Pro Tour Ixalan Player to Watch: Márcio Carvalho

Márcio Carvalho

Age: 32
Residence: Lisbon, Portugal
Team: Hareruya Pros
Qualified via Pro Club Platinum Level
Pro Points: 358 lifetime (#1 in Portugal, #31 Worldwide), 5 in 2017–18
Pro Tour debut: Pro Tour London 2005 (Booster Draft)
Pro Tours played: 33
Best Pro Tour finish: 2nd (PT Aether Revolt)
Pro Tour finishes in 2016–17: 92nd (10–6), 2nd (14–3–1), 353rd (1–5), 255th (6–8)
Combined records in 2016–17: Standard 17–15–1 (53.9%), Draft 14–7 (66.7%), Total 31–22–1 (58.8%)
Career median: 74
Top 8: 3 Pro Tours and 14 Grand Prix (3 wins)
Márcio’s PT results
Planeswalker level: 49 (Archmage)

Q: You are the 2015–16 Pro Tour Draft Master and generally considered to be one of, if not the best drafter in the world. Where do you think you excel compared to the average drafter? Do you think there are different schools of drafting when you compare yourself to some of the other great drafters like Stark or Juza, or does everything converge to some kind of near-perfect way to draft at the top?

I think I excel in Draft because I read signals well. My best skills in-game are the combat phase, which you use a lot more in Limited. How to understand who has the tempo, when to be defensive, and when to switch to aggression in a turn or two—those are my biggest strengths!

Everyone has a sweet spot for Limited and there is no near perfect way to draft. There are always one, two, or even three viable ways to win in a Draft set. You just have to search for what fits you best.

Q: In the last two years you came close to winning the most important titles in Magic. You made it to the finals of 2016 Worlds where you lost to BBD. Then you made it to the finals of Pro Tour Aether Revolt, which led to a seemingly insurmountable lead in the Pro Player of the Year race that PV eventually took from you with a win at PT Hour of Devastation. How do these near-misses affect you? Is it something that makes you want to be even better until you cannot be denied, or are you at the point where you say I can’t take this one more time?

My last year was crazy in all aspects. I feel blessed to have experienced it all, the ups and downs. Missing out on all of those things is just how the cookie crumbled. If you stop chasing your goals you will never achieve victory anyway so you might as well try. Even if you fail, it is better than not trying at all. So yeah, I failed, but I will try even harder to succeed in the future. You learn more from the losses than the wins anyway, that I can tell you.

Q: There are some Magic players that are universally beloved and there are some more controversial figures. You are one of the most polarizing figures in the game, revered by the South American Magic community, but also scorned by others for some of your actions in the past. How do you deal with that?

All I can say about that is that people can hate me or love me. The people that really know me will see my true value and for the others, the best I can do is continue to win as much as I can and if they want to change their opinion I will be grateful. If not, I can’t do anything about it anyway.

Q: A couple of years ago, players like Frederico Bastos, Tiago Chan, Paulo Carvalho, Narciso Ferreira, André Coimbra and yourself made for a small but visible competitive Portuguese Magic scene. Nowadays it feels like you alone represent Portugal. What happened?

Well, Portugal, being the the small country that it is, achieved many accomplishments in Magic: The Gathering and all of those guys are extraordinary, but they started doing other things. Narciso became a father, Tiago Chan moved out of the country, etc. But there is new blood coming from Portugal, I can tell you that. Watch Bernardo Santos (Silver player already) and Luis Gobern (Bronze) closely! They will start a new era for Portugal—I’m sure of it. Give it a year or two.

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