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Top 8: Player Profiles

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Max Sjöblom

Age: 23

Hometown: Helsinki

Occupation: Student

How did you qualify for Pro Tour Philadelphia?Magic Online PTQ

Number of Grand Prix / Pro Tour Top 8s:
PT: 0
GP: 0

Other previous Magic accomplishments: Finnish National Champion 2006, Team Worlds 3rd 2006

What was your record by format?
Modern: 6-2-2
Booster Draft: 6-0

How did you prepare for Pro Tour Philadelphia? Who did you prepare with?
Did a bunch of drafts online and tested with the Finnish guys that were qualified. Switched from Mono G Post to Ascension once I got the list from Ensio.

How many hours do you spend on Magic Online in an average week?
10-25, depending on my schedule

What Modern deck did you play and why?
Pyromancer Ascension. Got an initial list from Ensio Ask and tuned it. It just seemed insane against the most popular decks.

What do you think of the new Modern format?
Very nice, and infinitely better than Extended, glad about the change. Too bad there are no real control decks that are viable.

Where do you play Friday Night Magic, or if you don't go to FNM anymore, where did you play?
Don't really play FNM anymore, used to play at Poromagia and Safe Haven.

Sam Black

Age: 29

Hometown: Madison, WI

Occupation: Writer for StarCity Games

How did you qualify for Pro Tour Philadelphia? Pro Level 6

Number of Grand Prix / Pro Tour Top 8s:
PT: 0 GP: 3

Other previous Magic accomplishments: Team World Champion, Win-a-Car Tournament winner at Worlds 2007

What was your record by format?
Modern: 7-2-1 Booster Draft: 5-1

How did you prepare for Pro Tour Philadelphia? Who did you prepare with?
Drafting M12 in Madison all the time. Magic Online with John Stolzmann. In person with Zvi Mowshowitz, Gaudenis Vidugiris, Jon Finkel, Tom Martell, and Zaiem Beg.

How many hours do you spend on Magic Online in an average week?
Highly variable depending on whether a set has come out physically or online more recently. I probably play Magic about 6 hours a day.

What Modern deck did you play and why?
Mono Blue Poison. John Stolzmann told me he had built a deck he thought might be very good. After some changes, we couldn't find anything that beat it.

What do you think of the new Modern format?
I don't think this is what it was supposed to look like. Too much combo. I'd ban Cloudpost, maybe Blazing Shoal, and unban Ancestral Vision, maybe Blossom.

Where do you play Friday Night Magic, or if you don't go to FNM anymore, where did you play?
Netherworld Games in Madison – the store I founded but no longer own.

Samuele Estratti

Age: 25

Hometown: Pistoin, Italy

Occupation: Student

How did you qualify for Pro Tour Philadelphia? Pro Level

Number of Grand Prix / Pro Tour Top 8s:
PT: 0 GP: 0

Other previous Magic accomplishments: Top 4 Nationals 2008 2009, some money finishes in GPs/PTs

What was your record by format?
Modern: 8-1-1 Booster Draft: 4-2

How did you prepare for Pro Tour Philadelphia? Who did you prepare with?
With my team (Team GO) composed of Calvetto Marcello, Francesco Cipollesli, Giusti Emanuele, and some romans (Portaro, Bacco, Montanari)

How many hours do you spend on Magic Online in an average week?
0

What Modern deck did you play and why?
Splinter Twin, It seemed solid and has good match up against Twelvepost (I think there were many).

Where do you play Friday Night Magic, or if you don't go to FNM anymore, where did you play?
La Rocca Di Darksheilon

Josh Utter-Leyton

Age: 25

Hometown: Rohnert Park, CA

How did you qualify for Pro Tour Philadelphia? Pro Club Level 7

Number of Grand Prix / Pro Tour Top 8s:
PT: 2 GP: 2

Other previous Magic accomplishments: 2010 US National Champion

What was your record by format?
Modern: 8-1-1 Booster Draft: 4-2

How did you prepare for Pro Tour Philadelphia? Who did you prepare with?
I spent a week in the woods with the ChannelFireball squad.

How many hours do you spend on Magic Online in an average week?
Six.

