Rumors of Alex Shvartsman's demise have been much exaggerated. The former GP king was seen having to play in a PTQ at PT Venice and it seemed like he might not be qualified for Yokohama. This proved to be wrong and now, with his business running smoothly in New York, it seems like Shvartsman is back on the GP Trail again.
Spring is here and with Nationals and Worlds approaching it's time to wheel Dutchman Tom Van de Logt out of hibernation. For this tournament he's managed to open a black-green deck packed with large beasts. In contrast Shvartsman has to make do with a mediocre green-red-white deck with only a Dragon Roost
to raise a spark of excitement.
Game 1 began with Van de Logt going first. His Goblin Turncoat traded with Shvartsman's 2/1 Goblin. Then he had a good couple of turns: morph creature followed by Herald and Wellwisher while Shvartsman could only cycle a Sunfire Balm on his turn three. Van de Logt then made a strange play of attacking with everything, including the Wellwisher, into an Everglove Courier. If it was a bluff, Shvartsman read it and was only too happy to trade for the Wellwisher.
Then the American started to look good. A Barkhide Mauler came down, then a 5/5 Glowering Rogon to hold off Van de Logt's morphs. Van de Logt was able to get rid of the Rogon with a Serpentine Basilisk. Then Barkhide Maulers traded.
The board position was an Aven Redeemer and Crested Craghorn for Shvartsman and a couple of mystery morphs for the Dutchman.
Van de Logt was out-tricked again when he un-morphed a Nantuko Vigilante to try and kill Shvartsman's Craghorn only for a Patron of the Wild to be flipped over to protect it.
It didn't seem to matter as Van de Logt flopped an Enormous Baloth onto the table. The Dutchman looked firmly in control when he swatted the Redeemer and summoned a Gluttonous Zombie.
Shvartsman attacked back with a Hundroog and then dropped an Aether Charge to leave him a position where drawing a beast would win him the game. He didn't have one and although a Dragon Roost looked impressive it couldn't get active in time to hold off the fort.
Van de Logt 1-0 Shvartsman
Shvartsman managed to flip over a Wingbeat Warrior
to knock off Van de Logt's face down Cloudscraper. His potentially game winning Dragon Roost
on turn six went up in smoke when Van de Logt ripped a Vigilante to wreck it.
Shvartsman was still swinging with a Barkhide Mauler, but while both players were trading combat tricks Van de Logt was steadily increasing the size of his army.
The board situation was a morph for Shvartsman to fight against Vorine, Husk, Frightshroud Courier and Goblin Turncoat. The morph turned out to be a Warbreak Trumpeter and it managed to summon three more goblins while the Vorine savaged it.
A Tusker crashing through on Shvartsman's side changed the complexion of the game again as he continue to mount forays into the red zone.
Van de Logt tried to take the Tusker down with a Husk only for Shvartsman to intervene with yet another combat trick as a Patron of the Wild flipped over.
The beasts continued to march in: a Rogon for Shvartsman and an Enormous Baloth on Van de Logt's side. The Dutchman had the biggest beast on the table but he was being swamped by Shvartsman's little guys. The Baloth couldn't hold them all off and it was time for a third game.
Van de Logt 1-1 Shvartsman
With twelve minutes left Game 3 was played much more quickly. Van de Logt mulliganed but started with a good tempo draw of Turncoat, morph and Vorine while Shvartsman could only cycle a Tusker on his third turn. Vorines went down with a snarl in the red zone and Van de Logt summoned an ominous looking Spectral Sliver.
A Courier and Skirk Drill Sergeant
reduced Van de Logt's attack force to the Sliver and that was stymied by a 5/5 Rogon as Van de Logt brought in a Hundroog
for support. A couple of morphs on Shvartsman's side didn't deter the Dutchman as he sent both of his monsters into the red zone.
Shvartsman had to block and the resulting carnage left a Rogon facing off a Spectral Sliver. Another beast in the form of a Barkhide Mauler kept the Sliver at bay. Van de Logt had a Wellwisher and Herald to gain some life back as a Berserk Murlodont made blocking very difficult for the Dutchman.
Sensing an opening Van de Logt swung back into the gap left by the Mauler and Rogon. Shvartsman's morph was a Warbreak Trumpeter and suddenly he flipped over to bring in some friends.
The game was suddenly very close. Both players were on five with Shvartsman's beasts crashing through the red zone. As time was called he dropped a Dragon Roost on the table.
Van de Logt drew a card and then swung in with the Tusker and Spectral Sliver to leave Shvartsman with a sudden heart-in-the-mouth moment. Van de Logt hadn't drawn a Vitality Charm though and the match was Shvartsman's.
Final Result: Alex Shvartsman beat Tom van de Logt 2-1