Magic: the Gathering
Kai Budde: Around 1995, while in high school I was playing the german version of Dungeons & Dragons with a bunch of friends. One taught us how to play MtG. None of those guys was interested in playing tournaments though, but I met people at the local shop that had weekly tournaments pretty quickly. 2. At that time, was Magic already very popular in Germany and Europe? Did you have a very active community?
Kai Budde: That's before the internet, it's pretty tough to say, I don't know WotC sales numbers. Germany was always one of the bigger markets for MtG and German nationals was also always one of the biggest ones, along with Italy and France. I grew up in Cologne, a city with a population of around 1 million people. There was a pretty active scene with weekly tournaments and stuff. 3. Was it too complicated to cross the Atlantic to play the Pro Tour or go to Japan where you were the champion? What difficulties did you face at the time?
Kai Budde: It wasn't a big problem to travel. A german passport is one of the best ones, when it comes to travelling. I didn't need a VISA or anything like that to get into the USA or Japan. I wasn't 18 when I travelled to my first Pro Tour in the US, so I needed a bunch of things signed by my parents.
Kai Budde: That was PT Barcelona. Back then decklists weren't public and I wasn't allowed to watch his matches, so I didn't really know what he had. My deck was overall much stronger than his. Tsabo's Assassin was a problem as I didn't have much removal for it, but he was essentially splashing for it, so it wasn't that easy to cast, I had some bounce spells and a creature that can give other creatures protection from black. It was a PT final, so I was clearly nervous. But it wasn't my first and I knew my deck was very good - also if you're in such a good run as I was back then, you're just pretty confident. :) 5. Magic was different that time. How do you see the evolution and the direction that Magic has taken? Did you imagine, when you entered the Hall of Fame, that Magic would be different from when you used to play?
Kai Budde: The biggest change in tournament Magic is the crazy fast flow of information now compared to back then. Magic Online didn't exist for the first 2-3 years I played professionally. The internet only started to exist. That was the most significant change really. Back then you would turn up to a tournament and hope that no one else found a broken deck. Today information gets exchanged so fast and there are so many games being played online, that someone shows up with a deck you had not seen before is very, very rare now.
Kai Budde: I haven't lived in Germany for quite a few years and even before that, I wasn't really active in the local community, mostly playing online or drafting with friends. Overall the community in Germany is huge, I assume there's more casual-ish commander players than competitive players, I think that's just normal for a huge player base. My favorite format is any form of team Limited, Sealed, Booster Draft, Rochester Draft. That's the most fun for me. 7. Some players, like the Brazilian Lucas Berthoud, announced retirement with the end of MPL and the other league that gave access to it. Do you think that keeps away the most experienced, the most professional players?
Kai Budde: We don't know what organized play will look post-MPL. I didn't like the league structure, it was good for everyone inside and bad for everyone else. I hope that WotC goes back to a system similar before the MPL. Focus organized play on tabletop as online/arena really has not worked very well. If WotC wants to move the high end of competitive play online, they need to invest a lot more resources into arena. I liked the change to having regional players tour and then a player tour final. It would likely be a good step forward to also have one in South America as travel for south americans is always a bit of a nightmare. So one stop in North America, one in South America, one in Asia and one in Europe - and then anyone with a certain record qualifies to the next step. I liked that change that was made when the MPL thing started and I hope that they keep that. 8. Refers to the previous question, does this prevent a return from those who have already departed? You, for example, are retired from Magic, but do you intend to return?
Kai Budde: I'm currently in the Rivals league, so I'm a semi-professional MTG player, I suppose. But once that's done, I'll go back to play 1-2 tournaments per year at most. Playing in all these League events while having a full-time job pretty much meant I had to use all my vacation days on MtG in the last year. That was fun for one season, but I wouldn't want to do that every year. 9. Leaving Magic a little, what directions have your life taken? Is there a hobby you would like to mention?
Kai Budde: I'm working for a sportsbetting company for over 10 years now, outside of that I'm still a gamer, no real hobby outside of that. 10. Would you teach your children to play MTG? Do you believe that Magic can help develop your child's thinking?
Kai Budde: Magic is a great game, possibly the best game out there - my only problem is that it's just crazy expensive. I don't have children, if I did, I'm sure I would teach them how to play, so they know what I've been doing for most of my life - but it would be up to them if they want to keep playing. It's a great game, but some people love it, some don't. 11. Magic today has easy access to lists, easy access to tournaments, a player has an easier time entering the professional circuit. In contrast, many other players have the same opportunity. In this scenario, do you think it is possible for a player to reach the top of trophies like you? After all, you have 7 Pro Tour, 5 individual and 2 for teams.
Kai Budde: We don't know what organized play looks like once the league system is gone. In general, the events are bigger, the level of players is more even. Let's say PV is the best player going into the StrixHaven Championship next week - I don't think his edge over the worst player is nearly as big as the edge over the worst player in an event 20 years ago was. Which means it's just incredibly unlikely for someone to win that many big tournaments. But maybe it happens, PV is on a good way!
That was Kai Budde; if not the best Magic player, then the most winning one of them!To find Kai Budde, go to: - Twitter Take a look at the sports betting site that Budde works on: - Pinnacle.com Thank you very much for reading and see you next time!