by Kim Eikefet
The night before the Masters Gateway, Tony Dobson got an unpleasant surprise. His teammates on the Euro Alliance wanted to keep their NecroDonate deck a secret, and thus he was told that he wouldn't be playing the deck in the Gateway. So as a last minute alternative, Tony picked up Gary Wise's Stasis deck, changed about ten cards, played the deck and won. "I was disappointed because I wanted to play a different deck, but now I'm very very happy I played this one," the Englishman says.
The 23 year old player from London has proved before that he masters the Extended format. Tony made top 8 in 1999 Pro Tour Chicago, and he also made top 8 in Grand Prix Madrid. And by going 6-0 in the Gateway tournament, the Englishman showed that his Extended skills are very much up to date. "It feels very very good to qualify. I feel privileged. But I have been consistent at Extended, and it is nice to be good at a format," he thinks.
When the heat is on, Tony concentrates and plays the decks to perfection. In the Gateway tournament, he played five really tough matches, three times defeating Recur, the deck he considered to be his hardest matchup. "All my matches were quite difficult," Tony confirms. Admitting that the cards went his way in the Gateway, he also believes that is necessary in order to win. However, he was not totally unfamiliar with the deck. Tony had playtested both Stasis and Draw-Go for the tournament, and Stasis was in fact his second choice after the NecroDonate.
Ironically enough, after Tony qualified for the Masters, he decided not to play the Euro Alliance deck at all. Instead, he chose to go with the exact same Stasis deck that gave him his ticket to the Masters. "I don't think it's ironic, just a little bit weird," Tony smiles. "I feel comfortable with this deck. It is a good deck that I have done well with against a tough field."
Entering the Masters as a wild horse, Tony still plays to win the whole thing. "I'd like to win it," he admits. "I think I have the same chance as everyone else. You have to assume that you will win matches, you have to have confidence in your abilities and in your deck."