Draft 1: Zvi Mowshowitz

Posted in Event Coverage on May 3, 2002

By Randy Buehler

And all the drafters say
I'm pretty fly for a white guy

That's what the back of Zvi Mowsowitz's shirt said. The front had a picture of Teroh's Faithful with a circle around the white mana symbol in the upper right hand corner and the words "Hint, Hint." Scott Johns was wearing the same shirt and both are gambling that no one else at the Pro Tour will want to fight them for the format's worst color. By advertising their color preference ahead of time, they're surrendering a lot of flexibility and opening themselves up to abuse by anyone who wants to take advantage of the free information. But at the same time it just might work.

Zvi's first pack had a fair number of good cards and the right pick probably really was whichever one was in the color you prefer to draft. He took Second Thoughts over Chainflinger, Afflict, Dwarven Strike Force, and Springing Tiger. His second pack wasn't exactly a winner – he wound up with Otarian Juggernaut (over Refresh, Elephant Ambush, and Dirty Wererat). After that things started looking up. Resilient Wanderer and Second Thoughts were each still in his third pack (he took the Wanderer). And when he got his fourth pack he greedily slapped a second Resilient Wanderer onto his growing pile of cards.

The real hook-up never came, though, because Peter Szigeti cut him off. Before seeing where he was sitting at the table, Szigeti confided in me "I want to sit next to Zvi so bad ... I'll take one for the team." Instead it was Adam Fischer who wound up feeding Zvi and "PTR" was three seats away. Szigeti made a pretty smart play once he realized his position. Figuring that everyone else at the table would follow along with Zvi's plan, Szigeti decided to be the other white mage. That put him in even better position than Zvi because he'd get first crack at the white from five packs (2 out of 3 times) while Zvi only got the first look at 3. Szigeti took first pick Mystic Zealot and never looked back. He did in fact wind up with better white cards than Zvi from the first pack of Odyssey.

Zvi got a little lucky in the second pack of Odyssey, though. Julien Colomb opened up Pianna, Nomad Captain right next to PTR, but it got passed in the opposite direction, all the way around the table to Zvi. Not a bad 5th pick, eh? Here were Zvi's picks in the second Odyssey pack (in order): Shelter, Shelter, Hallowed Healer, Hallowed Healer, Pianna, Aven Cloudchaser, Shelter, Aven Cloudchaser. Then he got a 3rd Cloudchaser with his 13th pick of the pack.

Torment put PTR back in good position, but there isn't exactly a lot of white in Torment and neither Zvi or PTR fared particularly well.

After the draft I talked to Zvi and he seemed pretty happy he smiled, tapped his shirt, and declared "Mission accomplished!" He did complain that no one passed him any color to go with white and so he predicted only a 3-1 record for himself because "white can't do it alone." Zvi was pretty excited about the prospects of building an aggressive red-white deck when he got passed 9th pick Dwarven Strike Force, followed by a Reckless Charge, late in the first pack. But he never got any more red. "Just give me two Crackling Clubs and I'm a happy man," but he never saw any worthy red at all. He picked up a late Sickening Dreams in Torment and wound up splashing 3 mountains and 3 swamps for those 3 non-white cards.

Zvi's basic plan did indeed seem to help him this time, but it's a long Pro Tour and Zvi needs to have 4 good drafts to be happy with his overall performance. Final judgment on this draft gambit should be reserved until late Saturday.

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