[view] The Invitational players, with their awards
[view] Top 4 player, David Price
[view] Finalist Ben Rubin
[view] Jon Finkel, 2000 Magic Invitational champion, with Mark Rosewater
[view] Mark Rosewater gives Noah Boeken the third-place award
[view] It's a GRINDSTONE
[view] The graveyard after a long game
[view] Spectators crowd around the finals
[view] Ben Rubin is Superman. In German, it's said "Ubermensch."
[view] Ben Rubin is flabbergasted
[view] Kai Budde watches Finkel play his way out of a rocky start
[view] Jon Finkel stares down a bad situation
[view] Ben Rubin plays against Jon Finkel in the finals
[view] Finkel plays, under the watchful eye of the trophy
[view] Jon Finkel, Invitational champion
[view] Will the real Zvi Mowshowitz please stand up?
[view] The chicks dig Ben Rubin - Australia's a great country for Magic celebrities
[view] A panoramic shot of the Invitees
[view] Thousands of screaming female fans congregated around the site, early this morning, hoping to catch a glimpse of teen idol Jon Finkel
[view] Chris Pikula's Juzam faces off against Trevor Blackwell's Kird Ape
[view] Gary Wise gives Ben Rubin "The Stare"
[view] Bob Maher and Kai Budde look over their cards
[view] Zvi Mowshowitz pitches a card to Force of Will
[view] Alex Shvartsman plays against finalist Jon Finkel
[view] Gary Wise plays against Noah Boeken
[view] The final rounds of the Invitational
[view] Ben Rubin comes across the table... to count Dave Price's graveyard
[view] Alex Shvartsman vs. Chris Pikula
[view] Darwin Kastle has been one of the few competitors able to beat Jon Finkel
[view] Ben Rubin is fighting a WAY uphill battle
[view] Ishii's hand isn't very good against Finkel's Stasis
[view] Jon Finkel and Yoshikazu Ishii deal with Stasis. Finkel piloted Zak Dolan's much maligned deck to 3-0
[view] Finkel proudly casts Siren's Call with a Kismet in play, killing two creatures
[view] Maher and Blackwell concentrate on a permanent-ridden board. Note the Wizard's School on Maher's side
[view] Scott Larabee consults with Mark Rosewater about the Invitational results
[view] Zvi reveals all the components of the combo to Alex, prompting a concession
[view] Gerardo Godinez Estrada changes Ryan Fuller's life total after hitting him with a Black Knight
[view] Zvi puts on a happy face, while looking for a way to go off
[view] Bob's hand is full of sideboard cards
[view] Bob Maher shows off a laughable second Fountain of Youth from Michael Loconto's deck
[view] Gary Wise sez "It's in the bag." Last year, he finished 16th. This year, he's practically assured 15th or better
[view] Alex's Crater Hellion is about to get medieval on Gerardo
[view] Casey McCarrel vs. Tom Chanpheng, played by Alex Shvartsman and Gerardo Godinez
[view] Spectators, including Your Move Games' Dave Humpherys, watch Price vs. Maher
[view] Trevor Blackwell sideboards
[view] Bad times all around: Wise is almost Necro locked, while Finkel draws Old Man of the Sea after Old Man of the Sea
[view] Kastle beats Shvartsman
[view] Maher vs. Long, played by Pikula and Mowshowitz
[view] Blackwell draws a Pestilence, smashing Ishii
[view] Slemr vs. Blumke, played by Ishii and Blackwell
[view] Price has Survival of the Fittest while Bob Maher has an Ivory Tower
[view] Dave Price plays Bob Maher
[view] Darwin had his choice of two decks: Rade or Eskeland
[view] Bob Maher considers clubbing Dave Price. Dave tries to dissuade him
[view] Players chat with Sideboard reporter Matt Vienneau and Sideboard publisher Jeff Donais before the auction
[view] Bob Maher gracefully bows out of the bidding
[view] Finkel and Rubin discuss the decks
[view] Ryan Fuller moves so quickly that he's blurred
[view] Gary Wise bows out of the bidding
[view] Yoshikazu Ishii unexpectedly gets caught with Slemr's Five Color Black deck
[view] The players line up by seed to determine the order of the Auction
[view] Mark Rosewater briefs the players before the Auction
[view] Pikula blows his breath as he realizes he can't stay in the bidding for Champheng's 1996 Worlds deck
[view] Mike Long bows out of the race for his PT-Paris Prosbloom deck, exclaiming "Three Wishes!"
