Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The 2012 Blowfish Invitational Player Preview Part 3

For the final installment of the Player Preview's Mark Young and Harris Fong. Tomorrow night we have a special Meta-Game preview from Adam Katz, and he really out did himself. Along with that we'll hopefully have the Magic Card Tooltips up and working.

Onward Mr Young!

Tell the readers a bit about yourself.
I would like to think I am friendly and kind of Happy-Go-Lucky when it comes to Magic.
Yes I play to win, but I have fun while doing it. If I lose, I take that and learn from it so that I can possibly win in the future. Everything can be a learning experience if you take it the right way.
Magic is a great game that has introduced me to many new people who are all great individuals.
There has never been a Magic event where I have not enjoyed myself, no matter what the role I played was be it TO, Judge or Player.

For how long have you been playing Magic the Gathering?
I have been playing magic for 16 years (Since 1996) with quite a few large breaks in that time. Interestingly though, no one told me about the competitive side of things till last year when I finally got myself a DCI number and started playing in sanctioned tournaments.

What is your favourite Magic the Gathering card of all time?
Funnily enough, Vapor Snag. The additional damage you can deal while bouncing a creature was great and often the difference between a win and a loss.
Next would be Genesis Wave. Announcing X=7 often brought a look of horror to the face of my opponents.

What is your favourite Magic the Gathering deck of all time?
I quite enjoy playing Cephalid Breakfast in Legacy. I know that it is not the most consistent deck and that there are many ways to stop in in the format, but when I can go off and win, the look on my opponents face that does not know the deck, when I mill myself on turn 2, is priceless!

What is your proudest achievement in your Magic the Gathering career?
It is a bit of a toss up between winning a 32 player FNM in Pretoria while qualifying for the Invitational or when I finally passed my Level 1 Judge exam.

What was your initial reaction when you heard of the Blowfish Invitational?
I was quite excited as it was another event in which we could play high level magic as players.
Yes, we had lost nationals but this was an alternative to having nothing else happen during the year apart from PTQ's. I knew I was going to try and qualify and am glad that I did.

The meta-game in Standard - at the moment - is very much still in flux, what types of decks are you preparing to play against at the Invitational?
I think that there are going to be quite a few Jund decks as well and UW control and BANT control.
Having recently moved out of Johannesburg, has me at a slight disadvantage as I have no idea what is being played in Johannesburg, but that is the fun of Magic.

How have you gone about preparing yourself for the Invitational?
I have built two decks that I think will do well in the event, 1 is a rogue deck and the other I know is competitive but I expect that there will be a few of those decks there as well as sideboard tech against the deck. I have not had a chance to test as much as I would like so the FNM before the event will decide my deck for me.

Which four players do you reckon have the best chance of winning the inaugural Invitational?
Tough question as everyone who is going wants to win, including myself. But if I had to name names, in no particular order they are: Enrico Guarneri; John Wood; Harris Fong; and Nic Chrysochou.

When your opponent sits down across from you, what do you think their initial impression is of you? 
[Mark laughs] I honesty have no idea, nor does it bother me. I think we both know why we are there and that we are there to win. That does not mean I do not have fun while playing though.

Which deck are you seriously thinking about playing at the Invitational?
[Mark laughts again] I'm not telling, you will have to wait and see. Like I said earlier, there are two decks I am stuck between at the moment... Possibly three now that I think of it, but I can tell you that I will not be playing Green, and pretty sure not White either so I am playing Red, Blue and Black between the two decks.

And now the slightly off-centre Mr Fong... Mr Fong? 


Yes?


Tell the readers a bit about yourself.
I’m Canadian, but have been living in Pretoria for the past 12 years where I'm currently studying music.

For how long have you been playing Magic the Gathering?
I started in Odyssey and played for a bit before stopping and starting up again in Zendikar.

What is your favourite Magic the Gathering card of all time?

What is your favourite Magic the Gathering deck of all time?
Too many to decide. From a brewing standpoint, I’d say Caw-Blade. There has never been a bigger deck to beat.

What is your proudest achievement in your Magic the Gathering career?
I went 0-3 in a draft last week.

What was your initial reaction when you heard of the Blowfish Invitational?
I was pleased.A big thanks is owed to Blowfish for taking the initiative to host this tournament.

The meta-game in Standard - at the moment - is very much still in flux, what types of decks are you preparing to play against at the Invitational?
GB/RB/Jund Zombies, Bant/American Control, UW/Bant/GW Aggro, Jund/Naya Midrange, Reanimator.

How have you gone about preparing yourself for the Invitational?
I've tried to draft as often as possible. I've also done some testing (paper and online) and tried to keep up with as many articles as possible.

Which four players do you reckon have the best chance of winning the inaugural Invitational?
Nic, Enrico, James or Morne, based solely on the fact that they played overseas this year. Or maybe John Wood, because everyone has been saying that he'll win.

