Posted in GRAND PRIX DENVER 2015 - WELCOME on January 4, 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

To many, Gold level pro, Craig Wescoe needs no introduction. Wescoe has five Grand Prix Top 8s and three Pro Tour Top 8s, including a win. Wescoe has proven, time and again, that he has what it takes to compete and win at the very highest levels of competition. I had the opportunity to sit down with the 2013 Pro Tour San Diego Champion for a conversation about his relationship with Magic: the Gathering.

Craig Wescoe

Jacob Van Lunen: "When did you start playing Magic? How?"

Craig Wescoe: "When I was thirteen years old, my brother and I each bought a Starter Deck. He bought 4th Edition and I bought Ice Age. We started playing against each other whenever we had a chance. I remember thinking that there was no way I could lose if I had Ivory Tower in play, I could just not cast any spells. I also remember being immediately in love with Savannah Lions."

JVL: "Tell me about your life prior to Magic."

CW: "I played a lot of sports when I was younger. Baseball was my best sport. I had an injury and couldn't play anymore. Magic gave me a new competitive outlet."

JVL: "When did you start playing competitively? How?"

CW: "I started playing in tournaments at local stores when I had been playing for about a year. I started going to PTQs a year after that. I remember going to my local shop to buy packs. The guy that was working asked if I would be interested in playing in a tournament they were running that weekend. It sounded awesome. I wanted a chance to play competitively. I went to that tournament and was immediately hooked."

JVL: "Most competitive Magic players would recognize you as the White Weenie guy. You've been playing aggressive White strategies for a very long time at this point. When did you start playing White Weenie decks? What about the general White Weenie strategy keeps you coming back?"

CW: "I guess it's hard to pinpoint a time when I started playing White Weenie decks. I always loved Savannah Lions as a two power creature for one. Back then, that was an incredibly undercosted card. I like the White Weenie strategy because it gets to play the highest quality cheap creatures and it always has access to answers for any type of permanent. The deck usually has the versatility necessary to adapt to any given format. Sometimes you have to get creative to make it work, like using Trusty Machete and Civic Saber."

JVL: "What has Magic done for you? What, of yourself, have you given to the game?"

CW: "It's really hard to imagine what my life would be like if I hadn't started playing Magic. A lot of my best friends are Magic players. My job is playing Magic. My hobby is playing Magic. When I go to bed at night, I'm usually thinking about Magic. It's the sort of game where there's no limit to how much involvement you can have."

JVL: "What advice do you have for players that are trying to improve their game?"

CW: "You want to play as much Magic as you can. When trying to improve, it's important to be honest with yourself about why you're losing games. Think about what you could have done differently when you lose a match instead of blaming luck. It's also important to watch players that are better than you to analyze their plays and understand why they're making them. Most importantly, you should read my articles on tcgplayer.com."

JVL: "What are your goals in Magic going forward?"

CW: "This year, I want to qualify for the World Championship. In the coming years, I'd like to stay Gold or better to continue playing on the Pro Tour. Those are the goals that seem within my grasp. Personally, I just want to do the best I can at each tournament."

JVL: "You've devoted a lot of yourself to Magic tournaments. Why?"

CW: "Magic gives us an opportunity to meet people that we wouldn't have an opportunity to interact with otherwise. Magic players come from all walks of life and each of them has a story. When we show up to these events with hundreds or thousands of people, we find ourselves surrounded by strangers. But they all have one thing in common. They all play Magic. No matter who a person is, if they're both Magic players, they have that in common."

Craig Wescoe is a Pro Tour Champion whose fire only burns brighter with time. Will Wescoe fulfill his dream of earning a seat at this year's World Championship? A Top 8 this weekend would go a long way toward helping him realize this goal. Stay tuned to continuing coverage of Grand Prix Denver!