by Matthew Vienneau
Alex and Dave were getting a little giddy as they finally reached the last round of the 2000 Magic Invitational. Alex had switched roles from contender to spoiler as he was one match out of contention for the finals. Dave was in a complicated tie-breaker situation where he would only make it if he won and Jon Finkel lost. Alex was playing his unconventional red/green big creature beatdown deck splashing for Serendib's and powerful blue cards. Dave was also playing a big creature beatdown deck using Mishra's Workshop to get out a rapid Su-Chi or Juggernaut. Vintage is all about first turn big creatures!
Dave opened with Force of Will, Tinker, Memory Jar, two Moxen and two lands. Alex played a land and a Jackal Pup and Dave responded with a flurry of Moxen, land and Tinker to get Su Chi out on the first turn. Alex cast Ancestral Recall in attempt to find a second land and failed as he was forced to discard a Blastoderm. Dave had no mercy and Strip Mined Alex's only land and attacked for four. Alex drew another land and played a Gorilla Shaman but Dave eventually used Yawgmoth's Will to Strip that land and bring back a Mox.
Alex's Gorilla made quick work of Dave's three Moxen leaving Dave with only one land and five cards in his hand that cost four or more. Dave drew into a Duress to see that Alex, with one Wasteland and a Mox Emerald, was in a similar situation with holding a hand full of expensive cards and red cards. Much like in his match with Chris Pikula in round 13, Alex was unable to use his Jackal Pup to chump block the first turn Su-Chi that eventually finished him off.
Dave's sideboard contained the most anti-red hate I have ever seen with four Hyroblasts, three Blue Elemental Blasts and four Bottle Gnomes. But against Alex's multi-color deck, Dave felt he only needed the four Hydroblasts, The Abyss and a Triskelion and probably didn't need four Duress, Memory Jar and Timetwister.
Alex got the first turn creature this game as he played Black Lotus and Blastoderm! Dave Demonic Tutored for Mishra's Workshop on turn two to cast a Juggernaut blocker, but Alex Incinerated it and hit for the full fifteen with the big green beast. Alex attempted to finish Dave off with a Serendib Efreet but Dave discarded Force of Will to Force of Will it. Having spent his cards, Alex could only watch as Dave cast a Juggernaut followed by a Su-Chi. But being a highly skilled player, Alex just drew Disenchant off the top and killed Dave with his own Su-Chi.
Those who live by the Su-Chi, die by the Su-chi!
Dave's opening hand looked fantastic with Mox Jet, Mox Sapphire, Mishra's Workshop, Vampiric Tutor, Yawgmoth's Will, Mind Twist and Time Walk. This allowed him to play Mox, Mox, Workshop and Time Walk to take a second turn before Alex could do anything. During the upkeep of his second turn, Dave used his Vampiric Tutor to get Ancestral Recall. After casting the Recall Dave had no play other than a land, finally giving a visibly relieved Alex Shvartsman a chance to play.
Alex again started with a first turn creature, but Volcanic Island, Black Lotus and Jackal Pup wasn't quite as menacing as his game two first turn Blastoderm. Dave drew a Juggernaut and put it in front of the Pup but Alex Lightning Bolted it and attacked for two. Dave had a variety of options, including Mind Twisting Alex's hand, but he didn't want to tap out in case Alex had a counterspell of some sort so he Demonic Consulted for Su-Chi and put it into play leaving two blue open for Mana Drain.
Alex attacked with the Pup into the Su-Chi and then sacrificed the Lotus to cast a Time Walk that Dave Mana Drained. But Alex had the Pyroblast to force it through and used the extra Lotus mana to Incinerate the Su-Chi and finish it off. With his second turn, Alex played a Gorilla Shaman and began working on Dave's Moxen. Dave cast Yawgmoth's Will to recover the Mox, cast Ancestral Recall again and put a Juggernaut into play. Alex had a Seal of Cleansing for the Juggernaut and another Disenchant in hand that Dave Mind Twisted away. Dave Hydroblasted the Shaman, Wasted Alex's land and played the Vintage bomb - Karn, Silver Golem.
With the rest of the Invitational players cheering it on, Karn finished Alex off as Dave continued to clear the path so the Legendary Golem could hit for four every turn. Alex was very congenial after losing as Dave found out Finkel had won his match and knocked Dave into third place despite his victory.
Dave Price 2
Alex Shvartsman 1