Feature: The Top 8 Player Profiles

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Only something as huge as the Magic World Championships could handle a Top 8 with this many storylines. Friday's six rounds of Extended brought the individual Swiss to a close, giving us a Top 8 full of champions.

Let's start with the man who won the whole thing last year and this year's reigning Japanese national champion, Katsuhiro Mori. He'll be running a well-tested blue-white UrzaTron deck in defense of his title, hoping to become the first player to win individual world titles in consecutive years. Countrymen Ryo Ogura and Makahito Mihara give this Top 8 a distinctive Japanese feel, something that has come to be expected on the Pro Tour these days.

From there the story shifts to the man who has been at the top of the standings all week, Brazil's Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa. The Brazilian National Champion and Player of the Year hopeful finished off three strong days to make his second Pro Tour Top 8 this season. A win in the individual final and a high place in the team competition could net Paulo the Player of the Year trophy, so he'll get no rest during Saturday's team competition.

Also angling for that award is Portugal's Tiago Chan, making his second Top 8 this season thanks to the Standard format. Joining him from Portugal is National Team member Paulo Carvalho, playing in his first Pro Tour event. Rounding out the Top 8 is another first-timer, Nick Lovett - who also happens to be a member of the Welsh National Team.


Katsuhiro Mori


Hometown: Tokyo, Japan

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: More than 10 times

How many Worlds have you played in? Five

How did you qualify for 2006 Worlds? Reigning World Champion

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: Ten

Other Previous Magic accomplishments: 2006 Japan National Champion

Day One Record: 5-1
What Standard deck did you play and why did you play it?
Blue-white Urzatron. I playtested the deck for well over 100 hours

Day Two Record: 5-1
What was your draft strategy?
Blue-black only

Day Three Record: 4-1-1
What Extended deck did you play and why did you play it?
Psychatog, because it's very good.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
I practiced Standard by myself, and practiced Extended with Itaru (Ishida) and Kenji (Tsumura)

Round-by-round results:

Standard
2-0 Golev, Kostadin A.
2-0 Gower, Paul J.
0-2 Da Costa Cabral, Bernardo ™
2-1 Porter, James S. ™
2-0 Marciniszyn, Michal
2-0 Dominguez, Javier ™
Booster Draft
0-2 Maij, Rosario
2-0 Belopavlovic, Vladimir ™
2-0 Dach, Michèl
2-0 Levy, Raphael
2-0 Martin, Quentin
2-0 Nuijten, Julien ™
Extended
0-2 Chan, Tiago
2-1 Edel, Willy
2-0 Ibamoto, Masami
0-0-0 Da Rosa, Paulo Vitor D. ™
2-0 Rispal, Jonathan ™
0-0-0 Lovett, Nicholas A. ™

Vs. Other National Team Members: 5-1-2
Vs. Top 8 Members: 0-1-2




Makihito Mihara


Age: 24
Hometown: Oita, Japan

Occupation: Student

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: 6-8?

How many Worlds have you played in? 3 times.

How did you qualify for 2006 Worlds? Pro Points Level 3

Number of GP/PT Top 8s:
1 time, Grand Prix-Kitakyushu

Other Previous Magic accomplishments:
Japan Nationals Top 8 2003, 2004 and 2005. I also designed CAL (Solitary Confinement, Seismic Assault, Life from the Loam) Extended deck last season.

Day One Record: 4-2
What Standard deck did you play and why did you play it?
Dragonstorm. The deck is very easy to play.

Day Two Record: 5-1
What was your draft strategy?
Only pick green-white and nothing else.

Day Three Record: 4-1-1
What Extended deck did you play and why did you play it?
CAL, because I designed the deck.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
Played at Pro Tour-Kobe and a local tournament, and practiced with friends locally.

Round-by-round results:

Standard
2-1 Tzekov, Hristo ™
2-0 Seratti, Agustin
2-0 Camangon, Gerald C. ™
2-1 Calcagno, Leonardo ™
1-2 Yamamoto, Shouhei ™
1-2 Hamon, Yann Y.
Booster Draft
0-2 Chao, Peter
2-0 Kurihara, Shingou
2-1 Harvey, Eugene
2-1 Aitchison, Timothy J. ™
2-0 Nakamura, Shuuhei
2-0 Hoaen, Richard
Extended
2-1 Ogura, Ryou
2-0 Oiso, Masashi
0-2 Chan, Tiago
2-0 Ibamoto, Masami
2-0 Da Rosa, Paulo Vitor D. ™
0-0-0 Soorani, Shaheen

Vs. Top 8 Members: 1-1




Gabriel Nassif


Age: 23
Hometown: Paris

Occupation: Student

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: ~36

How many Worlds have you played in? 6

How did you qualify for 2006 Worlds? Pro Club

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 2 / 7

Other Previous Magic accomplishments:
2004 Player of the Year, 2005 Pro Tour-Atlanta champion

Day One Record: 5-0-1
What Standard deck did you play and why did you play it?
MartyrTron blue-white because it was doing good against all the other decks.