[view] A wide shot of the competitors
[view] Auctioneer Mark Rosewater sorts out some confusion
[view] Gerardo Godinez Estrada waited for Chris Pikula to fold, to get Jakub Slemr's 1997 World Championship deck
[view] Dave Price couldn't hold onto his own deck
[view] Wizards staff, Skaff Elias and Craig Cudnohufsky
[view] Sideboard reporter, Randy Buehler
[view] Players have been anticipating the Auction format all week
[view] Invitational participants Zvi Mowshowitz and Mike Long look over the decklists for the Auction of Champions
[view] Gary Wise puts the smack down on Darwin Kastle
[view] Price and Maher discuss auctioning strategies as the bidding winds down
[view] Darwin Kastle bows out of the bidding for Brian Selden's deck. Brian's deck was a Survival-Recurring Nightmare deck, a well-known favorite of Kastle
[view] Bob Maher nervously twists a bottle while thinking
[view] Dave "Red Eye" Price nominated his PT-LA winning Sligh deck
[view] Rubin wins his deck
[view] Jon Finkel passes the bid to Ben Rubin
[view] Bob Maher pronounces his bid clearly
[view] Players in the Auction fold quickly for the less powerful decks
[view] A wide view of the lobby area
[view] Rubin laughs, while Jeff Donais records the contents of the draft
[view] Rubin and Mowshowitz give the draft pool a staredown
[view] Blackwell and Long share a laugh. Last time they drafted together, Long was disqualified
[view] Boeken points at the Dream Coat, definitely the strangest card in the pack
[view] Shvartsman and Maher contemplate the draft situation
[view] Gary Wise drafts against Ryan Fuller
[view] Players frantically traded, in preparation for the Grand Prix
[view] Outside the venue
[view] Spectators watch the action
[view] Gerardo's having a good time
[view] Zvi Mowshowitz plays against Gerardo Godinez
[view] Noah Boeken handed Alex Shvartsman his first loss of the week
[view] Dave Price plays Jon Finkel
[view] Yoshikazu Ishii plays a match against Bob Maher, Jr
[view] A tired Ryan Fuller against a tired Chris Pikula
[view] Guess who's behind these placards?
[view] Trevor Blackwell
[view] Noah Boeken
[view] Jon Finkel
[view] Ryan Fuller
[view] Gerardo Godinez Estrada
[view] Yoshikazu Ishii
[view] Darwin Kastle
[view] Mike Long
[view] A very rarely seen Sword of the Chosen, played by David Price
[view] Tons of crazy cards. On Gerardo Godinez's side, Multani, Maro Sorcerer, Verderaloth, The Ancient, Stalking Shambler, Mageta the Lion and Sustaner Falconer. On Zvi's side, Sliver Queen
[view] Kai Budde is checking out the situation
[view] Kai is unsure which pile is better
[view] Ben Rubin is eyeing a Disturbed Burial
[view] Both Pikula and Fuller have to read Arenson's Aura, which was reprinted in Invasion as Teferi's Care
[view] Zvi Mowshowitz prepares a split
[view] Mike Long evaluates a split
[view] Jon Finkel is edgy
[view] Jon Finkel is surprised
[view] Jon Finkel plays Dave Price while Skaff Elias watches
[view] Darwin Kastle ponders a split
[view] A closeup of one of the draft packs - note the FIVE legends
[view] Shvartsman looks over the piles
[view] Noah Boeken is in your face
[view] Mike Long and Darwin Kastle have a relaxed chat
[view] Long defeats Price and they shake hands. The two have been sometime-bitter rivals for years
[view] Meteor Storm gives Mike Long a large measure of control
[view] Kai Budde contemplates which card he should cast
[view] Finkel vs. Budde. Both players are very methodical and thoughtful
[view] Gerardo Godinez Estrada with a smile. Gerardo is the highest ranked player in Latin America
[view] Trevor Blackwell looks over his draft
[view] Noah Boeken
[view] Fuller leans over the table at Boeken, Jeff Donais covers
[view] Yoshikazu Ishii plays against current leader, Alex Shvartsman
[view] A happy Pikula goes for his draw
[view] Bob Maher sorts through his very multicolored hand while playing Chris Pikula
[view] Players are trading everywhere
[view] Outside of the main Invitational area, players prepare for the GP Sydney Trial
[view] More players in the lobby
[view] Spectators watch Gary Wise and Trevor Blackwell draft
[view] A view of the Invitational floor
[view] Ryan Fuller trades with a local player. While Ryan pulled out tons of cards, including Millstone and Hatred, the other trader couldn't find anything interesting
[view] Gary Wise looks over his base black deck
[view] Ishii looks over his possible deck, during construction
[view] Yoshikazu Ishii laughs as the first cards are opened
[view] Mike Long and Dave Price share a laugh
[view] Ben Rubin works on dividing the piles. The cards were all multicolored in the first pack, making it difficult
[view] Boeken and Lynn watch Fuller divide the piles.
