World Championship Finals Jon Finkel (USA) vs. Bob Maher, Jr. (USA)

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By Kim Eikefet

In a battle of Magic titans, Jon Finkel, the greatest player in the history of Magic: the Gathering , defeated Bob Maher three games to two. Playing nearly identical decks, the two friends, both of whom had previously won Pro Tours, played the maximum number of games to decide who would join Tommi Hovi as the only players to ever win more than one premiere level event.

Game one was an epic duel that saw the players trade punches that Mike Tyson could only dream of. The game started with Maher Playing a first turn Saprazzan Skerry and a third turn Grim Monolith, which in turn allowed his casting of a fourth turn Phyrexian Processor, for which he paid 19 life. Finkel responded in kind by playing Phyrexian Colossus, forcing Bob into a race mentality.

It was at this point Bob made the mistake that cost him the match, casting Crumbling Sanctuary then attacking, forcing Finkel to mill 19 cards from his library. The error here became obvious when Finkel was able to cast his own Processor, which was made possible by the attack coming after the Sanctuary instead of before. With Voltaic Key in play, Finkel was able to create two 19/19 tokens a turn, allowing him to defeat Bob with only five cards left in his library.

Finkel

Game two was all Bob. With a first turn Saprazzan Skerry and a second turn Metalworker, Bob was able to summon mass amounts of mana allowing his casting of Processor and its activation. The rest of the game was a foregone conclusion, with Finkel conceding two turns later.

1-1

Game three saw Jon suffer an affliction he seldom does: mana screw.with only three lands and a Key, Jon went for the desperation win by Tinkering for Colossus, but Bob was able to summon the three necessary blockers by casting two Metalworkers and a 120 point Processor just in time. Soon, the table was swarming with Maher's 10/10 creatures and the game was over.

2-1 Maher

Game four started out with John playing a second turn Voltaic key before having his third turn Grim Monolith Anulled. Bob then tried to cast Metalworker which was countered in kind, and when he tapped out, Jon exploded with his first Island allowing him to first cast Grim Monolith, then his second Key, followed by Tinker for a Processor. With Finkel creating two 19/19 tokens a turn, the game ended quickly and brutally.

2-2

The game to decide the World Champion for the new millenium. Bob started things off with an Island as did Jon, and after Bob played a second and said go, Jon Brainstormed into a Voltaic Key, presumably setting up a Tinker. When Bob tried to cast a Tangle Wire, Jon was ready with an Annul, but when Jon cast Tinker, searching for a Phyrexian Colossus, Bob was ready, playing a fourth land and casting first Thran Dynamo, then Tangle Wire.

This is where the brilliance of Jon Finkel made itself apparent. Knowing the card sitting on top of his library, Jon confidently untapped, drew and played an Island with Voltaic Key. This effectively nullified the effect of the Tangle Wire, allowing Jon to untap the Colossus without paying the usually requisite 8 life, and while Bob was able to get two blockers (Colossus, Masticore) into play, when Jon effectively took away his final opportunity for castings with Tangle Wire, Bob knew he was beaten and conceded.

Ladies and Gentlemen, your World Champion, Jon Finkel

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