Zvi Mowshowitz One of the game's most original and innovative thinkers ... Worked with deck think tanks The Mogg Squad and Godzilla to create format-defining decks ... Won Pro Tour-Tokyo 2001 with "The Solution" ... Writer for more than 10 years contributing to The Dojo, Mindripper, New Wave, The Sideboard, Brainburst, Starcitygames, and Magicthegathering.com.
Class of: 2007
Hometown: New York, New York, USA
Debut: Pro Tour-Los Angeles 1998
Career winnings: $141,460
Lifetime Pro Points: 236


Like Kai Budde of this year's class, Zvi Mowshowitz began his Magic career in the Junior division of the Pro Tour when he took part in Pro Tour–Dallas. He made the Finals of the next Junior Pro Tour in Los Angeles but it was not until he took part in Pro Tour–Los Angeles the following season (finishing 12th) that the clock started ticking on his Hall of Fame eligibility. Not including that Finals appearance in the Junior division, Zvi would eventually rack up four Pro Tour Top 8 finishes including a win at Pro Tour–Tokyo in 2000-01. He was a member of the 1999 U.S. National team and also made the Top 8 of four Grand Prix events, with two victories.

If Zvi's thinking, that means a format's about to be busted wide open.
When he finally retired from playing Zvi was in the Top 20 in both lifetime money winnings and Pro Points. Despite his amazing career as a player, Zvi is perhaps better known as a deck designer and Magic columnist. He is easily the most prolific writer in the history of the game and has written for a variety of Magic sites starting with the Magic Dojo and continuing on through Magicthegathering.com.

Even when Zvi looked back at the Pro Tour experience that launched his Pro career, his first response involved contextualizing it with the written word.

"I remember enough about that event to write a tournament report," laughed Zvi. "It was on the Queen Mary, where I'd qualified earlier that year with a second in the Junior Division before it was disbanded. I had no expectations for myself. I was up against the great names of the game, in over my head and beyond nervous, starting with Mark Le Pine and ending with a match against Darwin Kastle. The entire time it felt surreal, but there was nothing to do but go ahead and play my best game so that's what I did.

"My deck helped give me confidence too," he continued his recollection of the Tempest Block Constructed format. Block Constructed formats would become something of a specialty of his over the years and doing well at that first block event was no doubt formative. "I had built it on my own and never seen it around Neutral Ground only to find that a version of it was being played by a third of the field. I had to be doing something right, so while I didn't expect to win I also didn't feel as surprised as I expected to when I did well and finished 12th."

Zvi's breakthrough tournament came at Pro Tour–New York during the 1998-99 season. The format was Urza's Block Constructed and Zvi's Zero Effect deck carried him into the Top 4 of that event and cemented his reputation as a mad scientist of the game. Of course that reputation was backed up by Zvi's unshorn face and unkempt mop of hair. As Magic was moving toward television, Zvi was given a makeover prior to Sunday's action.

"My best memory on the Pro Tour has to be the makeover from PT–New York where Wizards decided to prepare me for my trip to the big stage with a new wardrobe and the infamous shaving incident involving three gorgeous Russian lady barbers," Zvi reminisced. "Nothing would ever be the same again."

THE POWER OF ZVI

Pro Tour:
New York 2001: 3rd (Teams)
Chicago 00-01: 7th (Standard)
Tokyo 00-01: 1st (Invasion Block Constructed)
New York 98-99: 3rd (Urza's Block Constructed)
Los Angeles 1997 (Junior): 2nd (Rochester Draft)

Grand Prix:
Atlanta 03-04: 5th (Standard)
Pittsburgh 02-03: 1st (Teams)
Boston 02-03: 7th (Booster Draft)
New Orleans 02-03: 1st (Extended)
New Jersey 01-02: 2nd (Teams)
Manchester 00-01: 8th (Rochester)
D.C. 98-99: 4th (Rochester)
Boston 98-99: 4th (Rath Block Constructed)

Top 4 US Nationals 1999

While the makeover from Pro Tour New York may have opened up Zvi's eyes to the amount of attention being paid to the game he never imagined that years later, once again at a Pro Tour in New York, he would be stepping onto that big stage to be enshrined in the game's Hall of Fame.

"When you're competing, you try to win every event, make your name and be the best but it never occurred to me that Magic would have a Hall of Fame," explained Zvi. "In my first years on tour, the thought of me being in it, even if one existed, wasn't something I could have comprehended either. Once I hit my stride there was a palpable sense among many players that we were playing for our place in Magic history as we raced along the lifetime winnings chart. To me the great accomplishment is that we've made it to where we can have a Hall of Fame. It brings us one step closer to the goal of Garfield, of games and other mental sports standing on the same platform as baseball, football or soccer."

