|Born||May 18th, 1978|
|Residence||New York City, USA|
|Pro Tour debut||1996 World Championships|
|Top Finishes||17 (3 wins)|
|GP top 8s||10 (3 wins)|
|Hall of Fame|
|Player of the Year|
Jon Finkel is a famous American Magic: The Gathering player. Frequently cited as one of the two best players of all time, along with Kai Budde, Finkel has more Pro Tour top eight finishes than any other player to date, and, for a long time, the most career money winnings in professional Magic history. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005 as a member of the inaugural class.
Professional play[edit | edit source]
Early career[edit | edit source]
Finkel was first introduced to Magic shortly after the game was released while living in Woking in Surrey, England. In 1995, his family moved back to New York, and Finkel became acquainted with brothers Steven and Daniel O'Mahoney-Schwartz; the three of them would later be known as Team Antarctica.
At the first ever Pro Tour, PT New York 1996, Finkel competed in the Junior Division, where he made the top eight, winning a $1,000 scholarship. He reached a second Junior Division Pro Tour top eight at PT Columbus later that year, and at the 1996 World Championships, he made his senior Pro Tour debut; Finkel finished ninth in the event. During the following season, the 1996–97 Pro Tour season, Finkel finished in the top sixteen three times, but was unable to make it to the single elimination rounds.
His breakout year was the 1997–98 season. He made it to the Sunday stage for the first time with a third-place finish at Pro Tour Chicago 1997, and followed it up with a win at Grand Prix Rio de Janeiro in early 1998. Then, at Pro Tour New York 1998, a Tempest-Stronghold Booster draft event, Finkel reached his second PT top eight, and subsequently won the whole tournament. This marked the beginning of what has been dubbed "the Era of Finkel". With another third-place finish at the 1998 World Championships, as well as winning the team title as a member of the United States national team, Finkel became the 1997–98 Player of the Year.
The 1998–99 season started equally well for Finkel; he won the first Grand Prix of the season, GP Boston, and finished fifth at the first Pro Tour of the season, PT Chicago 1998, thereby making it to the top eight of his third consecutive Pro Tour. This cemented his claim as "the best Magic player in the world". He finished 45th at the next Pro Tour in Rome, before returning to form with a second-place finish at Pro Tour Los Angeles, where he lost to close friend and teammate Steven O'Mahoney-Schwartz. However, despite posting two more Grand Prix top eights later in the season, he was surpassed in the Player of the Year race by Kai Budde when the latter won the 1999 World Championships.
In the following seasons, Finkel's focus started shifting away from Magic, and he was no longer fully dedicated to the game. Even so, he and his teammates, the "OMS" brothers, finished third at the first Pro Tour of the season, PT Washington, D.C., making him the first player to finish in the top eight of six Pro Tours. He also won the United States National championship that season. Additional Pro Tour top eights eluded Finkel until the 2000 World Championships in Brussels, where he not only claimed his second team World Championship title as the US national champion, but also won the individual event to become the 2000 World Champion. His final match against Bob Maher, Jr. has often been cited as one of the best matches of all time.
In November 2000, Finkel won the Magic Invitational in Sydney, resulting in the creation of Shadowmage Infiltrator. Over the next few seasons, Finkel would put up an additional four Pro Tour top eight finishes, despite very limited preparation for each event. He retired from professional play following the 2004 World Championships after an unsuccessful 2003–04 season.
Comeback[edit | edit source]
The Hall of Fame was introduced in 2005, and Finkel headed the inaugural class, having received 97.1% of the votes, the most of any candidate to date. Although he did not participate in the 2005 World Championship, where the induction took place, his interest in the game got reignited soon thereafter, as Wizards of the Coast sent him a number of boxes following his Hall of Fame induction. Finkel emailed his Magic-playing friends in New York to find out who was interested in drafting; he called Ravnica "a phenomenal block", which was what started getting him back into it. He attended his first Pro Tour since the 2003–04 season at PT Prague 2006, and reunited Team Antarctica for the Team Block Constructed PT in Charleston later that year. In 2007, he teamed up with Josh Ravitz at the Two-Headed Giant Pro Tour in San Diego, where they finished 29th.
In 2008, Finkel returned to past greatness when he won Pro Tour Kuala Lumpur, becoming the first Hall of Famer to win a Pro Tour after induction. Finkel lost only a single match en route to the title, even defeating the player then considered by many to be the best in the world, Guillaume Wafo-Tapa, three times. Despite the victory, Finkel did not maintain a presence on the Pro Tour the following years, only showing up for the occasional event.
After playing Pro Tour Philadelphia 2011, finishing 15th, and the 2011 World Championships, Finkel became the unofficial leader for a new Pro Tour team, later known as The Pantheon, featuring such players as Gabriel Nassif and Jelger Wiegersma; he also teamed up with former rival Kai Budde for the first time. In the very first event with the new team, Pro Tour Dark Ascension 2012, Finkel made it to his thirteenth Pro Tour top eight, finishing third. He would follow up the top eight at the very next Pro Tour, PT Avacyn Restored, where he finished fifth. His performances were sufficient to qualify him for the inaugural Players Championship, later renamed the World Championship, where he finished fourth.
