Just your standard, everyday, nerdy guy.

Comments: 4484 • Responses: 46  • Date: 

Jonnymagic002112 karma

Hi people, I'm Jon Finkel. I went out uneventfully with a girl a couple weeks ago and we never spoke again. Then she posts about how she cant believe I didn't warn her I was an ex magic world champion, and the internet had issues with that. Somehow, I'm the top IAMA request on reddit, so here I am. Ask me Anything.

gunslingers1391 karma

Did you tap it or untap it?

Jonnymagic002121 karma

Vigilance - there was no tapping or untapping

asmodeanreborn428 karma

Good for you to show up here. Even better that you haven't been completely trashing her, kind of shows class from your side that you weren't shown yourself.

Also, what's the most intense game of magic you've played? Finals in one of the big tournaments? For me it was when I had to face Olle Råde (not sure you know who it is) in a Booster Draft quarter finals, and at the time (mid or late 90's), he was a big name. I got lucky as he pulled like two lands total before I wiped him out. It was only intense because I knew he was a well-known player, really... I bragged to my friends that I had managed to beat Mr. Råde, and promply got owned in the semis and third place round.

Jonnymagic00618 karma

Hands down it was me vs Bob in the finals of Worlds00 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DECaN66tm0k http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuQpDYtztXQ

Bob's a great player, a great friend, and we were playing nearly identical decks. He made a small misplay which let me squeak out game 1, then he went up 2-1, then I managed to pull off a 3-2 victory, so I ended up as World Champion with Bob as Player of the Year.

I'm still bitter about Dark Confidant being so much better than Shadowmage Infiltrator tho

kbilly427 karma

How many girls have asked you out since this all exploded? I noticed Felicia Day in your twitter, did she say something to you?

Jonnymagic00885 karma

If you include twitter messages from other continents saying 'Id date you', then a lot.

As for Felicia Day, it appears she made a tweet or two about it, but I dont really know much about her, except that she seems like a lovely woman who is apparently loved by gamers

man0man421 karma

So, in retrospect, did she act odd on these dates? Did she tell you she was a blogger for Gawker and was farming for content?

Jonnymagic00819 karma

I dont think she was farming for content. It was just one of those things where the conversation isnt really flowing, you have to keep trying to think of things to say, etc.

Scarker416 karma

What was your first reaction upon reading her post about you?

Jonnymagic001286 karma

I felt a little, I dunno, violated. Even though the post itself didnt make me look bad at all(at least I didnt think). Still, its sort of like someone publishing emails you wrote to your girlfriend, or posting part of your diary - it just feels wrong

odinsbane299 karma

Did she tell you about the blog post, or did you hear about it through other sources?

Jonnymagic00776 karma

I got home from work yesterday and there were about 50 emails from my friends linking to it, with of course the prerequisite mockery

etherealclarity297 karma

Not a question, just want to say that nerdy guys are hot and I wish you better luck in the future.

That is all.

edit: Better luck with dating. It seems your luck in other arenas is already quite good :)

Jonnymagic00325 karma

Well thanks

whitepepsi894 karma

Has she contacted you since this whole story exploded?

Jonnymagic001392 karma


Xanthon692 karma

Are you planning to contact her then?

Jonnymagic001653 karma


porpoise921888 karma

In game one of your finals match vs Bob Maher in Worlds '00, could you explain what went through your head when Maher cast his Crumbling Sanctuary BEFORE attacking with his Phyrexian Processor token, clearly one of the greatest Professional Magic blunders of all time?

Jonnymagic00956 karma

I was excited because I knew it gave me a potential path to victory. I think historically one of my greatest strengths was playing optimally when I have very little chance of winning rather than giving up/just doing the autopilot plays. When your opponent does something that moves your win % from 0% to 20%, it's definitely a big deal.

Jonnymagic00778 karma

OK everybody. I thank you for all the questions, but that's all I can do for now. I have a Pro Tour to prepare for, and I don't want to embarrass myself in front of my 94 year old grandpa(who still plays tennis!)

Jonnymagic00629 karma

Im trying to reply but getting status 502 errors over and over. laikaislost -Uneventfully. She seemed like a nice, nerdy girl so I gave it a second shot. Also uneventful. it goes the other way too - Maybe :) I'm always open to meeting cute, nerdy girls in New York.

