by Mark Wraith
Hopefully you already know a little about Alex's deck (he was one of the featured players from the first draft). Brian was playing a blue/white/black deck, and he said before the match started that he wasn't very happy with it. This may have been a psychological ploy, however, as he had lots of good flyers in it, including Tek and two Faerie Squadrons.
Alex started in game one, joking that this was the first time he had won a dice roll all weekend. He got a pretty good start too, playing Vodalian Zombies on turn two and three, this prompted Brian to play a Benalish Lancer without kicker, and trade with one of the Zombies. On the same turn, Alex played a pair of Ravenous Rats, and brought Brian down to twelve when he did nothing but play a land on turn four. The Rats forced Brian to discard Recover and Agonizing Demise, which wasn't too bad, as the Demise is a fairly dead card anyway against Alex' deck. Brian did play a blocker on his turn five, though - Tek. Alex had to read the card, and did a double take on ascertaining that it was a 4/4 flyer. This easily held off Alex' forces, as Brian wasn't low enough on life for an all out attack to be of any use. Alex played a Phyrexian Battleflies, but Brian continued to gain control as he cast Reviving Vapors, fetching an Obsidian Acolyte and gaining two lives in the process, and then a Glimmering Angel. The Acolyte is one of the worst cards for Alex to face. Tek attacked three times to bring Alex to eight, and Davis had a Prohibit ready to deal with Alex' attempt to Wash Out all of his white creatures. Alex had found a Zanam Djinn by the time he was on eight, but with Davis holding both a Repulse and an Angelic Shield, he couldn't get it to block in time.
Brian joked about sideboarding in an entire color, but left his deck how it was. Alex, on the other hand, took out his Slinking Serpent and brought in a Hypnotic Cloud. He was also forced to mulligan going first, but his six card hand was pretty fine. Alex cast a turn two Ravenous Rat which brought Brian down to sixteen. Brian missed a land drop which meant that when he drew a Dream Thrush on turn five and played it, Alex was able to cast Zanam Djinn without any fear of Exclude. The Zanam Djinn brought Brian down to 13, and he followed it up with a kicked Probe. Brian did manage to get out a Tek, but it did not seem like this would be enough. Alex continued to play great cards, Excluding a Faerie Squadron and casting a Fact or Fiction to fetch a Hypnotic Cloud and strip the remaining cards from Brian's hand. The Tek brought Alex down to nine, and then it met with an Agonizing Demise. The game hung in the balance with Brian on five, and Alex on nine. Brian had a Benalish Lancer, a Dream Thrush, and a Glimmering Angel. Alex had a Zanam Djinn, a Ravenous Rat, and a Tidal Visionary. He used his Visionary to turn the Dream Thrush white, and cast Wash Out. What he could have done instead was turn his Ravenous Rat white, and then replay it again to force Alex to discard either a Lancer or a Glimmering Angel. Nevertheless, Alex' attack brought him down to two. Brian cast a Shackles on the Djinn, and replayed his creatures. Alex had only land in his hand, and was forced to scoop to the Lancer.
Final Result: Brian Davis wins 2-0 versus Alex Shvartsman