The Pro-files: Interview with Javier Domínguez "Thalai"

Andreas 'ecobaronen' Petersen
18/10/2022 · 5 min read


Hello everyone and welcome again to the pro-files! This week Javier Dominguez is my next guess and what a treat we're in for today!

Javier is a World Champion and Pro Tour winner with 10 Grand Prix top 8s (winning twice) and 7 top finishes (two 1st places) who has been playing in the absolute top for over a decade.

The Spaniard also managed to stay in the Magic Pro League for all four seasons proving his consistency and dedication to the game. Javier's love for Legacy isn't typical for your average world class professional, but it's fascinating when those two worlds collide.

And yes, as the 2018 World Champion he is also a well known knight ;)

Thalai AKA Fervent Champion AKA Javier Domínguez
Thalai AKA Fervent Champion AKA Javier Domínguez

Interview with Javier Domínguez “Thalai”

iBienvenidos, amigo! It's great to have you here. First of all, I want to ask you about your MTG Wiki page. It says you were the Spanish National Champion in 2006, but your next top 8 is over seven years later. What were you up to in the meantime?

Javier Domínguez - I moved into other things. In addition to being at the university, I played poker and also stepped in Hearthstone for some time.

Javier Domínguez playing and winning a Hearthstone Tournament
Javier Domínguez playing and winning a Hearthstone Tournament

Speaking of your Grand Prix win in 2014 which was Legacy. I know that format is very dear to your heart. Can you talk a bit about the tournament and your love for Legacy?

Javier Domínguez - Back in the day my goal in those GPs was to make day 2! Legacy is basically the constructed format that I played the most once I came back to Magic and I love sharing those tournament adventures with my friends. Around that time I didn't exactly play every GP , but I played as many Legacy tournaments as I could!

Javier Dominguéz Featured at Wizards Site as part of the GP Paris 2014 Top 8
Javier Dominguéz Featured at Wizards Site as part of the GP Paris 2014 Top 8

By the way, for those of you wondering which deck he played, you can take a look here.

You told me that your Cephalid Breakfast creation originally came from Extended. Why is it harder to create your own deck from scratch in the modern age of Magic compared to 15-20 years ago?

Javier Domínguez - I'm not sure it is harder now than before to create a deck, but I would say it is harder for such deck to be good right now. We (the Magic community - all the players) have learnt how to build decks better, so most established archetypes are actually very well refined. 20 years ago, the average player would build decks worse and therefore finding a very good synergy would go a long way compared to today.

You can learn a bit more about the story behind the deck in Thalai’s article for Hareruya PROS:

From seeing your results, playing against you at paper tournaments in various formats and searching your Magic Online results, it's my impression that you happily play any Magic format while most players limit themselves and focus on a few. How do you manage to maintain being a "specialist"?

Javier Domínguez - I don't consider myself a specialist, as I like to play all formats. The way I see it, not only do I enjoy the different gameplays of the different formats, but I also think the skills you acquire playing certain formats tend to be useful when playing others, even if it's not obvious.

In my opinion, Magic is secretly a team game where it's extremely hard to do well while being on your own. Who is one of your favorite players to work with, and can you share a particular cool story that you remember?

Javier Domínguez - I would say Marcio Carvalho has been there on the testing group of most of my bigger finishes in Magic.

I remember preparing for Mythic Championship VII with the team. The format was somewhat established Standard with Fires of Invention as one of the decks to beat, and Seth Manfield brewed a Blue/Green deck that looked extremely bad on paper. After some jokes from us about Seth beating us with bad decks, he kept winning against our gauntlet, and Brad and I eventually submitted the deck with almost no games with it planning to learn the deck after the deck submission and trusting Seth's instincts. The result: we all three made top 8 with his brew!

You're playing a Modern/Pioneer split tournament tomorrow playing for $1,000,000. Which decks do you choose and why?

Javier Domínguez - 4c Omnath in Modern and Black/Red Midrange in Pioneer. They are two decks that I am quite experienced with, so I would have time to rest well before the tournament (smiles).

You're the General Manager and have to pick three players to play for world domination against three other great players. The format is Vintage Masters Team Limited. Who's in your lineup and why?

Javier Domínguez - Marcio Carvalho, Paulo Vitor and Mike Sigrist. All three are simply fantastic Limited players and legends of the game.

From left to right Paulo Vitor, Mike Sigrist and Marcio Carvalho
From left to right Paulo Vitor, Mike Sigrist and Marcio Carvalho

I'm interested in your perspective on competitive and professional Magic moving forward. What are your hopes, and what would be realistic initiatives from Wizards of the Coast?

Javier Domínguez - I don't really have hopes in that regard. Instead, I'm just going to try to enjoy what is out there for us to enjoy.  Realistically speaking, they will likely have some tournaments even if it's not structured like the old Pro Tour circuit, and that is something. They might be less coordinated, but that doesn't mean those tournaments can't be exciting!

I'm not gonna occupy more of your time today. Thank you so much for coming on. If you want to let people know where to find you, shout out sponsors or family members, this is your chance.

Javier Domínguez - I can be found as JavierDmagic on Twitch  or Twitter , or on my podcast: Competitive Magic with the Karnies . I also write articles on my sponsor's website, Hareruya.

Thanks for reading!

If you liked this article maybe you will also find interesting on of the following ones The Pro-files: Interview with Gerry Thompson

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Andreas 'ecobaronen' Petersen
MTGO Classic Formats Expert
Andreas Petersen is well known MTGO grinder and deck brewer. If you're playing in one, watch out for the username "ecobaronen"!


Published: 2022-10-18 00:00:00

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