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Magic Online Community Cup

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The letter L!ast week, Wizards of the Coast announced the nine community participants in the 2010 Magic Online Community Cup. The event, which will take place June 7-11, pits these nine players against a horde of Magic players from Wizards of the Coast.

Selected for their contrbutions to the Magic community, here's a closer look at the nine players carrying the hopes and dreams of players around the world. Head to the forums to support the team and offer suggestions for Commander and Standard deck strategies.

Note: Joshua Claytor will be unable to attend. Gavin Verhey has taken his place.

Name Brad Nelson Gavin Verhey Victor Bloodgood
MTGO name Fffreak Rabon tempesteye
Started playing Magic 2003 2001 1994
Magic Online debut December 31, 2004. I know the exact date because Magic Online has a program that tells you this. I started to play Magic Online in the original beta, around early 2002. November 2002. I’d been playing the free trial for a month or so before I decided that I like the game enough to create an account.
Hours/week on MTGO 40+ 10-30+ 14-16
Favorite MTGO format Block! Booster Draft, plus I love casually playing Prismatic Singleton Commander
Wizards member you'd most like to play Mike Turian. I played him in a casual draft last year at Worlds and I want my revenge. I wasn't to serious then, but I would like my chance to seek some revenge for myself and for the community against Turian. The gloves will come off! Mike Turian. I've never played against him before, and I'd love to crush his Sorrow's Path-filled dreams by correctly calling one of his trademark combat bluffs. I’d have to say I’d really like to duel Worth Wollpert. He’s been such a force for moving Magic Online in the direction that it needs to go that I’d like the opportunity to thank him by grinding him into a bloody and humiliating defeat.
Final words Getting to spend a week at Wizards is a dream I get to scratch of my board, and I thank everyone for that. As for the competition, Wizards will have to work hard to put up a fight. This community team looks fairly stacked even if we don't know who we are playing against. I don't know what happened in 2009, but this 2010 team isn't going to make anything easy! I'd rather not kick them while they're already down. We’re going to beat them silly with huge Fatties like Nicol Bolas and Verdant Force. They don’t stand a chance when pitted against the combined deck building skill of the entire Magic Online community. Sure, they make the game, but it’s us, the community, that really knows how to break it wide open.
Final thought: How funny would it be if we beat MaRo with a Maro?

Brad Nelson / FFfreak

Brad burst on the Magic Online scene as FFfreak and then crossed over to Pro Tour success at Pro Tour–Honolulu 2009 where he finished ninth in his PT debut. He currently writes about Magic for Channelfireball.com, where he makes sure to discuss formats that are Magic Online-friendly. He also makes videos to show people the ins and outs of decks so they can see them in practice before deciding to play them.

"Being part of the team is just another great way to give back to this game," Brad said. "Magic has given me so much and I know I will do my best to represent the community when defeating Wizards."

Gavin Verhey

Gavin will be the first to admit that winning a game of Magic means nothing without the Magic community next to you. As a writer for StarCityGames.com and co-host on MTGcast.com's Monday Night Magic podcast, he's felt the support of the community no matter what his tournament results were.

"Now it's my turn to repay them for all of their encouragement and support by making sure the community team takes this down," Gavin said. "It's an honor and a privilege to represent everyone out there who made this possible. I won't let you down."

Victor Bloodgood / tempesteye

An avid Magic Online player since late 2002, Victor has been involved in the MTGO community for almost as long. After having some issues getting the client up and running back in those days, he became an active member of the community by helping out other players facing similar challenges.

"I know that this is one of the best games I’ve ever played and I want to share that experience with others," he said. "But you can’t experience how great it is if you can’t actually play."

Victor is eager to bring the community voice into the event, encouraging other community members to post questions, deck building ideas, and strategy to the discussion threads, noting "we’re representing the community and we both want and need the community’s input."

Name Joseph Hill Marin Baraba Callum Milne
MTGO username MTGKaioshin MTGOAcademy GrifterMage
Started playing Magic 2002 1993 1994
Magic Online debut June 2005 (Saviors release on MTGO), which is when I moved away to start to college. Launch of 3.0. I had moved and lost contact with a lot of my buddies in the paper world so I thought I'll give it a try and well, here I am. Shortly after the release of 8th Edition
Hours/week on MTGO Varies; less than I'd like to 10-12 Some weeks all my free time, others none at all. Overall, probably too much (if there is such a thing).
Favorite MTGO format Pauper Prismatic Singleton Draft and Commander Commander
Wizards member you'd most like to play That's a toughie. Depends on what you'd expect to get out of a game of Magic. I don't know that anyone at WotC has killed a member of my family, so Vengeance can be crossed off the list. To enjoy someone's company over a fun game of Magic, that'd probably have to be Worth or MaGo ... or Lee Sharpe ... JerryVan ... Tonja ... too ... many ... choices. It'd be so much easier if someone just tarnished my family name so I could make it my goal to smite them with holy fire... Probably Mark Rosewater. Since I started reading "The Duelist" I always wanted to meet the person that made those diabolic puzzles in the early days of Magic. Or Aaron Forsythe, because I believe he is a true "Spike" by nature and would be a very tough challenge. I have very few illusions about being able to do much more than barely hold my own against Wizards' stable of former pro players, so I'd have to say Richard Garfield, mostly so I could say I have. Also Eric Sorensen (my 'boss' in the Community Management team), so I can see and rail against that evil mono-black Drana EDH concoction he tells me he's building.
Final Words Believe it or not...I'm crazier than I look. I think that should suffice. Better be prepared guys. We have a very solid team and we don't want the result to be even remotely close this time around! "Ho ho ho! Midgets! You think you can stand in my way?"

