I was in FYE (For Your Entertainment) the other day and I decided I needed new tapes for the car. I had one tape in mind going in, the Magnolia Soundtrack), but I wanted something else. I was already in the soundtrack section, so I kept browsing. I came across the new Broadway Recording of Damn Yankees. I had this before on CD, but my dad "lost" all my CD’s a couple of years ago. So for $11.99, I picked it up.
I put it in the deck and began listening. I had been thinking about what my next article would be and I was having trouble. Then the trademark song from the show came on, Heart. I put the two together and came up with a topic for this article.
The players in Magic with the most heart, and what they mean to the game. Here are the top 10 in no particular order. Keep in mind this is all opinion, and I can only comment on people I know personally or have seen or read a lot of.
The best writer in Magic. He cares so much about what he does and what he means to his fellow player. You will not find a nicer guy or a harder worker on the Pro Tour. His Limited Skills have been used to help anyone he talks to.
His Free Tech has been seen in countless PTQ top 8s. He tries hared than anyone else, and is seen on nearly every Tour. He never gives up despite rarely seeing a day 2. I don’t know him personally, but his determination shines in his writing, irc musings, and performance.
King of the Qualifiers, what more needs to be said. Oh yeah, HE HAS NEVER MISSED A NON WORLDS TOUR! I said this was in no particular order, but I have to say that I feel Dave has more heart than anyone on the Tour. I wish I had half the devotion Dave does, maybe I could get my butt back on the tour.
Ok. I know it is a stretch to put someone who retired for over a year on this list, but hiatus from the Tour didn’t mean he stopped working. He was on Apprentice almost everyday, and since his return he has attended 3 GP’s and 1 Tour and a participant, and 1 Tour as an observer. Brian has all the potential in the world and the heart to get him there.
I am using Dave as a representative of all Boston Area players. They all have a ton of heart, but when I think of their group, Dave stands out in my mind. After many a 9th place finish he kept working until he finally hit the top 8 in NY ’99. We are all familiar with the recent success of the Boston area. Dave is a driving force for himself and his testing group.
We all build crazy decks. Pat does too. Crazy combo decks that no one would think of. What sets Pat apart from the rest of us… He brings them to PRO TOURS! We all build dream cards in our heads. So does Pat. What sets him apart from the rest of us… He builds ENTIRE SETS! He invents new formats, and keeps himself interested in the game. If Wizards had a clue, Pat would be head of R&D.
This man was awarded the nickname "The Great One" by his peers. That is a testimonial in and of itself. Many times a person will win a tour and become complacent. Bob came right back and won the next premier event he played in. One of the most popular players on the tour, and that is no accident.
He may have more qualifiers under his belt than anyone ever. While this is a dubious distinction, it speaks volumes of his heart. He helps anyone who asks, and in turn gets help from the best in the game. However, he is not afraid to play a deck of his own design. He tests as much as anyone can. He never gives up before he is mathematically eliminated.
I toiled long and hard about including Tom on this list. He was on for sure in the first draft, then I had a negative experience with him. Though not one of the nicest players on the Tour, to say he didn’t have heart would be a lie. I once saw Tom play in a qualifier go 0-2, but rather than dropping finished it out to a 2-4 finish just to learn as much as possible about the environment. He builds original decks, and writes the some of the most detailed, well researched articles you will find.
Last be certainly not least, Alex travels all over the world and proves that it is a fine investment for him. No one has earned their position in the Player of the Year race as much as Alex. He has worked hard every point he has. His sheer number of top 8’s this year puts him among the best to ever play the game, and his relentless Grand Prix attacks puts him on this list.
It is players like these who help the game live. They keep the Magic world changing as much as R&D does. If all the players on the Tour had the heart of these, Magic could be as impressive a spectator sport as it is a mental sport. If you are looking for people to root for in Premier events, look no further.
Work Hard, Have Fun