Fellas… what can I say? You let me down this week! I am out of questions. I only received one last week, and I will be covering that one, but after that there is clearly not enough left. You all don’t want this series to die, and end just like that… do you? If you don’t, please send me more stuff to talk about… The address is still [email protected], and I am still open for anything. Deck discussion, Limited advice, Pro Tour dirt, personal stuff… whatever y’all wanna know, I am here for you. You guys not sending me questions makes me feel like I’ve failed you all… please let me know if that isn’t the case.
At least the forums mentioned that they did indeed want to hear more about the Hall of Fame – my thoughts and my votes – so that is what I will be starting with today. After that, I’ll answer the one question I received.
When I was asked, through email, if I wanted to vote for the Hall of Fame, I thought nothing of it. I expected to be in the Player’s Committee again, same as last year. I replied with a yes, because I am and always will be one of the biggest advocates of creating a history within the Pro Tour. It adds a little more seriousness and legitimacy to the game. Little did I know that I was asked because I was being offered a seat in the selection committee. Now that is a great honor, and I thank Wizards for thinking I belong to the very select group of players that deserves such a seat. I am very excited about voting.
After that, though, came the actual decision-making. Sure, I could just vote for my friends and abuse the power I have been given, but that’s not really what I feel I should be doing. Of course, I could take the mathematical route, like so many others are doing, but I believe that being in the Hall of Fame has nothing to do with sheer results. It is the total package, personality, star power, things they add/added to the game, as well as their results. Since I know most or all of these people personally, it is impossible for me to look at numbers without looking at the guy behind it. And that is why I voted for the fellas below.
I’ll now go into a little more detail on each of the guys and share some anecdotes, since that was asked for in the forums. See, I aim to please!
My first vote was easy. Bob Maher was one of the biggest stars, best players, and sheer legends of the game back in the day. The way he played the game, almost never making a mistake despite playing at a very fast pace, was awe-inspiring. He is also a great guy. Can you tell I am turning into a bit of a fan-boy here? It’s hard not to be, since I was one of the lucky few to sit in the stands for the finals of my first World Championship – Brussels 2000 – and witness one of the best matches of Magic ever played. Jon Finkel and Bob, playing the same deck, were so evenly matched that the games seemed to switch momentum every turn. It was something I’ll never forget. This was Jon, the best ever, at his best… and Bob was keeping pace. That, coupled with the fact that he is a former Pro Tour Player of the Year, has amazing stats, has won a PT where he should have lost 5-0 in the finals, and is a very nice guy, meant that this was an easy vote for me. A little known fact is that Jelger Wiegersma – maybe the best player on the Pro Tour right now – has never played a game of Magic against Bob in his life, and Bob is the one player that gets him to screw up and throw games. It has been a running joke in our circle that Bob must think Jelger is awful at this game, as he has never seen him play well. He must be scratching his head, wondering why that kid keeps winning.
I would be lying if I didn’t tell you one of the reasons I am voting for the man known as J.T. Money is that he is just about my favorite person on the Pro Tour. Good times, nice to everyone, a good friend, and a great player… this means that he is on top of everyone’s list when it comes to people with which to hang out. Back when he started playing competitively, he used to love playing the “stupid redneck hick” card… he is from Arkansas and does a great southern drawl, tricking people into thinking he wasn’t any good. Little did they know that Neil would prove himself as one of the smartest people on the Pro Tour, as well as a Limited genius. He is one of the best Team Limited players in the world, as well as a premier drafter. This guy is someone you will not want to see sitting at your table, let alone across from you. The fact that he has been around for ages and is still going strong – proving it with a second place finish at World’s team event, as well as Nationals – means that I feel this guy should be a Hall of Famer. That and the fact that, thanks to his army training, Gabe Walls and I have never gotten the drop on him to beat him up… we always end up being the ones who take a beating.
