Feature: The Top 8 Player Profiles

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Raphael Levy


Age: 25
Hometown: Toulouse, France

Occupation: Teacher / Internet Columnist

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: A couple...

How did you qualify for Pro Tour-Yokohama? Top 50 in Geneva!

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 13 GP Top 8's / 3 PT Top 8's

Other previous Magic accomplishments: Top 50 in Geneva. Lucky. (Also member of the Magic Pro Tour Hall of Fame)

What deck are you playing and why?
A mono-red burn deck called "Make It Rain." It seemed to be the most adapted deck to the format.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
I playtested on Magic Online a little to have an idea about the field. The REAL playtesting came on Thursday when I had a VERY close idea of what the field would be. Julien Nuijten showed me the deck I wanted to see... the best one!

What was the key card in your deck and why?

Keldon Marauders, a two-casting cost creature / burn spell.

What advice would you have for players using your deck archetype in a Pro Tour Qualifier?

Avoid Wall of Roots if possible.

Road to the Top 8
2-0 Szleifer, Gadiel
2-0 Kotrla, Jan
2-0 Yamanishi, Mamoru
2-0 Pui, Boon Keng
1-2 De Rosa, Antonino
0-2 Page, Benjamin
2-0 Zhou, George
2-1 Summersberger, Helmut
0-2 Künzler, Matthias
2-1 Yasutomi, Hiroto
2-0 Murray, Stephen
2-0 Saitou, Tomoharu
2-0 Nakatani, Haruki
2-0 Fujita, Tsuyoshi
2-0 Echeverría Paredes, José Luis
0-0-99 Herberholz, Mark

Record: 12-3-1
Record vs. Top 8: 1-0-1




Sebastian Thaler


Age: 20
Hometown: Germany

Occupation: Car salesman

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: 6

How did you qualify for Pro Tour-Yokohama?
Level 4 of Pro Players Club

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

Other previous Magic accomplishments:
6rh at Pro Tour-Charleston, 18th at Pro Tour-Geneva, 4 GP Top 16,

What deck are you playing and why?
Red-green land destruction with splash black for Void

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
On Magic Online and especially with Helmut Summersberger

What was the key card in your deck and why?
Bogardan Hellkite, it's the best creature in the format

What advice would you have for players using your deck archetype in a Pro Tour Qualifier?
Test it a lot, it's difficult to play

Road to the Top 8
1-2 Miglioranza, Simone
2-1 Woods, Tyler
2-0 Yasutomi, Hiroto
0-2 Thompson, Mike
2-0 Katayama, Takahiro
2-0 Birklid, Steven
2-0 Nixon, Brandon
2-1 Sadeghpour, Johan
2-1 Rubin, Ben
2-1 Soh, Terry
1-2 Fujita, Tsuyoshi
1-2 Hall, Zack
2-0 Weng, Ruei-Yi
2-1 Kotrla, Jan
2-1 Young, Dane
2-1 Fujita, Osamu

Record: 12-4
Record vs. Top 8: 0-0




Paulo Carvalho


Age: 20
Hometown: Coimbra, Portugal

Occupation: Student

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: 3

How did you qualify for Pro Tour-Yokohama?
Ranking

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

Other previous Magic accomplishments:
Top 8 of Worlds 2006

What deck are you playing and why?
Red-green. These are the colors I like the most and I wanted to play a deck of my own.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
Magic Online

What was the key card in your deck and why?
Mwonvuli Acid-Moss, Stormbind, Akroma. Because they're just good.

What advice would you have for players using your deck archetype in a Pro Tour Qualifier?
Use Dead/Gone in the sideboard.

Road to the Top 8
2-0 Henke, Tobias
2-0 Oberg, Kenny
0-2 Lowry, William
2-1 Vieren, Peter
2-0 Yoon, Soo Han
2-0 Ferrari Spampinato, Gonzalo
2-0 Pelcak, John
2-1 De Rosa, Antonino
2-1 Fujita, Tsuyoshi
2-0 Young, Dane
2-1 Echeverría Paredes, José Luis
0-2 Herberholz, Mark
1-2 Wafo-tapa, Guillaume
2-1 Asahara, Akira
2-1 Morita, Masahiko
0-0-99 Mitamura, Kazuya

Record: 12-3-1
Record vs. Top 8: 0-2-1




Guillaume Wafo-Tapa


Age: 25
Hometown: Nantes

Occupation: Playing Magic

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: 10

How did you qualify for Pro Tour-Yokohama? Pro Level 4

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 2

What deck are you playing and why?
I'm playing Dralnu because it's good and because it is the kind of control deck I like. Though it's not very original, I could not come up with anything else.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
I playtested a week in Aix-en-Provence with Pierre Canali, Bastien Perez, and Johnathan Rispal and then with the Ruel brothers a few days before the tournament.

What was the key card in your deck and why?
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth - it makes the deck work.

What advice would you have for players using your deck archetype in a Pro Tour Qualifier?
Don't play with my sideboard, it's crap.

