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In this instalment of Player Spotlight we will be talking to Usama Sajjad; an Italian player by origin who moved to the UK to study in Manchester. Based out of Manchester, Usama can be seen at most European Grand Prix, he is a perennial Magic Online grinder and has recently joined Team Axion Now. With his impish wit and keen sense of fashion he is hard to miss at events!

Q: Can you tell us a little about your Magic playing history?

I started playing Magic during Born of the Gods and played a lot with players who were local to me initially. The skill level of those local players was actually quite high and they were typically a lot better than me, which helped me learn very quickly. The only real success I had locally was a win-a-box in the Venice region but once I moved to England I began to have greater success, winning a PPTQ against Chris Vincent in Leeds. Since then I have had a bunch of 11-4 finishes at Grand Prix events, lost the finals of an RPTQ, had a 12-3 finish at GP Copenhagen and won GP Bologna alongside Antonio Pinto and Davide Miani.

Q: What is your favourite Magic card of all time?

Dark Confidant! Greatness at any cost!

Q: What is your favourite Magic memory?

My best memory has to be when I asked Rich Hagon if we’d successfully drawn into the Top 4 at GP Bologna and Tobi Henke secretly slid a Top 4 player profile sheet to me, making me jump!

Q: Which players comprise your playtesting group?

Currently Antonio and Davide, who were my teammates in Bologna, have a deal that we will play the same 75 in all major events. This worked out really well for me when I registered the Blue/Black Midrange deck they recommended for GP Copenhagen and went 12-3 despite having no played no matches with the deck before the GP and one of those losses was because I forgot to attack

Q: What was your record at last year’s English Nationals?

Horrible. I had a bye and then lost the first two rounds of constructed. The first round of draft would have been a draw but I was clearly dead so I conceded and dropped from the event.

Q: What are you most looking forward to for this year’s English Nationals?

I really enjoy playing both Constructed and Limited in the same event so that is what I’m most looking forward to.

Q: How likely do you think you are to win English Nationals this year?

About 33%. I think that I’d expect to make the Top 8 in about one third of WMCQs I played so I guess about 33% to make it to the Top 8 and then I’m not sure.

English Nationals run from 17th-19th August at the Watford Colosseum. More details and registration options can be found here: https://events.axionnow.co.uk/Events/EventDetails/341

About George Channing:

George has been playing competitively since 2014 and is a true grinder; with a huge number of competitive events under his belt, his results have been improving year on year. With a Grand Prix Top 8 in Modern and a few Pro Tour appearances, he aspires to become a regular on the biggest stage. George’s role on Team Axion is frequently related to metagame and decklist analysis, whilst also providing a lot of raw testing data. He most enjoys Standard with the speed and frequency of the metagame developments keeping it interesting.