by Randy Buehler
Day 3 began with Alex Shvartsman, Noah Boeken, and Dave Price tied for first with Jon Finkel and Ben Rubin hanging out just one game back. Two games back, alone in 6th place, was Gary Wise who no one - not even Gary - felt was really in contention. By the end of the day, Finkel was in first place and Rubin was tied with Price for second. Since Rubin beat Price - avenging Price's win in the finals of PT LA III in a close Type 1 match that included a crucial error by Price - Rubin has the head to head tiebreaker in his advantage and Rubin will meet Finkel in tomorrow's championship match.
Rubin and Finkel will play all 5 formats (2 out of 3 games per format) and whoever wins 3 formats wins the right to make a Magic card. The two of them met after round 15 and agreed to the following order for their match: Auction of Champions, Type 1, B.Y.O.B., Duplicate Limited, and then Solomon Draft. Finkel's proposed card is a "free" Wrath of God while Rubin's can best be described as "Illicit Auction World."
The Auction of Champions was much anticipated over the months leading up to the invitational and it did not disappoint. It was great fun to watch and the matches themselves were even more interesting than a lot of onlookers anticipated. Jon Finkel went 3-0 with Zak Dolan's deck, Kai Budde went 3-0 with his own deck, and Gerardo Godinez went 3-0 with Tom Chanpheng's white weenie deck. Interestingly, the two most expensive decks - Tommi Hovi's and Randy Buehler's - each went 0-3 (in the hands of Mike Long and Gary Wise, respectively.)
Type 1 saw the fight for Top Two play out with Jon Finkel and Ben Rubin posting 2-1 records which were good enough to secure their spots in the finals. Gary Wise and Kai Budde each went 3-0. Wise was the butt of many jokes after going 2-13 last year, but he put up quite a good result, going 8-7 and finishing 6th. Kai Budde looked like he might finish last this year, but he turned it all around winning his last match on Friday. Then on Day 3 he went a perfect 6-0 to pull up into the middle of the pack. Zvi Mowshowitz has the unfortunate distinction of finishing in last place at this year's Invitational.