Draft 1: Zvi Mowshowitz

Posted in Event Coverage

By Randy Buehler

Before the masters began, Ben Ronaldson told me I should watch Zvi Mowshowitz draft. Whereas most pros seem to think Odyssey draft is all about blue-black decks that can cast the same Scrivener over and over again to recurse AEther Burst, Repel, and Ghastly Demises; Zvi thinks that red-green beatdown is the best deck. He and long-time teammate Scott Johns believe in their plan so much that they're willing to use early picks on cards like Ember Beast and even Mad Dog. One potential problem for Zvi is that he wound up being fed by Itaru Ishida, who drafted a very aggressive red-green deck in the Gateway and 3-0ed with it to earn his seat with the big boys.

Zvi took Elephant Ambush with his first pick, passing a Hallowed Healer to Matt Vienneau. Vienneau took another Hallowed Healer out of his own first pack so he was set in white right from the beginning. Ishida first picked a Wild Mongrel and the fight was on. Zvi eyed the Mad Dog when Ishida passed him that pack, but drafted Sylvan Might and passed on Aven Windreader. Zvi shook his head when he got pack number three, very unhappy. It didn't have a good green card or a good red card so he took an AEther Burst out of the system, perhaps thinking that more of them and more Aven Windreaders might come by. His fourth pick was also disappointing - Skyshooter. The interesting thing about drafting trashy beatdown decks, though, is that you keep getting useful cards deep into the draft. Reckless Charge, Refresh, Nantuko Mentor, and Blazing Salvo are perfectly reasonable cards and then 10th pick mad Dog is exactly the sort of pick that makes trashy beatdown decks work - it goes straight in and Zvi is happy to have it all it took to get was a 10th pick.

Things started falling into place in the second pack. Wild Mongrel was a fine first pick and then Flame Burst got passed to him. Leaf Dancer third is a testament to how good green is - it was both the only green card left and a good card at a table that seemed like it had at least 5 green drafters. When Zvi got his fourth pack of the set, he greedily shuffled a Firebolt to the front. It was obvious that he felt he deserved to get passed a good card since things had gone so badly in the first pack. Acceptable Losses and Muscle Burst came next and a 7th pick Lithatog made him visibly excited. Another 10th pick Mad Dog had to make Zvi feel like his plan was working out just the way he drew it up.

Pack 3 was amazing for Zvi. He busted a great green card - Overrun - and then when the green once again dried up quickly he got passed red card after red card after red card. Ember Beast . . . Minotaur Explorer . . . Ember Beast . . . Reckless Charge . . . 8th pick Minotaur Explorer. Then Chatter of the Squirrel -- a card he and Scott Johns swear is much better than everyone else thinks - came back to him form his opening pack.

In the end Zvi got exactly the red-green beatdown deck he wanted. He's got a very aggressive mana curve, some burn, and some creature enhancers. The next two rounds would determine if red-green really is the right deck to draft and play.

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