Pro Tour-Los Angeles 2000
In a matchup pitting two virtual unknowns against one another for $25000, Monterey, California's Trevor Blackwell defeated Seattle's Chris Benafel three games to one to become the Pro Tour Los Angeles 2000 Champion.
Playing in his first Pro Tour in a year, Blackwell showed remarkable poise after a shaky start in his Quarterfinal match against Andy Nishioka. After defeating three-time top 8 finisher Kurt Burgner in the Semis, Blackwell, piloting a W/R deck featuring three rebel Gliders and a Ramosian Lieutenant, outplayed his seventeen-year-old opponent by using cards like Lithophage, Renounce and Cho-Manno's Blessing to optimal effect.
The first game saw the Lithophage deal most of the damage when the Blessing forbade Benafel's Black creatures from blocking the 7/7. When Benafel was finally forced to Arrest the bug, Blackwell responded by Renouncing himself to 17 life, allowing him time to cast Shock Troops and Nightwind Glider, which eventually finished off the W/B Benafel.
Game Two saw Benafel even the match up at one game apiece when the powerful Cateran Enforcer went to work. Blackwell's deck, lacking in creature kill, wasn't able to deal with the unblockable beast.
In game three, it was Blackwell, on the offensive with a first turn Kris Mage, who was able to gain the advantage when he Blessed the Mage with protection from White, choosing to do so only after Benafel had played a one toughness Nightwind Glider. Soon, control had been established and Blackwell's Glider was able to fly in for the kill.
In the finale, it was Blackwell, getting off to a fast start, who quickly dominated the tale with a number of small creatures. Benafel was only able to cast his first spell, the Enforcer, on turn five, but by then it was too late. Counting out the number of damage he could do just to make sure his math was right a number of times, Blackwell attacked with 6 power in creatures, cast Flaming Sword on one and activated his Kris Mage to deal the final point of damage.
Blackwell now looks forward to a year of PT qualification and his participation in the 2001 Magic Invitational. His initial plans for his newfound wealth include travelling to other Pro Tour stops and purchasing a new car. Will Blackwell, whose previous best finish in five PT stops is 17th at PTChicago 1, be able to follow up on his performance? Only time will tell.