OilGuy13576 karma

Are you upset that she revealed your identity in the article, or do you think that ultimately this is going to work out for you with the great publicity?

Jonnymagic001296 karma

It's nice to know the internet has my back, so in total it looks like it was a net positive, though I still feel oddly creeped out by it.

Jonnymagic00539 karma

Some of both. I think it was uncool to do, but it certainly hasnt negatively impacted my life in any way, and the outpouring of support has been really nice

Sormaus551 karma

I know a lot of guys who transition in between competitive Magic and poker. In your mind, what are the similarities/disparities?

Jonnymagic002029 karma

I think the biggest thing is the deep seeded emotional understanding that the right play is the right play regardless of outcomes. The ability to make a decision 5 straight times, lose 5 times because of it, and still make it the 6th time if it's the right play. Magic players have been developing that since their teens, and its just so applicable to poker, gambling, and life in general.

I read a cracked article about online poker where they talked about it making you "immune to bad luck". You just take the bad beats in every area of your life in stride and move on.

clifwith1f549 karma

Hey, Jon!

Did Gizmodo contact you at all about disclosing your name? Does it bother you that a nobody blogger tried to make fun of you for being awesome and having a hobby?

Jonnymagic00655 karma

Nope, although it looks like one of their editors just sent me an email 15 minutes ago, but i havent really had time to sift through all my emails. This is already cutting into valuable PT Philly test time - which is the initial reason I took off work today

themandotcom547 karma

Magic player here: What was your favorite deck of all time, and who is your favorite deck designer of all time?

Jonnymagic001075 karma

My favorite deck of all time(obviously it'd have to be one I played) was my PT Chicago 97 deck, which was 4 color Prison. I lost in the semis to a deck I'd beat twice in the swiss but that deck was so good and so well tuned. My only blue cards were 4 counter spell(no arcane denial here) and I had one of the first effective transformative sideboards(ehrnams and wildfires). Sadly right after that they printed Wasteland which basically made the deck unplayable. A close second was my Worlds 00 tinker deck.

I actually dont really have a 'favorite deck designer' - so many of my good friends were so good at building decks

minghua241 karma

My favorite deck of all time(obviously it'd have to be one I played) was my PT Chicago 97 deck, which was 4 color Prison.

If you, like me, wonder what the deck looks like, here is the decklist.

Reproduced below:


  • 4 Tundra
  • 3 Savannah
  • 2 Plateau
  • 2 Undiscovered Paradise
  • 1 Volcanic Island
  • 1 Flood Plains
  • 4 Mishra's Factory
  • 4 Sky Diamond
  • 3 Marble Diamond
  • 4 Tithe
  • 2 Swords to Plowshares
  • 2 Gerrard's Wisdom
  • 3 Wrath of God
  • 4 Icy Manipulator
  • 4 Counterspell
  • 3 Armageddon
  • 3 Aura of Silence
  • 1 Pyroclasm
  • 2 Sylvan Library
  • 2 Gaea's Blessing
  • 3 Winter Orb
  • 3 Serrated Arrows


  • 3 Ernham Djinn
  • 3 Wildfire Emissary
  • 2 Gaea's Blessing
  • 2 Gerrard's Wisdom
  • 1 Aura of Silence
  • 2 Pyroblast
  • 1 Red Elemental Blast
  • 1 Hurkyl's Recall
  • 1 Disenchant

Edit: The decklist in the link is slightly wrong according to Jon himself, I corrected it in my reproduction. Also, typos.

Jonnymagic00417 karma

The list is slightly wrong, there were 4 sky diamond and 3 marble diamonds for sure - I had to maximize the white producing lands for tithe

DownAndOutInLondon463 karma

Do you actually care about the Gizmodo article and huge overreaction to it?

Articles about the drama have appeared in Forbes and The Examiner. Have you had any unusual interview questions from journalists?

Jonnymagic001043 karma

I think it's kind of funny. I mean really the article coulda been a lot worse. I think I'm unpale (for me at least) after a summer of riding my bike and playing basketball, and I dont know if I've ever worn a 'hedge fund uniform' but there are worse things than "He was tall and thin and I cant believe he didnt tell me about this game he used to be really good at"

Jonnymagic00243 karma

I think there are a couple in my twitter feed but I havent really gotten to them. Tried to reply to some earlier today, may go back and do more later

PalermoJohn455 karma

What's this all about?

