When there's a Grand Prix in the Czech Republic, what better way to start coverage than to talk to a hometown hero? I sat down with Lukas Blohon, to talk about Standard, his expectations this weekend, and how Magic has been treating him lately.
As it turns out, the 26-year-old Czech has not only a Pro Tour and four Grand Prix Top 8-finishes to his résumé. He also won the first Magic World Cup Qualifier in the Czech Republic last weekend, also held here in his hometown. With a mile-wide smile he told me about his experience.
"I chose Esper Dragons last weekend, and ended up winning the tournament. It wasn't looking good though after my first round bye, when I lost to Mono Red. I was pretty upset because I couldn't afford one more loss. But I won every match after that, so it worked out in the end," he said.
When asked about his deck choice, Blohon explained that after Pro Tour Magic Origins he regretted that he hadn't played Esper Dragons, and decided to start testing it. In practice he started winning and winning and now he thought it might be the best deck for the field. At least when he's behind the wheel.
"The deck is fine against everything except Mono Red, the Blue-Red Ensoul Artifact deck and the Mill-deck with Sphinx's Tutelage. Everything else is beatable. It's really strong against Green Devotion, and it's at least 50/50 against all the other decks," he said.
The field this weekend was likely going to be as diverse as Standard always seems to be as of late. If anyone knew what to expect in the Czech metagame, it'd be Lukas Blohon.
"A lot of people in the Czech Republic play Jeskai, so I expect a lot of that. Along with either Abzan aggro or control, which I think will be the two most popular decks. Some people might also play Esper Dragons since it had success at World Magic Cup Qualifiers all over the world."
With his win last weekend, Lukas Blohon will for the first time represent the Czech Republic at the World Magic Cup. He gets to be in the rare position to watch the remaining qualifiers from the sidelines and root for the players he's hoping to join him and Ondřej Stráský at the Cup Finals in Barcelona in December. When asked about what the dream team would be, the quiet Czech beamed a smile before answering.
"I would pick Martin Jůza , that I beat in the quarter-finals at the WMCQ and Petr Sochůrek, who I beat in the finals. We actually had a really good Top 8, and whoever would have won we would have had a great player for the team," he said.
The best finish for the Czech Republic at the World Magic Cup is a Top 8 in 2013. Something that Lukas Blohon hopes to trump after locking his status on the team this year.
"I hope the Czech team will shape up good now. I've played in the team competition at the World Championships prior to the World Magic Cup, and we've finished third and fourth. So it would be great to do even better at this year's World Magic Cup."