"I was optimistic, but I never assumed I would make it," said Zvi when he was asked about his expectations of making the Hall of Fame on such a star-studded ballot. "At least two people who deserved to make it into the Hall were going to be excluded, and aside from Kai no one was assured of entry. When I got the call telling me I'd gotten in, I felt a combination of joy and relief that I'd made it in. Before it had a chance to sink in, I was talking about the logistics of the event and talking about what to do with a plane ticket. When something that big happens, it doesn't hit you all at once."

"The Hall of Fame has a twin existence," he continued. "On one pillar it means that I've been recognized as one of the all time greats of the Magic Pro Tour, and that's an amazing honor. At the same time it also means I'll always be qualified, and that's an amazing opportunity. A lot of Pros forget how hard it is when you have to fight your way back to every event, but I tried to remember how much harder it is for those on the outside looking in."

Like Kai, Zvi was looking forward to not just the induction but the opportunity to participate in the tournament. "I will be attending Worlds, and I will play. I would never miss a once in a lifetime opportunity like this, nor would I consider doing that to the game. As for playing, it's been a long time and I'm ready for my comeback.

"I'll see how Worlds goes and decide where to go from there. If Pro Tours are something I still enjoy, you can expect to see me at events in the United States, although my job will likely keep me away from Europe and Asia. And if I'm in it, I'm in it to win it—I plan on playing the Sunday after the ceremony! However, I recognize that I'm not going to be able to put in the kinds of hours and dedication that today's top players can, and the competition is far tougher than it was during my career. It's going to be tough."

Zvi started his list of thank-yous at the top of the Magic ladder.

"I'd like to thank Richard Garfield for creating the game, Skaff Elias for creating the Tour and Randy Buehler for creating the Hall," declared Zvi when given an opportunity to thank anyone. "Without them there would be no vote and no one would be standing on that platform. From my end, I have to thank Scott Johns and Justin Gary. Working with those and other great teammates is what allowed me to enjoy such great success, and they're the reason I had such a great career."

By Format

Format W L D BYE Matches Win %
Limited 171 122 10 47 350 56.44%
Constructed 232 139 14 32 417 60.26%
Total 403 261 24 79 767 58.58%

By Event Type

Event W L D BYE Matches Win %
Worlds 60 41 3 0 104 57.69%
Pro Tour 144 101 8 2 255 56.92%
Nationals 48 27 0 0 75 64.00%
Masters 11 9 0 3 23 55.00%
Grand Prix 140 83 13 74 310 59.32%
Total 403 261 24 79 767 58.58%