Road to the Top 8
2-0 Haugaard Meineche, Jon
2-1 Kaji, Tomohiro
0-2 Kiwanont, Sukhum
2-0 Schmeußer, Simon
2-0 Thompson, Mike
1-2 Maaten, Rogier
2-0 Tenenbaum, Amiel
2-0 Shiozu, Ryouma
2-0 Brackmann, Aaron
2-1 Hron, Mike
2-1 Saitou, Tomoharu
1-0 Echeverría Paredes, José Luis
2-1 Carvalho, Paulo
0-2 Herberholz, Mark
1-2 Karsten, Frank
2-1 Pelcak, John
Record: 12-4
Record vs. Top 8: 2-1




Kazuya Mitamura


Age: 26
Hometown: Chiba

Occupation: Student

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: 6

How did you qualify for Pro Tour-Yokohama? Level 3

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 2 PT

Other previous Magic accomplishments: LoM Champ

What deck are you playing and why?
Blue-black. It is the best deck in the format.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
Takuo Satou and Ryuichi Arita

What was the key card in your deck and why?
Brine Elemental - It gives you easy wins.

What advice would you have for players using your deck archetype in a Pro Tour Qualifier?
Practice.

Road to the Top 8
2-0 Wada, Atsushi
1-1 Dougherty, Robert
2-0 Tracy, Kyle
2-1 Yasooka, Shouta
2-0 Chan, Tiago
2-0 Scott-Vargas, Luis
2-1 Chun, Bo Ruad
2-1 Brackmann, Aaron
1-2 Echeverría Paredes, José Luis
0-2 Karsten, Frank
2-0 Kitayama, Masaya
2-0 Pelcak, John
2-0 Lybaert, Marijn
2-1 Ruel, Olivier
2-0 Herberholz, Mark
0-0-99 Carvalho, Paulo
Record: 12-2-1
Record vs. Top 8: 2-0-1




Tomoharu Saito


Age: 23
Hometown: Tokyo

Occupation: Pro Magic Player

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: Over 15

How did you qualify for Pro Tour-Yokohama? Level 6

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 6 GP, 4 PT

Other previous Magic accomplishments: Pro Tour Champ

What deck are you playing and why?
I played Pizza Stompy (my design). It's actually good against blue-black, White Weenie, and Mono-red.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
Magic Online players, Shingo Kurihara and Tomohiro Kaji

What was the key card in your deck and why?
Timbermare

Road to the Top 8
2-1 Nakamura, Shuuhei
2-1 Yasutomi, Hiroto
0-2 Chun, Bo Ruad
2-1 Soorani, Shaheen
2-0 Ishida, Itaru
2-0 Pearlman, Jonathan
1-2 Fujita, Tsuyoshi
2-0-1 Cheon, Paul
2-0 Rispal, Jonathan
2-1 Page, Benjamin
1-2 Wafo-tapa, Guillaume
0-2 Levy, Raphael
2-1 Michiwaki, Teruyoshi
2-1 Soh, Terry
2-0 Künzler, Matthias
2-0 Ruel, Olivier

Record: 12-4
Record vs. Top 8: 0-2




Mark Herberholz


Age: 23
Hometown: East Lansing Michigan

Occupation: Gamer

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: 20-30

How did you qualify for Pro Tour-Yokohama? Level 5 Pro Players Club

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 3 GPs / 4 PTs

Other previous Magic accomplishments: Won Pro Tour-Honolulu

What deck are you playing and why?
'The Tax Man Cometh' - a blue/black/white control deck. It was the best deck I tested

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
I tested on Magic Online with Gabriel Nassif, Rich Hoaen, Antonino De Rosa, Ben Rubin, Mattias Kettil, Johan Sadeghpour and John Fiorillo.

What was the key card in your deck and why?

Teferi's Moat - nobody was prepared for it!

What advice would you have for players using your deck archetype in a Pro Tour Qualifier?

Practice with it a lot - it's very hard to play.

Road to the Top 8
2-1 Fujii, Toshikazu
2-0 Fornasari, Michele
2-0 Smets, Daan
1-2 Burks, Brandon
2-1 Nakatani, Haruki
2-0 Arita, Ryuuichi
2-1 Künzler, Matthias
2-0 Mahler, Hans
2-1 Soh, Terry
1-1-1 Echeverría Paredes, José Luis
2-0 Chun, Bo Ruad
2-0 Carvalho, Paulo
2-0 Young, Dane
2-0 Wafo-tapa, Guillaume
0-2 Mitamura, Kazuya
0-0-99 Levy, Raphael

Record: 12-2-2
Record vs. Top 8: 2-1-1




Masashi Oiso


Age: 23
Hometown: Nagano (Hiroshima)

Occupation: Student

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: Over 20

How did you qualify for Pro Tour-Yokohama?
Pro Players Club level 3 (18 points!)

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 9 GPs / 6 PT

Other previous Magic accomplishments: National Team Champion

What deck are you playing and why?
A red-green control deck that my friend made.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
I could not play Magic before the PT! Kazuki Ueno made it on Magic Online

What was the key card in your deck and why?
Wall of Roots... Best. Wall. Ever.

What advice would you have for players using your deck archetype in a Pro Tour Qualifier?

You should mulligan if you have no mana boost.

Road to the Top 8
0-2 Murray, Stephen
2-0 Walsh, Tyler
2-1 Sim, Chapman
2-1 Schauf, Scott
2-1 Hirose, Daisuke
0-2 Morita, Masahiko
2-1 D'Argenio, Dan
2-1 Ishida, Itaru
2-0 Oomens, Wessel
0-2 De Rosa, Antonino
2-0 Chang, Chih-Hsiang
2-0 Page, Benjamin
2-1 Hall, Zack
1-2 Echeverría Paredes, José Luis
2-1 Lybaert, Marijn
2-1 Brackmann, Aaron

Record: 12-4
Record vs. Top 8: 0-0

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