Home » About Team RIW Hobbies


RIW Hobbies has a long and storied tradition of supporting our local players as they strive for excellence and achievement in gaming. You may not know many of your favorite acclaimed Magic: the Gathering stars, content creators, game designers, and tournament players honed their skills playing on our table tops right here in Livonia, Michigan. 

For decades, Team RIW players have represented our local game store community at the highest levels of Magic: the Gathering tournament play. Many of the most iconic strategies ever designed, decks you’ve probably enjoyed sleeving up over the years: Heezy Street, Dragon Storm, Next Level Blue, Steel City Vault, & Atarka Red (designed by our then store manager Devon Payntor) and countless others, were created, tuned, tested, and made famous by Team RIW players. 

RIW has been the premiere destination in southeast Michigan for players looking to hone and enhance their play through collaboration with other talented players for over twenty years.  It takes teamwork to play at the highest levels of Magic and our squad has a longstanding tradition of embracing this challenge and working together to achieve seemingly improbable success. 


The legacy and tradition of Team RIW is part of our ongoing commitment to support local players as they look to break into region, national, and international MTG tournament play:

“2002 Team RIW Hobbies Jersey & 2020 Team RIW Hobbies Jersey”

A winning culture in gaming requires both excellent teamwork and leadership and RIW Hobbies has been fortunate to have  a lot of both over the years:

It’s true Team RIW has many decorated tournament players, but as good as each of the players are individually, each is also equally proficient at being a fantastic teammate. The secret to any team’s success is pretty simple: it’s players working together to be even better. 


It would be difficult to overstate Mark Herberholz’s  importance in the history of professional Magic: the Gathering. Heezy is known as one of the best all-around “deck builder / high caliber player” packages to ever play and was a dominant force during his era of professional play, between 2003 – 2009.

In Mark’s six year career as a MTG Pro Player he racked up an astounding four Grand Prix Top 8s and four Pro Tour Top 8s, including his signature Pro Tour Honolulu title, 2006.

Some bios don’t need to be long to get a point across. Herberholz is one of the best deck builder players in the history of MTG and he’s also the one who began Team RIW’s tradition of bringing home hardware for the trophy shelf. 


In terms of “innovating,” influencing, and ultimately enhancing how others around the world  enjoy Magic, one would be hard pressed to name an individual with a greater impact than Patrick Chapin. 

The Innovator was inducted into the Magic: the Gathering Hall of Fame in 2012. His professional MTG accomplishments include four Grand Prix Top 8 and six Pro Tour Top 8s (including a Pro Tour Championship in Atlanta, 2013).

Being one of the best tournament players of all-time aside, Patrick is even better known for his MTG distinctly authentic MTG writing, including his two strategy books: Next-Level Magic & Next-Level Deckbuilding. 


Michael Jacob is an elite  deck builder and tournament player both on the tabletop and online. He’s enjoyed recent online tournament success with a MTG Arena Player’s Championship Top 8 and a 2020 Magic Online Championship title. 

Michael is also a highly accomplished cardboard tournament player, with four Grand Prix Top 8s and a Pro Tour Top 8 on his resume.

What’s more than being an incredible online & tournament player? His most impressive accomplishment reflects his unparalleled skill as an incredible teammate, when as captain of Team U.S.A. he led the way to a Team World Championship title in 2008.


Corey Burkhart holds the distinction of the Team RIW member with the most Grand Prix Top 8s (ten Top 8s!) including a Team Limited GP Win in Providence, 2017. 

Burkhart also recently added a Player’s Championship title to his illustrious tournament credentials in Phoenix, 2020.

On top of all those tournament accomplishments, Corey also has a reputation as one of the all around friendliest players and best teammates to be found in the game. He’s a shining example of how one player’s positive attitude makes all players better by proximity. 


Ari Lax is known throughout the MTG community as an all around tournament specialist. A reputation backed up by winning, alot. 

Ari has a whopping nine Grand Prix Top 8s (including a GP title in Toronto, 2014).

Lax is also known to enjoy Eternal formats, especially Legacy, and claimed an Eternal Weekend Legacy Championship in 2013. Amid a career of high profile tournament finishes, spread across every possible format of high level tournament play, Ari’s signature accomplishment is a Pro Tour Championship title in Hawaii, 2014.

Ari’s MTG career is a high level slow burn of tournament consistency over time, and to boot he’s shared his experiences, insights, and expertise with players and fans through his MTG articles for over a decade. He’s a prime example of a player who, despite reaching the pinnacle of high level play, continues to work to improve and raise the bar for what excellence in tournament Magic is in the present tense.


Kyle Boggemes is an accomplished tournament player and MTG strategy columnist. His MTG accolades include three Grand Prix Top 8s (including a Grand Prix Title in Cincinnati, 2014). Additionally, Kyle was a finalist at Pro Tour San Diego, 2010.

Kyle is also especially appreciated by MTG players and fans in Michigan because he’s a fixture of large events throughout the midwest, plays a lot of LGS Magic, and writes uniquely authentic, high level strategy content about how we play Magic in the midwest. 

As a teammate, Boggemes’ ability to apply his vast knowledge of MTG theory to help critique and refine teammates’ deck and sideboard choices is unparalleled as it is tangible;  the average finish of everybody in the car goes up whenever Kyle is in attendance. 


Brian DeMars is an Eternal Magic enthusiast with six Vintage SCG Power 9 Top 8s (one Win) and four Vintage World Championship Top 8s. 

In addition to Eternal formats, DeMars has also had success at the professional circuit as well, including four Grand Prix Top 8s (with a title in Boston, 2013), a SCG Open Championship in 2015, and a career high 12th place finish at Pro Tour Philadelphia, 2011.

DeMars is best known for his MTG writing (covering a wide spectrum of formats for almost two straight decades) as well as being the creator and curator of the popular Danger Room / Battle Box format.


Max Mcvety has established himself as one of the strongest Michigan tournament players currently in the game. He’s emerged as a double threat, with consistently strong results across both online and tabletop platforms of tournament play. 

Max has three Grand Prix Top 8s as well as a signature SCG Invitational Championship title and has wasted no time recently adding a NRG Top 8 title to his resume. 

You may also recognize his likeness on the SCG series Clue token: 

There’s a reason every Michigan player knows the tagline “Max is great!”  and that reason is:  it’s true.


Raja Suliman is currently one of the strongest deck builders and tournament players in the midwestern United States. He has experienced success in Magic on every major tournament circuit he’s played, including the Pro Tour, SCG, and NRG events. 

Suliman has three SCG Open Top 8s, as well as an additional three SCG Sunday Challenge Top 8s (with two 1st place finishes). Additionally, he has a Grand Prix Top 8 and a career high 13th place Pro Tour finish.

Recently, Raja has wasted no time making his tournament acumen known with a pair of Top 8s on the NRG circuit. 

It’s also worth noting that while Raja has relatively recently established himself as a force to be reckoned with on the larger tournament circuits, that he has been a defining player at RIW Hobbies’ “in house” events forever. Suliman likely holds the distinction of all time most MTG matches won at RIW Hobbies, which given the caliber of players at the LGS is a uniquely incredible stat.