by Randy Buehler
Zvi Mowshowitz and Alex Shvartsman had each been having a bad day as they sat down for the 12th round. After winning his first seven matches and sitting alone in first place, Shvartsman lost four in a row and was a game behind Finkel. Mowshowitz also lost his first two matches in the Auction format to fall into a tie for last place with Kai Budde. He does have the head to head tiebreaker over Budde, but he did not expect to be in this position after two rounds with Mike Long's Pros-Bloom combo deck. Shvartsman also expected to do better with Casey McCarrel's Academy/Tinker/Wildfire deck.
Mowshowitz thought he would beat Bob Maher in round 10, but Maher was playing Loconto's deck and drew the one Ivory Tower in his opening hand. Maher built up to 31 life before Mowshowitz could go off. Zvi managed to use all his lands, all his cards in hand, and all the cards in his library to pull off a Drain for 31. But Maher simply Plowed his own Mihra's Factory, gaining 2 more life and surviving the combo.
Mowshowitz and Shvartsman got to start on fairly even footing - each with 6 cards and Mowshowitz at 19 life with Shvartsman at 20. Zvi used Memory Lapse to slow down Shvartsman's Worn Powerstone early in game 1. He then played Squandered Resources on turn 4 and sacrificed a land on turn 5 to play Cadaverous Bloom. Shvartsman hard-cast a Phyrexian Colossus on his own fifth turn so the pressure was on Zvi to go off as soon as possible. He started with a Prosperity for 10 and then just turned his hand face up, asking "Do I have to go through the motions?" Shvartsman examined his hand, saw another Prosperity, an Infernal Contract, and the Drain Life and started shuffling his cards for game 2.
Zvi started out in great shape in game 2. He played a turn 2 Squandered Resources and then on his fifth turn he drew and cast Natural Balance. That allowed him to play Cadaverous Bloom and Prosperity for 9 while Shvartsman was all tapped out. However, none of those 9 cards allowed him to draw more cards. He floated 9 mana, Natural Balanced to thin his library, played the one Impulse in his hand, and still couldn't find any card drawers. So he burned for 9 and passed the table over to Shvartsman. Needless to say, Shvartsman had a bunch of threats in his hand and cleaned up fairly quickly.
Zvi chose to draw first in game 3 and Shvartsman made him pay. Shvartsman played out Voltaic Key, Grim Monolith, and Academy on his first two turns so he could Confiscate a Swamp on turn 3. Next he Tinkered out Mishra's Helix and mana-locked Mowshowitz before Mowshowitz could put anything into play. Mowshowitz tried to get out of the lock with Bad Rivers, but Shvartsman pointed out that his Key meant he could untap the Helix and tap whatever new lands Zvi fetched out of his deck. "Stupid Key - I can't do it," complained Mowshowitz as he conceded.
Budde won his match so Mowshowitz is now alone in last with just three rounds to go. On the bright side, the renowned deckbuilder did go 3-0 in Type 1 last year so it's not over yet. Budde and Long are just one game ahead of him. Shvartsman remains one game out of first as the race for the Top Two comes down to Type 1.