There was little surprise when the 2014 Hall of Fame inductees were announced at the last Pro Tour. With a combined 14 Pro Tour Top 8s between them and each with a win, Guillaume Wafo-Tapa, Paul Reitzl, and Makihito Mihara were honored on Wednesday evening by a small yet formal invitation-only gathering that took place a stone's throw away from the beautiful Waikiki Beach.
Pro Tour Historian and Master of Ceremonies Brian David-Marshall guided the close friends, family, and previous Hall of Fame members in attendance through the career highlights of the 2014 inductees, and on either side of the ceremony, Rich Hagon lightly serenaded everyone from behind a baby grand piano. No, I'm serious, that is actually the thing that Rich did.
Regretfully, Guillaume Wafo-Tapa was unable to attend this weekend, due to unavoidable prior commitments which his schooling, although that didn't stop BDM light-heartedly claiming that it was because he was still playing a control mirror match from Pro Tour Magic 2015 in Portland. Via the wonders of modern technology (mostly a speech he prepared earlier and emailed through to us), Wafo-Tapa spoke about how much of an honor it was to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, and how intimidating it was to now be considered alongside of the heroes he'd spent so many years looking up to. He thanked his friends who helped him get to this point.
Though unavoidable schedule conflicts prevented him from attending, Hall of Famer Guillaume Wafo-Tapa was able to deliver his speech through the host during the Hall of Fame celebration.
Paul Reitzl then took to the stage and fondly remembered his late Grandfather, who played an important and formative role in Reitzl's love of gaming. Reitzl's girlfriend also presented him with a professionally printed book entitled "The Adventures of Little Darwin" which apparently catalogues every decklist he's ever had success with, every article he's written, every feature match written about him, and man, I dunno, probably every tweet posted by or sent to @paulrietzl on Twitter, too. It looked that awesome.
Hall of Famer Paul Rietzl
I spoke with Rietzl this morning, and he reiterated that he was humble and thankful for being recognized by the Magic community in this way. He admitted that even when he won Pro Tour Amsterdam in 2010, he had no idea he'd even be in the discussion for the Hall of Fame. And as someone working a regular full-time job, Reitzl was looking forward to there being less pressure to attend as many events as possible and being able to focus more on enjoying events he does attend.
Last to take the stage was Makihito Mihara, who with the help of a translator, also expressed his surprise and gratitude at being honored by the Magic community, and announced that while he would devoting more time to raising a family in the near future, he would most definitely continue attending tournaments and enjoying playing Magic.
Hall of Famer Makihito Mihara
And with that, it was time for everyone to enjoy a classy catered dinner, surrounded by the sweet music of Rich Hagon, and the familiar rustle of boosters being opened for a draft.