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Hall of Fame 2013 Candidates – Marijn Lybaert

This is part of an ongoing series of interviews with potential Magic Hall of Fame candidates in the 2013 class.
Previous interviews:

Justin Gary
William Huey Jensen
Ben Stark
Willy Edel
Paul Rietzl
Guillaume Wafo-Tapa
Tomoharu Saito
Martin Juza

194 lifetime Pro Points
30 PTs played
4 PT Top 8s
0 PT Wins
2 PT Top 16s
3 PT Top 32s
5 PT Top 64s
14 PTs at Top 64 or better
3 GP Top 8s
0 GP Wins
Years in PoY top 10: 1
Median finish: 86.5
3-year median: 32
Lifetime winnings: $89,250 (78th)

What is your current relationship with Magic? How would that change if you were inducted into the Hall of Fame?

I’ve been thinking about taking a step down after falling off the train in 2012, but I felt that if I could get a fifth PT Top 8 (or maybe some GP Top 8s), I could probably make HoF. So it’s up and down at the moment. I still play a lot and try to attend as many GPs as I can so I can get back on the PT. But I’m also doing coverage, have a full-time job, a wife, and a non-limited amount of vacation, so it’s not always easy to play as much as I want.

Making HoF would change a lot. It would mean that I can take a step down for a few years to focus on other things in life. But after that I’d definitely come back and play in PTs.

You have four Top 8s with only 30 PTs played, which is one of the better ratios on the ballot, yet we don’t see your name come up as often as other names that also have four Top 8s. Do you think there is a specific reason for that? What do you think you’re lacking?

I think the main reason is that my results outside those four Top 8s are not very impressive. I have only 3 GP Top 8s, only 194 Pro Points and a pretty bad median finish.

The ten years I’ve played on the PT have been a rollercoaster for me. The first three and a half years I was doing very poorly. I didn’t make Day Two in any of my first six PTs (2003-2006). The streak ended when I finally made Day Two at PT Kobe (October 2006) and after that, things went great for me (four PT Top 8s in four consecutive years (2007-2010)), mainly because we had a strong team of Belgians at that moment (Jan Doise, Christophe Gregoir, Mark Dictus, Peter Vieren,…) and we were preparing a lot. After 2010, things went down again. I got a full-time job and didn’t have enough time to prepare anymore, so my results the last two years have been pretty bad again. I feel that if I’d been able to focus on the game for one or two more years, I could have gotten those missing Pro Points or GP Top 8s.

Since most of Magic is US-centric nowadays, we don’t get to hear much from what happens in other places. Is there anything you’ve done for your local/regional community that you’d like to share with us?

I do think that, together with Mark Dictus and Jan Doise, we did a great job of putting Belgium on the “Magic World Map.” During 2007-2010, we made sure that we always came prepared as a team. If you take a look at the number of Belgians that were playing at the PT during that time (e.g. PT Amsterdam 2010 had 11 Belgians), compared to what we have left now (e.g. PT Gatecrash and PT Dragon’s Maze both had 2 Belgians), you’ll see a big difference.
In fact, I’m working on a project to get some more Belgians back on the Pro Tour. The experience of playing on the PT isn’t half as fun when you don’t have a team to test and travel with. Hopefully in a year or two, we’ll have a handful of Belgians back on the Pro Tour.

How do I pronounce your name?

Tricky question. I tried to teach Bill Stark how to pronounce my name for at least 3 years and the closest he got was something like “MaarEIn.” I think it is much safer to go with the solution Zac Hill used to handle this problem: just call me Martin the Bear.

What other accomplishments do you have that are not listed on the stats page?

I’ve won 2 out of 3 WMCQs I played!
I’ve Top 8’d 24 PTQs (winning only 5, so I’m not sure if that can be considered as an accomplishment).
I made Top 8 at PT Amsterdam 2010 with Merfolk (believe me, this was an accomplishment as the deck wasn’t very good :p)
(No, it really wasn’t – PV)

What is your best memory from Magic?

It’s hard to pick one as I had a great ton of fun playing at the PT. I definitely had a lot of fun shooting a “movie” with Kazuya Mitamura, Jan Doise, and Pascal Vieren at Pro Tour Austin. It can be found here.

Other moments that spring to my mind are: spending a week with Bill Stark and Zac Hill at Valencia prior to the PT, my two trips to Hawaii/Honolulu, my trips to Japan, and any of my PT Top 8 matches.

Have you ever written Magic articles? Can you give us the link to the one/ones you like the most?

Yes, I used to write for SCG from time to time. The one I like the most is my report from PT Hollywood. You can find it here.

What do you think your greatest strength is as a player, something you do better than most people?

If I’m prepared and know the format, I’m able to analyze board states very quickly and figure out the best line of play (keeping in mind what my opponent could be holding). That being said, I do feel like I need a LOT of preparation to be able to play at the highest level. I’m not a person who can pick a deck the day before a tournament and win the whole thing. My best results come from playing the format a lot and picking a deck well on time so I could get to know the ins and outs of it.

Do you have a preferred archetype?

Not really. I dislike pure control but other than that, I try to play everything.

What are your favorite deck and card of all time?

Favorite decks: Stasis and Restore Balance
Favorite cards: [card]Tradewind Rider[/card], [card]Eladamri’s Vineyard[/card], and [card]Greater Gargadon[/card]

What’s your favorite format?

Legacy!

What Ravnica guild are you?

None.

Imagine every person that gets into the HoF gets to make a card to represent them, like the Invitational. What card would you make?

I’d just reprint [card]Tradewind Rider[/card], because I love that card.

What is your Hall of Fame ballot this year?

LSV
Martin Juza
Ben Stark
Shouta Yasooka
Matej Zatlkaj

Favorite movie?

The Big Lebowski

Favorite book?

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Favorite food?

Bicky Burgers!!

Is there anything you’d like to say?

Does winning the WMC count as a PT Top 8? #WMCAmsterdam #PTT8NR5

Discussion

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