I later found out that he infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates with at least two other people I sort of know, including one of my co-workers… Also, for all you world famous nerds out there: Don’t go after two Gawker Media employees and not expect to have a post written about you. We live for this kind of stuff.


Jonnymagic00940 karma

Maybe 3 or 4 months ago a different girl who works at one of gawkers other sites sent me a message on OK Cupid, we went out twice. They were better dates but after the second one with her we parted ways and never contacted each other. But she didnt post about it on the internet

whitepepsi404 karma

Also whats the deal with the jeffrey dahmer live thing?

Jonnymagic00642 karma

It was a local NYC fringe show that looked kinda interesting and was playing at the right time so I figured why not check it out. For the record I think it was a great concept with so-so execution. Polished up(remember, we're talking off off broadway here) it could be excellent, and it made me want to check out more things by the creator/star.

easygenius1266 karma

Execution is critical when it comes to Dahmer theater.

Jonnymagic00538 karma

This is just about perfect. Easy genius even.

carrotpoke339 karma

Hey, there's an MtG world tournament. It's in my bedroom. On my bed.

It's sex.

Okay, okay... what keeps you interested in Magic all these years, and has it become a career/job, or do you work a normal job on the side?

Jonnymagic00436 karma

What keeps me interested is that it's a great game, but I believe the last year it was a majority of my income was 1998(maybe 2000? - not sure what my other earnings wer ethat year). It is one of the defining influences in my life, I love it and Ive made countless awesome friends - what's not to love. I actually took a few years off, then when I got inducted to the Hall of Fame in 05, Wizards sent me a bunch of boxes - I drafted with them and got back involved.

For a job, most of my life Ive gambled for a living, and these days Im also a partner in a startup hedge fund, landscape capital

[deleted]151 karma

Thanks for the AMA - is there any link between the MtG and/or the gambling, and the hedge fund?

Jonnymagic00343 karma

Yeah, it's a pretty natural progression really. Theyre all advantage games that require logical thinking, discipline, and a willingness to take risks

Points_To_You336 karma

Do you think she was just mad that you were/are a bigger deal on the internet than what she perceived herself to be?

He seemed normal. I gave him my name. "Google away," I said. Then dinner was ready, and I signed off without remembering to do the same.

This line seems to imply that she expected you to be impressed by her internet rep, but instead your accomplishments vastly overshadowed anything she has done.

Jonnymagic00355 karma

Yah. I did like the article I read that she wrote tho.

GreyDeuteronomy280 karma

As a non-Magic player (but I have dabbled in trading card games in my youth), I'm curious: What exactly makes you the best player in the world? Do you just have better cards than anyone else? Are there tactics that only you seem to use well? Why can't someone with your deck and a bit of experience knock you off your throne?

Jonnymagic00660 karma

The simple answer is I don't know. In the world of magic, the difference between good and great is that great wins 5-10% more of their matches, or maybe one per tournament. When I was induced to the Hall of Fame in 05, I had a Pro Tour win % of 61 or 62%, which included a couple years when I was in decline. My best season(98) I had a match win % in the low 70s. On any given day anybody can beat anybody else. In the long run, the best players will just win a little bit more

foodeater184263 karma

Are you a hedge fund manager? How did you get into that?

Jonnymagic00717 karma

We're more of a shrubbery fund. There are 5 of us partners and 2 employees. Its a pretty natural progression from advantage gambling(or gaming) though.

malechite257 karma

What was you all time favorite play that made your opponent go "WTF!?" and made you go "OMG, I cant believe I was able to make it play out like that!"

Jonnymagic00913 karma

At Worlds 2000 when I was 9-0(I think) I was playing against another player(himself a world champion) in the draft section. We had this odd semi standoff situation which included a wandering eye in play, so both our hands were revealed. On his last turn before being decked, the card he drew actually made it possible for him to win(but not in an obvious way) and I just kinda shrugged my shoulders and acted like I had just won and he conceded right there.

adorabledork234 karma

So is there a line for girls who want to date you?

