Thursday, December 27, 2012

Getting to Know: Stefan Vesely

Tell us a bit about yourself (Occupation, hobbies anything of interest)? 

I'm an IT technician, married to a Asian and besides playing Magic Online, I play DOTA, HeroesOfNeweart and Starcraft 2.

How long ago did you start playing magic the gathering and why? 

I have been playing Magic since I was in grade 6. I started it cause the black cards looked cool!

Do you play MTGO? If so do you prefer online or paper play? 

I enjoy online as I am a father and my work is very taxing on my time...

What is your favourite Magic format? 

I love Modern, its amazing, interactive and I love doing crazy things with Magic cards!

What are your top 3 draft sets of all time? 

Ravnica, Innistrad, and although most people don't enjoy this I love Invasion.

Your thoughts on the current Standard/Modern/Legacy/Draft (Choose one)

I have been drafting a lot of the new Ravnica!! It's a very good set I love this set, it's very interactive and it's very difficult to find a good balance of aggression and suppression. My favourite colour combination is Black Red; It is aggressive and it has more tools that serve as removal and anti opponent, think Stab Wound.

What are your top 3 favourite cards of all time? 

Dominating Licid, Counterspell and for when I was new Giant Caterpillar.

If you were given the opportunity to design a card what would it be? 

"Volcanic Birds of Paradise" RG;
Flying, Haste,
"T":add "R" or "G" to your mana pool and Volcanic Birds of Paradise deals one damage to its controller.
(Niiice, KC)

What is your favourite deck of all time? 

Blue/White/Black Dump Truck.

In your opinion who are the best magic players/personalities in South Africa?  

I started competitive Magic just when team scrub was taking home all the PTQ titles; I envied the likes of Werner Coete and Richard Cheeseman, but they did the community many injustices, and I vowed never to be like that when I started winning. Just to give you a hint when you lost to them and you were feeling like you can’t break the ceiling, they would smash your confidence even more. They would make you feel like you played badly and they would make you feel like you needed to stop playing as you would never be that good (I was like that too for a little bit).

Although they didn't mean to be like this, I spoke and became friends with them later, I realized that they didn't know what they were doing.

...But there was another group of players and they were also good but when you lost to them they would shake your hand and say "well fought".

After I got better I realized that the skill gap between us Bloemies and the rest of South Africa was huge, not because we had bad players but because the card pool was tiny and the players with the best cards would build the best decks and win but it wasn't all on skill...

There was a player who helped me who made me see the light; His name was Keraan Chetty, I remember in the Mirrodin Block constructed he was playing a stock Tooth and Nail deck and I was playing a UG Crystal Shard deck, and after the game ended he said one thing that ultimately changed the way I approached tournament play. He said "Dude, that list is sick! I wish I had played it, you have skills! But you need to spend more time online... Thanks for the awesome game!"
This wasn't exactly what he said but it was the just of it, and I was blown away, I was no longer afraid to play magic seriously and I realized that fear is definitely the path to the dark side.

Keraan showed me that even though you are good you can forget to be nice to people about it... and that the internet is the one and only resource you really need to take your game to the next level... Soon after, I came second at a ptq and this top 8 streak would last for years until on Keraans home turf I would win a PTQ.

Best South African Player of all time? Well that's difficult, I like to think that for a time I was, Mike Nurse is definitely up there, Keraan himself makes magic look like poetry, Adam Katz takes technical play to the next level and hardly ever makes mistakes Craig Leach is a machine at numbers and there are many more honourable mentions... ZAF is a well of talent and we need to tap it and form a stronger community of Competitive players if we want to take it to the Pro tour, at the moment, there is no one who can play and be honestly serious... We need a few people to fill that role. (thanks your cheque will reach you by mail ED)

What are your magic accomplishments?

Five Second-place PTQ finishes; seven additional Top 8s, 5 PTQ wins in a row, Top-100 at a Pro Tour and forming a friendship with one of the best Hall of Fame players of all time Raph...
Can't forget most 2nd place finishes in the Beach house Cube draft Shenanigans!

You mention the beach house draft shenanigans, could you please elaborate on the setting and the events that unfolded? 

In June this year I was invited to the wmcq's in Durban and as it was my last official tournament of my offline career I wanted to have as much fun as possible... There were 6 people I knew who really wanted to go but were looking for a place to stay. Pierre Venter, one of my best friends has a house and I know I wanted to stay for at least a week. So I contacted two friends of mine from CT (Adam Katz and Craig Leach) and Keraan Chetty and offered them shared room accommodation. They were all keen and obviously no magic trip of mine is complete without my super ninja sidekick Seone "the chief"! So there we were 6 guys in a house playing magic for a whole week. I had a modern cube constructed and Craig bought 2 boxes of Avacyn Restored.

