There By The Grace of Friedman

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There is no doubt that Ben Friedman wanted to win this match.

The winner of the Round 15 match between Ben Friedman and Ivan Floch would make Top 8 of the Pro Tour in Portland. It was that simple. Floch is no slouch, with 4 GP Top 8 finishes, and Friedman is right behind him with 3. Both clearly wanted to win this match, but Friedman's motives come under increased scrutiny. Why?

Because of this exchange.

Obzedat started attacking, but Floch found Sphinx's Revelation on the top of his deck and cast it for ten the following turn. The game dragged on from here, but the massive number of cards in Floch's hand were too much for Friedman to overcome. Floch eventually found Elspeth, cast it, and passed the turn. Friedman gave him a confused look.

Floch forced air through his lips, "I meant to make soldiers."

Friedman, in a tremendous showing of good sportsmanship, shrugged, "It's fine, just make them."

Elspeth stuck around for a few turns and Friedman eventually died to the swarm of tokens.

Essentially, Friedman allowed his opponent to take back a back-breaking mistake that likely would have cost him the match, or at the very least not allowed him to win as handily.

Floch went on to win the Pro Tour.

Good guy Friedman? Sucker? What would you do in this scenario?

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Jason Alt

Jason Alt is a value trader and writer. He is Quiet Speculation's self-appointed web content archivist and co-captain of the interdepartmental dodgeball team. He enjoys craft microbrews and doing things ironically. You may have seen him at magic events; he wears black t-shirts and has a beard and a backpack so he's pretty easy to spot. You can hear him as co-host on the Brainstorm Brewery podcast or catch his articles on He is also the Community Manager at and writes the odd article there, too. Follow him on Twitter @JasonEAlt unless you don't like having your mind blown.

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Posted in Free, Pro Tour

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10 thoughts on “There By The Grace of Friedman

  1. I guess an alternative “neutral” decision is also to call a judge, that is going to rule that no tokens are in play.

    It’s very kind of Friedman to allow Floch to get his soldiers. But if it’s not at the decisive round of a PT when $40,000 are at stack that a mistake makes a difference, where is it?

    1. lol, i doubt he will see any money from floch. it all boils down to the type of person you are and if you can live with your choices. if freidman is fine living with that decision than so be it, good on him. im not sure i would be able to do the same in an event that size, but then again, it wouldnt feel great to win that way.

    1. Without the soldiers, would Friedman have been able to kill Elspeth the following turn by attacking Elspeth? or Floch had something else to protect Elspeth?

  2. I would have felt terrible, but I wouldn’t have let him make them. We’re all responsible for our own mistakes. I love hearing stories of pros doing stuff like this, but I don’t think I could personally pass up that chance. Part of it is the money and the non-zero effect it would have on my life, but part of it also is that were I to make that mistake I would hold myself accountable for it and not want someone to give me a takeback. So I wouldn’t give it to other people.

  3. I believe the context of this ‘misplay’ by floch was under the gun time wise as they were both trying to hurry before time in rounds, isn’t that correct. Either way it was quite professional by BEN to allow this IMO. My son and I attended the PT and witness like acts a few other times…which lead us both to see these guys are Pros and all want to win, but under the right circumstances not necessary due to an unintended act/action.
    BTW- the Elspeth ben ripped over Huey was epic, the entire event erupted!

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