drafting around you. Aggressive White decks are my favorite decks to draft in Shadows Over Innistrad but I was seated to the left of Craig Wescoe in my second draft at the Pro Tour. I said to myself, ‘OK. We’re probably gonna be Red-Green aggro here.’ Three packs later and I ended up with the sickest Red-Green aggro deck.”

With Eldritch Moon on the horizon, Calcano is focused and ready.

“I’m looking forward to learning the new Limited format once we know the cards. I’m confident that I’ll be able to figure it out. Then I just have to get some wins at the Pro Tour. Maybe Jon will lose a match or two.”

Will Calcano be able to fulfill his dreams of playing at The World Championship as Draft Master? Don’t miss coverage of Pro Tour Eldritch Moon on August 5-7 to follow Christian Calcano on his quest for greatness.

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