Bismarck man named ‘Magic’ Pro Player of the YearWhether it’s online or off, it’s clear this man is a master of Magic. Brad Nelson is a world renowned player of “Magic: The Gathering” and was recently named the 2010 Pro Player of the Year, a title reserved for the player who has earned the most pro points over the course of a season. The year Nelson was named Player of the Year was the first time ever that there has been a tie for the title — in the tie-breaker in February 2010, Nelson walked away the champion.
By: By Carrie Sandstrom , Bismarck Tribune, The Jamestown Sun
BISMARCK (AP) — Whether it’s online or off, it’s clear this man is a master of Magic.
Brad Nelson is a world renowned player of “Magic: The Gathering” and was recently named the 2010 Pro Player of the Year, a title reserved for the player who has earned the most pro points over the course of a season. The year Nelson was named Player of the Year was the first time ever that there has been a tie for the title — in the tie-breaker in February 2010, Nelson walked away the champion.
“It was like, ‘It’s finally over,’” Nelson said. “‘It’s finally mine.’”
Magic is a popular trading card game that attracts players from all around the globe. In the competition, different players, or “planeswalkers,” use various cards to perform spells and damage their opponent, the match usually ends when one player loses all of their life points. To win a dual, the victor must draw upon their strategic skills and understanding of the cards, two things Nelson is constantly working to improve.
“You’ll always be getting better, no matter where you’re at,” Nelson said. “Even the best in the world are still learning.”
Finding the game in his junior year in high school, Nelson has been playing for nine years and says he hasn’t looked back.
“Brad’s always been an amazing player,” owner of Collector’s Universe, a local store that hosts Magic tournaments, Marvin Lepp said.
Nelson began playing locally and honed and refined his skills on the digital version of the game — breaking into the competitive circle with points he earned online.
“Playing online is awesome because you can play all the time,” Nelson said. “It helped me network and it helped me get better than I could (playing just) in my area.”
Since his local and digital beginnings, Nelson has graduated to bigger competitions. The hype created by his online performances led to him having the most anticipated pro debut in 2009. Subsequently, Nelson has traveled all over the world, competing in National, Pro Tour, and Grand Prix competitions, taking first in the Grand Prix in Washington, D.C., in 2010.
“(Playing pro is) serious without all the negative impacts of serious competition,” Nelson said. “In the end, everyone’s just having fun.”
A fellow player, Lepp began competing in the game when he was in high school and has been playing for 16 years now. With his playing knowledge, Lepp can appreciate Nelson’s mastery of the competition.
“When you watch him play you pay attention to what’s going on,” Lepp said.
And one thing’s for sure — people are watching. Nelson has become a role model for many younger players who look to him as a source of inspiration.
“He’s an awesome player,” Lepp’s daughter, Lilly Lepp, said. “He’s really nice to the new starters.”
Along with allowing him to offer advice to network with players, provide commentary at events, write articles and simply play the game Magic and being Player of the Year has expanded Nelson’s horizons and had a major impact on his life.
“It’s opened my eyes to a whole other world,” Nelson said. “My life’s 180 since I started playing.”
Although Nelson enjoys playing Magic and competing on a high level, he admits that he doesn’t plan on playing professionally forever. Nevertheless, Magic, he said, will always be a part of his life.
“(It) has become so ingrained in my lifestyle,” Nelson said. “You can’t get away from the game.”