Day Two Record: 2-4
What was your draft strategy?
Draft whatever I opened, lean towards blue-red if possible

Day Three Record: 6-0
What Extended deck did you play and why did you play it?
Blue-white-red Top/Balance, because I didn't like any deck and thought it looked good against aggro and combo. I didn't expect people to play too many slow control decks.

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

I played a lot of drafts on Magic Online. Mark Herberholz, Rich Hoaen, and Jelger Wiegersma came to my place to test. I also tested with a bunch of other people and shared decklists with them. I built the Standard deck with Mark and since we didn't test Extended much, I just ran a list I got from Da Rosa.

Round-by-round results:

Standard
2-1 Walls, Gabe
1-0-1 Li, Cheuk Yin ™
2-0 Porter, James S. ™
1-1 López Campos, Emilio
2-0 Rade, Olle
2-0 Belopavlovic, Vladimir ™
Booster Draft
1-2 Fujita, Tsuyoshi
1-2 Andersen, Øyvind W. ™
0-2 Edel, Willy
2-0 Kaji, Tomohiro
2-1 Belopavlovic, Vladimir ™
1-2 Oiso, Masashi
Extended
2-0 Lee, Sang-Ryeol
2-1 Scott-Vargas, Luis D. ™
2-0 Thompson, Mike
2-1 Künzler, Matthias
2-1 Arita, Ryuuichi
2-0 Rispal, Jonathan ™

Vs. Top 8 Members: 0-0




Nick Lovett


Age: 23
Hometown: Newport

Occupation: Scrounger

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

How many Magic World Championships have you played in?
1

How did you qualify for 2006 Worlds?
Welsh National Team

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 0

Other Previous Magic accomplishments:
Finished second in an FNM Constructed the other week with red-black Madness

Day One Record: 6-0
What Standard deck did you play and why did you play it?
Boros Deck Wins. Because it just wins.

Day Two Record: 3-3
What was your draft strategy?
Try to take good cards i.e. no green. But I failed to manage that.

Day Three Record: 4-0-2
What Extended deck did you play and why did you play it?
Gifts Rock. It was the only deck I had a chance to test and I owned some of the cards.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
Practiced Standard and draft on Magic Online. I did a small amount of Extended testing on Magic Workstation. I mostly tested with our team captain.

Round-by-round results:

Standard
2-1 Middleton, Gareth O. ™
2-1 Jaillita Zeballos, Juan Carl
2-1 Condon, Shane
2-0 Delgado, Ernesto
2-0 Gerasymenko, Oleksandr ™
2-0 Sittner, John
Booster Draft
2-1 Ishida, Itaru
0-2 Da Rosa, Paulo Vitor D. ™
1-2 Yamamoto, Shouhei ™
2-0 Edel, Willy
0-2 Ibamoto, Masami
2-0 Wang, Xuan-Ji
Extended
2-1 Nuijten, Julien ™
2-0 Maij, Rosario
2-1 Andersen, Øyvind W. ™
2-1 Rispal, Jonathan ™
0-0-0 Chan, Tiago
0-0-0 Mori, Katsuhiro ™

Vs. Other National Team Members: 5-2-1
Vs. Top 8 Members: 0-1-2




Tiago Chan


Age: 23
Hometown: Lisbon, Portugal

Occupation: Pro Magic Player

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: Many

How many Magic World Championships have you played in?
5

How did you qualify for 2006 Worlds? Pro Tour Players Club

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 0/2

Other Previous Magic accomplishments:
2003 National Champion

Day One Record: 5-1
What Standard deck did you play and why did you play it?
Lightning Angel. I watched a girl playing this deck in a side event at Kobe so I played it at Champs and I liked the deck.

Day Two Record: 5-1
What was your draft strategy?
Avoid white. Pick a removal color (black or red) add either blue or green. That means red-green, red-blue, black-green, black-blue.

Day Three Record: 3-1-2
What Extended deck did you play and why did you play it?
Boros with Kird Ape. Frank Karsten advised me into it and I trust FRANK LE TANK.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
With the crew who went to Grand Prix-New Jersey and Yamagata. We were supposed to playtest on the trip but we just drafted a little too much. Afterwards we split into other isolated groups. Form there I just slept the whole days in Portugal and asked Frank Karsten and Quentin Martin for a tuned Lightning Angel deck.

Round-by-round results:

Standard
2-0 Thompson, Gerry
2-1 Sjoblom, Max ™
2-1 Varady, Balazs
2-1 Ibamoto, Masami
2-0 Au Yong, Wai Kin ™
0-2 Edel, Willy
Booster Draft
2-1 Saitou, Tomoharu
2-0 Gulyas, Daniel ™
2-0 Ibamoto, Masami
2-1 Da Rosa, Paulo Vitor D. ™
2-0 Kim, Min Su ™
1-2 Fujita, Tsuyoshi
Extended
2-0 Mori, Katsuhiro ™
1-2 Rispal, Jonathan ™
2-0 Mihara, Makihito
2-0 Ogura, Ryou
0-0-0 Lovett, Nicholas A. ™
0-0-0 Da Rosa, Paulo Vitor D. ™

Vs. Top 8 Members: 4-0-2




Paulo Carvalho


Age: 20
Hometown: Coimbra / Portugal

Occupation: Student

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: 1

How many Worlds have you played in? 0

How did you qualify for 2006 Worlds? Nationals

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 0

Other Previous Magic accomplishments: Third place at Nationals

Day One Record: 5-1
What Standard deck did you play and why did you play it?
I played red-green beats because I was hoping for an Urzatron / Dragonstorm metagame.

