Round 13: Zvi Mowshowitz vs. Joshua Wagener

Posted in Event Coverage on February 23, 2003

By Jun-Wei Hew

Mowshowitz, ever the white lover (at least, when it comes to draft) has a hyper-aggressive blue-white Soldier deck that he was showing off to us at the Sideboard just prior to the start of the round. Armed with many, many, many creatures that say “Creature-Soldier” on them, along with some with words like “Amplify” meant that things could get ugly, very quickly.

His obstacle was Wagener and his Blue-Red deck whose features included Mistform Skyreaver, Slate of Ancestry (particularly good against White-Blue) and Sparksmith. If an early Sparksmith hit the table early, it would be tough for Mowshowitz to regain control in time.

Mowshowitz’s beatings came out blazing with a Glory Seeker, before sputtering with nothing on his third turn. Wagener had nothing to play until the third turn, where a Mistform Dreamer entered play (not a morph!). Starlight Invoker joined the charge of the white brigade, and served as a wall against Wagener’s morph. Daru Stinger, amplified thrice was enough to convince Wagener’s forces to remain behind. Covert Operative came down, but was held back by the Stinger. The crusade continued with Deftblade Elite and Wingbeat Warrior. With the Stinger tapped, Wagener was free to serve with his unblockable creatures, although racing five points compared to, oh, ten points, was not exactly the best plan of action.

The Wingbeat Warrior blocked and took down the Dreamer in combat, and Wagener played a morph. The Elite provoked the morph, which was then revealed to be an Echo Tracer, which returned the Stinger. Wagener fell to five life, and the Stinger was replayed, albeit, a little smaller at just 3/3. Mistform Skyreaver for Wagener provided temporary sanctuary, but the Deftblade Elite was more than enough to distract the Skyreaver from its proper duties.

Now, the board stood at four creatures to one. If it wasn’t Starstorm or Slice and Dice, the game is over. It was.

Mowshowitz 1 – Wagener 0

It was now Wagener’s turn to try and seize the tempo advantage with a Goblin Taskmaster that scored a point of damage. When Mowshowitz had nothing to do on his second turn, things were starting to look up, as the Taskmaster went in for another point of damage before being joined by a morph creature. Mowshowitz played out his own morph that then traded with the Taskmaster, effectively nullifying a turn. Aven Redeemer would soon put an end to any savage beatings Wagener had in store for him.

Snapping Thragg was sure to make the game interesting once again, but the Aven Retainer alone was enough to handle the Thragg. Pearlspear Courier came down, and the ground ‘ground’ to a halt. The Thragg and secret agent went in for the kill. The Courier blocked the Thragg, and then received a boost of Piety. In response, Wagener flipped over Echo Tracer to send back the Courier, and its two points was prevented. A second Aven Retainer locked up the ground even more. Embermage Goblin provided an alternate route to victory, albeit a tedious one, but it was something to try and win the game by, even though both players would probably deck themselves before the Goblin did its job. Covert Operative provided a better option, but Daru Stinger, amplified twice put an end to any of its shenanigans.

The Stinger provided enough defense to convince one of the Retainers to do some harm, as it visited for a point of damage. Grassland Crusader ensured that things would speed up in a hurry, and Wagener was hard pressed for an answer.

Someone up there was obviously listening.

Slate of Ancestry hit Wagener’s side of the table, with six creatures on the board. Given that Mowshowitz’s deck is unable to kill creatures outside of combat, this was probably the best thing that could happen right now. Now it was Mowshowitz’s turn to feel the heat. The game plan switched from sitting behind way-too-many-Clerics to racing through the air with the Retainers and a Mistform Dreamer. The Dreamer would be particularly handy, since it could receive a bonus payment from the Pearlspear Courier.

Morph number three came down on Wagener’s side of the board, turning the Slate of Ancestry to one heckuva broken card. How’s “4, T: Wheel of Fortune yourself” sound?

Despite that, the Dreamer went for it. Changing into a Soldier, it was time to reap the rewards of co-operation. The Grassland Crusader and Pearlspear Courier pumped the Dreamer up to a 6/5 flier of doom, and at this rate, Wagener had a scant two turns to live. He attempted to race, sending in the Thragg, the Covert Operative, Agent Smith, the less well-known Agent Spock, the Spitfire Handler and the Echo Tracer. The Glory Seeker stood in front of the Spitfire Handler, while the Daru Stinger prepared itself to take down both the Echo Tracer and the Covert Operative. An Aven Retainer blocked the Snapping Thragg, sacrificing itself when the Embermage Goblin attempted to take down the Stinger by using its protective shield on the Stinger instead.

Creatures died, the fields were bloody. More leapt into the fray. The support and co-operative flavour of white thrives in situations like these. While Wagener had to be content with an Embermage Goblin for tricks, Mowshowitz’s side of the board was riddled with them- Grassland Crusader, Pearlspear Crusader, Daru Stinger, Aven Retainer- just about every single one of his creatures could contribute something to the greater good. Then again, as Homer Simpson once put it, “in theory, communism works.”

Snapping Thragg, backed up by a Shock was enough to take down both the Pearlspear Courier and Daru Stinger, but Wagener’s Mistform Dreamer was vastly inferior to Mowshowitz’s. This was made painfully obvious when both Dreamers faced off in combat, and only one received a bonus from a Grassland Crusader while the other died. Guess which was which. Still, the Slate had done its job. Three activations of the Stale had given Wagener so much card advantage, that he was actually able to sneak his way back into the game, relying on sheer card quantity to combat sheer card power. Three morphs and two Echo Tracers later, Wagener had managed to come back from what looked like an unwinnable position. Let nobody say that the old-school concepts of card advantage are irrelevant even today, eight years later.

Mowshowitz 1 – Wagener 1

Playing first, Mowshowitz had nothing to contribute to the board in the early game, except for a third turn Mistform Dreamer. On the other side of the table, Goblin Taskmaster made a re-appearance, taking two points out of Mowshowitz’s life total before being joined in by a Dreamer of Wagener’s own. Creatures started to flood the board. Aven Retainers were matched with morphs, which brought out Gustcloak Harriers.

Echo Tracer sent back the Retainer, which put a shield on the Dreamer so that both creatures would live in combat- when Wagener’s Dreamer blocked the Harrier, Mowshowitz simply used the Gustcloak ability to save it. Daru Stinger came down as a 3/3, which traded with the Echo Tracer and a Shock. Gustcloak Harrier took down a free Goblin Taskmaster, in a gamble gone wrong.

Grassland Crusader was starting to rub things in.

Aven Retainer returned to play to further solidify Mowshowitz’s grasp on the board, but it was really too much for Wagener to handle. With Wagener at four life, Mowshowitz sent in the two fliers. As Wagener was debating about how to block, Mowshowitz showed him Piety Charm, which was enough to convince Wagener to pack it in.

Mowshowitz 2 – Wagener 1

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