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Feature: The Top 8 Player Profiles

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Masashi Oiso

Masashi Oiso

Masashi Oiso drew three times to land on top of the standings with 36 points and an11-1-3 record. It is the fifth Top 8 of Oiso’s young Pro Tour career. Despite skipping Philadelphia to attend school, Oiso – the only Hall of Fame-eligible player in the 2012 crop – finds himself back in the hunt for the Player of the Year title. If he wins Pro Tour-London, he would take a narrow lead over frontrunner Olivier Ruel.

Age: 21
Hometown: Higashi-Hiroshima, Japan
Occupation: Student
Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: 14
How did you qualify for PT London? Pro Players Club
Number of GP/PT T8s: 5 Grand Prix, 5 Pro Tours

Other Previous Magic accomplishments: Magic Invitational

What was your record on Day 1: 6-1 Day 2: 5-0-3
What colors or color combination did you try to avoid?
Red-green-blue is good, black-white is not good.

What did the addition of Saviors of Kamigawa do to your draft style?
I don't want to draft white and black after Saviors. White-black was my favorite color before Saviors.
How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
Magic Online, three days
What do you think of your chances in the Top 8?
A little




Geoffrey Siron

Geoffrey Siron

This is the second Pro Tour Top 8 of Geoffrey Siron’s career, following up his place in the Class of Columbus at the start of the season. Before that he had finished as high as 9th all the way back at Pro Tour-Osaka – his first Pro Tour, by the way – with no other notable Pro Tour finishes in between. He did garner some attention at last year’s Worlds when the Belgian National team reached the elimination rounds.

Age: 21
Hometown: Belgium
Occupation: Student
Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: 14
How did you qualify for PT London? Pro Points
Number of GP/PT T8s: This is my second PT Top 8

Other Previous Magic accomplishments: Team Worlds finalist in San Francisco, Top 8 at PT Columbus earlier this season, and two Top 16s.

What was your record on Day 1: 7-0 Day 2: 4-1-3
Did you have a consistent draft strategy, and what was it?
Not really, I just think that green is good.
What colors or color combinations did you try to avoid?
White/black, white/red, and white/green.
What did the addition of Saviors of Kamigawa do to your draft style?
"Green became good."
How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
Magic Online, both beta and regular, plus two real life drafts per week. I played more or less 100 drafts on Magic Online.
What do you think of your chances in the Top 8?
1 in 8!




Tomi Walamies

Tomi Walamies

Joining Oiso and Siron at the 36-point plateau was a familiar face returning to the Pro Tour after an 18-month absence. Tomi Walamies was forced to play his final round (he earned his 36 points the hard way), and he decked his opponent one game and applied the beatdown the next. All of his studying over the shoulder of Sam Gomersall evidently paid off big time.

Age: 24
Hometown: Helsinki, Finland
Occupation: Stand-up comedian
Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: Infinity (I learn slow)
How did you qualify for PT London? Qualifier in London two months ago
Number of GP/PT T8s: 0 Grand Prix, 2 Pro Tours
Other Previous Magic accomplishments: Third at Euros 2001, second Worlds team competition 2003, Finland National Champion 2001, 2002, 2003
What was your record on Day 1: 5-2 Day 2: 7-1
Did you have a consistent draft strategy, and what was it?
In all my drafts, I fought with neighbors and/or switched colors. Hardly the most consistent strategy.
What colors or color combination did you try to avoid?
In Magic Online 8-4 drafts, white was overdrafted. It has no first-pick commons in Saviors so I tried to avoid it.

What did the addition of Saviors of Kamigawa do to your draft style?
With Champions-Champions-Betrayers, I tried to avoid red, only taking it when I open Glacial Ray or rares. Now I favored Flame over Moth.
How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
Twenty drafts of C-C-B before the PTQ and about a dozen with C-B-S before the PT. In C-C-C format I was truly awful so I wanted to get in beteer shape.
What do you think of your chances in the Top 8?
I would be the heavy favorite if only it wasn't for Antti.
In light of the tragic events in London on Thursday, is there a message you'd like to share with your friends and family back home?
I am fine. I will not be using public transportation.




Arnost Zidek

Arnost Zidek

Arnost Zidek was the last undefeated player standing at the end of the 10th round before his legs got a little wobbly. He lost Rounds 11 and 12 before regaining his footing against Tomohiro Kaji in the 13th round. Zidek emerged from the massive scrum of Grand Prix-Paris to finish in the Top 8 and earn his way here. He also quietly took home a check in Nagoya, giving him three strong finishes in the Kamigawa Limited arena.

Age: 28
Hometown: Ostrava, Czech Republic
Occupation: Mathematics University Teacher
Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: This is my third.
How did you qualify for PT London? DCI Rankings
Number of GP/PT T8s: GP Paris 2004

Other Previous Magic accomplishments:
Czech National Team at Worlds 2002 (Sydney)
GP Paris Top 8
44th Place PT Nagoya

What was your record on Day 1: 7-0 Day 2: 4-2 and two I.D.'s
Did you have a consistent draft strategy, and what was it?
I tried to recognize which color is under-drafted and jump into that color as soon as possible. :-)
I prefer playing blue/anything, or red/black if I can't get a blue deck.
What colors or color combinations did you try to avoid?
White/Green
What did the addition of Saviors of Kamigawa do to your draft style?
The set is a little bit slower than triple Champions, so now I try to pick aggressive cards early.
How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
Drafting on Magic Online beta around 5 times per day.
What do you think of your chances in the Top 8?
It depends on how the draft goes.




