by Randy Buehler
Day 2 began with Alex Shvartsman on top and it end the same way. However, in between Shvartsman ran out to a nice lead, and then dropped is last two matches to create a huge logjam at the top. Noah Boeken and Dave Price are now tied with him at 7-2 with Ben Rubin and Jon Finkel both hanging out just one match back.
The first round on Day 2 was the last round of BYOB. The story of the format was definitely mono-red. Seven of the 16 competitors ran some version of it and both 3-0 players - Dave Price and Alex Shvartsman - ran it. Interesting, they differed in the details significantly. Price ran Tempest, Legacy, and Alliances so he could use 16 total land destruction effects whereas Shvartsman ran a much more aggressive Tempest, Visions, Destiny strategy with Fireblasts and Lava Hounds. Ironically, it was Shvartsman, not Price, who ran the style popularize as "Deadguy Red." Still, the King of Beatdown clearly knew what he was doing with his Ancient Red deck.
The rest of Day 2 consisted of three rounds of Solomon Draft. Mark Rosewater put together three different, unique card pools for those rounds. One was all gold cards, the next was all legends, and the last was all color-matters stuff. Gary Wise began to erase the memories of his miserable 2-13 performance in last year's Invitational by putting up a 3-0 record in Solomon Draft. Noah Boeken pulled into a tie for first with a 3-0 of his own. Ben Rubin also 3-0ed the format, leaving himself right in the thick of things. On the other side of the coin, Kai Budde dropped his first two matches to fall to 0-8 before finally winning a match. Most of the players here car more about not finishing last than they do about winning it all. Budde has his work cut out for him tomorrow if he wants to avoid that ignominy. Defending champion Chris Pikula has some ignominy all his own as he was the only person to go winless in Solomon draft and his career mark in Solomon during the Invitational is now 0-10. 0-10!
Tomorrow starts out with the most anticipated format of the weekend: the Auction of Champions. There has been a lot of speculation about this super-cool format tomorrow morning in front of an audience of Grand Prix players it's finally time to see what's going to happen.