[view] Bob Maher and Chris Pikula Solomon Draft
[view] Players compete in day two of the Invitational, in the background, Gary Wise stretches
[view] Godinez and Long shake after a good match
[view] Kastle asks a rules question - Brady Dommermuth and Mark Rosewater handle it
[view] Wise, with his two card library, wonders how he can win the game
[view] Gary removes an incapacitated Outpost token
[view] Though it is uncommon to spend such a powerful spell on a token creature, Alex was forced to deck Wise, because of Wise's powerful sideboard
[view] Alex Shvartsman taps twelve Mountains to Fireblast, under three Chills. Shvartsman successfully killed the Outpost token and went on to win the match
[view] Ben Rubin thinks about the game
[view] Lots of Legacy's Allures in Mowshowitz vs. Finkel
[view] Trevor Blackwell sez "Chill is a good card"
[view] Blackwell counts his land because of Chill
[view] Price Parches Boeken's Fireslinger
[view] Price is not happy with his draw. Sideboard's Randy Buehler observes
[view] Noah Boeken of the Netherlands
[view] Maher goes to draw against Fuller
[view] The Invitational is full of good humor, despite the competitive nature of the participants
[view] Jamie Lynn leans in to watch Bob Maher
[view] The soldiers rally - and awesome board shot of Gary vs. Shvartsman
[view] Ryan Fuller uses Wasteland
[view] Chris Pikula's recurring creatures stare down Budde's arsenal of squirrels
[view] Darwin Kastle has several good creatures, including Avalanche Riders, a card of his own design
[view] Players ponder a complex board
[view] Australian Ben Seck reports on Boeken vs. Price
[view] The Kai Budde sweater
[view] Darwin Kastle adjusts his life total
[view] Ishii plays Kastle while a young Australian watches
[view] From the other side
[view] The game-ending stack - 11 cards deep
[view] Bob has as many Outposts as Plains
[view] Gary forms a Outpost regiment
[view] Bob Maher considers his massive army
[view] Gary Wise and Bob Maher, Jr. play a Counterpost mirror - with tons and ton of soldier tokens
[view] Zvi's looking good against Long's red deck
[view] Maher and Wise played a drawn out Counterpost mirror match
[view] Shvartsman vs. Fuller
[view] All Europe: Boeken vs. Budde
[view] Yoshikazu Ishii vs. Dave Price
[view] Chris Pikula vs. Darwin Kastle in a Survival mirror match
[view] Rubin vs. Godinez
[view] Kastle thinks
[view] Mark Rosewater and Paul Barclay
[view] The Jon Finkel
[view] Counterpostin' fiend, Gary Wise
[view] Gary Wise is on the ropes
[view] Ishii has a good laugh with his opponent
[view] Japan's Yoshikazu Ishii
[view] Kai Budde's squirrel tokens
[view] Bob Maher's sideboard
[view] Zvi's Tradewind is having trouble with Kai's squirrels
[view] Gerardo Godinez chose to play aggressive red
[view] Kai Budde taps an Island with Opposition
[view] A rarely seen Soldevi Digger
[view] Maher and Finkel played very similar decks
[view] Jon Finkel, currently undefeated, is pleased
[view] Kai Budde in the rain
[view] Noah Boeken vs. Ben Rubin
[view] Ben Rubin thinks about his hand. Behind him, Dave Humpherys observes
[view] Ryan Fuller vs. Zvi Mowshowitz
[view] Finkel explains something to Chris Pikula
[view] Chris Pikula is exciting!
