Getting to play the game I love with my brother Brad is a wonderful thing. Watching him strive for greatness and grow into one of the best players in the world always fills me with pride, and always been one of my inspirations . But, along with the brotherly pride there’s always been that little bit of jealousy. Watching him win Player of the Year and crush at Pro Tours repeatedly is something that always kept my spark alive, even when Magic was just a trick in my rear-view mirror.
The fire was really reignited when I saw the list of fantastic Pro Tour’s for the 2016-2017 season. With Honolulu being the first PT of the season I couldn’t resist trying to get back. After taking down a local PPTQ, I made the call. The same one I’ve made many times in my life before.
“Bro, you got a sweet deck for me to play?”
Of course he did. So big brother Brad Nelson, Brian Braun-Duin, and myself got to work on Bant Humans. They may or may not have been prepping for Worlds, so their stakes were a bit higher. But it didn’t matter, I was excited to hopefully queue for the Pro Tour again. And to make a long story short, I had great success with the deck and earned my invitation to Honolulu.
I guess BBD did okay in his event as well.
Fast forward about six months and a couple decent Pro Tour finishes in Honolulu and Dublin, and I’ve finally gotten to taste the sweet, sweet victory of a Gran Prix. I took GP New Jersey down with the help of an infinite – sorry, I mean an arbitrarily large amount of cats. Winning that GP solidified it for me, I had made the right decision to pursue the dream and dedicate myself to Magic. I would’ve liked to have written a tournament report but hopefully I’ll get some more opportunities going forward.
All I know, is that when I heard my name announced over the speakers confirming my top 8, that feeling of accomplishment finally sunk in. I was queued for the rest of the PT’s this season, and had secured a key flight to Japan which wouldn’t have been cheap.
After dispatching my first opponent in the top 8, I was up against back-to-back Ben’s. The first Ben, of house Stark was on the GB plan, which is a matchup I think I’m favored in even though he’s a helluva player. The key difference in his list was that a lot of his removal was 3CMC instead of 2, which made my sideboard Dispels that much better.
Making it to the finals meant locking up Gold status for this season and all of next. If you would’ve told me I’d have Gold locked up before queueing for Honolulu, I would’ve chuckled. Actually taking the whole thing down just icing on the cake, the 2 extra Pro Points landed me at 37 points heading into the second half of the season. I have a lot of work left to do and a lot more tournaments to play though.
It’s a funny thing reaching your goals so early, I now have no choice but to raise the bar and go for Platinum and Worlds! Maybe one day I can be known as Corey instead of Brad’s brother, but until then I’m content lurking in the shadows of a giant.
This weekend I set my sights on a whole new beast for myself. A team event, and not only that, but it’s a Modern team event. This is going to be a whole new experience for me, but hopefully Matthias Hunt, Tyler Hill, and myself will be up to the challenge. I will be writing more articles in the future here, but now it’s time to focus on this weekend and keep doing what I’ve been doing. See you guys in San Antonio.
Corey Baumeister is a professional Magic: The Gathering player, degenerate gambler, brother to Brad Nelson, Grand Prix champion with 5 total Top 8’s to his name, and a lover of music festivals.