Round 10: Chris Benafel vs. Jon Finkel

Posted in Event Coverage on September 2, 2015

By Andrew Johnson

Chris Benafel met Jon Finkel in the tenth round of the Invitational in clearly the least strange of all the formats, Standard. Of course, this is Standard without Masques Block and with Odyssey, so it is a fresh format, uncorrupted by the pooled knowledge that is the Internet. Jon showed up with a deck featuring four copies of Shadowmage Infiltrator, his card for winning last year's Invitational, and four copies of Meddling Mage, Chris Pikula's card. His deck did not have a single basic land in it, combining the variety of dual lands now available in standard with the awesome power of the various u/w/b gold cards and Counterspell. Of course, now one cannot be punished for using only non basics as Dust Bowl and Rishadan Port are thing of the past. Chris Benafel is playing a deck designed by Brian Kibler, using Birds, Elves, countermagic, and Oppositions along with the new flashback creature spells from Odyssey.

Chris started game one with a mulligan, though he was not so hosed since Jon was playing first. Jon came out fast with Meddling Mage followed by the card picturing Jon himself. Chris could only take the beats since his first two lands were islands, and only on turn three did he find the forest that could cast his Bird. By then, it was too late for the Bird, and Chris just played a Call of the Herd, only to have the token recoiled and the game pretty much unwinnable.

Sideboarding game 2 saw Chris bring in twelve cards including Gainsays, Chameleons, and other goodies, while Finkel only tweaked his deck with Hibernation. In the actual game, Chris had a pretty fast start with a turn one Bird, and two mana creatures on turn two. Unfortunately, he had only one land. The players alternated making men, Jon mostly Spectral Lynxes (and a Pikula set on Opposition), while Chris made a bunch of tokens. Chris remained unable thanks to mana issues to cast spells and utilize his countermagic. On the end of Chris' turn, Jon cast Fact or Fiction revealing three excellent spells, a land, and a deadly Hibernation. Chris split the piles Hibernation or no, and Jon chose the Hibernation. When he cast it with counterbackup on his next main phase, the game was all over.

Final Result: Jon Finkel 2-0

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