Interview with Platinum Pros (Sigrist and Tiu)

Door Mitchell Manders geschreven op 24-08-2016

This year at the Magic Online Championship I was very fortunate to meet Mike Sigrist and Oliver Tiu. Now these two forces of the game did not only manage to qualify for the Magic Online Championship but for the World Championship as well. Everyone always wonders what’s the story behind the face they see crushing tournaments. Here’s a short questionnaire with two of America’s finest!

Oliver Tiu

OliverTiu

1. You’re the youngster everyone talks about. You had one of the most amazing years a magic player could think of. Claiming a seat at the Magic Online Championships, the World Championship and claiming the Rookie of the Year title and Constructed Master. You happen to be a great deckbuilder/tuner. This is a quality I value really high in magic. What does it take to build competitive decks?

Understanding the metagame and knowing that it is very dynamic. I tend to change my standard decks week to week, because most large tournament shake up the metagame significantly. However, it is important to build decks that are not completely reactive and have some sort of powerful game plan that will lead to the game ending. I also avoid playing the deck that everyone is prepared for, instead choosing a deck that is more under the radar. 

2. You’re well known for your constructed skills. You seem to struggle a little bit more with limited. Do you know what you need to improve and how you’re going to accomplish that?

I plan to practice more draft, which I firmly believe is the best way to improve as a player. Outside of that, I will discuss the current limited format with players that are far better at limited than myself. I think I’m pretty good at the drafting portion, but subpar on actually playing games of limited. During my worlds preparation, I will certainly focus on that. 

3. At the age of 18 I assume you’re still a student. In my experience testing for tournaments takes several hours a week. How does being a professional magic player affect your college and personal life?

Well, I’m going into my freshman year of college, so I can’t speak too much on that. In this previous year, I didn’t find high school too difficult, so spending so much time on MTG wasn’t too detrimental to my education. However, I plan on reducing the time I spend on MTG, and will certainly be attending tournaments less frequently. 

4. You happen to be one of the 24 competitors at the world championship. How will you prepare for such a high stake tournament with multiple formats, and who will you be preparing with?

I will be testing with Ondrej Strasky, a majority of my constructed testing will just be jamming games against him. For limited, I will be doing MTGO drafts. 

5. I remember when I started playing, I was reading every article, always watching coverage and try to play as much as possible. Now the game is much older and in my opinion more difficult. Do you have any tips for the people out there trying there hardest to become better?

In order to become better, watch people better than yourself play. In addition to that, playing lots of Magic Online will help, especially for limited preparation. For constructed, change decks constantly and don’t get too attached to a specific deck unless it is actually that much better than the rest of the field.

 

Mike Sigrist

Mike Sigrist

1. If I’m not mistaken, you’ve been playing Magic since the early days. Your first Pro Tour debut was in 1999. How much of a difference was the Pro Tour back then compared to the Pro Tour nowadays?

Back around the days of my first Pro Tour information wasn’t as available like it is now. I would usually build my own deck, with no indication of a metagame because there was very few websites to get ideas and decklists from. Also, Magic cards in general were more powerful and less tested by development so broken things would be going on in formats and if you were able to find a broken deck you’d be at a huge advantage at a Pro Tour, especially because they were individual formats, not both Limited and Constructed like they are today. 

2. In 2014 you top8’d GP Richmond (modern). After all those years this was your first ‘breakthrough’. After that you’ve become an unstoppable force. What was the turning point in your career and what makes you able to keep up consistent results?

I took a break from competitive Magic around 2003 right after getting 7th place in a Team Limited Pro Tour. I didn’t attend the next Pro Tour and continued to play Magic but mostly with friends with something we call “The Box” which is now known as a Cube, though “The Box” we just add cards to as they get printed and continues to grow to this day. I also played a lot of Magic Online in my hiatus and eventually think that was what led to my breakthrough. Even though I wasn’t playing competitively I was playing Magic Online a fair amount which allowed me to continue to hone my skills without actually attending real life tournaments. When I came back to competitive play I was a much better player than previously.

Joining Face to Face was the turning point in my career. To get better at Magic, just like anything else, you have to learn from people who are better than you. When I joined Face to Face I learned how to properly prepare for major tournaments. We all work extremely hard to make sure we understand everything that’s going on within formats for the Pro Tour and in doing so I’ve been fortunate enough to have Pro Tour success and am able to try and consistently put up strong finishes by using this same approach with my team. 

3. Recently you’ve become a father of lovely twin girls. How does being a father influence your career as a pro player?

I don’t get to play as much Magic Online as I have in the past few years, in fact, I play far less. Instead I spend some time during the day while I’m watching them reading articles and watching streams. This is how I am able to keep up with what’s going on in the Magic Community. Since my girls were born I attend a few less tournaments, but my wife understands this is what I do for work now so she understands I have to travel a lot. 

4. You happen to be one of the 24 competitors at the world championship. How will you prepare for such a high stake tournament with multiple formats, and who will you be preparing with?

I’m going to play as much Magic Online as I can, trying to draft at least once a day, while also playing constructed both in tournaments and with my testing team for the event. I am excited to be working with Sam Pardee, Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa, and Luis Scott-Vargas. 

5. I remember when I started playing, I was reading every article, always watching coverage and try to play as much as possible. Now the game is much older and in my opinion more difficult. Do you have any tips for the people out there trying there hardest to become better?

Completely agree the game has gotten more difficult. Cards are becoming more complex as each set is produced, and with additional complexity each decision becomes harder and more crucial to gameplay. My best advice for anyone trying to get better has always been play Magic Online. Magic Online is instrumental for me in learning certain interactions. You’re also able to play a lot more games on Magic Online, which leads to learning things faster. 

I’d also suggest you read as many articles from the top players as you have time for. Peeking into the mind of the game’s great players can help you understand how to think about the game, even if the article isn’t relevant to a deck you like. Lastly, I would watch streams and videos. Watching streams and videos is the perfect way to follow the thought process of an individual when they are making decisions which can help you learn how to approach your own thought process. 

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