Behind each team, there is a story. A story of how the paths of three individuals have crossed. Most teams are forged by strong preexisting relationships, but there are also instances where the players have nothing in common aside from the fact that they love Magic.
What are some of the factors that result in the genesis of a trio? After scouting the field, I present some of the hot teams to watch out for, as well as the backstory of how they came to be.
"How many English-speaking teams are there this weekend? Do we even have five?"
Indeed, not too many North Americans are here this weekend, but Pascal Maynard, Brian Braun-Duin, and Shaheen Soorani are the few who have decided to make the 12-hour trip. Aside from chasing levels, they're also here for a very specific agenda. You can read more about their noble quest for glory here.
Team Not Degenerates
Much like the existence of matter and antimatter, for every Team Degenerates exists a Team Not Degenerates.
Drawing inspiration from the previously-mentioned trio, Willy Edel, Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, and Esper Berthoud are adopting a satirical take. There are three Hall-of-Famers in the room today, and two of them are on this team which makes them heavyweights. While Edel is pretty far behind to become the Brazilian National Champion, he will lend a hand in helping Damo da Rosa solidify his lead.
Berthoud might not be an international superstar yet, but it is worth noting that he came in 3rd place at Grand Prix São Paulo 2014, which was also a Team Limited event.
Edel: "Oh, Berthoud? He's totally carrying us. All good."
Damo da Rosa could only chuckle and nod in agreement.
Everybody knows that Saito will go the distance, regardless of the distance. The problem with Grand Prix São Paulo, however, is that you actually need to show up with two other people who knows how to play Magic. Since Shuhei Nakamura, Ryoichi Tamada, and Sato Rei have already teamed up (oh yes, they're a team to watch too!), Saito had his own puzzle to solve before even arriving here.
Thankfully, his resourcefulness and network found him Michael Bonde and Super Sunday Series finalist Thiago Rodrigues.
Originally from Manaus, Brazil, Rodrigues had been living in Paris for a while and thought this Grand Prix would be a great opportunity to visit home for a bit. Solidifying his travel plans a little too late, he also found himself in the unfortunate position of not having any Brazilian buddies at the ready.
Bonde, who is from Denmark, needs just 2 more Pro Points to lock Gold. I assume he couldn't convince Martin Müller and Martin Dang to tag along, so he was really happy when Saito approached him. "I actually love our team and it's an honor to be playing alongside Saito. I know he'll do he very best, even if he is not racing for Grand Prix Master. The overlapping coincidences all worked in our favor and it's amazing how everything turned out."
So, what's this Capybara thingy about?
Saito: It's my favorite animal. Have you seen one? Go Google it. It's super cute, and I think we have a very cute team. Team Capybara, go!
From across the Atlantic, we have an all-European team comprising Andreaz Ganz, Simon Görtzen, and Florian Koch. They were wise enough to book their tickets in advance to enable the far-flung journey, and even took the opportunity to visit the Iguazu Falls together. Aside from travel, what other business are they up to in this part of the world?
Görtzen: Well, I want to win a GP. I don't know about the rest.
Koch: I am at 16 Pro Points right now and I need 2 more for Silver. The tickets seemed reasonable so here we are!
A cursory investigation determined that they didn't win the "Sealed Deck Lottery". They professed to have very average decks, without any spectacular bombs.
Görtzen: "Call the Bloodline and Ongoing Investigation might just be our best cards. We have Olivia, Mobilized for War as our only Mythic, and she's in a deck with Flameblade Angel. Well, that's not Archangel Avacyn. We've had to jump through hoops to make our pool work. It was not easy, but I think we got this. The Black-Green Clue deck is really cool!"
So what does Pflugmeister mean anyway? Quite literally, it translates to "Master of the Plow" and the team is so-named because Ganz loves his agricultural references.
Ganz: "The aim of every tournament is to plow through the entire 'field'. It's all hard work and toil, and we're also 'farming' Pro Points and 'raking up' achievements. I mean, the best cards in the game have the word 'plow' in it. Swords to Plowshares. Plow Under. Even Gruul War Plow is a pretty good card!"
Well, it's hard to argue with that logic!
There's also a lot of other talented trios out there, but we'll work on bringing you the cream of the crop as they float to the top. Hopefully we'll get to check in on some of these teams as well:
- Tulio Lamego Jaudy - Marcio Carvalho - Guilherme Merjam
- Juliano Gennari - Thiago Saporito - Daniel Modesto
- Leandro Martins Gomes - Marcos Paulo De Jesus Freitas - Joao Caludio Souza
- Rafael Blanquet-Bruno Dias - Hugo Venda
A lot of familiar names in the mix? Wait till you get to meet them!