Danish Magic has been on a rampage lately. Their team won the World Magic Cup in Nice in December, and last weekend Martin Dang took the trophy from Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir back to Danish turf. Many Danes are in attendance this weekend in Kraków, and leading the field with an 11-0 record is Martin Müller, the 17-year-old captain of Danish Magic.
I sat down with him fresh from yet another feature match victory and asked him about the sudden success of Danish Magic on the international Magic scene.
What is the deal with Danish Magic? How did you become so successful all of a sudden?
“Some individuals who has played a lot of Magic and had success because of it. Martin Dang has always been really good, but previously he hasn't played that much. Now that he's playing more and more it lead to success at the Pro Tour. Also the community is very strong in Denmark. If you ask on Facebook to borrow cards for a deck you get an answer in five minutes from someone offering to lend you the whole deck. People really want to help each other and see Danes do good.”
Historically Danish Magic has had some success at the Pro Tour. In the summer of 1997 Sven Sparre Geersten made the Top 4 at the World Championships. And in October that year, Martin Müller was born.
“I started playing Magic about four years ago, and didn't really follow coverage until two years ago. So the first Danish success I witnessed was in 2013 when Thomas Enevoldsen won Grand Prix Strasbourg and Oscar Christensen Grand Prix Gothenburg.”
Müller's first Pro Tour was in Valencia in 2014, and since then he has made the money at every Pro Tour he has played. But he has yet to clinch a spot in the top 8 of either a Pro Tour or a Grand Prix. Making the Top 8 here in Kraków would mean a lot the the Dane, who is still in high school back home in Jyllinge, close to Roskilde in Denmark.
“Making the Top 8 would mean a lot, because I really think I'm good enough to make it. I have had more success on the Pro Tour than at Grand Prix which feels strange. At Grand Prix I only have a top 16 and a top 64.”
How much Magic do you play outside of the Pro Tour and GPs?
“I'm actually not playing as much right now as I used to. Last year I played pretty much all the time. Right now I'm at an athletic boarding school in Denmark which takes up a lot of my time. But I think it's important to have something to focus on outside of Magic. I believe it helps me play better Magic when I actually get to play.”
When it comes to goals in Magic Martin Müller says he wants to win it all. But speaking more realistically his first goal is to win the Grand Prix this weekend and aim at Gold Status for the season. Although he knows it's going to be hard, with only 20 Pro Points so far. Making the Danish Magic World Cup team, that he captained last year is also on his radar, also it would take quite a lot to beat Martin Dang in the race.
“I guess I just have to win a Pro Tour also, to catch him in the race,” Müller says with a smile.
Winning the World Cup with Denmark might have been the spark that ignited Müller's success this year. There is a buzz surrounding him at every Grand Prix, and many top players have been seen watching his games this weekend. Rich Hagon, head of the European coverage team, explains how he has been following Müller's career, and isn't surprised that he's doing well this weekend.
“The only thing that surprises me it that Martin is doing it at such a young age. With few exceptions that really doesn't happen in Magic. But he's displayed great talent and posture when I've seen him play and really doesn't throw any games away. He's calm and collected regardless if he's doing a winner interview at the Magic World Cup or playing a feature match for a perfect record at a Grand Prix,” Hagon says.
Next on the schedule for Martin Müller, regardless of how he does this weekend. Is Pro Tour Origins in Vancouver in August. And later this year the prestigious Player's Championship, that he qualified for as captain of the Danish team winning the World Magic Cup. Müller says that he's looking forward to both, even though his main focus right now is to do well here in Kraków.
“The Player's Championship will be crazy. It will be the 23 best players in the world and me. And everyone else has worked really hard to qualify, like winning a Pro Tour or having the most Pro Points in their region. I was just captain for the Danish Team. They even removed that option to qualify for next year, so I feel really lucky to be invited,” he says.
Lucky perhaps, but in no way not deserving his slot.
Hometown: Jyllinge, Denmark
Pro Points this season: 20
Favorite deck archetype: “I have noticed I mostly play 3-color decks. The mono red deck in Brussels was the only deck I've played that hasn't been three colors. I think I can play everything regardless whether it's midrange, control or aggro. But I prefer controlish decks. “
Team: Thommo Thommo Thommo
Interest outside of Magic: Sports in general and football in particular. Müller is an outer midfielder for his school's football team home in Denmark.
Grand Prix played: 12
Martin Müller on:
Winning the World Magic Cup as captain of the Danish team:
“It was really insane. Specially because we thought for certain that we had already lost the last and deciding game. My mind was already set on us losing, but our opponents didn't kill us and we drew perfect to get back in the game and win. It was also insane how much back-up we got from the Danish community. There were like 100 people meeting us at the airport and waving the Danish flag when we got home, so it was really a crazy feeling.”
How he first got into Magic:
“The classic way. A friend at school thought it was a fun game and showed me some cards. I thought it looked like fun and he learned me to play. Then we went to a local store the next Friday and I started winning against everyone and really liked it and wanted to do it again.”
The Grand Prix in Copenhagen in June:
“It's pretty important that we (the Danes) win that Grand Prix. I don't even know when the last Danish Grand Prix was. I can't remember there being one since I started playing. It's going to be awesome to have one at home and don't have to spend energy traveling. It will also be nice to sleep in my own bed for a Grand Prix.“