David Larsson

David Larsson

David Larsson was playing in his first Pro Tour after earning his way here via a Pro Tour Qualifier in Sweden. He is an experienced online drafter, and after starting off 0-2 he lived the dream of all players teetering on the brink of elimination by reeling off an 11-0-2 streak to earn his Sunday spot.

Age: 21
Hometown: Lund, Sweden
Occupation: Student (History)
Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: This is my first
How did you qualify for PT London? Winning a PTQ
Number of GP/PT T8s: This is my first

Other Previous Magic accomplishments: Been in the Hall of Champions on Magic Online for quite a while.

What was your record on Day 1: 5-2 Day 2: 6-0-2
Did you have a consistent draft strategy, and what was it?
I try to avoid black. If I get green signals in Champions I happily jump into it.
What colors or color combination did you try to avoid?
Black and blue-red

What did the addition of Saviors of Kamigawa do to your draft style?
I re-evaluated green and stopped forcing white. I also began questioning black.
How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
I practiced a weekend with my teammates (Team Habo) but I didn't have access to beta testing so I hadn't tested much the last weeks. I've played the whole block a lot on Magic Online.
What do you think of your chances in the Top 8?
I'm obviously the underdog but I think I can surprise a lot of you.
In light of the tragic events in London on Thursday, is there a message you'd like to share with your friends and family back home?
Well, I've talked with them a lot and I was asked to ditch the PT several times. When I started 0-2 I called my parents and asked for help with a plane ticket. I love you all and I'll see you on Monday.




Tsuyoshi Fujita

Tsuyoshi Fujita

Resident Genius Tsuyoshi Fujita was the first Japanese player ever to stride across the Sunday stage way back during Pro Tour-Tokyo. Since then he has posted countless Grand Prix Top 8s and designed some of the most influential Constructed decks over the past few years, but a PT Sunday appearance eluded him. Not only is this his first return to Sunday action, but Saturday was only the second time he has reached Day Two of a Limited event.

Age: 21?
Hometown: Osaka, Japan
Occupation: Pro Magic Player
Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: I don't know
How did you qualify for PT London? Pro Player Club
Number of GP/PT T8s: 1 Pro Tour Top 8, 2 Grand Prix wins

Other Previous Magic accomplishments: 2004 National Champion

What was your record on Day 1: 6-1 Day 2: 5-2-1

Did you have a consistent draft strategy, and what was it?
Blue or white flying beatdown.
What colors or color combination did you try to avoid?
Red-blue, blue-white, red-black, black-green

What did the addition of Saviors of Kamigawa do to your draft style?
I don't like black.
How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
A little Magic Online and draft with friends Osamu Fujita, Masahiko Morita.
What do you think of your chances in the Top 8?
Nothing. Because this is my second time making Day Two of a Limited Pro Tour and first time was Mercadian Masques.




Johan Sadeghpour

Johan Sadeghpour

Anton Jonsson missed his usual Limited Pro Tour Day Three appointment this time around, but his countryman and playtest partner Johan Sadeghpour picked up his slack. Johan was one of four Scandinavian players to advance on Sunday – two from his homeland Sweden and two from Finland – while there were zero North American, French, or Dutch players in the Top 8. Despite being a seasoned Pro Tour veteran this was his first Top 8 (other than a Masters in New Orleans).

Age: 25
Hometown: Umea, Sweden
Occupation: Expert Consultant
Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: No idea.
How did you qualify for PT London? Pro Tour Qualifier
Number of GP/PT T8s: Zerooooo

Other Previous Magic accomplishments:
Top 8 Masters at New Orleans, that ain't for nuffin.
What was your record on Day 1: 6-1 Day 2: 5-2-1
Did you have a consistent draft strategy, and what was it?
I just tried to see what colors were open and take them.
What colors or color combinations did you try to avoid?
I tried to avoid red/black and red/white, they never seem to win.
What did the addition of Saviors of Kamigawa do to your draft style?
Made me start drafting green.
How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
I did all my testing on Magic Online since nobody really plays in Umea besides me and Anon Jonnson.
What do you think of your chances in the Top 8?
Probably winning, unless I have to play Oiso, he's too good :(




Antti Malin

Antti Malin

Rounding out the Top 8 was Finland’s Antti Malin, who was playing in his fifth Pro Tour. A 23rd-place finish in Philadelphia earned him an invite to this weekend’s festivities. He also posted an 18th-place finish in Columbus to kick off the season, quietly piling up an impressive resume that he hopes to improve upon Sunday.

Age: 22
Hometown: Helsinki, Finland
Occupation: Student
Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: 5
How did you qualify for PT London? Top 32 Philadelphia
Number of GP/PT T8s: Just this one.

Other Previous Magic accomplishments: 2 Top 24s this season now.

What was your record on Day 1: 5-2 Day 2: 6-1-1

What did the addition of Saviors of Kamigawa do to your draft style?
I'm now going second quite often, and picking Moonfolk a bit higher.
How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
I drafted on Magic Online and also at a Helsinki Magic Shop called Safe Haven. I also got some drafting in at GP Bologna and here on Thursday.
What do you think of your chances in the Top 8?
Quite even, depending on how the draft goes.

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