[view] Mark Rosewater reads the pairings
[view] Trevor Blackwell is doing his Michael Jackson impression
[view] A large crowd has gathered to watch the matches
[view] Being Ben Rubin
[view] Look! It's Ben Rubin!
[view] Jon Finkel is 3-0
[view] Defending champion Pikula asks Finkel if he has any Pokemon to trade
[view] Chris Pikula shows Finkel the door.
[view] Alex Shvartsman kills one of Kai Budde's smaller creatures with a Berserk
[view] Mike Long vs. Gary Wise
[view] Trevor Blackwell concentrates on the game, while Noah Boeken works on his modeling career
[view] Kai Budde is a past World Champion
[view] The Ben Seck and competitior Alex Shvartsman
[view] Mike Long attacks
[view] Gary Wise is a thoughtful player
[view] Early Nguyen and Worth Wollpert look on as Ben Rubin plays
[view] Bob Maher Jr. vs. Ben Rubin
[view] GP Dallas Champion Matt Vienneau reports on Zvi Mowshowitz and Dave Price
[view] Jon Finkel vs. Ryan Fuller
[view] Being Zvi Mowshowitz
[view] Bob Maher passes the turn
[view] Dave Price, looking like a deer in headlights
[view] Zvi Mowshowitz gives Dave Price "the Stare"
[view] Jon Finkel tells a joke
[view] and Ryan Fuller sees the humor
[view] Old chums Chris Pikula and Mike Long, two previous Invitational winners
[view] Players must adjust to the strange playtest cards
[view] Ryan Fuller examines cards in deck building
[view] Jon Finkel plays Illicit Auction. He's the only player using it, out of ten red players.
[view] Closeup of Hell's Caretaker
[view] Spectators crowd around Zvi Mowshowitz and Dave Price while Mark Rosewater makes a ruling
[view] Darwin Kastle looks over the board
[view] GP Helsinki Champion, Noah Boeken
[view] Yoshikazu Ishii plays against Noah Boeken
[view] Panoramic shot of all the invitees
[view] Blue and white ended up with some powerful cards like Argivian Archaeologist and Clone in the Duplicate Limited.
[view] Old rivals Chris Pikula and Mike Long share a rare laugh together
[view] More laughter
[view] Rules lawyers Brady Dommermuth and Paul Barclay discuss the interaction between phasing and echo
[view] Invitees are using mock-up cards - these are the same templates used to playtest new sets.
[view] Alex Shvartsman builds
[view] Ryan Fuller examines a strangely-costed Fanning the Flames
[view] A view of the Invitational floor
[view] Yoshikazu Ishii, Japan's top ranked player
[view] The Great One, Bob Maher, Jr.
[view] Dave Price and Darwin Kastle build
[view] Gerardo Godinez looks over the cards for Duplicate Limited
[view] Invitational favorite, Jeff Donais
[view] Invitational favorite, Scott Larabee
[view] The Sydney Opera House, Sydney's most famous landmark, was built in the 1970s. You might have heard about it during the Olympics.
[view] It's not easy coming up with twenty different captions that all say "Look! The Sydney Opera House!"
[view] Ryan Fuller's a dreamboat.
[view] Jeff Donais thinks it's raining.
[view] Gary Wise sez "I'm king of the world."
[view] Gary Wise sez "WHASSSUP!"
[view] A passing boat - the Astro Venus
[view] Finkel is in love... with Jeff Donais
[view] Jon Finkel, Ultimate Fighting Champion
[view] Yoshikazu Ishii looks like a champ.
