Round 12 Feature Match: Zvi Mowshowitz vs. Royce Chai

Posted in Event Coverage

By Randy Buehler

Royce Chai is one of the best Singaporean players, whose best previous finish was 13th at Worlds '99 - the last time the Pro Tour was in Tokyo. With a 9-2 record and just three rounds left, he found himself right in thick of Top 8 contention, trying to become the first player ever from Asia to make a PT Top 8. His opponent was the inimitable Zvi Mowshowitz, trying to put a third Top 8 onto his own resume. Zvi's "Solution" to the format was to play blue/white with many many protection from red creatures. His teammates Jon Ormerod built the deck despite not even being qualified to play in Tokyo. Chai is indeed running red/black deck but his version also includes both blue (for Lobotomy in the sideboard) and green (for Tranquility and the other Thunderscape Battlemage kicker). Craig Jones beat Zvi in round 10 with a blue/black/red control deck, mostly on the strength of Recoil, which gave him an additional weapon against all Zvi's pro-red creatures. Chai, however, didn't have Recoil and had to rely on just Void (and Keldon Necropolis) for answers to Zvi's "hate." The other interesting thing about Chai's deck is that he runs both red and black Familiars. Those allow for some very explosive draws involving fast Blazing Specters and Lava Zombies.

Zvi played a turn 2 Meddling Mage, naming Nightscape Familiar, and that really slowed Chai down. Chai was forced to Terminate the Mage and then spent his third turn using Terminal Moraine, thus his Familiar didn't come out until turn 4. By then Zvi had Voice of All (set to "red") in play. Zvi played the aggro-control game for a few turns, Repulsing a Specter, Excluding a kicked Thunderscape Battlemage, and Absorbing another one while his Angel kept going in for two. A second Angel, also set to red, put Chai on a very fast clock. He stared helplessly at his useless hand of Urza's Rage, Urza's Rage, and Terminate. Chai tried using Keldon Necropolis to remove those angels, but Zvi saved them both with Repulses and soon they were on to game 2.

Chai sideboarded in Bog Down for game 2 and following up a turn 2 Ravenous Rat with a turn 3 Bog Down that gave Zvi pause. Zvi wound up with two Absorbs and an apprentice in is graveyard before he could play a Meddling Mage naming "Bog Down" in an effort to defend his last two cards. Chai Ghitu Fired away the Mage and Zvi drew the land he needed to play a Voice of All. Zvi played a second Angel (tapping out for it) and both players knew that Chai needed to come up with Void in a hurry. Chai drew once, said done, and then Zvi added Crusading Knight to his army saying "Void for 4 or no?" No.

Zvi might be able to advance to the Top 8 with a pair of draws in the final two rounds, however, Ryan Fuller seems hell-bent on putting up the first 14-0 record in Pro Tour history and he even leaned over from an adjacent feature match and said to Zvi "you're next."

Final Result: Mowshowitz 2 - Chai 0

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