I decided that if I was going to eat and avoid the chore I hate the most that it would be strategic for me to do all the cooking, it was very difficult as we were missing my legendary spice rack and cooking on gas stoves... something that, even though I have many years of restaurant management behind me, I have never got the hang of... but it was still better than the effort any of the others could make...

We played many games of drafting with the cube, it is the most fun you can have playing magic and it also helps with your skill level too, we played roughly 50 cube drafts/sealed/rochesters and I or the team I played in came second in 90% of them, and that was an amazing feat considering we had 6 of the best players to play with us. It was awesome... Too bad I didn't get that much testing in, but I still had the best week of my magic career life...

There is just one question... Craig brought a giant box of Condoms... 6 men one house + condoms?? LOL

Speaking of condoms and blokes, is it true that you recently asked a bloke to be your date to your year-end party?

Yes, I asked the man of my dreams Keraan, to my yearend function at work…but he had other plans…baking, knitting or something like that. Hahaha kidding he had to hang with his girlfriend. (why on earth would anyone turn you down ED)

Most fun or memorable match played/Any epic story about a Magic game?

The firsts will always stick with me till I die,
The first time I played Magic, I built a red/green beat down deck, it had incinerates giant Caterpillar and a whole lot of burn and accel, man that deck was fun, I piloted it to a t16 finish in JHB Edenvale in my first tournament, no one told me that it was only new players and we couldn't play rares; I didn’t even know what rares were.

The first time I made a friend at magic, John William Lotriet, new school, new everything and I found the magic community.

The first time I went to JHB for a tournament, Icon 2001, Man this was the most crazy thing I had ever seen...

The first time I made long distance friends, Keraan, Werner, Cheese, Winslow and many more, made my trips awesome!

The first time I t8ed! what a rush, thank you Ravnica sealed and draft!!

First 2nd place finish, Krayola (Kaloyan Petkov), dude had a sick top deck at 1 life... was mad skillz!

First PTQ win, it was mid summer in Durban, the humidity was so crazy you could jump face first towards the ground and swim to a stop before you hit the ground, the air-cons weren't working and we wanted to play in the passage outside for the Top 8. The rules of the Varsity didn't allow us.
I had been piling hours and hours into Shards drafting and I realized that Jund was the guild of choice. Seone and I both had sick jund decks and I Remember passing my 4th jund charm as I had no creatures in my deck pack one... pack two I got 2 of those creatures that pump when other creatures die, I had a another few removal spells and 2 more pump creatures. The deck was almost constructed it had 3 Sprouting Thrinax's and 2 Bone Shards... Rueben Cronje had no chance in the finals with his 4/5 colour Cruel Ultimatum deck...

My first Pro Tour was amazing, Kyoto was freezing and between the rain and snow I couldn't get a dry pair of socks for days, but I knew that I had put enough hours into the constructed format the drafting day two is what really let me down... I made 2 mistakes that were really telling of my nerves, one I Played a Oblivion ring targeting a really bad creature and another one that ate me was trying to burn a faerie on 2 life when he had a bitter blossom in play... I should have waited with the burn in hand for something to happen, he was going to die anyway!

Have you ever considered quitting magic and if so what has kept you going?

The PTQ when I came second to Mr Krayola, was devastating at the time, coming sooo close to winning (1 life point) and falling short is not easy… I wrote to “ask the pro’ column of that Raphael Levy was responding and he wrote something that took me to the Pro Tour…

he said, “if you come t8 and 2nd a lot but miss it then you are good enough to take it, unfortunately and fortunately magic is a game of luck and skill, sometimes the luck makes it difficult but it is also what we love about the game…don’t give up on your dream and play..” This isn’t exactly what he said but it was the just of it.

When I finally made it to the tour I thanked him and became his friend…so I’ll pass on that advice to you. If it is your dream then use it.

Any other things you want to add, just throw it in here. Funny stories, dos and don’ts etc.

Remember Magic is first and foremost fun, one Icon they were giving double prizes to any "mixed Gender" teams so we played around with that a bit and came in dresses and claimed 2 boxes of boosters over the weekend... Sure we were laughed at but it was loads of fun... Do what makes you feel good! Have fun!

I’ve heard a rumour that Seone has recently become a pimp and that you and Pierre are just a couple of his 'hos'? 

No no no, I'm the pimp and They be my Ho's!

The most important question of the lot…If the pimps are in the crib then what should you do?

Drop it like its hot…


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