Recently at Nationals, Jon Finkel -the top money finisher of all time – was competing for his last opportunity to play at Worlds this year and remain on the gravy train. His long-time friend and playing partner Steve OMS and Jon were involved in a little controversy before the tournament came to a close, both needing to earn a top three to guarantee a spot at Worlds.
After lying to his opponent Steve, a portion of the Magic community seems to have turned its back on the All-American Finkel. His recent straying from the, game complete with lackluster performances throughout this past year (as well as Kai Budde dominance of the tournament scene and possession of Jon’s former title of”best ever”) has led players to forget about one of the game’s premier players.
To this I say that you’re all full of crap.
I would point out that Jon got a top 16 at Nationals in the clutch and may have earned a berth at Worlds based off of rating, potentially snagging enough pro points to put him back on the tour. But anyone willing to say what happened with Steve OMS was in any way Jon’s fault is severely misguided.
Let’s not forget both Jon and Steve needed to 3-0 their draft table in order to top 8 and play for one of the World’s spots. Let’s not forget that both players were playing for the same amount of cash payouts based on performance. If Jon won the match, he would probably make more money, and vice versa. Let’s not forget that both are established pros and have been in this game for a long time.
Now what was Steve trying to do? Steve wanted all the information on Jon’s deck so that he could get so he might have an advantage against him when they played their match. Some might question that this is an immoral decision on Steve’s part to blatantly scout his”best friend” – but Steve did not break any rules and was well within the limits of the game to do so.
What did Jon do? Jon lied to Steve about what the white rare was that he drafted.
Jon didn’t break any game rules. People are foolishly making the assumptions that this is a vicious act. It’s the same thing that Steve OMS was doing! Steve OMS wanted an advantage over Jon for their match. In turn, Jon wanted an advantage as well and turned Steve’s blatant attempt at scouting to his advantage by not revealing he drafted a Kirtar’s Wrath, a card capable of devastating a draft deck game one if players aren’t prepared for it. And if they don’t know about it? They certainly aren’t going to be prepared for it.
If Steve hadn’t looked for an advantage over Jon, then Jon wouldn’t have capitalized and turned the tables on Steve. Steve made the immoral choice to shamelessly scout his friend’s deck in a last-ditch effort to win more money and stay on the gravy train by earning the spot at worlds. Jon made the immoral choice to lie to his friend and in turn gain an advantage himself. Steve OMS was responsible for taking the actions that led to the event. If Steve wants to blame someone for two acts done that were both bad choices, he has to look no further than himself.
And for the part of the community willing to turn it’s back on arguably the best player (and still top money earner), shame on you. Find the facts and don’t just swallow what the Sideboard and a pissed-off Randy Buehler feed you. Jon Finkel is still an All-American to me and I’m proud of his actions.