Few sons indeed are like their fathers; most are worse, few better than their fathers.
- Homer, The Odyssey
The word "father" has many different contexts, and Willy Edel is perhaps one Magic player who can understand it best. Aside from having already achieved four Pro Tour Top 8s and seven Grand Prix Top 8s, Edel is also affectionately christened the "Papa" for his contributions to the Latin American Magic community.
Willy Edel in 2006, a pillar of the community, being featured on his very own Official token card.
Most recently, Edel was blessed with a baby boy, giving new meaning to the word "Papa". I decided to check in with him to find out he is coping as an actual father with an eight-month old son.
Chapman: So, how's being a father like?
Willy: David Williams and Bob Maher (Dark Confidant) told me that the "first year is always the roughest. After that, it always get better."
It's a lot harder than I imagined it to be. Having a baby demands a great deal of your attention and I'm glad I've got some great friends around me who are also parents themselves. They did help me a lot through these tough times.
Edel seeks advice from other MTG Dads, to be the greatest dad at any cost.
My wife's a financial analyst and has hectic hours associated with her job, so I get to stay at home and spend lots of time with Guilherme. Thankfully, I am able to practice through Magic Online, while managing my store from home.
Chapman: Magic Online seems really convenient for you. Has anything changed?
Willy: I'm glad to have Magic Online. It enables me to keep up and stay sharp. Before having a baby, I was able to get in 4 to 6 hours of practice in a typical day. Aside from slightly reduced hours, it's also affected the way I play Magic Online.
Chapman: The way you play Magic Online? I don't follow...
Willy: Oh, sometimes when I'm doing a booster draft, Guilherme would start crying. I would right click to reserve my pick and attend to him and then I run back after a minute to reserve my next pick again. That way, the system doesn't "auto pick" a card for me. I end up shuffling between my computer and the baby pen multiple times.
Wow Daddy! You've got so many QPs!
Sometimes, I take more than a while because I need to cook some food or feed my boy and I end up being automatically dropped from the tournament (because of inactivity). It's happened to me twice already. To be honest, I shouldn't be playing Magic when I'm expecting Guilherme to wake up. Sometimes, I secretly wish that he would sleep for a little while more so I can complete my match! It's not a big deal though, I'm happy to take care of my baby.
While Guilherme is awake, I have him on my lap. Sometimes he gets naughty and fiddles with the mouse. He loves to hit random buttons and has ended up picking random cards for me a few times already. Only eight months old and drafting Magic cards already!
The Bumpy Road
Having a baby while maintaining a full-fledged Pro lifestyle isn't exactly a walk in the park. When Edel received news that his wife was pregnant, his first goal was to spend more time at home.
"Initially, I didn't think I was able to make Gold. But I had a good run at the World Magic Cup and also a Grand Prix Top 8. It was then that I thought I had a good chance."
Edel playing against Jon Finkel at Pro Tour Fate Reforged.
But it wasn't until Pro Tour Fate Reforged that Edel would be relieved of his worries. He managed to put up a solid 4-2 result at the Booster Draft portion, and 7-3 at Modern with his signature Abzan deck. He finished 11-5, picking up 10 precious Pro Points.
"Now that I'm at least Gold already, I am all set for the next season. If I manage to make Platinum this year, it will be a bonus. Otherwise, I'm happy enough with Gold considering I had to maneuverer through the pregnancy and childbirth phase."
However, having a child is not without sacrifice. In addition to occasional sleep-deprived nights and the "privilege" of changing a soiled diaper, he also has to compromise on his Pro Tour playtesting hours. Instead of the usual two weeks prior to the Pro Tour, he only gets two days.
"I spoke to Luis (Scott-Vargas) about it and he understood fully that I wasn't able to join them (Team Channel Fireball). When Guilherme gets a little older, I should be able to put in the two weeks that is required prior to each Pro Tour."
The lack of practice caused his performance to suffer at Pro Tour Brussels. Despite going 7-3 at the Constructed portion, he performed abysmally at the Draft Tables. "I went 2-4 in Limited. I only needed one more win to lock up Platinum. If I had a little more time, I would have got there. But well, you can't have everything in life."
Chapman: Are you planning to teach Guilherme how to play Magic?
Willy: "Of course. At this point, there is no way to find out if he would like to play competitively. But as a father, it is natural for me to teach my son what I am interested in. Some fathers who enjoy football teach their sons how to play football. In my case, I'll teach Guilherme how to play Magic. It is a great game and has been a big part of my life and I want to share it with my son."
Quality Father and Son Time. Some Grinders start young.
The Edel Family
Being successful at Magic is a source of pride and accomplishment. Similarly, there is also great happiness to be found in the warmth of a loving home. It is also said that the greatest thing a father can do for his children, is to love their mother.
"I have an amazing family. My wife has been with me for 14 years and also my entire Magic career. She was with me when I was just a casual player. She was with me during my first Pro Tour Top 8 and my first Grand Prix title. She was with me when I was on the train, and also when I fell off the train. My wife was with me every step of the way, and I am a truly blessed man."
Willy Edel, Grand Prix Toronto 2012 Champion
There's always a first time for everything and Edel will be taking his entire family to Grand Prix Las Vegas, "earmarked" to be one of the largest Magic tournament in history.
"As a financial analyst, my wife only gets vacations once a year. This time round, we timed it to be during Grand Prix Las Vegas and I will be bringing Guilherme and also my parents there."
The Edel family, along with thousands of other Magic enthusiasts, will be at Grand Prix Las Vegas 2015.
It will be an interesting vacation for the Edels. Despite being hugely decorated in the Magic scene, Edel's parents have never quite understood what their son was doing, much less witnessed a large scale Magic tournament.
"They know that I play 'this card game' and all they ever see are 50 people in my store. But they have no idea how big the game actually is. So this time round, I'm going to open their eyes and bring them to Grand Prix Las Vegas. I think they will be surprised to learn than more than 50 people play this game. Haha!"