By Jeremy Dezani
Welcome to “Player Focus”!
“Player Focus” is a short interview with one of the greatest MTG players in the world. The goal is to present the player and his MTG profile to Japanese and international communities. “Player Focus” will feature a different player each time.
This Time we have Reid Duke(@ReidDuke).
Reid Duke is one of the most successful MTG players in the history of Magic. He accumulated lots of great achievements during the past years. He finishes as a platinum level pro every recent years and also competing at the top of the race.
First Name: Reid
Last Name: Duke
Sponsor: Member of Ultimate Guard Pro Team / Writer for Channelfireball.com
lifetime ProPoints: 404
Pro Level 2017/2018: Platinium
Occupation / Hobbies outside MTG
I’m a full-time Magic player. In my spare time, I enjoy hiking and the outdoors.
When did you start MTG? Which set? How did you discover the game?
I learned Magic when I was five years old. My mother gave a starter pack of 4th Edition to me, and a starter pack of Ice Age to my older brother, Ian. We learned to play together.
What famous player influenced you the most to become a professional player?
My brother, Ian Duke, and my cousin, Logan Nettles(Jaberwocki), helped me the most when I was trying to qualify for Pro Tour.
Once I got there, it was my team, The Pantheon, and especially William Jensen and Owen Turtenwald that helped me become the player that I am today.
PT TOP 8: 3
GP TOP 8: 23
Others: Magic Online Champion in 2011
If you have one, who is your favorite Japanese Player and why:
There are many Japanese players that I love to watch and cheer for, but my favorite is Yuuya Watanabe. Yuuya has been one of the best players for the whole time that I’ve been following Pro Magic. I always wanted to be able to play like him. Since I’ve been on the Pro Tour, I’ve had many great matches against Yuuya, but he always plays better than me (and usually beats me!). He stands as a rival and a role model that makes me want to bring out the best in myself.
Favorite MTG Format and why:
My favorite format is Sealed Deck because it’s the format where the basic skills of Magic are the most important. In constructed, you can copy a winning deck from the internet. In draft, you can follow a specific strategy and hope to get the right cards. In Sealed Deck, you have to work with what you’re given, so only a well-rounded player can win consistently.
Favorite limited archetype in the current draft format and why:
My favorite decks in Rivals of Ixalan draft are black control decks. I like to have lots of removal and a 《Recover》. Sometimes I choose to draw.
Do you prefer to play aggressive, control, midrange or combo deck? Why?
When I play Magic, I think I do best when I focus on defending myself and shutting down my opponent, instead of going for a quick win. I like Control decks and Midrange decks with lots of removal.
Favorite MTG Decks:
Standard: UB Control
What is your favorite deck to play at the moment? Any format;
I love playing with Legacy Elves because all of your small decisions add up and become very important. You also get to use 《Gaea's Cradle》, which is one of the most powerful cards that’s legal outside of Vintage!
2 《Dryad Arbor》
4 《Misty Rainforest》
4 《Verdant Catacombs》
2 《Windswept Heath》
4 《Gaea's Cradle》
-Land (20)- 4 《Deathrite Shaman》
4 《Heritage Druid》
4 《Nettle Sentinel》
4 《Quirion Ranger》
4 《Wirewood Symbiote》
1 《Birchlore Rangers》
1 《Fyndhorn Elves》
1 《Llanowar Elves》
4 《Elvish Visionary》
2 《Craterhoof Behemoth》
I’m also very excited to play with Jund in Modern now that 《Bloodbraid Elf》 is unbanned.
What is your First Pick, First Pack in this booster and why?
My pick is 《Baffling End》.
What did you do before becoming a Professional MTG player? What magic event changed your life and helped you become a Pro?
Before becoming a professional Magic player, I was a student. I qualified for the PT during my last year of college. Before I started making money off of Magic, I worked part-time as a jeweler while traveling to play as many tournaments as I could.
Winning the Magic Online Championship changed my life and helped me become a pro. It came at a time when I didn’t have a lot of money, and it made me feel like it was possible to earn a living playing Magic.
You are a member of the Peach Garden Oath (PGO) who are considered by lots of players as the best team in the world. How do you feel about having lots of team Grand Prixs and playing the team Pro Tour?
I feel very lucky to be a part of the Peach Garden Oath. There are many Magic players that are as-good or better than I am, but there are not many teams that are as-good or better than the Peach Garden Oath. Owen Turtenwald and William Jensen are amazing players, and we also fit together well as a team, and have the advantage of lots of experience playing together. I’m excited that 2018 will have more Team GPs, and I’m going to treat the Team PT as a once in a lifetime opportunity.
At Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan, you have reached your third Pro Tour top 8. When do you think you will be elected to the Hall of Fame? Is this an important goal for you? Do you think you will need another top 8 to be elected?
The #PTRIX Top 8 is set for tomorrow!— Magic Pro Tour (@magicprotour) 2018年2月3日
Pascal Vieran (@VierenPascal), Luis Salvatto (@LuisSalvatto), Ken Yukihiro (@death_snow), Gerry Thompson (@G3RRYT);
(2) Reid Duke (@ReidDuke), (19) Javier Dominguez (@Thalaiet),
(18) Andrea Mengucci (@Mengu09), Jean-Emmanuel Depraz pic.twitter.com/D0XrAW2Abg
I’m not eligible for the Hall of Fame yet, and I’m not going to think about whether or not I’ll get in. Instead, I’ll focus on trying to earn everyone’s vote. If I get in, I want it to be because I made a mark on the history of Magic, and not just because I’m a popular player, or because I’ve been playing for a long time. I will make sure to spend the next two years working hard, playing my best, and being a good role model for younger players.
Recently, 《Jace, the Mind Sculptor》 and 《Bloodbraid Elf》 has been unbanned in Modern. As a real Jund lover, what were your reactions to this announcement? Do you think Jund will be one of the dominating decks in Modern?
I was very excited to see that 《Jace, the Mind Sculptor》 and 《Bloodbraid Elf》 were unbanned. I think Jace is a stronger card and will go in more decks. However, I think 《Bloodbraid Elf》 is the exact card that Jund needed to go from a fringe deck to one of the best decks in Modern. I still think that Modern will be a very balanced format where you can play whichever deck you like. However, for someone like me, Jund will be a good choice again.
You are also a very famous online player. What are the main differences between playing online and real tournaments?
Playing Magic Online is a bit different than playing with real cards. For example, you can use pauses and some subtle things about the program to get information about what’s in your opponent’s hand, or to make them think you have a card that you don’t. However, I would say that the biggest difference is the clock.
In a Grand Prix tournament, both players have to hurry in order to finish the match in time. It’s against the rules to play too slowly or to take too long on one decision. When you play Magic Online, you want to play quickly for most of the match, but then take as long as you need to think about the important decisions. If you’re deciding whether to make a big attack or to leave back a few blockers, you can stop and think for three or four minutes if you need to! Getting used to using the clock to your advantage is important.