Round 13 Feature Match: Alex Shvartsman vs. Yuri Markin

Posted in Event Coverage

By Mark Wraith

Yuri Markin vs. Alex Shvartsman

Both of these players are in a position where they have to win to make top 8. Alex has 28 points, and Yuri has 29. Yuri, who played a Feature Match last round as well is playing The Solution, and Alex has a Red/Black deck.

Game 1

Yuri went first. Alex had to mulligan a hand containing only one Urborg Volcano as it's only mana source, but was happier with his six-card hand. The Russian got off to a good start with a second turn Crimson Acolyte and a third turn Meddling Mage - preventing Alex from casting Void.

Shvartsman's hand was only lands and Terminates, which he couldn't really use. He had to cast a Terminate at the end of Yuri's turn and one in his own to kill off the Meddling Mage, and Markin had now added a second Crimson Acolyte.

Alex's attempts to fight back with a kicked Skizzik were denied since Yuri first Repulsed it, and then Excluded it the second time around. The Acolytes had brought Alex to ten, and Yuri had five cards to Shvartsman's three.

Alex couldn't find anything to withstand the Acolytes, only a Shivan Zombie, and a Fact or Fiction netted Yuri another Repulse. Alex cast a second Shivan Zombie, and Markin didn't bother to Exclude it, instead he just cast another Fact or Fiction. This netted him a Meddling Mage, and a Voice of All.

When he cast the Voice Alex was on five life, and so he had to use his Keldon Necropolis and Shivan Zombie to kill it, leaving the Russian with three Crimson Acolytes in hand. Alex had two turns to draw a Void and potentially stop the Acolytes, but Yuri stopped such ideas immediately by casting another Meddling Mage and naming Void, leaving Alex with no cards in his deck that could save him.

Game 2

Yuri Markin

Alex played a Nightscape Familiar on the second turn, and Yuri was there with his ever-present Meddling Mage, this time stopping Blazing Specter. Alex played a second Nightscape Familiar and used Ghitu Fire to clear Meddling Mage out of the way so that the first Familiar could attack.

Markin had a second Blazing Specter and after a short think he once again chose Blazing Specter. Now Alex was able to take further advantage of his Familiars by playing a Thunderscape Battlemage with kicker - forcing Yuri to discard Crusading Knight and Lashknife Barrier.

Another Meddling Mage entered play naming Skizzik, although Alex had neither of those cards in his hand. He played a third Nightscape Familiar and cast a Flametongue Kavu, so that he could cast Blazing Specter, which indeed he had just drawn.

He swung over with everything and Markin had to take six damage, although he blocked Flametongue Kavu with Crimson Acolyte and the Mage blocked a Familiar. Alex played a second Blazing Specter and as the Russian was still stuck on three lands, he decided to concede even though he was still on eleven lives.

Game 3

This time it was Yuri's turn to start and he got a pretty aggressive draw with a first turn Stormscape Apprentice and a second turn Crimson Acolyte. Alex put a stop to some of the aggression by putting out a Nightscape Familiar, which threw itself in front of the Apprentice.

Shvartsman played out his high-tech sideboard card Planeswalker's Scorn, which so far hadn't been all that useful for him, but in this position it was good as he could almost certainly kill Crimson Acolyte with it.

Markin played a 3/3 Crusading Knight, which Alex couldn't kill. All the American did was swing in with a Blazing Specter, taking a Plains. Then Yuri decided not to cast a second Crusading Knight and held back with a Repulse and an Exclude instead.

Alex Shvartsman

Alex had a second Blazing Specter in his hand so this ran into the Exclude. Yuri attacked back for three to put Alex on eleven. On his turn, Shvartsman decided to use the Scorn to kill the Acolyte, and Yuri Repulsed Blazing Specter.

The Scorn had revealed a second Crusading Knight in the Russian's hand, and it was not clear why he didn't cast it now that his Acolyte was gone and he had no use for the mana.

He did justify this decision by top-decking Absorb, which he used to protect his Knight from Void. If he had played the second Knight, Blazing Specter would have stripped the Absorb from his hand.

Instead, Shvartsman was unable to stop the Crusading Knight and had to concede.

Final Result: Yuri Markin defeats Alex Shvartsman 2 - 1

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