If you ask any player what they want to get out of the main event, they'll all break out a huge grin and say that they want to win. Because when it comes down to it, there are only two people involved in the final picture at the top of the page. Me and whoever I'm taking a photo of. But then that grin fades a little and they tend to admit they also have other, more modest goals. Some people would like their first Grand Prix Top 8, while others want their first Grand Prix Day 2. Some people just want to meet new people and have fun. Ok, that's probably most people.
Some people have much more specific goals. As we near the end of the season, many players around the World are keeping an eye on the Pro Point standings to see who's going to be captaining their respective National Teams at the World Magic Cup in Barcelona at the end of the year.
In the Asia-Pacific region, some captaincies are already stitched up. Jason Chung's Top 8 finish at Pro Tour Dragon's of Tarkir will almost assuredly be leading Team New Zealand, and Lars Dam is a solid 16 points out in front in Thailand. Albert Budisanjaya has the Indonesian captaincy on lock-down, as his Top 8 at Grand Prix Chiba last month leaves him not only out in front, but comfortably so as the only Indonesian player qualified for Pro Tour Magic Origins. Surprising nobody, Lee Shi Tian will be representing Hong Kong after back to back Top 8 finishes at Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir and Pro Tour Fate Reforged. Chapman Sim is so confident in his leading position for team Singapore that he's covering this event with me this weekend.
(He's not actually that confident. Heng Chye Hwee could theoretically overtake Sim if he wins Pro Tour Magic Origins, but we needed someone to do the coverage heavy lifting today and tomorrow, so Chappers will just have to keep his fingers crossed. When they're not typing, that is.)
Captains and Maybe Captains: Huang Hao-Shan, Lee Shi Tian, Don van Ravenzwaaij, Jason Chung, Chapman Sim, and Sung Wook Nam.
Things are less clear in Chinese Taipei. Huang Hao-Shan is 9 points ahead of Tzu-Ching Kuo, but if Kuo finds a rabbit in his hat over the next two weeks, it could get messy. The same goes for Australia, as Joseph Sclauzero has an outside shot at overtaking Don van Ravenzwaaij if van Ravenzwaaij doesn't do well this weekend, and Sclauzero does do well and does well at one of the remaining Grand Prix events over the next few weeks. The bigger threat to van Ravenzwaaij is Paul Jackson, who isn't here this weekend and lags behind van Ravenzwaaij by 6 points, but will be playing at Pro Tour Magic Origins.
Bo Sun is only 4 points ahead in China and Sung Wook Nam has Korea by 6 points. Joe Soh is only 1 point ahead in Malaysia, and isn't here this weekend so he's not safe by any means. Lastly the Philippines is currently held by Taghoy Arnulfo, but only by a single point, with 6 others biting at his heels. There could be a fair amount of movement in the Asia-Pacific Team Leadership this weekend, we'll see how things shake out tomorrow.