Feature: The Top 8 Player Profiles

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Thomas Drake

Age: 24
Hometown: Virginia Beach, VA

Occupation: Chinese food delivery driver

Number of Times Playing at Nationals: This is my first

How did you qualify for U.S. Nationals? Maryland Regionals

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 0

Other previous Magic accomplishments: None of merit

Record by Format: 
Standard: 4-1-2
Booster Draft: 6-1

What Standard deck are you playing and why?
Blink touch red - Because it's wicked fun and all the cards are awesome.

How did the introduction of Tenth Edition change your Standard deck choice?
No Urzatron 9 can't play blue-white-red 'Tron, so I played blue-white-red fun cards

Did you have a draft strategy? If so, what was it?
Not really, just responded to signals.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
Came up with the decklist in the car on the ride up, variant of the blue-white-black Blink decks that did well at Australian Nationals. No playtesting, but my friend Mike M. helped me build it.




Craig Krempels

Age: 25
Hometown: Hackettstown, NJ

Occupation: Bum

Number of Times Playing at Nationals: 5? 6?

How did you qualify for U.S. Nationals? Gravy train

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: Not nearly enough

Other previous Magic accomplishments: One time I won Nationals

Record by Format:
Standard: 5-0-2
Booster Draft: 5-2

What Standard deck are you playing and why? 
Solar Flare. It was sitting around the house. Seemed good.

How did the introduction of Tenth Edition change your Standard deck choice?
I didn't build the deck, so Tenth wasn't really considered by me.

Did you have a draft strategy? If so, what was it? 
I have no problem drafting any of the colors.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
Gerry T was all over the testing. I'm lucky enough to be living with him right now.




Michael Bennett

Age: 19
Hometown: Virginia Beach, VA

Occupation: Network Admin

Number of Times Playing at Nationals: Once previous at JSS Nats

How did you qualify for U.S. Nationals? Midnight Grinder

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 0

Other previous Magic accomplishments: Top 8 states in '04. FNM Champion, 9th at 2 PTQs

Record by Format:
Standard: 4-1-2
Booster Draft: 6-1

What Standard deck are you playing and why? 
Project X, because sometimes you need infinite life to win.

How did the introduction of Tenth Edition change your Standard deck choice? 
Less disruption = more combo :

Did you have a draft strategy? If so, what was it? 
Draft slivers or green. Never saw green :

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
Got decklist from Regionals T4er Brian Relley. He told me how the combo works.




Conrad Kolos

Age: 23
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Occupation: 

Number of Times Playing at Nationals: 3

How did you qualify for U.S. Nationals? SE PA Regionals

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 0

Other previous Magic accomplishments:

Record by Format:
Standard: 5-0-2
Booster Draft: 5-2

What Standard deck are you playing and why? Blue-black Teferi Control

How did the introduction of Tenth Edition change your Standard deck choice? 
Too much to write here. All the good decks left the format and the format in general is less powerful.

Did you have a draft strategy? If so, what was it? 
No, I was pretty confident with almost any color(s) / archetypes.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
Magic Online mostly. The Limited format has been around forever so that didn't need any special preparation.




Thomas Huteson

Age: 19
Hometown: Salem, Oregon

Occupation: Caregiver

Number of Times Playing at Nationals: 1

How did you qualify for U.S. Nationals? City Champs

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 0

Other previous Magic accomplishments: Some PTQ Top 8s

Record by Format:
Standard: 6-0-1
Booster Draft: 4-3

What Standard deck are you playing and why?
G/R Gargadon. Seemed good.

How did the introduction of Tenth Edition change your Standard deck choice?
Didn't have to deal with Dragonstorm.

Did you have a draft strategy? If so, what was it?
No, draft what I was passed.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
Playtested for a couple of weeks with my friends Ryan, Scott, James, and Cam.




Luis Scott-Vargas

Age: 24
Hometown: Oakland, California

Occupation: Magician

Number of Times Playing at Nationals: 2

How did you qualify for U.S. Nationals? 2006 National Team

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 0

Other previous Magic accomplishments: Level 3 Pro Club

Record by Format:
Standard: 5-1-1
Booster Draft: 5-2

What Standard deck are you playing and why?

Blue-green-white Chord/Pickles

How did the introduction of Tenth Edition change your Standard deck choice?

Eliminated Dragonstorm, which would have been a very good matchup for our deck.

Did you have a draft strategy? If so, what was it?

Play blue, but still ended up green-white in the draft I 4-0ed.

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

Testing on Magic Online with Paul Cheon, David Ochoa, and Gerry Thompson.



Antonino De Rosa

Age: 25
Hometown: Port St. Lucie, Florida

Occupation: Game Designer

Number of Times Playing at Nationals: 5 U.S. Nats, 2 Italian Nats

How did you qualify for U.S. Nationals? Pro Points

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 1 PT Top 8, 9 GP Top 8s

Other previous Magic accomplishments:

Third time in a row in the U.S. Nationals Top 8

Record by Format:
Standard: 4-2-1
Booster Draft: 6-1

What Standard deck are you playing and why?

Gargadon/Nantuko Husk/War Marshal deck. Ben Rubin is a master and made me convinced me to play it.

How did the introduction of Tenth Edition change your Standard deck choice?

Without Tenth our deck can't be played.

Did you have a draft strategy? If so, what was it?

Force red.

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

Did four 4-3-2-2- drafts. Played lots of Standard with Ben Rubin.



Michael Jacob

Age: 23
Hometown: Farmington Heights, Michigan

Occupation: Pro Gamer

Number of Times Playing at Nationals: 2

How did you qualify for U.S. Nationals? Michigan Regionals

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 1 at GP-Austin

Other previous Magic accomplishments: 22 lifetime Pro Points (so…not much)

Record by Format:
Standard: 5-1-1
Booster Draft: 5-2

What Standard deck are you playing and why?

Mono-green. Troll Ascetic is my favorite card and mono-green can't lose to Blink decks.

How did the introduction of Tenth Edition change your Standard deck choice?

Yes, Troll Ascetic for the win.

Did you have a draft strategy? If so, what was it?

Go with the flow got me eighth pick Ichor Slick at Table 1.

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

Didn't really, threw all my favorite green cards together thinking if I can't lose to Blink decks I should do well.

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