With the 2014–2015 Pro Season nearing its inevitable conclusion, Fabrizio Anteri found himself short on points. He had already amassed 25 Pro Points in the season so far, but to remain at Gold in the Pro Players Club he would need another ten points. Thankfully, an 11-3 record would secure three points for him and a spot in the Top 4 at this Grand Prix would add between four and six points to his account. And all of his 25 points so far came from "just" five Grand Prix, so even a lowly 10-4 record at this event would hand him one point.
Compare that to Platinum pros Patrick Dickmann or Martin Jůza who already scored points in six or even seven Grand Prix this season. They needed to go 11-3 to even gain anything at all.
Reaching for the Top of the Magic World
In case you don't remember, last season was Anteri's most successful ever. He came in third at Grand Prix London 2013, followed it up with a second place in Antwerp, and then he somehow learned how to actually win tournaments. And win he did, hoisting the trophy at both Grand Prix Warsaw as well as Grand Prix Manchester in 2014. Asked about the reason for these excellent results, Anteri simply admitted that he was extremely lucky. He managed to maintain a relationship with his girlfriend, work a full-time job and do well at Magic.
Although he began putting in many more hours this year and was testing together with Europe's most successful team, his results became worse. He said he felt like he improved a lot and was making a lot fewer mistakes. "Though I'm still making a lot of mistakes," he quickly added.
I wanted to know whether it was hard for him to stay motivated when he's attending the Grand Prix these days. "It's not affecting me too much. Last year was just unreal. I did well in eight out of ten Grand Prix. I had a win rate of 70% at GP, which means I was among the five most successful players in the world," said Anteri. "But I'm still doing well enough this year, so I'm not upset about it."
Goals at the Beginning of the Season
At the beginning of the season, his goal was to lock up Gold again so he would be able to continue playing and enjoying Magic full-time. That translated to attending as many Grand Prix as possible. He said he even considered going to Grand Prix Lille, as long as the costs were reasonable, adding that he's not very familiar with Legacy.
Furthermore, he planned to travel to Grand Prix Dallas, despite the considerable expense. "I can't afford to leave out the points", he explained.
Reflecting on his current situation, he said he felt like he was 50/50 prior to Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir to make Gold. "Now it feels more like a 40/60 chance." He still would have a couple of Grand Prix to play, so he might as well do it. Failing that, he still had a shot at captaining the English team at the World Magic Cup again.
This led to one of the funnier questions that Frank Karsten added during our conversations: "How many nationalities are in your team exactly?" Anteri had to ponder over that one for a bit, before responding: "Eduardo [Sajgalik] is Canadian and French, but his dad lives in Peru, so he could even have like four or five nationalities … I'm Italian, Venezuelan, and English. Daniel [Royde] is strictly English, though." So let's make that seven nationalities for just three players. Not too shabby.
I wanted to know whether Anteri even felt like a Brit and he had to admit that when asked about his blood, he felt like 70% Venezuelan and 30% Italian. He recovered, though, pointing out that he was in love with London, even though the city made it hard to live on a limited budget. That's why he would be very proud if he represented England; London is enough to win him over.
The World Magic Cup was a truly special event for him, or to put it Anteri's way: "Knowing that you're representing your country adds a very special flavor to this event."
Still, he would feel somewhat disappointed if he ended up on Silver in the Pro Players Club. That would make it necessary for him to get a part-time job and would take away from his time playing Magic. And we certainly can't be having that!
Anteri told me that he never really played Legacy or Vintage. He enjoys Limited the most, since he felt it was "the most rewarding format."
Asked about his favorite Constructed format, he said, "I prefer Standard as I feel like I have more of an advantage in the format. Modern is also skill-rewarding, but it takes longer to catch up and I'm not familiar enough with the format to do well in it."
In closing, we asked for some advice Anteri may have for players new to the game that want to rival his success at Grand Prix. "I think confidence matters a lot. Don't get upset if the results are not there. Just carry on and move on; only focus on the next game, Anteri said. "If you're a good player, the results will come eventually."