Reid Duke, the World’s Favorite Pro Tour Champion

Hareruya Media Team

Pro Tour Champion

Two weeks ago, Pro Tour Phyrexia, the last Pro Tour since the Guilds of Ravnica, was held in Philadelphia, USA. Many of the best players from around the world gathered for the event. It had been a while since the last tabletop tournament, so sure some of you stayed up late watching the game!

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This Pro Tour ended with a win for Reid Duke. He is a member of the Magic Pro Tour Hall of the Fame and is surely a player that every Magic player knows.

Starting with a win at the Magic Online Championship (MOCS) in 2011, He has had some impressive results, including a runner-up finish at the World Championships and a Top 8 finish on the Pro Tour, but he has yet to win a Pro Tour. However, this time he achieved the feat of winning the Pro Tour.

In this article, we bring you an interview with such a great player, Reid Duke, exclusively at Hareruya!

Long-Sought Victory

Congratulations on winning the Pro Tour! First of all, tell us frankly how you felt when you won the PT.

Image Copyright: Youtube: Play MTG

Reid Duke: Winning the Pro Tour is a dream come true. It didn’t hit me right away when the finals ended, because I was still in “game mode,” trying to stay calm and focused. It was only when Cedric Phillips called me to the front of the stage and announced, “Pro Tour Phyrexia Champion – Reid Duke,” that it became real. I teared up a little at that moment.

It has been a few days since your victory. Have you noticed any changes?

Duke: In the next few days, I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of support and encouragement I’ve received. Knowing how many people were cheering for me, and were happy to see me win – that’s almost better than the win itself.

Returning Pro Tour

When did you start practicing for this Pro Tour?

Duke: I started practicing full-time the Friday before the tournament(So about one full week of dedicated preparation).

What communities did you practice with?

From left to right: Gabriel Nassif, Luis Scott-Vargas, and Seth Manfield.

Image Copyright: MAGIC PLAY

Duke: I shared a house in Philadelphia with an awesome team that included Gabriel Nassif, Luis Scott-Vargas, Seth Manfield, Martin Juza, Logan Nettles, Mike Sigrist, and many other great players. I couldn’t have done it without their help.

That’s such a fantastic team! What is your draft policy for this set and why did you select Izzet Creativity?

Hexgold SlashFlensing RaptorGitaxian Raptor

Duke: My draft strategy was to build a solid deck, and not go “all-in” on the toxic strategy, which can sometimes go badly when things don’t work out for you. My favorite color is red, and I only like to draft blue if it’s very open.

Duke: I trusted my team when it came to the Izzet 《Indomitable Creativity》 deck. I think Pioneer is very balanced, so I wanted to choose a deck that was powerful, proactive, and for which we had a good decklist. As a team, we’d put a ton of work into Creativity (especially Mike Sigrist), so I knew it would be a solid choice.

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It was very happy to see that Nassif, who is also a member of the same team, also made it to the Top 8! It’s been a while since the last tabletop Pro Tour, but was there anything different from before?

Duke: This felt like an old-style Pro Tour. The main thing that was different was my mindset. My goal was to enjoy myself, and I wasn’t expecting any particular result. Maybe that allowed me to stay calm and play my best!

Past and Future

When did you start playing Magic? And what decks did you often use at that time?

Soltari PriestSoltari MonkEmpyrial Armor

Duke: I started playing MTG in 1995 (Ice Age) when I was five years old. My first “good” deck was White Weenie with Shadow creatures and 《Empyrial Armor》.

Then you stepped into the world of competitive Magic, how was your first Pro Tour?

Duke: My first Pro Tour was Amsterdam 2010 and I started out 0-6. Nonetheless, I had a great time, stuck it out for the full day, and won my final two rounds.

Remember when you won the match at Pro Tour the first time and your opponent was Japanese? Actually, right now, a tweet from the opponent at that time is getting a lot of attention.

Duke: Yes, I remember that my first Pro Tour win was against a Japanese player! We had a fun, good-natured match and laughed together about being at the very bottom of the standings. We met years later at GP Bangkok.

It’s one of the charms of Magic that players from different countries can meet again in different countries! You have achieved a lot so far, what do you consider to be your strengths?

Duke: I think my strength as a player is being consistent and well-rounded. I’m not a superhero, but you can always find me out there playing solid Magic, on any day, in any format.

Do you have any advice for other players who also want to reach the heights of competitive Magic?

Duke: My advice for other players is to work hard and practice with quality. It’s not enough to simply play a lot of Magic. You have to be willing to challenge the way you’re doing things, and learn how to level up your game.

Image Copyright: Youtube:Magic: The Gathering

When I think of Reid Duke, I have the image of a player who is basically calm and always cool-headed. In round 16 of the Pro Tour Eldritch Moon, when your opponent cast the game-finishing 《Collective Defiance》 without paying mana cost due to momentum, you calmly instructed opponent to tap the mana, and I was impressed by how polite and courteous you were.

Duke: A game isn’t over until a player is at 0 life. And when I’m in a game, I’m playing my hardest. This is why I won’t concede until my opponent makes the lethal attack, or casts their lethal burn spell.

You have finished in the Top 8 several times on the Pro Tour, but only in the quarterfinals. But this time, you ended up winning, which means you are still growing. Compared to your former self, what do you feel you have grown to become a winner?


Duke: One thing I did differently in this tournament was to remain flexible. Instead of sticking to a rigid strategy for gameplay and sideboarding, I trusted my vision for how the games were going to play out, and acted accordingly. I don’t attribute the win only to myself, but also to my team, and the great network of support I have in my life.

Then you have achieved your major goal of winning the Pro Tour. What are your goals for the next?

Duke: One more thing I’d like to achieve is winning the World Championship. Past that, my goals are to set a good example for others, and support the next generation of players.

Thank you, Japan!

Do you have a favorite Japanese player?

From left to right: Yuuki Ichikawa, Riku Kumagai, Shintaro Ishimura


Duke: I’m a big fan of Japanese Magic. I grew up watching Shuhei Nakamura, Makahito Mihara, and Shota Yasooka. I think Yuuki Ichikawa and Riku Kumagai are some of the best players right now. (Riku played very well against me in the Pro Tour). I’m also a long-time fan of Shintaro “rizer” Ishimura and his crazy decks!

Duke: And One of my favorite matches was Pro Tour Kaladesh round 15 against Shota Yasooka.

Please give a message to your Japanese fans.

Duke: I’ve been to Japan three times to play Magic, and I hope I’ll have the opportunity to visit again. I’m always so amazed by how welcoming and encouraging everyone is. Thank you to all Japanese MTG players and fans! Doumo Arigatou Gozaimasu!

Reid Duke(Twitter/Twitch)

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