Not too long ago, Umeå was uncharted territory on the Magic map. The players mostly didn't bother going to Stockholm to play. However, after Umeå got their share of Pro Tour Qualifiers, Jens Thorén surfaced, and in 2002 Pro Tour Nice, Anton Jonsson stepped forward to claim his second Pro Tour top 8 finish in one season. "We have a good draft table every week, which I think helps a lot," the 24-year-old player explains.
Anton Jonsson was rather unknown when he made it all the way to the top 8 of 2001 Pro Tour New Orleans. He is still not one of the most profiled players, quite on the contrary he seems to stay a little in the background, much like his friend Jens Thorén. Along with Jens and Johan Sadeghpour, Anton makes up the Pro Tour regulars of Umeå, and the three of them frequently get together to play. "We draft a lot just because it is fun to draft. In addition, I talk to Jens and Johan about stuff, and we discuss picks," he says, revealing the practice strategy that has taken Umeå to the top of Magic.
The Swede didn't expect to make the top 8 though. According to himself, he "totally sucked" in both San Diego and Osaka, and thus he merely hoped for a day two finish. "I had a good feeling for drafting lately, I had been doing well. So I thought I would probably make day two and end up in the middle of the field," he reveals.
Anton made it to the playoff by winning an extremely close match against Nicolai Herzog. "We know each other pretty well, and I would rather have played someone else and have him make the top 8 too," Jonsson says, admitting though that making the top 8 feels great. "The last time I was safe before the last round. This time it was more exciting, more of a thrill. Besides, it is fun to do well in limited, because I like limited more than constructed."
One of Anton's strengths is to analyse situations, to try and come up with different card choices for drafts. After playing since 1994, he has also developed some kind of intuition for the game. So unlike other players, his strategy for the weekend was not to force any of the colours. Instead, he tried to read the signals he would get from the others at his table, and stay away from certain colour combinations. In the first draft, he ended up playing red and green with a splash of black for his first pick Cabal Patriarch. Then he played a black and blue to a 6-1 record that first day. The second day was red and green for the Swede. "I got passed red and green, and I knew from the first draft that Ed Fear would probably play black and blue. The same thing happened in the second draft," Anton says.
In New Orleans, Anton lost in the quarterfinals. Now, he is paired up against Brian Davis, and the Swede hopes not to lose in the quarterfinals once more. He will also be playing for a slot at the Masters Series, and a top 4 finish will probably be sufficient. "I haven't thought much about my matchup against Brian Davis, but I'd rather meet him than Kai. Brian has beaten me before, but I'll just draft and play the best I can," Jonsson says before heading off to get some food and some sleep before the big day.