Which deck are you seriously thinking about playing at the Invitational?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The 2012 Blowfish Invitational Player Preview Part 2

Tonight we continue our player preview with Nic Chrysochou and Wayne Wang. 


Mr Nic Chrysochou:


Tell the readers a bit about yourself. 

Born and raised on the east rand and moved to Pretoria when I started working. My parents are of Greek heritage and have being living in South Africa for many years now.

Went to school in Springs where I was involved in many activities. I was on the first team for tennis, cricket, hockey and chess. Was one of the top 2 students from Grade 1 till Matric and received full colours for academics. I was elected house prefect and one of two SRC representatives of my school.


Team South Africa at the 2012 Magic World Cup.
I have a Bachelor of Engineering degree (Computer) from the University of Pretoria. I played for the first team Basketball at Tuks during my second year of studies.

I have also played tennis, cricket and soccer at club level, and have been involved in martial arts.

I am currently employed at a software engineering company in Pretoria.


For how long have you been playing Magic the Gathering?

I was introduced to Magic the Gathering by some work colleagues in 2003. We played a lot of “table-top” magic and had a lot of debates over rules interactions.

After stopping for a few years I decided to take up the game again in 2010 where I played my first ever competitive event at ICON. It was an extended tournament and I ended up coming last but really enjoyed the experience.

What is your favourite Magic the Gathering card of all time?

I can't really choose a specific favourite card but Dark Ritual into Hypnotic Specter was pretty devastating for casual players.


What is your favourite Magic the Gathering deck of all time?

I am not particularly attached to any colours or specific decks, but when I played casual magic I built a home-brew deck called Pirates, which became infamous with my work colleagues. It was basically a mono blue control deck that made my opponents sacrifice permanents when they tapped out. My work colleagues had to go out of their way to combat the deck and despised playing against it.


What is your proudest achievement in your Magic the Gathering career?

My most memorable achievement is being on the national team at the Magic World Cup 2012, but a very close second is Top 4 at PTQ Philadelphia in 2011.



What was your initial reaction when you heard of the Blowfish Invitational?

This is a great tournament and it allows competitive players to get motivated to prepare for a big event because we get so few competitive events in South Africa (e.g. PTQ’s and other qualifying events)


The meta-game in Standard - at the moment - is very much still in flux, what types of decks are you preparing to play against at the Invitational.

The meta-game in South Africa basically mimics the rest of the worlds, especially the United States.Any deck that is doing well at Star City Games Opens or other such events will have to be prepared for.

Unfortunately there is little innovation here and players are not supported when they attempt to come up with new ideas or strategies.


At the moment my feeling is that midrange will form the largest part of the invitational decks but a few aggro and control decks might sneak into Top 8. The very confident/ambitious players will play the combo decks (of which there are only two that I know of namely Epic Experiment and Angel of Glory’s Rise + Fiend Hunter + Falkenrath Aristocrat).

Jund, Junk, U/W/R, Bant, Reanimator are the midrange decks to be aware of.

Bant, U/W/R, Grixis and Esper are the control decks to be aware of.

Bant, Mono-red, Rakdos, Azorius and Selesnya are the aggro decks to be aware of.


How have you gone about preparing yourself for the Invitational?

Unfortunately it has been very difficult to assemble people to play-test against. There are a lot of excuses and work/study commitments that have prevented adequate preparation.

So the preparation has mostly being individual but I have a good understanding of all the known decks that are being played by the pros.

I have only been able to test a few decks that I feel could stand a chance but have not being able to innovate and will probably play a known deck.

I have had a bit of practise with Return to Ravnica and M13 drafting but feel that at least another 10 drafts of especially Return to Ravnica would assist me to be more confident.


Which four players do you reckon have the best chance of winning the inaugural Invitational?

No idea, with the amount of players and the game growing so much in South Africa, the majority of players are on the same level and a small amount of skill and some luck will push players into the Top 8.


When your opponent sits down across from you, what do you think their initial impression is of you?

To be honest I am not concerned about what my opponent thinks, if it is a competitive event I am there to win and am only concerned about socialising in between rounds or after/before the tournament.


It is different at casual events though.


Which deck are you seriously thinking about playing at the Invitational?

Either Junk Midrange/Reanimator or U/W/R Midrange.

Mr Wayne Wang, it's your turn Sir.


Tell the readers a bit about yourself. 

I am from Taiwan (Country that won Worlds this year if you don't know) but raised here in South Africa, was introduced to Magic by a high school friend.
I am Asian and not really a gaming person like what everyone thinks of every Asian.
I enjoy Magic and the friends i met from it.
I live in Pretoria, because of work was in JHB for 1 year, met the Kwagga team and they are a bunch of lekker people! I hope our Kwagga team can all make it into the Top 8.

