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Feature: The Top 8 Player Profiles

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Kenji Tsumura

Kenji Tsumura

Japan's Kenji Tsumura continued to live up to the Olivier Ruel-fueled hype from Philly when the Frenchman called Kenji the best player in the world. This is the third Pro Tour Top 8 this season for Kenji. He stood alone atop the standings at 13-1-1 at the helm of an Itaru Ishida-designed Dredge-a-Tog list. The Tog deck featured the tournament's breakout card, Life from the Loam, and took advantage of dredge, cycling, and a Cunning Wish toolbox sideboard.

Age: 19

Hometown: Hiroshima, Japan

Occupation: Pro Player

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: 15

How did you qualify for Pro Tour-Los Angeles? Pro Points

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

Other Previous Magic accomplishments: Japan National 2004 Finalist

What was your Day One record: 7-1
Day Two record: 6-1-1

What deck did you play, and why did you pick it? Psychatog, it is the best deck when he practiced.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with? Went to Tokyo for three weeks and practiced with Itaru Ishida




Billy Moreno

Billy Moreno

Billy Moreno led a contingent of rising stars on their first trip to the Sunday stage. Moreno was the highest-finishing American player in the tournament after the Swiss and got there with some good old fashioned ingenuity. He also tried to exploit Life from the Loam but took a different route. Combining elements of both Tog decks and Madness, MadTog2020 relies on Loam to constantly restock his hand to feed to the Togs and Mongrels. He can also recycle utility lands like Cephalid Coliseum and Centaur Garden. He even has one cycling land - his unorthodox 61st card.

Age: 24

Hometown: Austin, TX

Occupation: Retired Student

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: 3

How did you qualify for Pro Tour-Los Angeles? PTQ in Waco, TX playing Gifts Ungiven

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 0

Other Previous Magic accomplishments: Played in 3 Pro Tours this year, 4 straight PTQ qualifications in Texas

What was your Day One record: 6-2
Day Two record: 7-1

What deck did you play, and why did you pick it? Mad Tog 2020, I realized Life from the Loam was broken, couldn't get control Tog right and wanted to be aggressive. Jitte gave the deck good game against other aggressive decks.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with? Mostly testing on Apprentice and with friends in Austin. Former Austin Knight Burt Jones, Jeremy Jackson and Mason Peatross, Jason Krysak, and Nick West.




Chris McDaniel

Chris McDaniel

Chris McDaniel (a.k.a. Star Wars Kid) made the Top 8 of Champs one week earlier in Virginia and did not even think he was going to attend this event before the middle of the week. McDaniel has been playing Desire combo decks for as long as it has been possible, so this weekend was no different. His experience with the archetype really shined through as he impressed onlookers all weekend with his excellent play.

Age: 19

Hometown: Richmond, VA

Occupation: Student

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: 4

How did you qualify for Pro Tour-Los Angeles? PTQ

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 0

Other Previous Magic accomplishments: 9th at Grand Prix New Jersey, 7th at Grand Prix Chicago

What was your Day One record: 6-2
Day Two record: 6-2

What deck did you play, and why did you pick it? Blue-green Gifts Desire. It was the only deck I have ever actually played in the new Extended. It allows you to be able to get lucky to win sometimes.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with? Played a version of the deck a lot on Magic Online before school started, then I could not play at all.

Did you make any side trips or visit any tourist spots while in LA? No, I didn't even have a plane ticket until Thursday night.




Antoine Ruel

Antoine Ruel

Antoine and Olivier Ruel made a deal to meet in the Top 8. The potential for the two brothers to keep that promise existed right up through to the final rounds. Olivier fell by the wayside, but Antoine kept up his end of the deal sporting a throwback Tog list that eschewed the dredge mechanic. His deck goes the old-fashioned route and wins with less-broken cards like Fact or Fiction and Cunning Wish. This is the third Pro Tour Top 8 of Antoine's illustrious career.

Age: 26 on Monday!

Hometown: Montpellier

Occupation: Jose Barbero's babysitter

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: 30?

