When Adrian Rosada and his team took the title at Grand Prix Florence two weeks ago it marked a great personal accomplishment for the 36-year-old German. It also proved that Germany's game, especially Limited, is one of the best in Europe right now. In fact, in the finals Adrian Rosada and his team took on another Berlin-based trio. Which made them, half jokingly, proclaim Berlin as the Limited capital of the world.
"Actually, it was Iris Schwarz and Anna Tosenko, two other players from Berlin, who came up with the idea, but it was of course a joke. There might be some truth to it since we have a strong group of Limited players who get together and draft every week, but to call us to the Limited capital—I wouldn't say that," Rosada explained.
Adrian Rosada might not be the paragon of Magic superstars these days. He has a full-time job as a doctor of internal medicine, has an infant at home, and basically only finds the time for Magic in the weekly drafts in Berlin. He is, however, a hell of a Limited player, and has played long enough to remember Kai Budde as a new figure on the German Magic scene. "When I studied to be a doctor, I spent a year in Düsseldorf and used to travel to Cologne for Magic. I still remember this up-and-coming team called Phoenix Foundation with those younger talented players," he said. Phoenix Foundation, of course, went on to win multiple Pro Tours.
And Germany had produced a constant stream of good players in the meantime, with people like Thoralf Severin, Jasper Grimmer, Robin Steinborn, and Rosario Maij to name but a few. Most of them still actually play with Rosada every week in Berlin. He explained that he had always preferred Limited, and only plays Constructed when he "has to." Like when he qualifies for a Pro Tour or there's a PTQ or a Grand Prix in his area.
"I love the diversity of Limited. In Constructed, it feels like the same situations come up more frequently and the match-ups repeat themselves. In Limited each game is a new situation and even though you play many games in a tournament, new constellations that you haven't seen before show up all the time. So I think Limited is both more challenging and more interesting than Constructed," he said.
For someone who had played the game so long and well, Adrian Rosada stood out as someone who still enjoyed every moment of it. When I caught up with him he was actually out of contention for Day 2 at this event. But he told me that he loved the game enough to enjoy matches even when he was 2-3 or 1-3 at a Grand Prix.
"Maybe it's because I don't have as much time to play anymore. Between work and having a small child at home, I only really have time for our Wednesday drafts. So I also enjoy the matches with nothing at stake and no pressure in the last rounds of a Grand Prix where many people with the same record might have already dropped."
Talking to Adrian Rosada, it sounded like he had had a foot all over Germany in terms of Magic. He was born in Poland, grew up in Düsseldorf, moved for studies to Berlin, and was now living in Leipzig with his girlfriend and their daughter, who would celebrate her first birthday next week. He was currently on parental leave which played a big part in him being here this weekend. And even though he's proved himself to be good enough to win two Grand Prix, Adrian Rosada had no higher ambitions in Magic, and didn't feel like he would need to build on his résumé at the Pro Tour.
"Every time I come home from a tournament that I have done well at I joke with my girlfriend that I should quit my job to become a professional Magic player. But I don't think she's worried that I might follow through on this. Although," he added, "I think everyone who has played Magic has sometimes had the dream to do that, but I think some dreams are better off as dreams than actually living them."
After playing Magic for so long, Rosada has seen both the game and player base change. And he said he liked where the game was going. "It seems to be constantly growing and getting better and better. Both the game itself and how tournaments are organized. This weekend they finally had seatings online, for example. I remember when I started playing in the mid-nineties that the game had more of a casual character. Now it's at a completely different level. With a lot of good players streaming, and there are so many good websites with strategy content."
There was one change he felt somewhat wistful about. "I really miss damage going on the stack. I can understand that it wasn't very beginner friendly, but I'm an old guy and we old guys just miss the old order of things."
The long-time Limited specialist did, however, mention one goal for his future Magic career. "I read somewhere that there is a list of which German player has won the most number of Grand Prix. Kai Budde is first on the list by far, and I believe Jim Herold is second with three wins. I should be in third place now with my two wins, and if that is true I would really like to pass Jim Herold on the list. Although I can't imagine ever passing Kai."
Lives: Leipzig, Germany
Does: Doctor in internal medicine in Berlin, wins Limited Grand Prix
Achievements: Winner Grand Prix Paris 2009, Winner Grand Prix Florence 2015 together with teammates Frank Schäfer and Rosario Maij