Quarterfinals: Alex Shvartsman vs. Jens Thoren

Posted in Event Coverage on November 9, 2002

By Josh Bennett

These two have been around the block before. They're well-versed in high-pressure competition, and fully aware of the stakes their playing for. They kept a friendly attitude, but very little was said as they shuffled up for their first game.

Shvartsman had the sort of start he needed, with Shock for a face-down Skirk Commando, some offense from Elvish Warrior, and Leery Fogbeast holding the fort. Thoren came back with Goblin Sledder and Nosy Goblin, but a double-block just saw Shvartsman cycle Primal Boon. Rather than rescue the one receiving two damage, Thoren put them both in the bin.

The Aphetto Dredging in his hand had distracted him. He pulled his three Goblins back, but Shvartsman was already busy with Treespring Lorian. Thoren played out creatures. Shvartsman made Lavamancer's Skill and started to mop up. He did trade his Lorian for two face-down Commandos, but he just replaced it with Krosan Tusker versus Thoren's empty board.

Thoren tapped out for Butcher Orgg, but was behind in the race. Shvartsman swung in again and left him at five. Thoren fortified with Tephraderm. Shvartsman ripped Pinpoint Avalanche and sent the Tephraderm home, trading his Tusker for the Orgg. Thoren held on a turn, but Shvartsman had monsters and he had none.

Shvartsman 1 - Thoren 0

Thoren pulled up his first seven and as soon as he saw them he was reaching for his library. The mull to six was just as bad. Five was as far as he needed to go. He did start with three mana and a Husk. Shvartsman, with many more cards, answered with a morph. Thoren made a morph of his own and swung in. Shvartsman blocked, and Thoren ate his morph, effectively trading his Valesk for Shvartsman's Lorian.

Shvartsman, holding six land and a Pinpoint Avalanche played his fourth land and did nothing. Thoren was also short on action. He had Crown of Suspicion for Shvartsman's Goblin Sledder, but lost his Husk to a Shock. He replaced it with a Menacing Ogre.

Shvartsman was not in a bidding mood. He responded to its comes-into-play effect with Pinpoint Avalanche.

"I'll secretly choose zero." - Alex Shvartsman

He finally got something going with Elvish Warrior, despite having ten or so lands. His next draw was a little better. He announced "And now, for MY rares." before dropping Gigapede. Thoren bought time with a Starstorm for three.

But all those lands in Shvartsman's hand were finally doing something. Shvartsman would return the Gigapede, and then run it into some dork Thoren would summon. That game stopped when Thoren tapped out for Butcher Orgg. Right on its tail was Cover of Darkness, naturally naming Orgg. Thoren managed to pull that one out.

Shvartsman 1 - Thoren 1

Both players kept their opening draws. They exchanged a Sledder for a Festering Goblin, then Shvartsman pushed Leery Fogbeast past a face-down Goblin Taskmaster with Shock. Thoren calmed that noise with Screeching Buzzard, and all Shvartsman could manage was Wirewood Herald.

Thoren went one better with Tephraderm. Shvartsman attacked, and naturally Thoren let it by. He had no follow-up. Thoren bashed in and traded his Tephraderm for Leery Fogbeast, Pinpoint Avalanche, and four to the face. He played a pair of mystery creatures. Shvartsman cycled into still more land and held back. Thoren charged, and brought him to eight. The Herald chumped and got an Elvish Warrior, and drew a second one.

Thoren went for the throat. He unmorphed a Skittish Valesk at the end of Shvartsman's turn, won the resulting flip, and dropped Cover of Darkness for Beasts. Shvartsman just stared, then dropped his three extra land on the table and congratulated Thoren on his victory.

Final Result: Jens Thoren defeats Alex Shvartsman 2-1

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