Jon Finkel - U.S National Champion
by Adrian Sullivan
Sideboard: So, going into the Top 8, did you have any worries about your chances?
Finkel: I felt like my match against Aaron [Forsythe] was close to 50/50. I always feel that I have a slight edge when I'm playing someone, but I think that people can tend to overvalue their own play skill. I felt that the key was Hernandez and Long. I felt that I beat Hernandez between 80 and 90 percent of the time, but the Long would beat me 80 or 90 percent of the time too. So, I really wanted Hernandez to take out Long, and luckily, they complied.
F: Versus Benafel, I felt really advantaged in the matchup. Unless I just can't cast it, Yawgmoth's Will is so good versus land destruction. Persecute ended up being amazing."
S: Did you have any doubts about the deck?
F: I knew that the deck was bad against blue and a little land-light. Against the field, I felt great. I was certain I would make Top 8 with the deck, especially with how it did against Green and White Creature decks.
S: When did you decide to go with the deck?
F: About a week ago, I was pretty sure that I'd play it. The night before I almost converted to Magpie Blue, but I knew that the deck would be able to go up against almost anything.
S: When you went into the draft, did you have a particular strategy?
F: I wanted to avoid taking good black if the next best card was also black. Nemesis black can be pretty weak, and fighting for it would be hard in that second pack. I drafted Blue/White in two of the drafts, and I know a lot of people were saying, "Oh, Finkel just likes Blue/White, but I'm not going to pass up blue when I'm being passed Stinging Barrier in both drafts."
S: Were there any rough moments?
F: In the final round I played and didn't draw against my opponent [Waikon Soo of Milwaukee], and that meant I might not make it into the Invitational Draft. He came out with a Mungha Wurm on turn three, but I was still pretty confident because of the Coastal Piracy with my Withdraws.
S: How do you feel about Worlds?
F: For me Worlds depends a lot on the New York people. I look forward to working with Forsythe too, and Turian with him, I'm sure. I can easily see myself working with them. I know they'll work, and it sucks when you put in a lot of effort and then someone else hasn't done any and just takes it.
S: How do you feel about the U.S. National Teams chances at Worlds?
F: I think the U.S. team could have been stronger. We have a solid team, but there we also have some fresh faces and real unknowns. We have a chance, but not an amazing chance like last time.
S: Do you have any regrets?
F: I would say no.