Day Two Record: 5-1
What was your draft strategy?
Drafting the best possible decks. No strategy at all.

Day Three Record: 4-2
What Extended deck did you play and why did you play it?
Boros, because I believed that I could make a 3-2 record in the first five rounds.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
I prepared both on Magic Online and with other players from my area and my team.

Round-by-round results:

Standard
2-1 Sanchis Merino, Alejandro
2-0 Han, Hojae ™
2-1 Wang, Xuan-Ji
2-0 Vasovski, Mike ™
0-2 Oberbek, Przemek ™
2-0 Asahara, Akira
Booster Draft
2-1 Oberbek, Przemek ™
0-2 Ibamoto, Masami
2-1 Gulyas, Daniel ™
2-0 Manor, Aylon ™
2-0 He, Timothy L. ™
2-0 Maij, Rosario
Extended
1-2 Fujita, Tsuyoshi
2-1 Cheon, Paul A. ™
0-2 Da Rosa, Paulo Vitor D. ™
2-0 Ishida, Itaru
2-1 Edel, Willy
2-1 Flaaten, Christian

Vs. Other National Team Members: 7-2
Vs. Top 8 Members: 0-1




Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa


Age: 19
Hometown: Porto Alegre, Brazil

Occupation: Student

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: 8

How many Worlds have you played in? 3

How did you qualify for 2006 Worlds? National team

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

Other Previous Magic accomplishments: Second place at Pro Tour-Charleston

Day One Record: 6-0

What Standard deck did you play and why did you play it?
Boros, because we thought there would be a lot of Tron, and we didn't like the random factors of Dragonstorm. Boros can beat anything (except maybe Life), it has its own game plan and it doesn't care about whatever the opponent is playing.

Day Two Record: 5-1
What was your draft strategy?
Blue if possible, white only with blue.

Day Three Record: 2-2-2
What Extended deck did you play and why did you play it?
Boros, because I needed to 2-3-1 and active decks are good in an unknown metagame.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
I tested with the other Brazilian and Latin players and with my Magic-League friends (go Yankees!)

Round-by-round results:

Standard
2-1 Smith, Cormac
2-0 Unfried, Jörg ™
2-1 Mendonca, Rafael
2-1 Lebedowicz, Osyp
2-0 Künzler, Matthias
2-1 Kim, Min Su ™
Booster Draft
2-0 Edel, Willy
2-0 Lovett, Nicholas A. ™
2-0 Fujita, Tsuyoshi
1-2 Chan, Tiago
2-0 Andersen, Øyvind W. ™
Extended
2-1 Rispal, Jonathan ™
0-2 Ibamoto, Masami
2-1 Ishida, Itaru
2-0 Carvalho, Paulo ™
0-0-0 Mori, Katsuhiro ™
0-2 Mihara, Makihito
0-0-0 Chan, Tiago

Vs. Other National Team Members: 6-0-1
Vs. Top 8 Members: 2-2-2




Ryo Ogura

Age: 22

Hometown: Nagoya, Japan

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: 10-ish

How many Magic World Championships have you played in?
3

How did you qualify for 2006 Worlds?
Pro Player Club

Number of GP/ PT Top 8s: 5/ 2

Other Previous Magic accomplishments: Third place at 2004 Worlds

Day One Record: 3-2-1
What Standard deck did you play and why did you play it?
I played a blue-white Tron deck designed by Katsuhiro Mori.

Day Two Record: 6-0
What was your draft strategy?
Black-green plus red

Day Three Record: 4-2
What Extended deck did you play and why did you play it?
Ichorid, designed by Masahiko Morita.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
I did over 50 Magic Online drafts!

Round-by-round results:

Standard
1-2 Maher, Robert
1-1-1 Juza, Martin ™
2-1 Vargas, Antonio A. ™
2-1 Van Heeswijk, Roel
2-0 Bongaards, Jasper E.
1-2 Lee, Sang-Ryeol
Booster Draft
2-1 Cardoso, Filipe
2-0 Kaji, Tomohiro
2-0 Teh, Eugene ™
2-0 Lee, Sang-Ryeol
2-0 Katou, Eihou
2-0 Saitou, Tomoharu
Extended
1-2 Mihara, Makihito
2-0 Leong, Ding Y.
2-1 Arita, Ryuuichi
0-2 Chan, Tiago
2-0 Fujita, Tsuyoshi
2-0 Edel, Willy

Vs. Top 8 Members: 0-2

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