During the next years, Finkel continued playing every Pro Tour as a member of The Pantheon, and maintained an overall very high win percentage; he came close to making the top eight of multiple more Pro Tours, and in 2015, he posted his fifteenth career PT top eight by placing third at Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar. He returned to the Sunday stage later during the same season, when he finished fifth at Pro Tour Shadows over Innistrad. He had initially hinted at retiring from professional play once again after the season, but his success during the 2015–16 season caused him to postpone. In 2018, Finkel and his team, Ultimate Guard, on the back of stellar Pro Tour finishes throughout the season, qualified for the Pro Tour Team Series finals in Las Vegas, where they took down Hareruya Latin to become the champions.
Accomplishments[edit | edit source]
|1997–98||Pro Tour||Chicago||Extended||10–12 October 1997||3|
|1997–98||Grand Prix||Rio de Janeiro||Extended||31 January–February 1, 1998||1|
|1997–98||Pro Tour||New York||Limited||17–19 April 1998||1|
|1997–98||Grand Prix||Zurich||Limited||30–31 May 1998||6|
|1997–98||Nationals||Colombus||Standard and Booster Draft||3–5 July 1998||4|
|1997–98||Worlds||Seattle||Special||12–16 August 1998||3|
|1997–98||Worlds||Seattle||National team||12–16 August 1998||1|
|1998–99||Grand Prix||Boston||Standard||5–6 September 1998||1|
|1998–99||Pro Tour||Chicago||Limited||25–27 September 1998||5|
|1998–99||Pro Tour||Los Angeles||Limited||26–28 February 1999||2|
|1998–99||Grand Prix||Vienna||Extended||13–14 March 1999||3|
|1998–99||Grand Prix||Kansas City||Extended||27–28 March 1999||5|
|1999–00||Pro Tour||Washington, D.C.||Team Limited||3–5 September 1999||3|
|1999–00||Grand Prix||St. Louis||Team Limited||13–14 May 2000||1|
|1999–00||Nationals||Orlando||Special||8–11 June 2000||1|
|1999–00||Grand Prix||Pittsburgh||Team Limited||24–25 June 2000||3|
|1999–00||Worlds||Brussels||Special||2–6 August 2000||1|
|1999–00||Worlds||Brussels||National team||2–6 August 2000||1|
|2000–01||Masters||Chicago||Limited||30 November–1 December 2000||2|
|2000–01||Pro Tour||Chicago||Standard||1–3 December 2000||5|
|2000–01||Pro Tour||Los Angeles||Limited||2–4 February 2001||4|
|2000–01||Masters||Barcelona||Block Constructed||4–6 May 2001||3|
|2002–03||Pro Tour||Chicago||Limited||17–19 January 2003||3|
|2002–03||Pro Tour||Yokohama||Limited||9–11 May 2003||4|
|2002–03||Grand Prix||Amsterdam||Team Limited||7–8 June 2003||2|
|2002–03||Nationals||San Diego||Special||27–29 June 2003||7|
|2003–04||Grand Prix||Washington, D.C.||Team Limited||17–18 April 2004||4|
|2008||Pro Tour||Kuala Lumpur||Limited||15–17 February 2008||1|
|2012||Pro Tour||Honolulu||Standard and Booster Draft||10–12 February 2012||3|
|2012||Pro Tour||Barcelona||Block Constructed and Booster Draft||11–13 May 2012||5|
|2012–13||Players Championship||Indianapolis||Special||29–31 August 2012||4|
|2015–16||Pro Tour||Milwaukee||Standard and Booster Draft||16–18 October 2015||3|
|2015–16||Pro Tour||Madrid||Standard and Booster Draft||22–24 April 2016||5|
|2016–17||Grand Prix||Kyoto||Limited||22–23 July 2017||4|
|2018–19||Pro Tour Team Series||Las Vegas||Team Limited||23 September 2018||1|
→ Source: Wizards.com
Pro Tour Results[edit | edit source]
|1996–97||Los Angeles||Rochester Draft||13||$3,200|
|1996–97||New York||Booster Draft||15||$3,200|
|1997–98||Los Angeles||Block Constructed||23||$1,750|
|1997–98||New York||Booster Draft||1||$25,000|
|1998–99||Los Angeles||Rochester Draft||2||$15,000|
|1998–99||New York||Block Constructed||88|
|1999–00||Washington, D.C.||Team Limited||3||$3,000|
|1999–00||Los Angeles||Booster Draft||251|
|1999–00||New York||Block Constructed||85|
|2000–01||New York||Team Limited||27|
|2000–01||Los Angeles||Rochester Draft||4||$13,000|
|2001–02||New York||Team Limited||80|
|2001–02||San Diego||Rochester Draft||112|
|2003–04||San Diego||Booster Draft||165|
|2003–04||Worlds (San Francisco)||Special||63||$510|
