In a day of many surprises, as well as one non-surprise, the Booster Draft day was one of suspense and drama. Individuals expected to place high found themselves wondering what happened to their drafting skills while an upstart team found their way to the top of the leader board at the end of the day.
A virtual lock for Pro Tour Player of the Year, Jon Finkel continued his domination of the Pro Magic scene by going an impressive 7-0 during the course of the day. Finkel was happy with his record at the end of the day, pleasently surprised he was able to do so well. "I felt that the one area I could have a weak showing in was the draft. I didn’t expect 7-0," said the leader Finkel.
Comfortably in second place at 7-0, Pro Tour veteran Sigurd Eskeland had this to say about his begining, "I expected a 5-2 finish. Playing against Kim Eikefet in the last round, I thought I’d at least get beat by her due to the cards I passed her during the draft." Kim Eikefet, a Norwegian team member and one of the first two females to play in the World Championships, finished a healthy 6-1 to take the third spot at the end of the day. "My finish was unexpected," said Eikefet. "I never did very well in draft practice. But prior to Worlds, Sigurd came to Bergen and drafted with Sturla Bingen (Euro Champ) and I. I guess the practice worked."
Other players making strong showings after day one (6-1) included former #1 composite player Casey McCarrel, Pro Tour Rogues Brian Selden, Andre Konstanczer and Rafael Levy, DCI composite invitee Jonathan Becker, Finland’s Mikko Snygg, and reigning World Champion Jakub Slemr.
At the lower end of the scale, Hitman Truc Bui was the lowest of the name players (194 of 202) after finishing with a 1-5-1 record. Expected to do well in his specialty, it was a surprise to many he finished so low. Others not fairing too well on the first day included: Australian National Champion Rod Ho (2-5), Team Canada Terry Tsang (2-5), Deadguy Worth Wollpert (2-5), and current Pro Tour Player of the Year Paul McCabe (2-5).
Shocking to most, Team Norway finished atop the standings at the end of the day, one point ahead of the favored United States. Said Kim Eikefet of Team Norway’s improbable start, "I think the people back in Norway are probably jumping around and very excited. I don’t think the people back home will believe it." When asked about their hopes for the rest of the tournnament, Kim responded, "I have no idea."
US National Champion Matt Linde had this to say, "I expected us to be #1. Even though we’re not first, Finkel will bring in the victory! Finkel is a machine."
Sitting in third place of the team standings, Finland’s Tomi Walamis felt, "I’m feeling good about our chances because our Type II deck is very good (three of four team members are playing the deck). As for the long term, Tomi felt that the odds switched too much, as certain teams are stronger in the various events, possibly changing the leader board at the end of each day.
The team failing to live up to expectations was Team Canada, finishing at a miserable 26th place out of 34 teams. Expected to compete for a top eight team finish, Terry Tsang was notably disappointed.
With many of the leading teams heading towards their specialty events (constructed), the race should be an exciting one right up to the end.