Magic: The Gathering Invitational 2000
Round 15 Recap
by Randy Buehler
Six different players had a shot at making the final match going into round 15, but only Jon Finkel and Pat Chapin controlled their own destiny. They went in tied for first and the winner was in while the loser would end up tied for second with anywhere from 1 to 3 other people. Head to head was the first tiebreaker with a playoff as the second.
Finkel won the flip and played a Voltaic Key, a Grim monolith, and a Skirge familiar by turn 3. However, he didn't have a Yawgmoth's Bargain, an Academy rector, or a Vampiric Tutor. Chapin played a turn 1 Pouncing Jaguar, a turn 2 jaguar, and on turn 3 he Rancored one up and laid a treetop Village. Jon had three draw phases to come up with one of 11 cards, but they weren't there. On turn 4 Finkel had to block a Jaguar with his Skirge familiar. Chapin used Crop Rotation to bring Gaea's Cradle into play and then cast Might of oaks on the jaguar. Ka-blam. That left Finkel at 1 and with no chance to win.
After sideboarding before game 2 Finkel accidentally flipped a card over form the top of Chapin's deck. It was Cursed totem -- pat's sideboard card. That would be a big deal at a pro Tour, but at the Invitational the players decided that the fair solution was for Finkel to tell pat what he had sideboarded in. The answer was "Perish." Finkel had everything he needed to go off on turn 3 in game 2, but Chapin played a turn 2 Cursed Totem. Finkel still played his turn 3 bargain, refilled his hand, and cast perish. Chapin played out some more monsters while Finkel played out more Monoliths, hoping to get to Renounce at some point, and found another Perish. Chapin played out yet more monsters and Finkel was down to 7, but when Finkel found a Renounce the game was basically over. that gave Finkel all the life he needed to Vampiric Tutor for Disenchant, Disenchant the Totem, play out his Skirge, and when he finally got around to casting Renounce he had 10 permanents in play and thus gained 20 life. That was more than enough to find 3 Soul Feasts and a Yawgmoth's Will.
Game 3 was ugly. Jon played turn 1 Remote Farm and then turn 2 grim monolith and Academy rector with a Phyrexian Tower also in play. Pat didn't have anything better than an Uktabi on his third turn and Finkel went off easily on turn 3. he would have to get colossally unlucky to lose from that position and he didn't.
That put Finkel into the finals and all that remained was to find out whom he would play. Zvi Mowshowitz gave Gary Wise Gary's 13th loss of the tournament (a new Invitational record), completing a 6-0 Saturday for Zvi and tying Pat for 2nd at 10-5. Dave Humpherys also got into the tie by beating Jakub Slemr. the 4th member of the tie was the winner of the Pikula/Long showdown. Chris won a close game 3 and since Chris had beaten all three of Mowshowitz, Humpherys, and Chapin, Chris Pikula advanced to the finals to face off against Finkel.
Finkel - 2
Chapin - 1