Round 8 Feature Match - Jon Finkel vs. Zvi Mowshowitz

Posted in Feature

By Wizards of the Coast

by Randy Buehler

Mike Flores' Control Black is being played by four Pro Tour champions and Flores himself. In the first round Flores was the only one to win with the deck. He insists that everyone else misplays his creation. It'll be interesting to see how these players do over the course of the next five rounds. Jon Finkel is one of the PT winners who chose to run Flores Black and he got paired up against Zvi Mowshowitz in round 8. Mowshowitz is running Replenish, as is Mogg Squad teammate Alan Comer. They weren't the only PT regulars who chose to run Replenish decks - Dave Humpherys, Kyle Rose, and Matt Linde did as well. (Humpherys made the top 8 at US Nationals last year with the very first Replenish deck.)

The Flores deck is designed to access silver bullets that can single-andedly destroy decks. Usually you have to Vampiric Tutor for them, but in game 1 Jon Finkel drew Stromgald Cabal in his opening hand and Ritualed it out on turn 1. That's the deck's answer to Replenish and Zvi has no main deck answer other than trying to cast two white spellso n the same turn. Zvi almost pulled that off, but Yawgmoth's Will allowed Finkel to get off a Duress despite Zvi's Counterspell. Six hits from Skittering Skirge was all it took while Stromgald Cabal sat there ready to bounce.

Finkel cast both Unmask and Duress on his first turn in game 2. He then Tutored for a Ritual so he could bust out a turn 3 Negator despite drawing only 1 land. Mowshowitz used Parallax Tide to deal with the Negator and then started attacking thanks to an Opalesence, but Finkel drew and cast Stupor to knock the other two enchantments out of Zvi's hand and reduce Zvi to top-deck mode. When Zvi then Brainstormed into three land, he knew he was in trouble. Finkel drew a second Negator, got the first one back, Vampiric Tutored for Rapid Decay, and the game wasn't close at the end.

The Sideboard is in the process of compiling exact deck breakdowns for Saturday's field as I type this. Near the top of the Swiss there seems to be a lot of Control Black, Replenish, and Accelerated Blue. It's almost like the last month of metagame swings never happened (or all canceled out) and Trinity never existed.

Alex Lieberman, who came into round 8 tied for first with Chris Benafel at 6-0-1, is running the only Trinity Green deck that I've seen [Editor's Note: There are ten in the field of 130 players]. Lieberman is 14 and from South Florida and he came to the site this weekend qualified for both US Nationals and the Junior Super Series. His plan was to play day 1 of Nationals, see how he did, and then decide whether to play Nationals or the JSS on Saturday. After going 5-0-1 (and qualifying for the Draft Challenge), it wasn't a tough decision!

Mike Turian and Aaron Forsythe are playing a deck that looks superficially like Trinity Green, but "The Angry Hermit" was designed by Forsythe for Regionals (long before Trinity existed) and he used it to claim a berth in the Top 8 of Ohio Valley Regionals. Their deck had the whole Rofellos, Plow Under, Deranged hermit, Skyshroud Poacher engine but it also splashes red for Arc Lightning and Avalanche Rider. The Hermit appears to be angry today as Turian started off 2-0 and Forsythe is 1-0-1.

Finkel 2 (now 7-1)
Mowshowitz 0 (now 6-2)

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