Profiles by Brian David-Marshall
Welcome to the voting for the 11th annual Magic Invitational!
Anyone who has played Magic for more than a few games knows how all-consuming it can become. Meals are missed, showers skipped, bills go unpaid...but the love of the game goes on. This passion for the game might manifest itself in endless hours of Magic Online drafting and testing, an unrelenting devotion to research, or merely the constant quest for a new match to play. Regardless, these are the guys who make playing Magic a priority above all else.
Winner: Frank Karsten (58.1% of votes)
The Netherlands' Frank Karsten won this ballot last year and has nothing to convince anyone of his sanity in the year since. He took on a weekly column here at Magicthegathering.com, and on top of the hard work he puts in each and every week that was not enough. He began researching, updating, and lovingly caretaking a meticulous Deck-o-pedia page in the forums to chronicle the ever-shifting Constructed landscape. The question of a potential Fanatic's candidacy is usually dependant on the mental health of the individual, but for the purposes of this candidate we must veer into the realm of physical health too. Who can forget the image of a flu-stricken Frank Karsten with his trusty bucket by his side (and yes, it was there for exactly what you think it was there for), slogging through the closing rounds of Pro Tour–Yokohama? No Japanese flu could slow him down as he went 5-1-2 on Saturday to finish one point out of the Top 8.
Rich Hoaen (8.6%)
To my mind, the definition of a Magic Fanatic would be someone who logs on to Magic Online and next looks up when they think only a few minutes had past, only to find the plants have died, all the lightbulbs have burned out, and there are several week's worth of newspapers stacked outside the door preventing anyone from getting in. If your solution to that scenario is to shrug, turn around, and sign up for another 8-4, then you might be Rich Hoaen. He is the 40-card flip side to Luis Scott-Vargas, drafting almost constantly on MTGO. Not only does Rich draft non-stop, he shares at least one draft daily on Star City Games in the Drafting with Rich series. While the unwashed masses may not always understand what Rich is doing, they can't argue with his results.
Shuhei Nakamura (22.1%)
Does anyone love playing Magic more than Shuhei Nakamura? We have already documented his Mad Max schedule of Grand Prix that had him traveling to 13 of 16 available Grand Prix weekends last season and yet to have him miss a Grand Prix weekend in 2007. We began to wonder how many weekends Shuhei actually played Magic, once you factored in such events as Nationals, Pro Tours, and other tournaments like Friday Night Magic. Not only does Shuhei play in the full range of events (including the aforementioned FNM), but since the start of the 2006 season through the posting of this ballot, the persistent Level 6 mage has averaged playing in one sanctioned Magic event per week for 70-plus weeks. That includes Friday Night Magic, Prereleases, GP Trials, special events like Limits tournaments and The Finals, a His-Her side event on the last day of Pro Tour–Kobe...the list goes on and on. And all that action doesn't include practicing, side drafts with friends, big-box drafts with Gabe Walls, or playing MTGO. Whew.
Ben Rubin (6.0%)
Ben Rubin has been playing Magic for a long time and is one of the many difficult choices from a elite group of players that must be—somehow—narrowed down to five inductees into this year's Hall of Fame class later this year. As people will do, Ben stepped away from the game for awhile. Then as they also always do, he came back...with what his good friend Antonino De Rosa calls "the fever." How high is Ben Rubin's Magic-al temperature? Just look what he endured to get to Pro Tour–Geneva in time for Round 1. Never a big fan of traveling to begin with, Ben was faced with a 16-hour flight from California to Europe...only to find it become a Rube Goldbergesque series of flights that landed him in Germany at midnight with no hope of a connecting flight to Geneva. Ben was not to be denied his chance to play Magic and he quickly hopped in a cab for the 600-kilometer drive to Geneva—which apparently cost more than his initial round-trip airplane ticket. If that weren't enough, Ben had to convince the Swiss border guards to let the cabbie into the country without a passport...quite a day's work to sling a few spells.
Luis Scott-Vargas (5.0%)
So you want to know what to play in a Standard tournament? In Extended? Why not check out what "Fob" is playing on Magic Online. Luis—a member of last year's U.S. National team—is one of the most influential online deck designers and players on Magic Online. While his name and face may not have turned heads when he landed on the National team, as soon as those in the know learned Luis's nline alter ego, the flow of recognition and admiration came quickly.
to read posts from voters.