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Meet the first South American “MTG” Hall of Famer

Los Angeles, CA – Hailing from Porto Alegre in Brasil, Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa quickly made a name for himself in world of Magic: The Gathering, becoming the youngest player ever to reach 300 lifetime Pro Points.  We had a chance to catch up with Paulo and chat about life, MTG, and other things Paulo. So, let’s get to it.  

SL: Paulo, tell us what’s the earliest memory you have of playing MTG?

PVDDR: I remember going to the store for the first time, almost 20 years ago. My mom drove my friend and I there and we each bought a 4th edition starter and a homelands booster. 🙂

SL: Well, it’s safe to say that your mom had no idea at that moment that she was altering your life and helping you become a champion. When did you first, without hesitation, call your self a CCG player?

PVDDR: I think the threshold is probably 2006; it was the first year I went to all PTs and the year I got my first top 8s, so it was the first time I realized it was possible to just do this with my life.

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SL: Who was the most important influence on you as a CCG player; a teacher, parent, a sibling, a friend?

PVDDR: Well… people influenced me on various degrees. My mom always incentivized me, and I had many friends throughout the years that impacted my life as a card player in many different ways, it’s hard to just pick one.

SL: Many MTG players said that they met their best friends through playing Magic. Does that hold true for you? Also, tell us, why do you play?

PVDDR: I play it for three reasons: 1) I like it. The game is interesting and challenging and I enjoy playing. 2) It’s my profession and my source of income. 3) The people are awesome. I met many great friends through Magic and they are people I probably wouldn’t see if it wasn’t for tournaments.

SL: Very cool. Do you play any other CCG’s?

PVDDR: Lately I’ve been playing a lot of Hearthstone… I don’t know if you can consider it a CCG since there’s no trading but it’s basically the same thing.

SL: Do you have a specific process for training/practice before a tournament?

PVDDR: I usually get together with my team (Channelfireball) a week or two before the tournament and we play all day every day. Other than that, not really…

SL: What is your least favorite part of the playing CCGs?

PVDDR:   Losing a game to an opponent who played badly but got rewarded for that. Sometimes people make the 20% play instead of the 80% play and it breaks their way, and you know that, if you were playing against someone good instead, you would have won the game (because they would have made the better play). This is kinda infuriating.

SL: What are you looking for in terms of career development?

PVDDR: Right now I’m trying to explore commentating… it’s something I’ve done before and that I really enjoyed doing, so I would like to have the chance to do it more, both in Magic and in Hearthstone.

SL: How has your playing style changed in recent times?

PVDDR: I can’t say that it has, no. I like to think I don’t have a “playstyle” because that’s limiting; no one should have a “playstyle”, you should just use whichever playstyle is the best for a given situation. You have to be aggressive / controllish because that particular game demands it, not because you’re “a controllish player at heart”.

SL: That is an excellent answer. I like that. Has any of the recent CCGs caught your attention? Why?

PVDDR: Yeah, Hearthstone. I like that it’s considered an Esport and it has the same public as something like League of Legends; I’ve always loved that environment but I was never good enough at any of it to be part of it. Now I can be!

SL: What do you think about CCG landscape today?

PVDDR:I think it’s good, but it could be better. I don’t know any CCGs other than Magic or Hearthstone, so I speak only for them, but Magic could have much better prize support and a much better online plataform, and Hearthstone is still only getting the hang of the whole tournaments thing.

SL: What’s the best thing about being a CCG player?

PVDDR: The freedom to do whatever I want. I have no schedule, I answer to no one, I can wake up at noon one day and then play the game for half an hour and spend the other 10 hanging out, watching tv shows or reading a book. Then, the following day, I can play for 10 straight hours if I want to. I like not having this responsibility.

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SL: You are making me want to become a pro player. What advice would you give aspiring CCG players?

PVDDR: Compete! The best way to get better is through tournaments; even if you think you aren’t going to do well, you’ll still learn a lot more losing in a tournament than in a casual setting, it just gives you a different mindset.

SL: You gave us pretty awesome insights in the world of MTG. Now, we’re gonna ask you some rapid-fire questions, and you can answer with only 5 words or less. So, let’s start. Describe yourself as a player in 5 words or less.

PVDDR: Analytical, logical, big-picture-focused.

SL: If you were going on a remote island with no electricity and communication. Which book/game do you take?

PVDDR:   Assuming it can’t be an online game, probably Baldur’s Gate 2.

SL: What was the greatest thing you learned at school?

PVDDR: Doing. (You learn a lot more by doing than by listening/watching.)

SL: Here is a question that you might be asked 20 years down the road. Who would play you in a film of your life?

PVDDR: James McAvoy!

SL: Awesome choice! What makes you laugh?

PVDDR: Modern Family.

SL: Who is your biggest cheerleader?

PVDDR: Honestly it’s a tie between my mom and my girlfriend… they both support me so much, I can’t really pick one.

SL: That’s a good answer. You don’t want to make either one of them mad at you. Here is an even tougher question. What makes your cry?

PVDDR: Lion King.

SL: Oh, man… You gonna makes us cry. You gave us such great answers, and we feel that we got to know you a little bit better. Thanks so much for your time, Paulo. It was great talking with you! All the best in Nashville!  

 

About Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa:

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Paulo has one Pro Tour win (San Juan), and has placed 9 times in Top 8. He has also won Grand Prix in Singapore, and placed 14 times in Top 8. Brasilian champion in 2006 and 2009, Paulo also captained Brasilian National Team to a 4th place finish in 2006 World Championship in Brasil.

Follow Paulo on Twitter: @PVDDR