|2007||San Diego||Two-Headed Giant Booster Draft||29||$515|
|2007||Worlds (New York)||Special||139|
|2008||Kuala Lumpur||Booster Draft||1||$40,000|
|2009||Honolulu||Block Constructed and Booster Draft||186|
|2010||San Juan||Block Constructed and Booster Draft||106|
|2011||Philadelphia||Modern and Booster Draft||15||$4,000|
|2011||Worlds (San Francisco)||Special||276|
|2012||Dark Ascension in Honolulu||Standard and Booster Draft||3||$12,500|
|2012||Avacyn Restored in Barcelona||Block Constructed and Booster Draft||5||$10,000|
|2012–13||Return to Ravnica in Seattle||Modern and Booster Draft||22||$2,000|
|2012–13||Gatecrash in Montreal||Standard and Booster Draft||37||$1,500|
|2012–13||Dragon's Maze in San Diego||Block Constructed and Booster Draft||143|
|2013–14||Theros in Dublin||Standard and Booster Draft||26||$1,500|
|2013–14||Born of the Gods in Valencia||Modern and Booster Draft||96|
|2013–14||Journey into Nyx in Atlanta||Block Constructed and Booster Draft||51||$1,000|
|2013–14||Magic 2015 in Portland||Standard and Booster Draft||13||$5,000|
|2014–15||Khans of Tarkir in Honolulu||Standard and Booster Draft||58||$1,000|
|2014–15||Fate Reforged in Washington, D.C.||Modern and Booster Draft||10||$5,000|
|2014–15||Dragons of Tarkir in Brussels||Standard and Booster Draft||138|
|2014–15||Magic Origins in Vancouver||Standard and Booster Draft||293|
|2015–16||Battle for Zendikar in Milwaukee||Standard and Booster Draft||3||$12,500|
|2015–16||Oath of the Gatewatch in Atlanta||Modern and Booster Draft||153|
|2015–16||Shadows over Innistrad in Madrid||Standard and Booster Draft||5||$10,000|
|2015–16||Eldritch Moon in Sydney||Standard and Booster Draft||88|
|2016–17||Kaladesh in Honolulu||Standard and Booster Draft||173|
|2016–17||Aether Revolt in Dublin||Standard and Booster Draft||51||$1,000|
|2016–17||Amonkhet in Nashville||Standard and Booster Draft||252|
|2016–17||Hour of Devastation in Kyoto||Standard and Booster Draft||53||$1,000|
|2017–18||Ixalan in Albuquerque||Standard and Booster Draft||314|
|2017–18||Rivals of Ixalan in Bilbao||Modern and Booster Draft||9||$5,000|
|2017–18||Dominaria in Richmond||Standard and Booster Draft||22||$3,000|
|2017–18||25th Anniversary in Minneapolis||Team Constructed||44||$2,000|
|2018–19||Guilds of Ravnica in Atlanta||Standard and Booster Draft||60||$1,000|
|2018–19||Mythic Championship Cleveland 2019||Standard and Booster Draft||69||$750|
→ Source: Wizards.com
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Jon is the subject of the book Jonny Magic and the Cardshark Kids by David Kushner, published by Random House in August, 2005.
See also[edit | edit source]
[edit | edit source]
- Top 200 All-Time Money Leaders
- Lifetime Pro Tour Top 8s
- Lifetime Grand Prix Top 8s
- List of players by lifetime Pro Points (requires Planeswalker Points login)
References[edit | edit source]
- Patrick Chapin (2008-03-03). "Innovations - The Ten Greatest Magic Players of All Time". StarCityGames. Retrieved on 2016-04-27.
- Noah Davis (2012-09-20). "Do you believe in Magic… the Gathering?". The Verge. Retrieved on 2016-04-27.
- Årets julprofil - Hall of Famer Jon Finkel. SvenskaMagic (2014-12-13). Retrieved on 2016-04-27.
- Mark Rosewater (2004-07-26). "ON TOUR, PART 1". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2016-04-27.
- Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa (2012-06-13). "PV’s Playhouse – Jon Finkel Interview". ChannelFireball. Retrieved on 2016-04-27.
- Jeroen Remie. "Jeroen's Hall of Fame". StarCityGames. Retrieved on 2016-04-27.
- Jon Finkel (2015-05-15). "SHADOWMAGE HIMSELF". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2016-04-27.
- THE MAGIC IS BACK!. Wizards of the Coast.
- Paul Jordan (2015-06-24). "Jon Finkel is a Borderline Magic: the Gathering Hall of Famer". Fetchland. Retrieved on 2016-04-27.
- Jon Finkel (2015-11-04). "Dark Jeskai at Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar *Top 4*". ChannelFireball. Retrieved on 2016-04-27.