Round 10 Feature Match: Illusions of Defeat

Posted in Event Coverage on July 29, 2006

By Doug Beyer

Senior creative designer on Magic's creative team and lover of writing and worldbuilding. Doug blogs about Magic flavor and story at

Billy Moreno vs. Ben Zoz

Nebraskan Ben Zoz is on an 8-0-1 run at US Nationals. His Coldsnap draft deck is an Illusion-packed evasion-fest, sporting five Krovikan Mists and a Phobian Phantasm for the illusionary beatdown, and a not-to-be-forgotten pair of Blizzard Specters and other evasive men.

Moreno, left, and Zoz drafted very different decks.

In his way is Billy Moreno, the Austin-Texas-by-way-of-New-York contender who's at 7-2 right now. Moreno wields a green-red-black concoction full of XXL ground-pounders such as Aurochs Herds and Deepfire Elemental, with a set of Martyr of Ashes working overtime to clear the way.

Game 1

Moreno rolled a pair of brand-new shiny purple dice he bought from the Wizards retail booth, and won the roll. He led out with a Boreal Centaur. Zoz had Krovikan Mist to start plinking back. Moreno made Martyr of Ashes with mana up, but the Mist sailed steadily over the top.

When Zoz tapped out for Zombie Musher, Moreno knew the Musher could get in the way of his earthborn fatties, so he swung in with both the Martyr and the Centaur hoping for some creature combat.

Zoz: "How many cards do you have?"
Moreno: "Six."
Zoz: "No blocks."

Zoz took the damage, but on his turn aimed a Deathmark at the efficient Centaur. Zoz had not played a snow-covered land, so in response, Moreno activated Martyr, revealing Surging Flame, Deepfire Elemental and another red card, killing the Musher. Zoz dropped a Snow-Covered Swamp morosely once the stack cleared, but at least Moreno's board was clear too. Krovikan Mist continued its march to lethal damage one ping at a time.

Zoz followed up with a Disciple of Tevesh Szat, which promptly ate Moreno's Surging Flame, with no love on the ripple for the remaining Mist.

Zoz went into illusion overdrive with Phobian Phantasm and then a second Krovikan Mist the next turn, crashing into Moreno's life total while a meek Boreal Druid watched them sail overhead. Moreno made a race of it with a hasted Thermopod, but even a Resize in hand couldn't add up to a victory for Moreno.

Moreno 0 - Zoz 1

Game 2

Moreno started with a mulligan on the play, and then flatly declared a mulligan to five. Zoz kept, proving, of course, that Hymn to Tourach is overcosted at .

Moreno opened with good mana in Tresserhorn Sinks and three basic lands in his colors, but his turn-four Simian Brawler met Flashfreeze. Zoz got the illusion party started and began plinking away with another early Krovikan Mist.

Moreno only had Martyr of Spores, which one swing later saw the business end of Zoz's Disciple of Tevesh Szat while Moreno tapped out for Thermopod. The Thermopod came down with no haste, and just felt slow as Zoz made another Krovikan Mist and swung for 2. Moreno crashed in with the Thermopod, and tried for Ohran Yeti, but Zoz used Disciple of Tevesh Szat's second ability to blow it away.

Zoz untapped into a third Krovikan Mist and swung for 6. Facing 9 points of flying damage next turn on depleted resources, Moreno's answer was to scoop them up.

Moreno 0 - Zoz 2

Zoz de-sleeved his Flashfreeze, improving to 9-0-1 on the tournament. Moreno fell to 7-3.

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