Round 8: Jon Finkel (Infect) vs. Martin Müller (Abzan)

Posted in Event Coverage on February 7, 2015

By Marc Calderaro

The last time we saw Jon Finkel in the text feature match area, he fell in two quick games to Jon Stern. That was the only time that the Hall of Fame member has lost today. He's sitting 6-1, and ready for Day Two.

This weekend he's suited up the Tom Ross special, Infect, as did most of his team. There are varying stories about how and when and why, but many of the team members fell to the dark side at some point over the last two weeks.

The combo/aggro deck has been serving the team well, as many of the players are converting themselves into the second day off their Modern stats.

The person sitting across from Finkel, Denmark's Martin Müller, must remind Finkel of when he was his age. The Danish National Team member and Top 25 Pro Tour Born of the Gods finisher is young, but quite accomplished. Müller may still be a minor, but he's a Silver level Pro, and helped his team to a Top 8 finish at the 2014 World Magic Cup.

Müller's on the Abzan plan today, and has been running his Rhinos up against the big dogs all day, and has come out on top almost every time.

The Infect deck has a pretty favorable matchup against Abzan, but it's very draw- and build-dependent. A well-timed Abrupt Decay can ruin Finkel's day. Additionally, Müller is playing additional Lingering Souls and Path to Exile, which can only increase the answer density.

While Hall of Famer was an intimidating opponent, Denmark's Martin Müller was coming off of a victory from the 2014 World Magic Cup, and he wasn't about to let anything stand in his way of remaining on the Pro Tour.

The two held their game, waiting for the go sign from the judges. And during that time was absolute silence. They was no words from either side, and not so much as a nervous twitch.

But once the go-ahead was given, the two switched on, and started trying to destroy each other.

The Games

Müller opened the game, and on his second turn murdered Finkel's Glistener Elf with an Abrupt Decay. Answer #1. Finkel's Gitaxian Probe saw a hand of big, swingy cards from Müller. Siege Rhino, Tasigur, the Golden Fang, Path to Exile, Lingering Souls, and Scavenging Ooze. This was a gross-looking hand from Finkel's perspective, but it didn't have land, nor a way to interact with Finkel's hand. Once Finkel saw that, he played a Spellskite to protect the next-turn Glistener Elf waiting in his hand.

This was all well and good, but Müller top-decked a Thoughtseize right away. Jon splayed his hand on the table, revealing Distortion Strike, Become Immense, Noble Hierarch, Glistener Elf, and Mutagenic Growth. Müller immediately took the only infect target left, the Elf, and stranded Finkel with very little gas. Answer #2.

While Finkel's deck in this match-up was all about questions...

Soon enough, Müller had the graveyard count for a Tasigur, the Golden Fang, and started to really pressure Finkel. That's when Finkel instituted Plan B: Attack with Noble Hierarch. The scores were 12-8 in Müller's favor, and on the face of things, the race didn't seem favorable, but if I trust in one thing, I trust in Finkel's ability to maximize the winning angle.

He resolved two staggered Distortion Strikes over a series of turns, and hoped that his Become Immense would finish things off. But Müller had enough Path to Exile, and enough Spirit tokens to block blockable things, and remove the unblockable ones. Answers #3 and #4.

Haven't thwarted Finkel's attacks on each angle, Müller was easily able to take the first game.

"This is the third time I've played against this deck today." Müller said. He sounded a bit harried by the match-up, but he was sitting in the 6-1 bracket.

"Well, I guess you have to be doing reasonably well," was Finkel's reply. Müller was so far 1-1 against the deck—his only loss was also to Infect.

In the second game, both players had to mulligan, but both kept on six cards. Müller, wisely not keeping a hand without first-turn removal, took six damage to play Overgrown Tomb and Dismember on Finkel's first-turn Glistener Elf. Answer #1. Finkel also had an Inkmoth Nexus as back-up, but right on time Müller drew Lingering Souls. Answer #2.

...Müller's deck in this match-up was all about the right answers.

Many have called that card the bane of Infect. But Finkel had the Distortion Strike to sail right past any blockers, even flying ones, but again Müller had the answer with a Tectonic Edge. Answer #3.

Müller seemed to have the right answers at the right times. Now that Finkel was down, it was time for Müller to start kicking. Liliana of the Veil starting demanding Cruel Edicts, and once there was nothing left to kill, he went after Finkel's hand.

When there was nothing left to get, Müller starting swinging in, and though Finkel struggled to stay in it, even champions know when to pack it in.

Finkel 0 - Müller 2

The Danish youngster Martin Müller is on course for another strong Pro Tour appearance, ending the day at 7-1.

Jon Finkel - Pro Tour Fate Reforged

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Martin Müller - Pro Tour Fate Reforged

Download Arena Decklist

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