[view] Zvi does the Humpty Dance
[view] Zvi's getting jiggy wit it
[view] Macarena Master, Zvi Mowshowitz
[view] You've got to sell it! SELL IT!
[view] Mike Long beats down on Mr. DCI, Jeff Donais
[view] Mike Long dreams of his Valerie. Sorry ladies, he's off the market.
[view] Bob Maher pretends he's won. Behind him, it's a cloudy day in Sydney
[view] Pucker up!
[view] Dave Price sez "what's a matter, you?"
[view] Sideboard's own Alex Shvartsman
[view] Jeff Donais taunts Invitee Ben Rubin with the trophy
[view] Trevor Blackwell is a sweetheart
[view] Darwin Kastle is a manly man
[view] The Opera House
[view] Sydney, Australia
[view] The Sydney Harbor Bridge
[view] The Invitees
[view] Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge
[view] More focus on the bridge
[view] The players, together
[view] Staff Photographer Craig Cudnohufsky organizes a photo session
[view] Darwin Kastle, Laura Waniuk and The Ben Seck
[view] Zvi and co. scout the hotel.
[view] Baby Rosewater plays with the always controversial Mike Long.
[view] Jon Finkel poses with his Magic Invitational competitor shirt.
[view] Australia's own Ben Seck. Ben has taken to calling himself, "Hollywood" after he appeared on a nationwide television program discussing Magic as part of the PR for Grand Prix Sydney.
[view] Trevor Blackwell. Pro Tour Champ!
[view] Gerardo Godinez, top player from Mexico and Pro Tour regular.
[view] Ryan Fuller's signficant other Jamie Lynn. Jamie Lynn is a good Magic player herself and has made day two at several Grand Prix.
[view] Bob Maher keeps reminding himself, "I am a Pro Tour Champion!"
[view] Alex Shvartsman, Randy Buehler and Zvi Mowshowitz at the player meeting.
[view] World Champion Jon Finkel has had just about enough of Matt Vienneau's humor.
[view] Bob Maher takes notes and plans for the weekend.
[view] Former World Champion and one of the friendliest Germans you will ever meet, Kai Budde. Kai is sporting his traditional conservative sweater look today.
[view] David Price claims he is having a bad hair day, so he hides his hair for this shot.
[view] The group of players listens intently to Mark Rosewater's speech.
[view] Darwin Kastle mugs for the camera.
[view] Top Japanese player, Yoshikazu Ishii.
[view] Rachel Rosewater plays with the Meddling Mage card. She will be a mage herself once she gets a little older.
[view] Pikula was presented with an advance copy of Meddling Mage. The coveted Magic Invitational prize of having your own card created is one that players will fight hard to win.
[view] Chris Pikula poses with a glass encased copy of the Planeshift card Meddling Mage. The card has striking artwork featuring Pikula as a mage. This is one card that was actually improved after it was submitted by a Magic Invitational Champion.
[view] Maher, Finkel, Vienneau and Fuller.
[view] Gary Wise admired Pikula's creation (Meddling Mage). Gary noted, "Last year I was only 15 spots away from being able to create a card myself!"
[view] Mark Rosewater explains the Magic Invitational procedures during the player meeting. Beside Mark are his wife (Lora) and child (Rachel). Zvi Mowshowitz is in the background, considering stealing the child.
[view] European Champion Noah Boeken with Pro Tour Chicago 1999 Champion (and Pro Player of the Year) Bob Maher and Pro Tour regular Ben Rubin.
[view] 2000 Canadian National Champion and Pro Tour regular, Ryan Fuller.
[view] A close up of David Price's passport.
[view] Matt discusses winning Grand Prix Dallas without ever playing blue. Randy once again states, "The rule is: The is no rule. They giggle like schoolgirls afterwards.
[view] Mark Rosewater gets into the Australian spirit with this classy chapeau.
[view] Jamie Lynn and Canadian National Champion (and her beau) Ryan Fuller.
[view] Grand Prix Dallas Champion (and Sideboard reporter) Matt Vienneau stares down Magic developer Randy Buehler.
[view] David Price showed us his Passport photo. He was a real hippie back then!