How did you qualify for Pro Tour-Los Angeles? Pro Standings

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 12 Grand Prix, 3 Pro Tour

Other Previous Magic accomplishments:

What was your Day One record: 6-2
Day Two record: 6-1-1

What deck did you play, and why did you pick it? Psychatog, it beat all the soft control decks and because it was the best overall.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with? Peset, my brother, the Dutchies




Tsuyoshi Fujita

Tsuyoshi Fujita

Tsuyoshi Fujita reached the Top 8 this weekend for the second straight event, and he also finished ninth in Columbus to start the season. With little time to prepare for the event, Tsuyoshi attempted to translate his Red Deck Wins from Columbus into the new format. Mogg Fanatics became Goblin Legionnaires, Pups became Lions, and Wastelands became Molten Rain. Red Deck Wins was now Boros Deck Wins and that's exactly what it did. Tsuyoshi had a stranglehold on the Top 8 by midday on Saturday.

Age: 25

Hometown: Osaka, Japan

Occupation: Pro Magic Player

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: ??

How did you qualify for Pro Tour-Los Angeles? Pro Standings

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 12 Grand Prix, 2 Pro Tour

Other Previous Magic accomplishments: 2004 Japan National Champion

What was your Day One record: 7-1
Day Two record: 5-2-1

What deck did you play, and why did you pick it? Boros Deck Wins

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with? Masahiko Morita, Osamu Fujita, Hiroki Hayashi, and Asami Kataoka

Did you make any side trips or visit any tourist spots while in LA? No. Between Japan and America is so far and [I was] very tired.




Chih-Hsiang Chang

Chih-Hsiang Chang

Former Taiwanese National Champion Chih-Hsiang Chang stuck closer to the original vision of Red Deck Wins. It's hard to resist the call of the Boros Guild though, especially in a format with fetch lands. He touched white for Lightning Helix in the main deck and was sporting Kataki, War's Wage in the board as well as Disenchants and Exalted Angel. Chang has been a Pro Tour fixture for some time now but this is his first Top 8. It is also the first time a Taiwanese player has ever graced the Sunday stage.

Age: 26

Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan

Occupation: Writer

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: 4

How did you qualify for Pro Tour-Los Angeles? PTQ

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 0

Other Previous Magic accomplishments: 6 National Top 8, 2003 Taiwan National Champion

What was your Day One record: 6-2
Day Two record: 6-2

What deck did you play, and why did you pick it? Red Deck Wins, because I am a rookie.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with? Prepared for one week with my friend Rex Cheng.

Did you make any side trips or visit any tourist spots while in LA? Prepared to go to Universal Studios.




Ervin Tormos

Ervin Tormos

Not only was Ervin Tormos the third American player to make the Top 8 in L.A., he did so bearing the CMU flag. Part of a new young crop of Pittsburgh collegians, Tormos tore up the field with another Red Deck Wins that was flitting with white. Goblin Legionnaire and Lightning Helix were his white cards. His full set of Dwarven Blastminers in the sideboard could loom large in five-game matches with plenty of guild lands everywhere you look.

Age: 18

Hometown: Cincinnati, recently moved to Pittsburgh

Occupation: Student at CMU

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: 1st time

How did you qualify for Pro Tour-Los Angeles? 38-person PTQ :)

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: First one, gotta start somewhere

Other Previous Magic accomplishments: Nothing exciting

What was your Day One record: 6-2
Day Two record: 6-2

What deck did you play, and why did you pick it? Boros Deck Wins. I didn't have a deck and my friend Ben Peebles-Mundy said it was good when we were on the plane so hey why not.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with? CMU people who were qualified (Aaron Vanderbeek and Ben Peebles-Mundy) played some games and I watched. Ben told me about same deck on the plane so that was most of it.




Ryuichi Arita

Ryuichi Arita

Ryuchi Arita is the only member of the Class of Columbus to make a return trip to the Top 8 of this Extended event. The third Japanese player in the Top 8, and the creator of the Life deck, Arita chose to play ScepterChant this time out -- the deck he could not even take a game from in Columbus.

Age: 29

Hometown: Tokyo, Japan

Occupation: Creator

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: 11

How did you qualify for Pro Tour-Los Angeles? Pro Standings

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

Other Previous Magic accomplishments : FNM Champion

What was your Day One record: 6-2
Day Two record: 6-2

What deck did you play, and why did you pick it? No Stick, Master Kaji and Master Sato told me to play it.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with? Before the tournament, yesterday, I sleeved my deck.

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