I would totally get in that line. Just sayin'.

Jonnymagic00512 karma

I really should make this line happen, but it's a little overwhelming, and I have this distance criteria of: "Can I bike to your apartment?"

foebot226 karma

What has your general experience on OkCupid been like? Do you come across a lot of women like Bereznak (those who are dismissive once they find out about your mtg status)?

Also, how was the Dahmer show? :)

Jonnymagic00730 karma

Never had anyone be dismissive about it(at least to my face). Mostly I worry about trying not to sound pompous - "Well, back in 2000 I was kinda a big deal"

Frankly most people realize being world champion at anything is pretty damned impressive(if I do say so myself)

one_armed_man208 karma

Since I imagine that the whole date thing will dominate the questions.

How/when did you start playing Magic?

Jonnymagic00345 karma

I started during antiquities and a little store called Fun and Games in Woking, Surrey, UK owned by this great guy named Paul. I was 15 at the time and I'd always been interested in role playing games but never really played, walked into this game store, saw people playing magic, and the rest, as they say is history. I spent an absurd # of hours there when I was in high school - yes, my grades suffered from 'magicitis'

ImAFriendlyGuy187 karma

How many nerdy, hot, Magic playing girls have contacted you for a date since this all went down?

Jonnymagic00165 karma

Not nearly enough who live in New York :)

Actually I have no idea. There are a lot of tweets at me and it's all I can do to answer these questions

fate3170 karma

Did you google her before the date?

Jonnymagic00416 karma

Yeah. She had a pretty good, heartfelt article about her dad and Ayn Rand. One of the main reasons I decided to go on a 2nd date with her after all

Nehle159 karma

How much money have you spent on magic cards over the years?

Jonnymagic00406 karma

No idea, but far less than I've won thankfully.

sweetgreggo138 karma

Did she tell you she was a blogger? Did she hint maybe she would post about the date?

Jonnymagic00225 karma

Yes and No.

m00tzman90 karma

Looking back on the last, say, 5 years of Magic: The Gathering; What do you think were the high points and the low points of a franchise that has clearly been growing in the past couple of years.

Jonnymagic00179 karma

Sadly for the last 5 years I've been mostly disconnected from the magic scene, but one great trend has been the rise of the Japanese magic players. It's very very impressive.

Jonnymagic0080 karma

Reddit giving me 502 errors again when I try to reply :(

laikaislost72 karma

After all this time, do you still enjoy playing MtG?

Jonnymagic00127 karma

Yes. It is an amazing game,

[deleted]68 karma


Jonnymagic0089 karma

Im not sold on them. I think theyre awkward for drafting, and I dont really like placeholder card concept, but I havent played with them, and Wizards has proven me wrong before

Cogwork45 karma

Hey Jon, have you seen this article? http://www.kotaku.com.au/2011/08/alyssa-bereznak-just-reminded-us-that-women-can-be-predators-online-too/

She seems like a much better deal.

Jonnymagic0088 karma

And Australian too! But sadly located in Australia, which makes for difficult biking

firefawkes2342 karma

Coming from a new Magic player...what got you hooked on it?

Jonnymagic0060 karma

Probably the same things that got you hooked. It's a great game, it's intellectually stimulating, and it's super competitive. Richard Garfield did an amazing job and the rest of WoTC(I'd name names but there are too many and inevitably I'd miss one) have done a great job of carrying the torch.

GuffEnough37 karma

Never mind I guess you've already been confirmed true by the mods. How does it feel to know that pretty much the entirety of reddit had your back after that lame article?

EDIT: Wow I guess I wrote 'twitter' instead of 'reddit' originally, please forgive me reddit overlords.

Jonnymagic0087 karma

It's pretty nice. Apparently way more people know who I am and like me than I'd ever thought.

Gravegawd25 karma

So isn't a tournament coming up in September and will you be there?

Jonnymagic0060 karma

Yup. It's right on the other side of Jersey, and it's where my Dad is originally from. My grandfather has been emailing me for months because he's excited to finally see a magic tournament, tho sadly it's years past my prime. Next year this time I'll probably be at Burning Man instead, but I couldnt miss out on PT Philly.

botena21 karma

What does internet godhood feel like?

Jonnymagic0077 karma