Joseph Hill / MTGKaioshin

Joseph describes himself as your "average, ordinary Magic/MTGO player." Armed with an excellent memory and a desire to help people, he carved out a niche in the Magic Online community Tech Help and New Player forums.

"I could remember how people solved various technical issues and simply point people in the right direction for solving their particular problem and I practically feed off the excitement that comes from teaching new players about the game," he said. "So, I found a place and did what I could—just an ordinary, helpful guy operating in my own little corner of the internet."

Marin Baraba / MTGOAcademy

As the founder of MTGOAcademy.com, Marin interacts with many players online on a regular basis. Whether he's chatting with contributors, players, or team members or slinging spells in a 100-Card Singleton match or Draft, the hours are filled with Magic. Between developing tools and gadgets like MTG Notifier, producing tutorials and game videos, and providing a steady flow of articles, Marin and MTGOAcademy.com lend their help to grow a unique virtual space for Magic players of all stripes.

"I am thrilled to be part of this event and hope that I will be a worthy representative for the Magic community all around the globe," Marin added.

Callum Milne / GrifterMage

Callum has been a fixture on Magic Community forums for most of the last decade. After being a regular participant in forum discussions, he spent time as a WizO and now is a VCL (Volunteer Community Lead) putting in significant time and effort to build the best community possible. He also became a DCI judge last year and is looking to build a thriving Magic community in his new home area of Nanaimo, Vancouver Island (if you're in the area and want to join his playgroup, he'd love to hear from you!).

"I'll do my very best to live up to the community's expectations," Callum noted, quickly adding that he has never claimed to be the best deckbuilder or player. "So I suspect it's a fair bet I'm going to make an absolute fool of myself at some point—just giving everyone fair warning."

Name Evan Erwin Ed Grabianowski Bill Stark
MTGO name misterorange zeppelined Starkpo
Started playing Magic 1995 1993 1994
Magic Online debut Around Mirrodin/Darksteel, when I came back to Magic. I actually played it back when it was first in open beta. 2003, to prepare for U.S. Nationals.
Hours/week on MTGO 3-5, but up to 15 when in full-on draft mode Not very often 0-5
Favorite MTGO format 8-4 drafts! Sealed Draft
Wizards member you most want to play Dear Aaron Forsythe: Prepare to be crushed! Mark Rosewater or Aaron Forsythe. I like reading their columns about game design (even though I don't always agree with them), so I think we could have some interesting conversations. Or I could just beat them and then brag about it forever. Ken Nagle; it would be nice to sit down across from a fellow Spike who has competed on the Pro Tour and know I'm facing a REAL challenge.
Final Words I can't speak for everyone, but as for me, I'm pretty sure Wizards has only a slim chance of success. I've not won a Pro Tour, but I've whipped up on some R&D before and it's time to do so again! I don't know how, or when, or in what format, but at some point I will defeat one of you with a Nightmare, and Timmies around the world will rejoice. I don't think any are necessary; those punks in R&D have lost 100% of the Community Cup challenges that have been held to date. I don't see that percentage changing anytime soon.

Evan Erwin / misterorange

Host and producer of The Magic Show and community manager at StarCityGames.com, Evan has played a significant role in the Magic community for several years. He was voted to play in the 2007 Magic Invitational as the Storyteller and can be seen and heard traveling the world to showcase Magic from the kitchen table all the way up to the Pro Tour.

"I for one am incredibly humbled and excited at another opportunity to do something fun, unique, and community impacting with this game I adore," Evan added. "It has changed my life fundamentally, and now I can help change the lives, in some small way, for those who play Magic Online!"

Ed Grabianowski / zeppelined

Ed is the managing editor and "Mighty Overlord" for Robot Viking, a website that covers all tabletop games including Magic, Dungeons & Dragons, other TCGs and RPGs, board games, miniatures, and "all sorts of other fun stuff," said Ed.

"I think that helps Robot Viking serve an important function—it exposes the game to people who don't necessarily already play it, or who may only be casually aware of it," Ed said. "When a Warhammer 40K player or a HeroClix fan stops by my site, he sees some articles I wrote about how much fun I had at a prerelease, or a new deck idea I'm working on, and maybe it gets him to pick up some packs and get a few friends to play Magic."

Because of that wider audience, Ed makes sure that the content at Robot Viking remains accessible to someone who's never opened a booster pack before while still conveying the depth of strategy and complicated tactics that make Magic the game that so many people enjoy.

"It's an ongoing challenge," he readily admits. "I certainly don't claim to have mastered it by any means!"

Bill Stark / Starkpo

As editor-in-chief of the blog TheStarkingtonPost.com, Bill scours the Magic world for every last tidbit of information about the game. A player, journalist, and occasional playtester for Magic, Bill has followed his love of the game across the country to work on Magic and traveled around the world more times than he can count to cover Pro Tours, World Championships, National Championships, and Grand Prix as part of the event coverage team at DailyMTG.com.

"It's a great honor to represent Magic players from all over the world," Bill said. "One of the most dynamic elements of Magic in my mind is the global community and its connection to one another through the game; being able to play cards on behalf of that group is a true honor."

Unable to attend: Joshua Claytor / JXClaytor

Joshua balances his time spent on Magic between the virtual and real world. A college student finishing up his degree in marketing, management, and accounting, he works for www.mtgotraders.com and as a content manager for www.pureMTGO.com along with being a Wizards Play Network organizer for Hard Knox Games in Radcliff, Kentucky.

"Last year, I was very envious of everyone else that got to take part in the event, and hoped that I would be considered to take part very soon. I like to consider myself blessed, as without the writers for pureMTGO.com and Heath Newton (owner of pureMTGO.com) and the work that he has done within the community, I would never be considered just based on what I do by myself."

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