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Feature: The Top 8 Player Profiles

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Marcio Carvalho

Marcio Carvalho

Marcio Carvalho is well known to players familiar with the European Grand Prix circuit. The 19-year-old Portuguese player has been to the Top 8 of three events including a win at this year's Grand Prix-Lisbon. Most recently he finished second to Olivier Ruel at Grand Prix-Bilbao. Marcio is a rookie as well as a member of his National team. Should he advance in the Top 8 and do well in the team competition, he could surpass Pierre Canali for the Rookie of the Year title.

Age: 19
Hometown: Lisbon
Occupation: Student

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: 3
How many World Championships have you played in? 0

How did you qualify for 2005 Worlds? Rating/Pro Points/National Team

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: GP Lisbon '05 (1st) GP Bilbao (2nd) GP Lisbon '02 (4th)

Day One record: 4-2
What Standard deck did you play and why did you choose it?
Blue-black control, which I think is the best deck in Standard.

Day Two record: 5-1
What was your draft strategy?
I was thinking of drafting Boros, but all I could get was Selesnya.

Day Three record: 4-0-2
What Extended deck did you play and why did you play it?
Played aggro because I thought all the good players would play 'Tog or Scepter-Chant.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
Magic Online, my Portuguese friends, and my clan DragonQuest

What was your reaction to the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony?
Good.




Tomohiro Kaji

Tomohiro Kaji

Tomohiro Kaji was playing in his second Pro Tour Top 8 of the season - he reached Sunday in Atlanta as a member of One Spin. This was his first individual Top 8 although he has had success at the Grand Prix level, most recently winning Kitakyushu. Kaji practices Magic for at least two hours every day with friends and on Magic Online. He was eager to get a full day of practice in before he would assess his quarterfinal match-up. He was one of four players with perfect records in the Standard portion of the tournament.

Age: 21
Hometown: Saritama
Occupation: Student

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: 11
How many World Championships have you played in? 2

How did you qualify for 2005 Worlds? Pro Players Club

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: GP:3 PT:1

Day One record: 6-0
What Standard deck did you play and why did you choose it?
White/Green, because I didn't practice. (All of us Japanese players played it.)

Day Two record: 4-2
What was your draft strategy?
Blue is best, but I couldn't play.

Day Three record: 2-0-4
What Extended deck did you play and why did you play it?
Scepter - I won a GP with it!

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
Standard and Draft I played Magic Online. Extended I got practice at GP's.

Do you have any interesting stories from the first 18 rounds?
I played Katsuhiro 3 times! 1-1-1

What was your reaction to the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony?
I was moved! I will be the one.




Katsuhiro Mori

Katsuhiro Mori

Katsuhiro Mori has had success on the Masters Series with his team PS2 but the former Rookie of the Year has never played on Sunday in a Pro Tour. Mori was way out in front of the pack all week long and started Day Three with a full match lead on the next person in the standings. After starting with a win, the wheels threatened to come off when he picked up a draw and then three straight losses. He shook through his final round match and cried with joy when he managed to win his third game against Bas Postema to clinch.

Hometown: Tokyo
Occupation: MTG Pro

How did you qualify for 2005 Worlds? Pro points

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: GP:10

Day One record: 5-1
What Standard deck did you play and why did you choose it?
White-Green

Day Two record:
What was your draft strategy?
Blue-Black

Day Three record:
What Extended deck did you play and why did you play it?
Scepter, I like it.

Do you have any interesting stories from the first 18 rounds?
I played Kaji 3 times!

What was your reaction to the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony?
I was moved!




Ding Yuan Leong

Ding Yuan Leong

Singapore's Ding Leong is another Grand Prix champion graduating to Pro Tour Top 8 competition. Ding is a perennial member of his National team and qualified for this event as his country's alternate. This is his third trip to a World Championships and the fifth Pro Tour overall. Ding moved through the first two days of competition with solid 4-2 records. He gathered a head of steam on Day Three and reeled off a 5-0-1 record.

Age: 22
Hometown: Singapore
Occupation: Serving National Service

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: 5
How many World Championships have you played in? 3

How did you qualify for 2005 Worlds?
4th place at Nationals

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 2 GP Top 8s
Other Previous Magic accomplishments:
GP KL Champion, GP Singapore 3rd, six-time Nationals Top 8

Day One record: 4-2
What Standard deck did you play and why did you choose it?
Blue-green splash black, because I like Kodama of the North Tree

Day Two record: 4-2
What was your draft strategy?
Draft white-green and splash for either red or black removal.

Day Three record: 5-0-1
What Extended deck did you play and why did you play it?
Boros deck - I think it can win against many kinds of decks and doesn't really have a bad match-up.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
I tested about 2 weeks before Worlds with my national teammates and my friends.

What was your reaction to the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony?
Good!