What Modern deck did you play and why?
Zoo. Every other deck was either Cloudpost or a "belcher" deck -- a deck that could kill on turn two or three but was nearly as likely to turn-six fizzle. Zoo was the most stable deck, and had the best sideboard. What do you think about the new Modern format? I was super excited about the change to Modern for this PT. The way the format developed for this PT (so many flimsy combo decks) has tempered that excitement some, but I think the format will look very different now that the best decks are known.

Where do you play Friday Night Magic, or if you don't go to FNM anymore, where did you play?
At ChannelFireball's shop, Superstars!

Andrejs Prost

Age: 19

Hometown: Anchorage, AK

Occupation: Student

How did you qualify for Pro Tour Philadelphia? PTQ

Number of Grand Prix / Pro Tour Top 8s:
PT: 0 GP: 0

Other previous Magic accomplishments: Ninth place, Grand Prix Rotterdam

What was your record by format?
Modern: 6-3-1 Booster Draft: 6-0

How did you prepare for Pro Tour Philadelphia? Who did you prepare with?
Talked about it on Magic Online with Adam Reiser

How many hours do you spend on Magic Online in an average week?
A million

What Modern deck did you play and why?
Pyromancer Ascension, most consistent combo deck

What do you think of the new Modern format?
Terrible, banned list makes control unplayable

Where do you play Friday Night Magic, or if you don't go to FNM anymore, where did you play?
Waynes World, Anchorage, AK

Chikara Nakajima

Age: 35

Hometown: Tokyo, Japan

Occupation: Card Shop Staff (hareruya)

How did you qualify for Pro Tour Philadelphia? Pro Points and GP Singapore finalist Number of GP/PT Top 8s: PT: 1 GP: 3

Other previous Magic accomplishments: Lords Of Magic Championship Top 4

What was your record by format?
Modern: 7-3 Draft: 5-1 How did you prepare for Pro Tour Philadelphia? Who did you prepare with?: Deck built with Yoshihiko Ikawa

How many hours do you spend on Magic Online in an average week?
1 hour (Momir Basic is a good game!)

What Modern deck did you play and why?
Affinity, because I like beatdown!

What do you think of the new Modern format?
So-so, it's nice. Where do you play Friday Night Magic, or if you don't go to FNM any more, where did you play? At my card shop, Hareruya!

Jesse Hampton

Age: 22

Hometown: Seattle, WA

Occupation: Poker Pro

How did you qualify for Pro Tour Philadelphia? Top 16 GP Dallas

Number of Grand Prix / Pro Tour Top 8s:
PT: 0 GP: 0

Other previous Magic accomplishments: Top 16 GP Dallas, 35th at GP Pittsburgh last weekend.

What was your record by format?
Modern: 7-1-2 Booster Draft: 5-1

How did you prepare for Pro Tour Philadelphia? Who did you prepare with?
Travis Woo handed me a deck list.

How many hours do you spend on Magic Online in an average week?
Zero. What Modern deck did you play, and why? Breach-Post, because I didn't know what to play. I just played what I was given.

What do you think of the new Modern format?
I think the die roll is too important. Also, Jace, the Mind Sculptor should be unbanned. Most games end on turn four or five anyways.

Where do you play Friday Night Magic, or if you don't go to FNM anymore, where did you play?
I don't play FNM.

Alessandro Protaro

Age: 21

Hometown: Rome, Italy

How did you qualify for Pro Tour Philadelphia? PTQ Milan

Number of Grand Prix / Pro Tour Top 8s:
PT: 0 GP: 0

Other previous Magic accomplishments: Top 10 at Italian Nationals, some GP Day Twos, Day Two at Pro Tour San Juan

What was your record by format?
Modern: 7-2-1 Booster Draft: 5-1

How did you prepare for Pro Tour Philadelphia? Who did you prepare with?
After the change of the format, I didn't test at all. I just talked about the format with Italian players at the Pro Tour.

How many hours do you spend on Magic Online in an average week?
None

What Modern deck did you play and why?
I played Splinter Twin because I thought it seemed solid, and I had to play combo for the bad testing

What do you think of the new Modern format?
I like it
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