Semifinals: Alex Shvartsman vs. Leopoldo Martins

Posted in Feature

Justin Polin

Alex Shvartsman

Both of these competitors will benefit greatly from their performances this weekend. Shvartsman's Top 8 victory over Eliton Inacio won him at least $1200 and four Pro Tour points. Martins defeated the third Amateur player in the round of 8 and will take home at least $2700 and an invitation to Osaka. Shvartsman's Finkula has a slight matchup advantage over Martins' Reanimator deck, but Reanimator is so explosive that the match could go either way. Still, Shvartsman's experience may be the trump card in this battle.

Game 1

Surprisingly enough, neither player uses Duress on their first turn (they each have four). Martins plays a Zombie Infestation on the second turn. Shvartsman draws a Duress, and Martins discards Massacre and swamp to make a Zombie token, showing a hand of 2 Swamps and a Rishadan Port. While Shvartsman struggles to recover from Martins' Port, Zombie tokens are chiseling away at his life total. Once Shvartsman finds enough land, however, he plays Masticore and short of a large creature Martins is in serious trouble. Such a creature (or a reanimation spell) never comes and soon Martins succumbs to Masticore.

Shvartsman 1-0

Shvartsman replaces his useless Gerrard's Verdicts with 3 Perishes and one Seal of Cleansing. The Perishes are not great but they can randomly take down a Multani, Maro Sorcerer or Verdant Force. Martins removes a Contamination and Animate Dead from his deck to make room for Massacre and Ascendant Evincar.

Game 2

Martins starts with a first turn Duress, choosing Tithe instead of Cursed Scroll, Perish, and Vindicate because Shvartsman only has two lands and is missing a color. Shvartsman topdecks Duress once again and takes Vampiric Tutor, leaving Martins with two more Duresses, Crosis, the Purger, and Entomb. Martins fires back immediately and takes Vindicate. Shvartsman busts out again when he plays first Spectral Lynx and then Shadowmage Infiltrator. Martins mises a Zombie Infestation and he discards Crosis and Exhumes him the next turn. At this point the game is developing into a pure race as Martins swings with his Crosis against Shvartsman's Finkel and Lynx. Shvartsman uses his Cursed Scroll to kill tokens so that his Finkel can dig for the Swords to Plowshares or Vindicate he needs to win the game. Martins' Squee, Goblin Nabob allows him to make a Zombie every turn, and Shvartsman is unable to win the race or draw an answer to Crosis.


Game 3

Alex Shvartsman

Leopoldo plays first turn Duress, and selects Swords to Plowshares, leaving Finkel, Masticore, Spectral Lynx, and land in Shvartsman's hand. For the third straight game Shvartsman draws Duress and plays it on turn 2, removing the ever dangerous Massacre. Martins' third turn Nether Spirit is matched by Shvartsman's' Spectral Lynx, so the game stalls out for several turns. Martins is unable to take advantage of Shvartsman's mana-light draw (he only has two lands) and on turn 6 Shvartsman tithes for two lands. After this, Shvartsman is able to cast his Finkel. Martins then casts Buried Alive, bringing 2 Krovikan Horrors and an Avatar of Woe to the graveyard where they belong. Martins follows up his Buried Alive with an Exhume, retrieving the Avatar and also casts Krovikan Horror. Shvartsman has the Vindicate, though, so the beats continue. Martins plays the second Krovikan Horror and tries to establish some offense but Shvartsman plays a Masticore. Martins casts Buried Alive again, retrieving Crosis, Verdant Force, and Ascendant Evincar. Reanimating the Evincar takes Martins to one life, but he must do it to kill the Spectral Lynx and make his Krovikan Horror large enough survive Masticore. Shvartsman kills one Krovikan Horror in response, and when he Vindicates the Evincar the following turn Martins concedes.

Final Result: Alex Shvartsman def. Leopoldo Martins 2-1

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