Mexico’s Greatest Magician - Meet Marcelino Freeman

Posted in Event Coverage on January 31, 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

Last month, the best players from around the world showed up in Nice, France to compete in The World Magic Cup. Few expected great things from Mexico coming into the event, but the Mexican team, led by Marcelino Freeman, proved to be a dangerous force as they won match after match and made their way into the second stage of Day 2 competition. This morning, I wandered around the Expo Reforma asking Mexican Magic players who they believed to be the greatest Mexican player. Without fail, every person I asked emphatically responded with Freeman’s name, often shouting or holding a fist in the air as they spoke. I had the opportunity to sit down with Freeman to talk about Magic, life, Mexico, and his expectations for the future.

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

Marcelino Freeman: “A friend taught me how to play in 2006, but I didn’t know anything about the game. My favorite card was Vizzerdrix. My first sanctioned tournament was the Saviors of Kamigawa prerelease. My friend Jesus Solano got me into the competitive scene and I started going to tournaments in 2010. I didn’t start actively traveling to events until 2013.”

Van Lunen: “Tell me about your accomplishments as a Magic player?”

Freeman: “I won Mexican Nationals in 2010. I have two Grand Prix Top 8s and I usually make the second day of competition at most Grand Prix events. Last year, I was the captain of the Mexican national team and we lost playing for Top 8 at the World Magic Cup. As a Mexican, it can be very difficult to travel abroad for events.”

Van Lunen: “Do you play at a particular game store? Which one?”

Freeman: “I play in a game store in Puebla City called Amalgames. It’s a fun place to play Magic with my friends. It’s a very social scene. We don’t show up to play competitively so much as to hang out, have a beer, and maybe get some food.”

Van Lunen: “How would you describe the Mexican Magic community?”

Freeman: “I think the Mexican community has a lot of talent, but it’s difficult to travel and there’s a lot of competition within the community. Culturally, I feel that we’re very much about succeeding in individual competition over team competition. Lately, there have been more people traveling, so hopefully our community will continue to make more of a name for itself at the Pro Tour and Grand Prix level.”

Van Lunen: “You have a high profile job for a consulting firm. How do you find a balance between work and Magic.”

Freeman: “My work is as accommodating as they can be when it comes to me traveling to events, but I can’t go to everything because there are things that simply cannot get done if I’m out of the office. It’s especially difficult as a Mexican, I need to get visas and take off multiple days for travel if I want to play in most events. I want to play as much Magic as possible, but it’s important for me to prioritize the right things in my life.”

Van Lunen: “You’re the reigning Mexican National Champion and many of the players here look up to you as a player? Do you feel pressure to perform well for the Mexican Magic community? How do you give back?”

Freeman: (Bashfully laughing) “I do. Last year, when I lost in the finals of Grand Prix Mexico City, it was upsetting because I wanted to keep the trophy here in Mexico. Sometimes, it’s hard when I don’t make day two at a Grand Prix, but I can only do my best. Recently, I’ve been judging a lot of events to help the community. I judged a few PTQs that I was qualified for this season just so they could happen.”

Van Lunen: “What about you? Who is your Magic role model?”

Freeman: “Willy Edel has been very good to me. After Pro Tour Theros, I really wanted to do well and I needed to find people to test with for the big events. I asked Edel if I could test with him and he was unconditionally welcoming. Edel has been a great mentor for me as a Magic player over the last year.”

Van Lunen: “What are your goals in Magic going forward?”

Freeman: “I would love to play professionally, but I don’t think it’s feasible for me. I love traveling and my real goal is to travel as much as possible. Last year, I came in third for the Latin American World Championship seat. I would love to play at the World Championship some day.”

Marcelino Freeman has tremendous success for someone so new to the game. It’s clear that Freeman has a good head on his shoulders and we can expect a lot of great things from him in the future.

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