This article is part of a four-part series. So far I’ve interviewed Marc Tobiasch, and in the days running up to Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch I’ll have interviews with Petr Sochůrek, and Simon Nielsen as well.
Bart van Etten
Team: Cabin Crew
Qualified via GP Brussels Top 8
Pro Points: 26 lifetime, 6 in 2015-16
Pro Tour Debut: Pro Tour Philadelphia 2011
Pro Tours Played: 4
Best Pro Tour Finish: 105th
Top 8: Grand Prix Brussels 2015 (7th)
Planeswalker Level: 45 (Battlemage)
Q: You are the youngest, and probably also least well-known of the players in this interview series, so some introductions are in order. What kind of a player are you? What decks and formats do you like?
Bart: I am Bart van Etten, 21 years old, from Tilburg, a city in the Netherlands.
I started playing Magic when I was 14 years old. A friend showed me the game and I loved it. After a year of casual play, I started to play FNM at my local shop. I really liked playing tournaments there and they went pretty well, so I wanted to play on a higher level. I started playing qualifiers for the Dutch championships. I won a qualifier, but at the Dutch championships it didn’t go so well. Nevertheless, I had a great time and learned a lot. After that, I was determined to become better at the game, so I started to play MTGO. I played a lot online and started getting better. In my 2nd GP, I finished Top 32 (GP Lille 2012). Since then, I have been playing a lot of tournaments with some success.
I am the kind of player that’s always trying to play perfect Magic every game and hate it when I lose the game due to my own mistakes—I try to improve after every game and learn from those mistakes. I also really like to analyze every game I play and watch.
The format I like best is Modern—it’s wide open and you have a lot of tier one decks, so the metagame has a ton of diversity. My pet deck is Jund—it’s always very consistent and rewards your play skill. Most of the time it’s in your own hands if you win or lose, and that’s what I like the most.
Besides Modern, I like formats with only a single deck to beat, like Mono-Black Devotion or Caw-Blade. I like to play mirrors that are skill intensive and where one minor mistake can cost you the game.
Q: The Top 8 in Brussels has been your biggest achievement in Magic so far. What are your goals for this season and beyond?
Bart: My goals for this season are:
- Play in all the Pro Tours this year
- Achieve Silver level
- Win a WMCQ
My ultimate goal is to improve my game the most I can, travel around the world, and play at the highest level in the game.
Q: In 2012, you qualified for the World Magic Cup. The WMC was being held in Indianapolis, and your teammates were each about 15 years older, accordingly more experienced, and included the greatest Dutch Magic player ever. Sounds like it might have been a memorable tournament for a 17-year old. So how was it?
Bart: That tournament was one of the best experiences I have ever had playing Magic. First of all, I was 17 when I went to play at the WMC with people I barely knew. After discussing the possibilities with my parents—due to being under aged—I finally persuaded them. So I went to America with Roy van de Oever (great player and one of the funniest people I know) and Floris de Haan (great guy). During our trip, they told me that they saw a lot of potential in me as a Magic player and that they thought I was a better player than them. This gave me a lot of confidence going into the tournament. Before the tournament, we met up with Jelger (one of the best players I have ever met) and played some Standard. We did not prepare that well (we did not test much), but we decided to stick with the decks we played the most. For me, it was UW Delver, and Jelger also picked up the Delver deck. So a couple days before the tournament, Jelger and I made a deck list. The tournament itself went quite well. We made it to Day 2 because Jelger 7-1’d (of course), I went 4-3, Floris went 3-4, and Roy went 1-6 (mostly because he played a deck that turned out to be really bad in the metagame).
Day 2 started with Sealed. We were in the pool with Uruguay, Romania, and Philippines. Our Sealed pool was decent—nothing too special, but not that bad either (probably a 2-1 pool). Round 1 we played against Uruguay and we took a tough loss. Their decks were decent, but due to some mulligans/screws we lost the match. Round 2 we played against Romania and we took that one down. I knew their captain (really nice guy) because back then he used to live in the Netherlands. Our last match was against the Philippines. We knew their decks were great so we offered a draw. If Uruguay won, we were out of the tournament no matter what.
Sadly, they won, so we were out. It was unfortunate, but we did our best and that’s all you can do. After the tournament, we decided to have dinner with the Romanian team. I had a great time there and met one of the nicest guys I know: Radu Pavel. In the end, it was a great experience and I learned a lot, especially from Jelger Wiegersma, whom I still think is one of the best players in the Magic scene and whom I respect a lot.
Q: Speaking of Jelger, when I interviewed him, I asked him about the factors that led to the golden years of Dutch Magic and its decline. Although he said that he had not been involved too long to comment on the current state, he mentioned you specifically as having the potential to become a great Pro player. Will you reawaken the force of Dutch Magic?
Bart: The Dutch Magic scene is growing more and more. In Tilburg, we have team magicmarkt.eu containing: Mitchell Manders (GP Bilbao 2013 winner, MTGO player of the year 2015), myself, and many other talents. Thanks to the sponsoring of magicmarkt.eu, I am able to play in a lot more tournaments.
I am known as an MTGO grinder and I play a lot of local tournaments—many people respect my game and ask me for advice.