he 2005 World Championships served as a landmark event in the history of Magic
. Wizards of the Coast opened its doors to the Pro Tour Hall of Fame, inducting the first five members. Jon Finkel, Darwin Kastle, Tommi Hovi, Alan Comer, and Olle Råde were enshrined as the inaugural Class of 2005. Included below are the opening remarks by Chris Galvin, Vice President of Wizards of the Coast's Organized Play division, and player introductions by Pro Tour Historian Brian David-Marshall. Photos by Craig Gibson.
Looking good, Class of 2005.
By Chris Galvin
Hello, and welcome to the 12th Magic: The Gathering World Championship. Welcome as well to the first inauguration of the Magic Pro Tour Hall of Fame. It is a privilege for me to be able to speak at these proceedings today, and truly an unexpected accomplishment in my life.
If this is not your first World Championship, then you may have heard Dr. Richard Garfield speak about his vision of games as sport. It is a powerful vision, and one that has resonated throughout our company, the greater Magic fan community, and the gaming world in general. But 10 years ago, when we were in the beginning stages of the Pro Tour, we did not know if we would be able to realize that vision.
There were many questions. Would Magic fans accept the concept of professional game play? Would individual fans of exceptional talent take the game seriously enough? Would skill come to the fore as much as we expected and produce repeat champions? Will there be Magic celebrities? There were many questions and few answers. So we simply threw ourselves into our work; trusting to our vision, our capabilities, and more than a little to luck. I am very pleased with our accomplishments.
Trusting in vision, personal capability, and a little luck is an experience that all of you are accustomed to. As we set out to build the Pro Tour, the five inductees with us today set off on a shared journey. They too had a blank canvass. I'm sure they sometimes wondered, "Can I compete at this level?", "Is it worth the time and effort?", "Will my work be rewarded?" Weighty questions, all.
Ten years later, we pause to reflect on their tremendous accomplishments. I think it is no exaggeration to say that, without these men, Magic would not be where it is today. With us on stage today are the first repeat champion, a central figure of one of the first powerhouse teams, one of the first celebrity deck builders, the first Invitational winner, and the first true superstar of the game.
This is the defining class of the Hall of Fame. The accomplishments of these competitors set the benchmark for excellence in Magic for many years to come. In a very real way, we all are what these men have defined.
These accomplishments have earned them the honors they receive today, and I am very pleased to be the first to congratulate them.
As I look around this hall, 10 years later, I find that I still have many questions. Here is a relevant one: Who among you will be joining these inductees ten years from now? What heights will you achieve? Perhaps this very week, what accomplishments will you write into the book of Magic Pro Tour history?
Good luck this week, and know that these gentlemen have set you a fine suite of accomplishments to improve on. Presenting on stage will be the inventor of Magic: The Gathering, Richard Garfield. To present the inductees, I am pleased to introduce the Pro Tour historian, accomplished writer, and my friend Brian David-Marshall.
By Brian David-Marshall
The inaugural Pro Tour Hall of Fame Class of 2005!
Our first inductee into the Pro Tour Hall of Fame is Sweden's Olle Råde.
Olle is used to being first - he has been doing so for his entire career. Olle was the first European to win a Pro Tour - something he accomplished on his very first try at the tender age of 16 at Pro Tour Columbus. He went on to become the first winner of the Player of the Year title and also won the very first Magic Invitational which was commemorated with Sylvan Safekeeper.
Most importantly Olle was the first player to reach the Top 8 of a Pro Tour 5 times in his career - something that took him only 15 Pro Tours to accomplish.
Our second inductee is America's Alan Comer.
Alan has accomplished a great many things in this game. After his first Pro Tour Top 8 at the second Pro Tour Los Angeles Alan went on to reach the Top 8 four more times - including two trips to the finals.
Over the course of his career he would come to be recognized as one of the game's most important deck designers. The ripples of his creations are still felt today by today's Magic players. His creations include the mono-blue TurboXerox, the original Reanimator, and the immensely popular MiracleGro.
The only thing that overshadows Alan's accomplishments is the sportsmanship he brought to the game and the obvious joy he took from it.
Out third inductee into the Hall of Fame is Finland's Tommi Hovi.
In his opening remarks, Chris Galvin mentioned Richard Garfield's dream of having Magic be seen as an intellectual sport. Tommi was a key figure in realizing that dream when he became the first player to win two Pro Tours - the second Pro Tour-Los Angeles and Pro Tour-Rome.
The first of Tommi's four career Top 8s came in 1996 at Worlds. On the road to Worlds, Tommi's Turbo Stasis deck dominated Finnish Nationals and completely warped the metagames for U.S. Nationals and Worlds in its wake. With that deck and with his two wins Tommi was a central figure in spreading Magic around the globe.
The penultimate inductee of the inaugural Hall of Fame class is America's Darwin Kastle.
Darwin began his professional Magic career at the very first Pro Tour and remained a fixture on the tour from his first Top 8 at the first Pro Tour Los Angeles through his stunning eighth Top 8 appearance at Pro Tour Venice. Along the way Darwin became one of the first players to take up the professional Magic lifestyle and has the third highest total of lifetime Pro Tour points in the game's history.
Darwin is among a small group of player to have won a Grand Prix, Pro Tour, and the Magic Invitational. His Pro Tour win came at the first Pro Tour alongside his Your Move Games teammates Rob Dougherty and Dave Humpherys. His Invitational win was commemorated with Avalanche Riders.
Our final inductee, America's Jon Finkel needs little introduction. Known simply as Jonny Magic, he is at once one of the most popular and most successful players in the history of the game.
His resume is staggering with eleven Pro Tour Top 8s not even taking into account his two Junior Pro Tour Top 8s during the first year of the Pro Tour. He finished ninth in his first grown up tournament the 1996 World Championships. He would go on to become the Player of the Year in 1998 when he made three of his Top 8s including his first victory at Pro Tour New York.
During the 2000 campaign Jon had a remarkable run that saw him win U.S. Nationals, World Championships, and lead the U.S. team to victory in the team competition. He also found time to win the Magic Invitational and was immortalized as the Shadowmage Infiltrator. With just a hair under $300,000 in lifetime winnings, Jon stands at second on the all-time money winner's list.
All of the players on the stage today support Richard Garfield's claim that Magic the Gathering can be played as an intellectual sport that requires great skill. Jon Finkel is the closing argument.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Hall of Fame Class of 2005!