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Jon Finkel
Jon Finkel.PNG
Nickname Jonny Magic
Born May 18th, 1978
Residence New York City, USA
Nationality {USA} American
Professional Career
Pro Tour debut 1996 World Championships
Top Finishes 17 (3 wins)
GP top 8s 10 (3 wins)
Hall of Fame
Player of the Year
World Champion
PT Champion

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,[1][2] 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[]

Early career[]

Finkel was first introduced to Magic shortly after the game was released while living in Woking in Surrey, England.[3] 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".[4] 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".[4] 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.[5] 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.[6]

In November 2000, Finkel won the Magic Invitational in Sydney, resulting in the creation of Shadowmage Infiltrator.[7] 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.[5]


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.[5] 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,[8] even defeating the player then considered by many to be the best in the world, Guillaume Wafo-Tapa,[1] 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;[9] 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,[3] but his success during the 2015–16 season caused him to postpone.[10] 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.


Season Event type Location Format Date Rank
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
2017–18 Pro Tour Team Series Las Vegas Team Limited 23 September 2018 1


Pro Tour Results[]

List of the Pro Tour results and winnings of Jon Finkel
Season Pro Tour Format Finish Winnings
1996 Worlds (Seattle) Special 9 $3,200
1996–97 Atlanta Sealed Deck 143
1996–97 Dallas Standard 116
1996–97 Los Angeles Rochester Draft 13 $3,200
1996–97 Paris Block Constructed 194
1996–97 New York Booster Draft 15 $3,200
1996–97 Worlds (Seattle) Special 13 $4,200
1997–98 Chicago Extended 3 $10,000
1997–98 Mainz Rochester Draft 20 $2,050
1997–98 Los Angeles Block Constructed 23 $1,750
1997–98 New York Booster Draft 1 $25,000
1997–98 Worlds (Seattle) Special 3 $10,000
1998–99 Chicago Booster Draft 5 $11,000
1998–99 Rome Extended 45 $630
1998–99 Los Angeles Rochester Draft 2 $15,000
1998–99 New York Block Constructed 88
1998–99 Worlds (Tokyo) Special 10 $4,200
1999–00 Washington, D.C. Team Limited 3 $3,000
1999–00 London Booster Draft 178
1999–00 Chicago Extended 14 $2,920
1999–00 Los Angeles Booster Draft 251
1999–00 New York Block Constructed 85
1999–00 Worlds (Brussels) Special 1 $34,000
2000–01 New York Team Limited 27
2000–01 Chicago Standard 5 $9,000
2000–01 Los Angeles Rochester Draft 4 $13,000
2000–01 Tokyo Block Constructed 162
2000–01 Barcelona Booster Draft 11 $4,800
2000–01 Worlds (Toronto) Special 17 $3,000
2001–02 New York Team Limited 80
2001–02 New Orleans Extended 65
2001–02 San Diego Rochester Draft 112
2001–02 Osaka Block Constructed 248
2001–02 Nice Booster Draft 214
2001–02 Worlds (Sydney) Special 99
2002–03 Boston Team Limited 58
2002–03 Houston Extended 53 $615
2002–03 Chicago Rochester Draft 3 $15,000
2002–03 Venice Block Constructed 132
2002–03 Yokohama Booster Draft 4 $13,000
2002–03 Worlds (Berlin) Special 80
2003–04 Boston Team Limited 52
2003–04 New Orleans Extended 225
2003–04 Amsterdam Rochester Draft 293
2003–04 San Diego Booster Draft 165
2003–04 Seattle Team Limited 68
2003–04 Worlds (San Francisco) Special 63 $510
2006 Prague Booster Draft 301
2006 Charleston Team Constructed 141
2007 San Diego Two-Headed Giant Booster Draft 29 $515
2007 Worlds (New York) Special 139
2008 Kuala Lumpur Booster Draft 1 $40,000
2008 Hollywood Standard 148
2008 Worlds (Memphis) Special 158
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



See also[]

External links[]


  1. a b Patrick Chapin (2008-03-03). "Innovations - The Ten Greatest Magic Players of All Time". StarCityGames. Retrieved on 2016-04-27.
  2. Noah Davis (2012-09-20). "Do you believe in Magic… the Gathering?". The Verge. Retrieved on 2016-04-27.
  3. a b Årets julprofil - Hall of Famer Jon Finkel. SvenskaMagic (2014-12-13). Retrieved on 2016-04-27.
  4. a b Mark Rosewater (2004-07-26). "ON TOUR, PART 1". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2016-04-27.
  5. a b c Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa (2012-06-13). "PV’s Playhouse – Jon Finkel Interview". ChannelFireball. Retrieved on 2016-04-27.
  6. Jeroen Remie. "Jeroen's Hall of Fame". StarCityGames. Retrieved on 2016-04-27.
  7. Jon Finkel (2015-05-15). "SHADOWMAGE HIMSELF". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2016-04-27.
  8. THE MAGIC IS BACK!. Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Paul Jordan (2015-06-24). "Jon Finkel is a Borderline Magic: the Gathering Hall of Famer". Fetchland. Retrieved on 2016-04-27.
  10. Jon Finkel (2015-11-04). "Dark Jeskai at Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar *Top 4*". ChannelFireball. Retrieved on 2016-04-27.