In what has to be one of the biggest upsets in Pro Tour history, Seattle's Chris Benafel, a seventeen year old playing in his third Pro Tour defeated Mike Long, the game's greatest villain, to advance to the final of PTLA 2000.
Playing a W/B deck featuring such bombs as Delraich, Cateran Enforcer and Cho-Arrim Bruiser, Benefeld came back from a 2-1 deficit to win the best of five match 3-2. Long, playing what most experts considered to be the strongest deck drafted in the Top 8, experienced an over-abundance of mana throughout the match.
In the fifth and final game of the match, Long, playing in his first individual PT since his Top 8 performance here a year ago (he brought a team to the team-format Pro Tour-Washington DC), could only watch helplessly as Benafel dropped one card after another. While most observers felt that Benafel's play selection was questionable and some of the cards in his deck were better left in the sideboard, in the end it was Long, having sideboarded in white, who was forced to retire from the tourney.
Benafel will now move to the final to face Californian Trever Blackwell and his W/R deck. Like Benafel, this is Blackwel's first Top 8, but he seems to have overcome his nervousness with wins over PT veterans Andy Nishioka and Kurt Burgner.