Frank Karsten

Frank Karsten

The Netherlands' Frank Karsten has been successful in two trips to Japan this season. He finally broke through into the Top 8 earlier this year in Nagoya. Frank's tournament got off to a great start when he rattled off six straight wins with his Greater Good Standard deck. A popular strategy columnist, Frank had actually written about a deck very close to the one he played in his regular column within the last few weeks.

Age: 21
Hometown: Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Occupation: Student (Industrial Engineering and management science)

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: ~30?
How many World Championships have you played in? 5

How did you qualify for 2005 Worlds? Pro points

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 1 PT Top 8 (this is my 2nd) 7 GP Top 8s

Other Previous Magic accomplishments:
A lot of top 16/24 PT finishes

Day One record: 6-0
What Standard deck did you play and why did you choose it?
Greater Good/Yosei lockdown, with a Hana Kami engine in the sideboard. I played it because I wanted to play something similar to KBC Gifts as I had tested a lot with that deck and put up good results with it.

Day Two record: 3-2-1
What was your draft strategy?
I tried to draft Boros or Dimir if possible because I believe these are the strongest archetypes.

Day Three record: 3-0-3 (Two IDs)
What Extended deck did you play and why did you play it?
CAL, because Olivier Ruel told me to play it. He Top 8'ed two GPs with the deck and he believed it was the best.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
I played with all the other Dutchies and with the Ruels.

Do you have any interesting stories from the first 18 rounds?
I played against Carlos Romao three times this tournament, which is a lot! He never beat me :. And I lost a total of 3 games in the constructed portion, so I'm happy.

What was your reaction to the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony?
I like the concept, because it gives the game a nice legacy. I hope I will be voted in the Hall of Fame at some point.




Shuhei Nakamura

Shuhei Nakamura

Japan's Shuhei Nakamura started his year out with a Top 8 in Columbus and could easily be playing in his third Top 8 at Worlds if not for a narrow miss in Philadelphia on tiebreakers, when he finished 9th. Shuhei was just happy to be in the Top 8 after his miss in Philly and was hoping to improve on his finish from Columbus.

Age: 23
Hometown: Osaka
Occupation: Student

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: 11
How many World Championships have you played in? 2

How did you qualify for 2005 Worlds? Pro club

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: PT:2 GP:7

Day One record: 5-1
What Standard deck did you play and why did you choose it?
White/Green. It feels good, better than it seems.

Day Two record: 5-1
What was your draft strategy?
Play black.

Day Three record: 3-2-1
What Extended deck did you play and why did you play it?
Scepter-Chant. I wouldn't play beatdown because I lost at GPs playing beatdown.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
Standard, 1 day. Limited: Magic Online every day! Extended: 5 hours

Do you have any interesting stories from the first 18 rounds?
The last game, round 14, I topdecked three times in a row!

What was your reaction to the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony?
It is unbelievable!




Andre Coimbra

Andre Coimbra

Andre Coimbra was also a member of the Portuguese National team like Marcio. The two players would be getting a little less practice than their Top 8 counterparts. He had to like his chances for teams as he was one of the players to go 6-0 on Day Two after getting off to a weak 3-3 start on Day One. Andre was playing in his very first Pro Tour. His best finish before this event was last weekend in Beijing when he ended up in 17th place.

Age: 19
Hometown: Colmbra, Portugal
Occupation: Computer Science Student

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: 0
How many World Championships have you played in? 0

How did you qualify for 2005 Worlds? National Team

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 0

Other Previous Magic accomplishments: 17th GP Brussels, 2 Nationals Top 8s

Day One record: 3-3
What Standard deck did you play and why did you choose it?
BUG Specter

Day Two record: 6-0
What was your draft strategy?
Draft Green, it is really the best color.

Day Three record: 4-1-1
What Extended deck did you play and why did you play it?
Aggro-Rock, which I like because it fits my style.

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
Draft practice in the Magic Online 8-4 queues, and I played Rock at GP Beijing.

Do you have any interesting stories from the first 18 rounds?
I really thought I had no chance after the first day, but then the draft day seemed quite easy, which got my hope back!

What was your reaction to the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony?
I think it is great.




Akira Asahara

Akira Asahara

Akira Asahara is a greatly respected player and deck designer in Japan who has always seemed to be on the cusp of breaking through to his first Top 8. His unorthodox deck approach to deck design served him well this weekend when he went 5-1 with an Enduring Ideal deck during the Standard portion. He was overjoyed that he finally reached the elimination rounds but was nervous about his chances to advance against a counterspell-based deck in the first round.

Age: 27
Hometown: Kanagawa

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: 13
How many World Championships have you played in? 3

How did you qualify for 2005 Worlds? Pro Players club

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 5 GP Top 8s

Day One record: 5-1
What Standard deck did you play and why did you choose it?
Epic, as I like combo decks.

Day Two record: 4-2
What was your draft strategy?
Blue-black

Day Three record: 4-2
What Extended deck did you play and why did you play it?
Balance-Tooth. (I like combo decks here too.)

How did you prepare for the event? Who did you prepare with?
Two days, Magic Online and friends.

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