I remember thinking that if I were to be offered a Hall of Fame ballot a couple of years ago, that I wouldn’t even take it. I felt like I didn’t have the knowledge or interest in the Pro Tour to make my vote count. I now feel I was wrong about that. After receiving a ballot this year, I have realized that I represent a common thread among Magic players: The person who used to play, and has returned to a much different (and better) game.
It is with this lens that I cast my votes for the Hall of Fame this year.
Here is who I voted for:
1. Luis Scott-Vargas. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Luis pretty well over the last couple of years, as well as watch him play a lot of Magic. I played along side him in the Community Cup and commentated a lot of his matches at the Pro Tour and at Grand Prix. In every interaction I have had with him, personally and professionally, he has been nothing but straightforward, professional, pleasant, and even funny.
Oh, and he wins a lot of matches too. Given his stellar resume, immense community contributions, and affable personality, he is a no-brainer for Hall of Fame in my opinion.
2. Ben Stark. Another person I have gotten to know personally a bit over the last few years, Ben represents the kind of player I love to see succeed. He takes a dryly logical approach to the game, which is something I appreciate greatly. His resume is strong, and I really like that he has been playing Magic for such a long time at a high level. Since I came back to the game, Ben has been on the best teams, putting up awesome finishes. I also have to admit that I love voting for a Limited specialist.
Even though his community contributions are less than I would like, I have always been impressed by how open Ben is when people ask him for advice at events. I have seen Ben talk with people he didn’t know at all for quite a while, just because they asked him a question about Limited. There aren’t that many players that would do that as openly as Ben does, and I appreciate it.
3. William “Huey” Jensen. Huey’s resume is worthy of a Hall of Fame induction. That much is clear once you look it over. The fact that some of the games greats have said that he was the best player in the game for a stretch of time speaks loudly as well. But I have to be honest; if those were all I had to work with, I probably wouldn’t vote for him. I feel like I need to have seen people play, or at least seen them around and gotten a feel for who they are before I would feel comfortable voting for them to get into the Hall of Fame. Thankfully for us, Huey has made a concerted effort to play a lot of Magic over the last year or so.
I see him at all the GPs that I travel to, and have had the occasion to chat with him as well. He is a nice dude, easy to talk to, and clearly cares about the game a great deal. I’m really glad he decided to come back to play Magic, otherwise I wouldn’t have had a chance to meet him, nor would I be likely to cast a vote for him for the Hall. As it sits, he gets my vote.
4. Chris Pikula. Something a lot of returning (or new) Magic players completely take for granted is the fact that cheating at a competitive level is virtually non-existent. Since I came back to the game, I have been free to concentrate on things like card evaluation, deck building, technical game play, etc. This is in large part due to the work that Chris put in “back in the day.”
When I came back to the game, I had no idea about this. It took a lot of stories and history lessons from BDM and others before the picture was made clear about what kind of world we were in back then, and what kind we are in now. People like Chris, Sheldon, and others cleared out some important pieces of rubble so that we could have the fun, trustworthy game that we have today.
While his resume isn’t as great as the others I am voting for, I value his contribution — plus the fact that he is active in the community and playing events whenever he can. I think that Chris deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame, and I’m voting accordingly.
That’s it. I’m not voting for a 5th because there wasn’t anyone that jumped out at me. I feel that getting into the Hall of Fame is the highest honor in Magic, and that it should be very difficult to do so. I also have to face the fact that since I haven’t been around the PT forever, that there will be some gaps in my knowledge. I would rather just vote for the things I know personally and completely than cast a vote for someone I have never even seen play before for example.
This class looks awesome, and I hope the people I voted for make it in. They certainly deserve it.