When the Players Championship roster was finalized at Pro Tour Avacyn Restored, there were a lot of questions buzzing about how the sixteen qualified players would prepare for the event.
Would the eight members of team ChannelFireball that were qualified work together to build a powerhouse of a Modern deck and draft together dozens of times in order to maximize the group's chances of winning? If they did this, would the other eight players then band together to try to compete with them?
After talking it over, Team ChannelFireball ultimately decided to split up into several different groups, while most of the rest of the players in the event decided to test on Magic Online and with local (unqualified) teammates.
|Luis Scott-Vargas teamed up with David Ochoa, Josh Utter-Leyton, and Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa.|
Shuuhei Nakamura and Yuuya Watanabe joined forces with the Czech globetrotter Martin Juza.
Owen Turtenwald traded notes with fellow Magic Online fanatic Reid Duke.
|Shouta Yasooka, Jun'ya Iyanaga, Tzu-Ching Kuo, Alexander Hayne, and Samuele Estratti all prepared by themselves on Magic Online, or with the aid of unqualified friends.|
|And, finally, Hall of Famers Jon Finkel and Brian Kibler worked together for the first time in nearly a decade.|
When asked how they wound up working together, Finkel explained that it was all Kibler's idea.
Finkel: "I had nobody to work with (for the Players Championship), so when Brian sent me a message asking if I wanted to work with him, I was pretty excited. Brian knew the formats a lot better than I did, so I double-checked with him to make sure that he didn't have anyone better to work with."
When Kibler confirmed that he did indeed want to work with Finkel, the two immediately made plans to meet up in New York the week before the event so they could prepare together in person.
Kibler: "I mean, this didn't come out of nowhere. We're good friends, we're both old men, and we've both known each other forever. So when my regular testing group decided to split up, it felt pretty natural for me to test with Jon."
If you want to learn more about the White-Blue Aggro deck that Finkel and Kibler played in the Modern portion of the Players Championship then make sure to watch their deck tech.