Posted in Event Coverage on December 7, 2008

By Wizards of the Coast

Ben Rubin Stunned the Magic world with his Pro Tour debut as a 15-year-old, finishing second to Dave Price... One of the most intense thinkers ever to play the game ... Two-time Masters Series winner ... Four Pro Tour Top 8s ... Pulled of one of the most famous bluffs in Magic history against Randy Buehler to make Top 8 in his first Pro Tour.
Class of: 2008
Hometown: San Diego, California
Debut: Pro Tour-Los Angeles 1998-99
Lifetime Pro Points: 279

Ben Rubin narrowly missed induction in 2007 when he was one of seven players voters considered to be an auto-include on a five-player ballot. Ben had burst onto the scene ten years ago as a 15-year old player going toe-to-toe with David Price in the finals of Pro Tour–Los Angeles and later that year finished second again at Worlds. All totaled Rubin made the Top 8 four times. While he did not win one, he never finished worse than fourth and was one of the most feared competitors for many seasons. Twice he dispatched none other than Jon Finkel en route to Masters Series wins. He also racked up six Grand Prix Top 8s, including two wins—one which was highlighted by keeping a no-land hand in the finals.

The fresh-faced Rubin was one of the most intense players on the Pro Tour. Despite being a player Finkel would rather not sit down to play in a crucial match of Magic, Rubin feared his Hall of Fame ship had sailed.

“After missing last year, and seeing that, to my understanding, the vote-getting requirements would be more difficult this year, I did not think I would get into the Hall of Fame anytime soon,” said Rubin. “After all of the time, focus, emotional and creative energy I have invested in Magic—along with my successes—I don’t think being in the Hall of Fame or getting a ring (hopefully I get a trading card too) is a stretch.”

“It’s groovy—still sinking in,” said Rubin, who plans to play in Memphis and said he will certainly dip his toes in the competitive waters from time to time, although he was not sure how frequently.

“I came back for a year, and left because I felt I was spending too much of my time on Magic,” he explained. “I had intended to return sporadically, hopefully spending my preparation time more efficiently. My plans have not changed.”

As for that blazing start to his career, showcased by his Pro Tour–Los Angeles 1998 performance?

“I qualified via PTQ, after narrowly missing Top 8 at Grand Prix–San Francisco needing to win one of my two final rounds against Casey McCarrel and Ryan Fuller," Rubin recollected. "I had no expectations, but I was pumped.”


Pro Tour:
Los Angeles 97-98: 2nd (Block Constructed)
Worlds 98: 2nd
London 99-00: 4th (Booster Draft)
New York 99-00: 3rd (Block Constructed)

Grand Prix:
Oakland 03-04: 6th (Booster draft)
Anaheim 03: 1st (Extended)
Boston 03: 5th (Booster Draft)
Houston 02: 4th (Extended)
Columbus 01: 3rd (Teams)
Pittsburgh 00: 1st (Teams)

Barcelona 01: 1st (Block Constructed)
Chicago 00: 1st (Booster Draft)
New York 00: Top 8 (Extended)

“As it happened, I played the best Magic of my life,” Rubin continued. “And, despite playing a deck that was not up to the standard of decks I would build and play as I matured, I came in second. Coincidentally, the Queen Mary, former PT–LA site, was engineered by Sir Steven Piggot, my great-grandfather. Awaiting the finals, being fifteen, catching my mental breath on the Queen Mary is my best memory.”

Rubin’s win at Grand Prix–Anaheim involved him making the gutsy decision to keep a no-land/no-first turn play hand in the Finals against Nathan Saunders’ Red Deck Wins with his homebrewed Dump Truck, which showcased his deckbuilding and decision-making skills in one finals feature match.

Looking back at his career, Rubin singled one player out for thanks: “Dan Clegg is not someone I’ve enjoyed personally for quite some time. But he is undoubtedly the reason I got into, and succeeded at, competitive Magic. That I eclipsed him so suddenly, chasming our friendship, is testimony to how very much he taught me, and how many doors he opened for me in the world of Magic—despite being a young man himself.”

By Format

Format W L D BYE Matches Win %
Limited 197 123 18 36 374 58.28%
Constructed 252 164 32 31 479 56.25%
Total 449 287 50 67 853 57.12%

By Event Type

Event W L D BYE Matches Win %
Worlds 87 56 7 0 364 56.82%
Pro Tour 204 135 20 5 201 57.00%
Nationals 31 15 1 0 47 65.96%
Masters 12 4 0 0 16 75.00%
Grand Prix 117 69 19 62 267 57.07%
Total 449 287 50 67 853 57.12%

  • As a 15-year-old, had a stunning breakout performance at Pro Tour-Los Angeles when he made the finals against David Price with his Living Death deck.
Jon Finkel350
Darwin Kastle100
Tommi Hovi100
Alan Comer010
Olle Råde000
Bob Maher420
Dave Humpherys420
Raphaël Lévy110
Gary Wise410
Rob Dougherty420
Kai Budde210
Zvi Mowshowitz200
Tsuyoshi Fujita020
Nicolai Herzog010
Randy Buehler200
Dirk Baberowski100
Jelger Wiegersma220
Mike Turian110
Olivier Ruel210
Career Total 34 22 0

  • To reach the finals of that debut event, had to bluff past reigning Rookie of the Year Randy Buehler in the final round of the Swiss.

  • Rubin ended his first season on the Pro Tour with another finals finish, this time at the World Championships. He came back from an 0-2 hole in the quarterfinals against Scott Johns to surge all the way to the finals with a Sligh deck.

  • Widely regarded as one of the smartest and intense thinkers on the Pro Tour.

  • The only player to win two Masters Series, defeating Jon Finkel in the finals of one and the semifinals of another.

  • Rubin’s two Masters wins are split across Limited and Constructed formats in the same season: Limited in Chicago and with a Domain deck for Block Constructed in Barcelona.

  • Legendarily refused a draw with Kai Budde in the last round on Day One of Pro Tour-Houston, instead choosing to knock the game’s winningest player out of field.

  • Reached the Top 8 of six Grand Prix and won two of them: Grand Prix-Pittsburgh (teamed with William Jensen and Casey McCarrel) and Grand Prix-Anaheim.

  • In the finals of Grand Prix-Anaheim, kept a no land hand with his heavily metagamed and homebrewed Dump Truck deck.

  • Rescheduled a canceled flight, took a 600-kilometer cab ride, and talked his passportless cab driver across international borders to just make it to Pro Tour-Geneva in the nick of time for the first draft.

Listed below are notable decklists from Ben Rubin's Pro Tour career.

Ben Rubin - Tradewind Survival

Download Arena Decklist

Ben Rubin - Domain

Download Arena Decklist

Ben Rubin - Dump Truck

Download Arena Decklist

Ben Rubin - Super-Gro

Download Arena Decklist

Ben Rubin - Green-white Rebels

Download Arena Decklist

Ben Rubin - Sligh

Download Arena Decklist

Ben Rubin - Dancing Gnomes

Download Arena Decklist

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