For how long have you been playing Magic the Gathering?

 Since 2004 but been on and off.



 What is your favourite Magic the Gathering card of all time?




What is your favourite Magic the Gathering deck of all time?

 Astral Slide



What is your proudest achievement in your Magic the Gathering career? 

I don't know, I just started, I did came 12th at CPT PTQ last year and I just missed the Top 8 due to a hangover [ This site does condone the recreational mixing of Magic the Gathering and alcohol, Ed]. 



What was your initial reaction when you heard of the Blowfish Invitational? 

Good, we get to play a free tourney



The meta-game in Standard - at the moment - is very much still in flux, what types of decks are you preparing to play against at the Invitational.

 Many types: Bant aggro, control; BG or BR zombies; GW aggro or humans; UW humans or miracles; 4-color reanimator, Jund midrange or aggro and also Esper tokens and maybe a little bit of Mono-red!



How have you gone about preparing yourself for the Invitational?

 Just draft draft draft and test test test with my Kwaggas, haha!


Which four players do you reckon have the best chance of winning the inaugural Invitational?

 Well this is hard to say but I will nominate some candidates: i think Russel and John Wood will dominate the draft half of the tourney and Morne and Enrico will definitely get good scores in the Standard. So my best guess are 1 of these 4. 



When your opponent sits down across from you, what do you think their initial impression is of you? 

 Oh my God! Its Snapcaster!



Which deck are you seriously thinking about playing at the Invitational?

I love Bant alot and especially any deck with Entreat the Angels! so i will be playing a deck that will have Entreats no matter what!

Monday, October 29, 2012

The 2012 Blowfish Invitational Player Preview Part 1



A few days ago I sent out a request to a few random - and not quite so random - players that will battle it out in the Invitational this weekend. Today we get a bit of insight into Enrico Agostino Guarneri and Morn√© Lombaard. 

Mr Enrico Guarneri:

Tell the readers a bit about yourself: I am employed at Legal Aid SA as an advocate.  I defend people indicted with serious crimes (usually premeditated murder, rape and robbery) in theJohannesburg High Court.  I live with my fianc√© in Lambton, Germiston.

For how long have you been playing Magic the Gathering? About 12 years.

What is your favourite Magic the Gathering card of all time?

What is your favourite Magic the Gathering deck of all time?
UW Delver in standard.

What is your proudest achievement in your Magic the Gathering career?
Qualifying for the Pro Tour in Seattle.

What was your initial reaction when you heard of the Blowfish Invitational?
Glad we were having another major tournament.  We have so few.

The meta-game in Standard - at the moment - is very much still in flux, what types of decks are you preparing to play against at the Invitational?
Various control, decks with Thragtusk and Zombies.

How have you gone about preparing yourself for the Invitational?
I haven't had much chance to test.  I've followed the results, and read articles on SCG, TCG Player and Channel Fireball.  I've drafted with my team, and played in standard tournaments.  I plan to do some more testing with my team this week.  Wish I had an extra two weeks though.

Which four players do you reckon have the best chance of winning the inaugural Invitational?
Michael Strauss, Dale Fienberg, Jarcque Henning and Adam Katz (but I heard he was not attending).

When your opponent sits down across from you, what do you think their initial impression is of you?
I don't really care.

Which deck are you seriously thinking about playing at the Invitational?
Zombies.

The 2012 Blowfish Invitational Buildup


With a mere five days to go before the inaugural Blowfish Invitational, I can already feel the excitement building, and I'm not just excited about the amazing Magic that is going to be played this weekend.


When Wizards of the Coast changed the format of the old Worlds competition to the current Magic World Cup, South Africa lost it's largest Magic the Gathering event. Many mourned the loss of Nationals, but the new Magic World Cup Qualifiers not meant South Africa had almost double the number of PTQ-style tournaments.

However, there was a still the inevitable gap left by the lack of a massive two-day tournament that would pit South Africa's best against each other. And so Blowfish Entertainment responded.

There has been much debate over the manner in which players could qualify for the Invitational. Whilst there are an almost unlimited number of ways in which Blowfish could have managed the qualification process, one of the participants of the coming tournament phrased it in a most appropiate manner: "an event that could have the feel of Nationals, yet still be casual enough to allow anyone to qualify."

South Africa's best Magic the Gathering players fill the roster of the upcoming players - albeit a few notable absences - the tournament promises to sate the South African desire for a competition in the vein of Star City Games Open and the regular Grand Prix's that take place overseas. 

I will be there for the entire coming weekend, not as a participant, but as an observer, sharing what I see with anyone willing to follow my LiveBlog. And this is what truly has me excited for the Invitational, not that I am missing out on playing against the best, but that I can watch and enjoy the best of South Africa come together and go head to head over an entire weekend.