In this instalment of Player Spotlight we will be talking to Francesco Giorgio. Based in Oxford, Francesco has been at the top of the English Magic scene for a few years now and is the current front-runner for the National captaincy this year, after having come second in the race several times in the past. Well known for his talents with a 40-card deck, Francesco narrowly missed out on a Top 8 at Pro Tour Ixalan at the start of the season when he lost his win-and-in to mana issues in game one and game three. With a pure love of the game, you will rarely see Francesco without cards in his hand as he jams friendly games between rounds and loudly proclaims it is time for a team draft as soon as the event you are playing in has finished.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your Magic playing history?
I started playing just after the release of Innistrad and mostly played Standard at the time. I branched out into other formats under the tutelage of a few good players from Napoli and became very interested in the competitive aspects of the game. This led to me playing in PTQs and Grand Prix events fairly early in my Magic playing life. I lost the finals of the first Standard PTQ I played with a Birthing Pod deck I had brewed myself and was the most fun deck I have ever played.
After moving to the UK in 2013 I had my breakout year in 2014 when I won a PTQ and a WMCQ back to back and managed to secure Silver Pro Status thanks to our 3rd place finish at that World Magic Cup.
I particularly enjoy playing Limited of any kind with my favourite Limited formats being Khans of Tarkir and Magic Origins. So far I am also enjoying M19 a great deal and am looking forward to playing it at Nationals.
Q: What is your favourite Magic card of all time?
Birthing Pod. I like cards that give you a lot of potential options and Birthing Pod gives you access to most of your deck.
Q: What is your favourite Magic memory?
Playing in the World Magic Cup and making the Top 8 was certainly one of my favourite Magic memories. I really enjoy team tournaments as they provide a completely different experience when you have sharing everything with your teammates.
So far this year we have had a lot of team Grand Prix events and even a team RPTQ and a team Pro Tour so I hope that this trend will continue from Wizards.
Q: Which players comprise your playtesting group?
I am a part of Team Axion Now so I test regularly with the other members of the team; over Skype most frequently but also in paper when possible. They are all excellent players and I think we complement each other’s strengths very well.
Q: What was your record at last year’s English Nationals?
A very underwhelming 3-3 drop, even with a bye. I was not very good at Hour of Devastation Limited and despite having done countless pod drafts with Team Axion in preparation for Nationals I ended up with a very bad first draft deck and my tournament was over.
Q: What are you most looking forward to for this year’s English Nationals?
Beating Dominic Sanders at M19 Pauper Battlebox between rounds and Team Drafts!
Q: How likely do you think you are to win English Nationals this year?
Not very likely. It is a huge tournament with a lot of good players. I am hoping to improve on my performance from last year. If I had to imagine who might make the Top 8 of the tournament I would probably suggest the following people: Autumn Burchett, George Channing, Rob Catton, Pete Ward, Raoul Zimmermann, Dan Burnand, Fabrizio Anteri and maybe me?
English Nationals run from 17th-19th August at the Watford Colosseum. More details and registration options can be found here.
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.