Semifinals: Eugene Harvey vs. Joshua Ravitz|
Ah, the classic matchup: W/R Slide versus W/R Slide. Of course, they are playing nearly the exact same deck, one designed by Osyp Lebedowicz. A little-known guy named Gerard Fabiano tried to take credit for designing the deck - but of course, his main claim to fame involves Humpus Wumpus.
The night before this tournament, Gerard and Eugene were deciding who would play their Slide deck and who would play goblins... But Gerard decided he wanted to finish 22nd instead of making the top four, and so sits former US National Champion Eugene Harvey playing Team Limited specialist Joshua Ravitz in his first solo major top 8 appearance.
And so with a hearty "Boy, are you hairy!" from Antonino DeRosa and a pat on the back later, the match begun.
On the sixth turn, Eugene tapped out to cast Exalted Angel, drawing Akroma's Vengeance from Josh's hand. On the next turn, Josh plopped a morph down (wonder what it could be?) while Eugene chose to simply hard-cast his 4/5 flyer.
Thrillingly, Josh returned Eternal Dragon to his hand at the end of the turn, and the two Angels bumped heads in the combat zones. Eugene played a second Rift after combat, prompting Josh to cycle away another Incinerator and the freshly-returned dragon. Of course, Eugene had another cycling card, and used it to finish off the defending Angel.
As Josh cast his second Akroma's Vengeance of the game (killing the same two cards on Eugene's board, natch), Alex Shvartsman yelled from across the feature match table "Come on, Josh Ravitz, win!" having won his first game against Bob Maher.
Spurred on by Alex's scorn, Eugene played Eternal Dragon. Josh returned a dragon of his own to his hand, cast a morph, and left three mana open for Wing Shards.... And as Eugene cycled Decree of Annihilation, Josh could only shake his head dejectedly, his Grey Ogre no match for the 5/5 flyer.
Eugene Harvey 1 - Josh Ravitz 0
As they shuffled, Josh managed to get half his deck facing one way and half his deck facing the other way. As he corrected the mistake, Eugene asked, "How'd that happen?"
"I'm stupid," deadpanned Josh. Meanwhile, the peanut gallery started giving odds about Josh's chances to come back and win the mirror match. The odds started at four-to-one, and ended up at eight-to-one. Of course, his friends were making the bets, and they were only wagering a quarter. You'd think they'd have more faith in their friend then that.
For two straight attack phases, this same scenario played itself out - except that Eugene began recurring an Eternal Dragon he had cycled early in the game. On the other hand, Joshua had drawn three of his Exalted Angels, and decided it was high time to play a second one. This led to a Starstorm for five from Harvey, giving him a one-way Wrath and clearing the way for his Knight to start its charge against Ravitz's life total.
As Ravitz played his third straight Angel, Eugene asked him: "Cards?" "Four," replied Ravitz, as Harvey paused in consideration. Finally, the waxwork Harvey nodded ever so slightly, untapped, and drew a card for his turn. After much deliberation, he dropped a Plains and brought Eternal Dragon into the fray.
On the Ravitz side of things, Lightning Rift entered play behind a hand backed with triple-Wing Shards. Eugene answered with Jareth, mirror match Titan. Josh drew his next card, saw it was a second Lightning Rift, and just left it sitting face-down on the table in the middle of his lands. Clearly, he was disgusted by his draws this game, and simply passed the turn back to Harvey.
And thus did Harvey pass the turn back to Ravitz, who nodded in appreciation of his freshly-drawn Wipe Clean. And so did Wipe Clean take out Harvey's Astral Slide - but in response, Harvey cycled Decree of Annihilation, which took out all the lands in the world. Armageddon as a seven-mana cantrip still seemed good, as it left him with Jareth, Silver Knight, and Eternal Dragon against Ravitz's sole Exalted Angel.
Eugene pondered his attack, as he played a Mountain. With the life totals at fourteen to seventeen against his favor, he made many calculations as to whether or not he should attack with his Dragon. In the end, he decided to hold everything back, even though Ravitz kept pushing his Angel as a faux blocker back and forth through the red zone.
Josh drew, and played ... Temple of the False God, drawing a good laugh from the crowd.
Eugene drew and played... A second mountain.
Josh drew and played... A cycled Eternal Dragon, fetching the Plains he needed to punch Jareth past the Exalted Angel. Now with the Force on his side, Eugene decided it was time to send in the Dragon along with Jareth. Josh first checked Eugene's graveyard, then his own, and shook his head. His brow was furrowed in misery, as he wiped his head with his hand. Eugene attacked - and with Josh unable to draw another land, Eugene advanced to the finals.
Eugene Harvey 2 - Josh Ravitz 0
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on Jul 14, 2003: