César Segovia made his international Magic debut at the 2016 World Magic Cup, where he and the rest of Team Panama made it into the Top 8. It's an auspicious start for a Pro Tour career, as the Top 8 finish earned Segovia and invite to his first Pro Tour.
The Top 8 at last year's World Magic Cup was a historic one for Panama.
Months later, Segovia is still thrilled by just how well Panama did at the World Magic Cup. It was the first time Panama had made Day Two of the prestigious tournament, and they leapfrogged that milestone to land squarely in the Top 8.
"The day Panama made the Top 8 and got to play in Sunday was my birthday. That day, and getting to play more Magic, was like an awesome birthday gift."
Fast-forward a handful of months, and Segovia had a Day One in Dublin that, birthday or no, feels amazing to any Magic player. He managed a perfect record on Day One of his first Pro Tour, successfully navigating three rounds of Draft and five rounds of Standard and emerging undefeated.
"I'm very excited about my first Pro Tour," Segovia said, "and to play against people who play at such a high competitive level."
Segovia showed up to the tournament with a deck that was a step outside the expected metagame, which is filled with different takes on Mardu Vehicles, Saheeli combo-control decks, and Winding Constrictor decks. Segovia brought Black-Red Aggro into the mix.
His deck is hyper-aggressive, attacking opponents from turn one with Bomat Couriers, and boosting his creatures with the new Aether Revolt uncommon Weldfast Engineer. It's a fresh take on a deck that existed in the previous Standard season, but that couldn't quite find its footing.
The risk has paid off at Pro Tour Aether Revolt, however, where few decks seem prepared to deal with such an onslaught, and Segovia went eight rounds without picking up a single match loss. It's a prime start for a career years in the making.
Segovia's first introduction to Magic was via Topdeck, a gaming magazine once published by Wizards of the Coast, which he read as a kid. One issue came with a booster pack of Mercadian Masques. Segovia didn't take to playing right away, but he did hold onto the cards.
His interest was reignited when Segovia went to college and the cards came with him. There he said, "a friend saw my cards and said he played as well, and the two of us started playing together."
The competitive drive of Magic is one of the things that got him hooked on the game. Segovia describes himself as a very competitive person, and, of course, the winning is nice too. The thrill of victory and competition aside, "Magic requires a lot of concentration, and that's something that works for me," Segovia said.
Magic events are small in Chiriquí, the province where Segovia lives. One store holds occasional Friday Night Magic events, which draw about a dozen people, and Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifiers, which upwards of 20 people show up for.
Segovia works as a supervisor at a water purification factory. In the months leading up to the World Magic Cup, he and a coworker would practice and play together during breaks. When his coworker left, Segovia still dedicated his extra time to training for the upcoming Pro Tour, practicing on his own.
Though the community is small, Segovia describes it as very helpful, and very united. There's a sense of patriotism they have for players representing Panama at the World Magic Cup and at the Pro Tour, with players supporting and cheering one another on.
With one great finish at the WMC and one great Day One already to his name, Segovia's first Pro Tour looks likely to lead to more, and his enthusiasm is only growing. As Segovia entered Round 12 of his first Pro Tour, he wanted to say hi to the people from Panama, and to cheer them on.