This is the second interview with a potential Hall of Fame inductee—there should be one every day from now on, so if you’re undecided I’d recommend you don’t cast your ballot before reading what they have to say! The previous interview, Justin Gary’s, can be found here.
William “Huey” Jensen
Played in 35 PTs
4 PT Top 8s (11.4%)
1 PT Win: PT Boston 2003 (2.8%)
1 PT Top 16 (2.8%)
7 PT Top 32s (20%)
5 PT Top 64s (14%)
17 PTs at Top 64 or better (48%)
8 GP Top 8s
2 GP wins: GP San Diego 1999 and GP Pittsburgh 2000
219 lifetime Pro Points
Median Finish: 68
3-year median: 39
PoY top 10s: 1
Lifetime winnings: $122,170 (37th)
You played Magic professionally a while back, and then quit and come back. Why did you stop playing? Why did you come back?
Around the time I stepped away for a while, a lot of my closest friends did the same. Going to the tournaments and not having the same group of friends to spend time with made me decide to take a break. Also, the travel started to wear on me.
After my near miss on the Hall of Fame ballot last year, I was given a special invite to Pro Tour Return to Ravnica. Interestingly, when I went to Seattle for that tournament, a large majority of the people that I had missed when I stepped away the first time were also back and playing. I was also fortunate to make some very good friends in preparation for that tournament.
The tournament itself got my competitive juices flowing as well, and afterwards I found myself wanting nothing more than to play more Magic.
What are the biggest differences between professional Magic then and now?
Probably the volume of information available. Towards the end of my initial career, Magic Online came out, and things started to head in that direction. There were always a few strategy sites online, but nothing compared to what exists today in both quality and quantity.
The teams tend to be larger in modern Magic. The amount of time teams get together and in-person test prior to major tournaments tends to be longer as well.
Also the tournaments today, specifically Grand Prix, are much, much larger and more frequent.
What is your current relationship with Magic? Would that change if you were inducted into the HoF?
Currently I’m traveling to as many tournaments as I can, and playing as much Magic as I am able to. This would not change if I were to be inducted.
You’re now part of Team StarCityGames. How has that changed the Magic experience for you? Did teams like this exist back then?
I wouldn’t say that being on Team SCG has necessarily changed the Magic experience for me, but it has certainly made it easy for me to come back and really love playing. Through the team I have been able to reconnect with a number of old friends, who I missed seeing regularly, and also make some very good new friends.
While teams existed back in the day, they were typically not as big or as dominant as the two super teams are today. There were probably 8 or so teams that were relatively evenly matched. Once in a while two of them would try to combine and create a super team, but for some reason it never seemed to work out too well, that I can recall.
You’re widely regarded as one of the best Team Drafters of all time. What do you think sets you apart in this regard?
I’m not sure really. I think because I always loved it so much, I really pushed myself to be great at it. Maybe I just had a natural knack for it, but I’m guessing I’m also near the top of team drafters in terms of experience, which definitely helps.
Who do you like more, Owen or Reid?
Leave it to Paulo to ask me a question like this on a HoF interview. Anyways, Owen and Reid are two of my closest friends. I like them both very much, and don’t intend to choose between the two. (Come on, the fans need to know! – PV)
What is your best memory from Magic?
Winning the team Pro Tour in Boston. I still remember the end. Back then, you weren’t allowed to talk to your teammates during play in a team event. I had won my match, so Matt Linde and I were watching Brock Parker. I believe Matt hadn’t finished his match yet, but they were waiting because it had to be on camera. On the final turn Brock unmorphed a [card]Titanic Bulvox[/card] to win his game. I jumped in the air and hugged Matt.
Winning a Pro Tour is a tremendous feeling on its own, but winning it with my best friends made it that much better.
What other accomplishments do you have that are not listed on the stats page?
My best accomplishment that isn’t listed is my win at the inaugural Master’s Tournament in New York City.
Have you ever written Magic articles? Can you give us the link to the one/ones you like the most?
I’ve only written a few. Most recently I wrote one for StarCity, a “Guess Who?” article about team tournaments.
What do you think your greatest strength is as a player—something you do better than most people?
I think I’ve always been good at playing to my outs. What I mean is, you are often faced with a game or a situation where you have a very, very small likelihood of winning. I think a lot of people get fed up and give up in those situations. I’ve always been good at analyzing those situations and giving myself the best chance to win, no matter how small it is.
Do you have a preferred archetype?
I’ve always preferred to play control or combo decks.
What are your favorite deck and card of all time?
My favorite deck of all time is Battle of Wits. My favorite card of all time is [card]Tradewind Rider[/card].
What’s your favorite format?
Close between Urza’s Saga Limited and IPA limited.
What Ravnica guild are you?
Romance of the Three Kingdoms
What is your Hall of Fame ballot this year?
I am not 100% decided on my ballot yet. I am voting for Luis and Ben Stark for sure. I am going to do some more thinking among the rest of the candidates.