By Randy Buehler
There are 7 players from the Boston area among the 12 competitors in the finals. In a final testimony to the quality of the teams at the top of the Swiss, all four of these finalists are already qualified for the Pro Tour. In fact, the 4 qualification spots dropped all the way down to 12th place! (They went to teams 8, 10, 11, and 12.)
Your Move Games plays a team of fellow Boston players in one semi-final. Dark Side of the Moon is basically three PTQ regulars who've already won a Team qualifier and got two byes from a Grand Prix trial. Brian Lynch has been to a number of Pro Tours and Ray Tautic was in a very tough Top 8 at New England regionals. He was still in contention late into US Nationals until he was disqualified for presenting an insufficiently randomized deck. Their third - Ben Halpren - doesn't have quite as much experience, but he's an up and comer.
The other semi has probably already occurred at least 10 times in money drafts over the years. Huey, Ben, and Casey have 7 PT Top 8's between them (including one win) while Team Antarctica has 10 and 2. All 6 are on the Pro Tour "gravy train" which means, on the one hand, that this is a very high profile match, but on the other hand it means these players are used to playing for these stakes. All this really is is a head start on tonight's money drafting.