Sunday May 29, 2005 4:32 pm
E3 Interview: Sam Gomersall, Professional Magic Player
The other day we brought you our interview with Mark Rosewater, Head Designer of Magic: The Gathering and Head of Magic Research and Development. Today we bring you the next installment of Magic love in our interview with professional player Sam Gomersall and give you some insight into why people dedicate their lives to the game of Magic: the Gathering.
Please explain to the readers who you are.
I am the longest standing current professional Magic player. There is only two of us currently in England and I have been the one who has been doing it the longest. My name is Sam Grosilling. I quit college just to play this game, to become a professional player because I love the game and I love the travel involved. That’s who I am and what I do.
How would you sum up Magic the Gathering.
I was asked this question a couple days ago, it’s so hard to answer. It’s like a cross between Chess, any card game you could think of and Lord of Rings. It’s a resource based strategy game. You have all these resources and you have to work out how you are going to use them to over come your opponents and then eventually you win after you have done.
What about Magic Online?
I spend so much time on Magic Online. It’s the easiest tool for learning how to play the game. Not just for learning basics, even when you become really good at the game at the game it is too. It’s on 24-7, there is always thousands of people there to play. Whenever you want a game it’s just there. I spend about 7 or 8 hours a day just playing against different opponents. Just random people sitting there learning about the game and playing.
What drew you to this game?
I first played a very different version of it. A very old computer game called Magic: Sharazzared, which really did not have much to do with the game of Magic. I played that for a while, then I went to a pub in England. I saw some people playing this game. It looked quite familiar. So I went over and saw them playing it. I was hooked every since. I was about 18 then, I have not stopped playing for 5 years.
Where do you play?
Magic Online for sure. There aren’t actual any stores in England. It’s really quite hard to find a game. Through out the general day there is nowhere to go. During the evening there is a couple clubs you can play at. There aren’t any stores to play at. Like a couple evenings a week in London you can go play your games and stuff. But usually it’s all on Magic Online.
What is the British Magic Scene like?
It’s kind of strange. Magic is not that big in England and most have not heard of it. While over here (US) I spent a lot of time at a college, and I was telling ordinary people what I do and they all knew what this game was. Random people really. Everyone seemed to know what it was. Where as in England, it’s not very big.
I know recently, Wizards is making a really big push to make it quite big in England. So with n the next year it might get a lot bigger.
What is your favorite format?
Drafting, that’s what I do on Magic Online for 7 hours a day.
What is it like to play on the Pro tour?
It’s amazing, it’s such a good experience. That’s actual what got me hooked for the first time. I was just a normal guy. I played some Magic events and I qualified once to go to the pro tour. I went and played once, I didn’t do very well. However I was hooked form that one time I went to the pro tour. It was in Japan, which probably helped, the mystic thing and stuff. After the first time I had been, I couldn’t wait to get back to the next one. I went to next one and then I went to every single one since.
How much time do you spend preparing for the tour?
For the Limited one, 500 hours probably playing Magic Online for each limited pro tour. For constructed pro tours 5 hours, maybe 10, I guess. I am really, really bad as a publicist for the constructed game. I do not dislike it, I just prefer drafting seven hours a day on Magic Online and not playing any constructed.
What do you like about the tour?
It’s just not the people and places. I am sure they are the reasonable boring answers. If you tend to interview Magic players your more then likely to hear, “I love to meet with my friends, I see five or six times a year. I like to go to all the beautiful places in the world.” Obviously that’s a giant perk of the game, but I just love playing the game. Where ever I can go and if we get paid to play the game, there is no reason not to in my opinion.
I kind of hate the way England is not a force. It would be so much nicer if there was a set group of five or six of us Brits that where always going to the major events. It would be really good for British magic. It’s such a shame that there are just two of us.
How long did it take to get on the pro tour (it takes most Magic pros a long time)?
I was playing pro tour qualifiers for probably two years before I qualified. I was terrible for so long. I don’t know what happened, I think it was when I just moved to London. I started playing regular Magic in London and that improved my game so much. The standard is so much higher in London then it’s for the rest of England. So when I went there I started doing well in events. It was not long before I got into the pro tour level. I was pretty terrible for a very long time. You just have to keep playing in tournaments to get better.
What is your favorite card?
My favorite card is Gush, which is a blue draw spell from the Masque block.
Playfeed thanks Sam Gomersall for taking the time to talk with us.
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