Catching Up with the New King of the Hill

Posted in Event Coverage on May 31, 2015

By Olle Rade

For most of the first day in Utrecht, Patrick Dickmann had been the King of the Hill, winning round after round, match after match. But at the very last minute, a talented player from Belarus took Dickmann's crown, title, and half of the Kingdom with it. Round 9 saw Wladimir Makovski and his sweet five-color deck defeat Dickmann in three close games and ride his trio of Lieges (Wilt-Leaf Liege, Creakwood Liege, and Mirror Entity) to victory.

I caught up with the 26-year old Minsk native to talk about his Sealed deck, his expectations when building it, and how it performed on his way to becoming King of the Hill. As it turned out, this was not only his best performance at a Grand Prix but also the first Grand Prix he had ever played in.

“I started playing Magic about two years ago, so this is my first big tournament. It feels incredible to do so well on the first day. It was very unexpected, but then again it was Sealed Deck, so anything could happen. If you open a good pool you can go a long way,” he said.

When Makovski isn't playing Magic, he's a project manager at a software company in Minsk, Belarus. He explained that he used to play a lot of Magic Online, but lately he had turned to live Magic in the form of drafts with his friends in Minsk. When asked about his Sealed Deck from Day 1, he said he was a bit unsure of how good it was when he finished building it.

“First I thought it looked like an average deck. I knew I had good removal spells, but I really thought I was lacking creatures. It had some good ones, like Wilt-Leaf Liege and Creakwood Liege, but cards like Overwhelming Stampede need a critical amount of creatures to be as good as possible,” he said.

He had indeed misjudged it, and when he started racking up wins he quickly realized the deck was a lot better than he had originally thought. The lack of sweepers in the format and being paired up mostly against slower midrange decks made Overwhelming Stampede an almost unbeatable trump. Makovski recalled that it won more than 60 percent of his games.

“There were a lot of games that I couldn't have won without it. In one game I managed to grow an Algae Gharial to 10/10, but my opponent had Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder and a ton of Zombies, so I couldn't attack. So I simply waited until I drew Overwhelming Stampede, as I knew it would win me the game.”

As a Magic Online player, Makovski had fallen in love with Vintage Masters last year, and he said Modern Masters 2015 Edition reminded him a lot of that format. Both in its skill-intensive nature and its design as a great environment for draft. After starting the Grand Prix 9-0, Makovski now found himself in a great position to build on that record, and his biggest hope in Magic was to make it to the Pro Tour at least once.

“That is something I really want to experience in my life. I don't aim at being a professional player, and I have many other different goals in life. But to attend a Pro Tour really is something I want to cross off my bucket list.”

And if he can draft decks that are as good as the one he played to a 9-0 record in the Sealed portion of the event, he might just get there this weekend in Utrecht.

Wladimir Makovski, 9-0 Sealed Deck

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