by Randy Buehler
The Sideboard's Fantasy Pro Tour contest has become a bit of a tradition now, but the rules have changed for this season. I think the new system is a lot more fun and a lot more interesting so I'm going to put my own picks on display. Of course, I'm not actually eligible for the contest since I work or Wizards, but it's all about pride anyway, right?
The new Fantasy Pro Tour works as follows: you have a 100 PT Point "salary cap" to use to buy your 8-person team. Whoever's team wins the most money at the Pro Tour takes the prize. Thus if you want to buy the top guys you can, but you won't have a lot left to spend on the rest of your team.
Here's my own team:
Jon Finkel - 61
Simply put, I think he's worth over half of my points. He's on an amazing roll right now (US National Champion, World Champion, Invitational Champion) and I don't think the roll is going to end anytime soon. Also, there were a number of players available at very low point totals that I think could do well so I don't think I'm sacrificing too much by spending all my points here. I am by no means convinced that this is the proper strategy in the Fantasy Pro Tour, but it's my current best guess.
Ben Ronaldson - 13
In my opinion, the center of the tech building universe is Ben Ronaldson's flat at the Hampton Court Palace. The tennis pro and English National champion has only recently arrived on Tour, so he only costs 13 points right now, but I think big things are in his future. Rumor has it that communication with his German teammates wasn't that good when preparing for this event, but I think he's still worth 13 points.
Andrew Cuneo - 12
The only reason Andrew Cuneo only has 12 PT Points is that he's only played one Pro Tour in the last 2 years. His understanding of the game is top-notch and he's a genuinely good guy as well.
Mark Globus - 6
Globus is an Ohio Valley qualifier regular who has been on Tour a few times. He worked with Mike Turian before Pro Tour New York and his Turian-influenced Rebel deck put him in Top 8 contention with just a few rounds to go. For this event he once again worked with Turian and I'm willing to gamble 6 points saying he can recapture that magic.
Tom Guevin - 6
I'm not sure I actually believe in Tight Tommy, but he's so much fun to root for! Come on, Tommy! One time for Tommy!
Alex Mitchell - 2
Alex Mitchell designed the original Metalworker Tinker deck that eventually finished 1st and 2nd at last summer's World Championships. He piloted it to a Top 8 finish at Northwest Regionals and only lost one match with it at US Nationals, but a poor draft day meant that was enough to eliminate him from Top 8 contention. A few weeks later he drove the two hours north to Vancouver to hang out at Canadian Nationals see if any of is buddies wanted to play his killer deck. Pete Radjonic and Terry Lau did, and Lau wound up finishing 5th. When Dan O'Mahoney-Schwartz saw Terry Lau's decklist from Canadian Nationals on the internet, he started fiddling around with it and eventually showed it to Jon Finkel, who showed it to Bob Maher, and the rest is history. Anyway, Mitchell's initial run with his Tinker deck gave him a high enough rating to qualify for this event and he only costs 2 points
Jason Zila - 0
Jason Zila surprised a lot of people when he showed up at the Masters Series event in New York. Then he surprised even more people when he nearly won the whole thing, losing only to Billy Jensen in the finals. Needless to say, Zila's Constructed rating is sky high now and qualified him for this event. More importantly, he indicated in New York that he was actually planning to show up and continue his Magic comeback. Assuming he really does show up (and with Zila that's always a big assumption) he's a steal at 0 points.
Terry Borer - 0
Speaking of steals at zero points ... three and a half years ago Toronto was the center of the Magic universe and Terry Borer was one of its superstars. The Pro Tour New York 2 champion took a few years off from the game, but he's back now and his raw talent could catapult him back to the top of the game in a hurry. He is by far the "best buy" on my list.
So there you have it, 8 guys and 100 Pro Tour points. Good luck to everyone who's playing in this event's Fantasy Pro Tour. We've received over 300 entries!