Not only do Rob’s stats show that he is one of the top players ever to play the game (for those of you wondering, all those stats can be found here), he is also one of those people that did a million things for the game. As a game-store owner and Tournament organiser, he basically put New England on the Magic map. Besides that he found time to form one of the greatest teams that have ever existed in the history of the Pro Tour – Your Move Games – and in doing so created actual professionalism in this game of ours. They were the first to have huge, well-organised test sessions, scout decks, and go further than mere “friends helping each other out.” Sure, sometimes this lead to them even going as far as utilising binoculars to see what people were playing, and this is kinda ridiculous, but I am one hundred percent convinced that this man, and his team, are the reason Pro Tour Magic is what it is right now. Osyp saw him spying on us from the giant Ferris Wheel across the street from our hotel in Yokohama, and made us close the curtains while we were testing in our room on the 32nd floor. The only real thing I can hold against him is that he had a Star Trek themed wedding. Sadly, that’s not enough to keep him out… y’know, to each his own.
Another great player of the legendary YMG squad, the Hump played for a little longer then the other guys of the core team. His five Pro Tour Top 8s, as well as a huge amount of Pro Tour points and winnings, shows you that this guy is the best YMG ever had. One of the slowest players ever, Dave just kept on thinking and made sure he’d never make a mistake… and I never actually caught him make one. One of his matches that sticks out most in my mind is his match against Ryan Fuller in the finals of the San Diego 2002 Masters, where both players played so slowly that it took many hours to finish the two-game match. In 2005, Dave teamed with top players Gabe Walls and Paul Rietzl for the team Pro Tour, and their team name said it all: “Dave’s the Boss.”
Back when I was still a wee lad, just starting out playing the game and had only just heard of the Pro Tour, I bought one of those little Worlds Top 8 decks they used to make. Of course I chose the deck full of Green monsters, and on the back it had Geertsen’s name. That was the first time I heard of him. The man has played in only thirty Pro Tours, which is not many if you look at the list of candidates, but in that period he managed to score four Top 8 finishes! He is my shout-out to European Magic on this ballot (that otherwise includes all Americans), and also a shout-out to beatdown players everywhere. He was one of the best ever at turning little men sideways, and his results prove it.
And that’s it! There were some other people I was close to voting in, like Gary Wise and Raphael Levy. It was pretty hard getting to the final five, but I am happy with who I voted for. All in all I felt this class was pretty decent, with a lot of players that are incredibly good at this game… but I am looking forward to next year, when we have some more actual superstars.
That leaves me with the one question this week, from an email address owned by Paul Renter, but he signed his name differently… interesting…
Thanks for the great articles. I read them whenever posted. I finally came up with a great question for you. I play the 4-3-2-2 draft queues on MTGO. I do reasonably well, and I’m always improving. I’m wondering, though, when is a good time to start transitioning to 8-4 queues? Should I be winning every 4-3-2-2 I join? Every other? Does my record even factor in? Adam.
This is a question I get a lot, and I am happy you asked it here. Generally, there is no good point to go from 4-3-2-2s to 8-4s, as there is no way to know when you are ready. The two are so different that there really is no way to know when to move over. On one hand you have the casual drafts, that have a low level of competition and are really easy but fun, and on the other hand you have the 8-4s, which are extremely difficult. If you want to enjoy drafting and keep yourself going for a while, stick to the 4-3-2-2s, as these are perfect to have a little fun. If you want to actually get better at the game, you are wasting your time, as 4-3-2-2s will not give you any real competition. Do note that when playing 8-4s, you will have a hard time paying for your drafts just with your winnings from the previous one. Players like Anton Jonsson and Rich Hoaen aren’t able to do so, so I doubt that anyone is.
That is it for this week. I hope y’all still enjoyed reading, despite there not being more questions. I do my best, but it really does come down to what you send me. [email protected] is the address, and your topic can be anything.
Don’t worry, I’ll be here next week no matter what, even if I have to talk about Dutch television for an entire article… (or Dutch Nationals, which is coming up in a week and a half).