War of the Spark is not the only format that has had major tournaments recently. Just the weekend before the prerelease, Legacy got to crown Daniel Goetschel as one of its few GP Champions! I got to sit down with him and talk about his recent success.
Hello Daniel and welcome to the spotlight! Please give our readers a quick introduction of yourself.
I am 18, I live in Toronto, I study Art History and I like to play Magic Online!
I know you’ve chased your competitive breakthrough for quite some time. Can you talk about what motivates you to play countless hours and spend resources to travel to events?
I don’t really travel much. The only two previous tournaments I traveled to were an SCG Con which I won the airfare for, and when my friend Boston Schatteman let me sit in his car when he drove to Eternal Weekend. There is almost always a premier level event on Magic Online, so I don’t have a desire to travel. The Magic Online Championship Leaderboard is my SCG Leaderboard.
I don’t know why I like to play Magic so much, but I do for some reason, and it makes me some money, so I don’t need to question my life choices too much. I think I am mostly motivated because I feel I have the ability to compete at high levels, but I want to fulfil the journey of this and see how far I can go and where issues I didn’t foresee might arise.
We all have different people that we look up to or found inspiration from on our path to where we are today. Do you have any role models, sparring partners etc. you can tell us about?
When I went to middle/high school Ian Monahan/Fox, there were two guys who I played Magic with a lot. They were also kind of end bosses of our school where almost no one played Magic, but still I wanted to get to their level. I carpooled with Ian, so we could talk about Magic for hours each day. They always destroyed me in EDH, and I have many hours of Twin vs. Affinity against Ian.
When I started to play competitively at tournaments, Harrison Quinn – an L.A. player – said he saw I was trying hard to get good but told me some Magic theory which helped me level up and question my plays more.
When I played in Toronto as a new player, I always feared Omar Beldon. He always played so deliberate and thought through every choice, and it looked like he never made a mistake. Also, I knew Magic was a skill game when I was new. How else would the same people always top 8 the big tournaments? All consistent players inspired me.
I really started to get into Magic with Splinter Twin mirrors actually. I was winning them a lot. Before this I didn’t really know what I was doing. I assumed I wasn’t obviously a top tier player since I didn’t even know why I was playing like I was, but since I was winning Twin mirrors a lot I said “okay, maybe I’m good at this game. I just need to understand why I’m winning so I can try to reproduce that for all matchups and formats”.
Fast forward to Magic Fest Niagra Falls. What made you play Blue-White Stoneblade and can you elaborate on a few interesting card choices from your list?
Omar Beldon was winning a lot with it. We teamed for a local Team Trios which we won. He was our Legacy seat and he went 8-0 with a UW Stoneblade list with Delver of Secrets in the sideboard. I tried it right away and 5-0’d a league, then I played a Legacy Challenge and won it, so I didn’t know if this deck was optimal as I did poorly in the MCQ, but I played kind of poorly there and my list was weird (featuring Throne of the High City and Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy). I was still undecided, but I saw Omar won a local 1K with Esper Blade and I’m like “okay, I’ll just play this”.
The flex spot in the maindeck is Vendilion Clique. The role is desiring removal for Delver of Secrets, so Council’s Judgment, Engingeered Explosives and Supreme Verdict are other options. But when in doubt, as day9 said according to Jarvis Yu, “kill them”. Also, Vendilion Clique was very good for me in the MCQ on Friday.Tormod’s Crypt is my personal playstyle. I think it is a lot better against Dredge and Storm than Surgical Extraction. I also think it’s better against Reanimator, but MTGO Legacy Trophy leader Eric Landon heavily disagrees and teases my poor Crypts a lot. I also think Dredge is obscenely good, just heavily underplayed, so when people say Dredge is not very played and I play against a Legacy master, I would like to win.
A lot of us miss video coverage from these tournaments to catch the action live whether it’s the players showing emotion or a specific play. Do you have a highlight or two from your games, swiss or top 8, that you would like to share?
And against Gerard Fabiano, if you didn’t catch Anuraag‘s live coverage on Twitter, it was absurd.
Winning a Magic Fest Main Event is a huge accomplishment and can either leave you satisfied or even more motivated. Which is the case for you?
During the event I kept asking myself, how can I reproduce these wins? I felt very uncomfortable because I did not have the tools to properly reproduce the wins, my decks power level was similar to all the other decks and I didn’t have this broken advantage. I just had to play my best and hope to get there.
Winning this GP definitely does not make me feel like I will just win another GP. I feel it would be insanely difficult to reproduce this, the amount of games I had to win in a row was absurd, and I didn’t see something I was doing right to make it happen, I just had to hope my ponders were better than theirs.
Lastly, what’s your best piece of advice for upcoming talents like yourself who want to break through at the professional level?
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett
Never blame variance, it is useless to improve. If I lose because things did not come together, I check to see if my plans were optimal, if they were and my plans did not come together that is fine, it is not worth using energy to think about luck etc., because that will not help improve.
Thanks for taking the time, Daniel! Is there something else you’d like our readers to know?
Also, for reference, here is the list that Daniel won the Grand Prix with for those of you who are interested:
UW Stoneblade by Daniel Goetschel
1 Arid Mesa
4 Flooded Strand
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Polluted Delta
2 Scalding Tarn
1 Windswept Heath
3 Snapcaster Mage
4 Stoneforge Mystic
4 True-Name Nemesis
1 Vendilion Clique
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2 Council’s Judgment
4 Force of Will
2 Spell Pierce
1 Spell Snare
4 Swords to Plowshares
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
1 Celestial Purge
2 Containment Priest
1 Engineered Explosives
2 Palace Jailer
2 Supreme Verdict
3 Tormod’s Crypt
This article was written by Andreas Petersen in a media collaboration with mage.market