By Event

Event Date Finish W L D BYE Matches Win %
Pro Tour-Dallas Juniors 11/23/1996 n/a 4 4 0 0    
1996 Season     4 4 0 0 8 50.00%
Pro Tour-Los Angeles 3/6/1998 12 10 3 1 0    
Pro Tour-New York 4/17/1998 169 2 4 0 1    
Grand Prix-Indianapolis 6/27/1998 90 3 2 0 2    
1997-98 Season     15 9 1 3 28 60.00%
Grand Prix-Boston 9/5/1998 4 9 3 1 2    
Pro Tour-Chicago 9/25/1998 283 1 3 2 0    
Pro Tour-Rome 11/13/1998 152 3 4 0 0    
Pro Tour-Los Angeles 2/26/1999 38 9 5 0 0    
Pro Tour-Washington D.C. (Teams) 3/5/1999 38            
Grand Prix-Vienna 3/13/1999 72 2 2 0 2    
Grand Prix-Kansas City 3/27/1999 32 6 4 0 0    
Pro Tour-New York 4/30/1999 3 12 3 1 0    
Grand Prix-Washington D.C. 6/18/1999 4 9 3 1 2    
1999 U.S. Nationals 7/3/1999 4 11 4 0 0    
1999 World Championships 8/13/1999 69 10 8 0 0    
1998-99 Season     72 39 5 6 122 62.07%
Grand Prix-Memphis 9/18/1999 11 7 3 0 3    
Pro Tour-London 10/15/1999 10 10 3 1 0    
Grand Prix-San Diego 11/20/1999 11 7 3 0 3    
Pro Tour-Chicago 12/3/1999 269 2 3 0 0    
Grand Prix-Seattle 1/15/2000 59 3 5 0 3    
Pro Tour-Los Angeles 2/4/2000 202 3 4 0 0    
Grand Prix-Philadelphia 2/19/2000 158 1 2 1 3    
Pro Tour-New York 4/14/2000 12 10 4 0 0    
Grand Prix-St. Louis (Teams) 5/12/2000 32            
2000 U.S. Nationals 6/10/2000 14 8 4 0 0    
Grand Prix-Pittsburgh (Teams) 6/23/2000 15            
2000 World Championships 8/4/2000 10 12 5 1 0    
1999-2000 Season     63 36 3 12 114 61.76%
Masters-New York 9/28/2000 30 0 1 0 0    
Pro Tour-New York (Teams) 9/28/2000 82            
Grand Prix-Manchester 10/7/2000 8 7 4 0 3    
Grand Prix-Helsinki 10/28/2000 21 6 4 0 3    
Masters-Chicago 11/30/2000 22 0 1 0 0    
Pro Tour-Chicago 12/1/2000 7 11 4 0 0    
Grand Prix-New Orleans 1/6/2001 222 0 3 0 3    
Grand Prix-Amsterdam 1/13/2001 76 3 2 0 3    
Pro Tour-Los Angeles 2/2/2001 295 1 4 0 0    
Grand Prix-Boston 2/24/2001 27 6 3 2 3    
Pro Tour-Tokyo 3/16/2001 1 13 3 1 0    
Grand Prix-Göteborg 3/24/2001 27 6 4 0 3    
Grand Prix-Detroit 3/31/2001 61 4 6 0 3    
Masters-Barcelona 5/3/2001 4 3 1 0 0    
Pro Tour-Barcelona 5/4/2001 319 1 4 0 0    
Grand Prix-Turin (Teams) 5/26/2001 8            
2001 U.S. Nationals 6/2/2001 10 9 3 0 0    
Grand Prix-Columbus (Teams) 7/28/2001 32            
2001 World Championships 8/10/2001 14 12 5 1 0    
2000-01 Season     82 52 4 21 159 59.42%
Grand Prix-Denver 8/18/2001 23 6 4 0 3    
Pro Tour-New York (Teams) 9/7/2001 3            
Masters-New Orleans 11/1/2001 5 2 1 0 0    
Pro Tour-New Orleans 11/2/2001 187 3 3 0 0    
Grand Prix-Atlanta 11/17/2001 68 2 2 0 3    
Grand Prix-Las Vegas 12/8/2001 44 5 5 0 3    
Grand Prix-Houston 1/5/2002 15 6 3 1 3    
Masters-San Diego 1/10/2002 27 0 1 0 0    
Pro Tour-San Diego 1/11/2002 35 9 5 0 0    
Grand Prix-Heidelberg 2/9/2002 75 3 2 0 3    
Masters-Osaka (Teams) 3/15/2002 5            
Pro Tour-Osaka 3/15/2002 60 7 5 2 0    
Masters-Nice 5/2/2002 11 2 1 0 1    
Pro Tour-Nice 5/3/2002 185 3 4 0 0    
2002 U.S. Nationals 6/1/2002 108 5 5 0 0    
Grand Prix-New Jersey (Teams) 6/29/2002 2            
2002 World Championships 8/16/2002 12 12 5 1 0    
2001-02 Season     65 46 4 16 131 56.52%
Pro Tour-Boston (Teams) 9/27/2002 21            
Grand Prix-Philadelphia 10/26/2002 41 5 4 1 4    
Masters-Houston 11/7/2002 45 1 1 0 1    
Pro Tour-Houston 11/8/2002 139 4 3 0 0    
Grand Prix-Los Angeles 11/23/2002 20 7 4 0 3    
Grand Prix-New Orleans 1/4/2003 1 11 3 0 3    
Masters-Chicago 1/16/2003 41 1 1 0 1    
Pro Tour-Chicago 1/17/2003 254 2 3 0 0    
Grand Prix-Boston 2/22/2003 7 8 2 3 3    
Pro Tour-Venice 3/21/2003 32 9 5 0 0    
Pro Tour-Yokohama 5/9/2003 140 3 4 0 0    
Masters-Yokohama 5/11/2003 5 2 1 0 0    
Grand Prix-Pittsburgh (Teams) 5/31/2003 1            
2003 U.S. Nationals 6/29/2003 43 7 5 0 0    
2003 World Championships 8/8/2003 135 9 9 0 0    
2002-03 Season     69 45 4 15 133 58.47%
Grand Prix-Atlanta 8/30/2003 5 8 1 3 3    
Pro Tour-Boston (Teams) 9/12/2003 74            
Pro Tour-New Orleans 10/31/2003 99 7 7 0 0    
Grand Prix-Anaheim 12/13/2003 228 0 0 0 2    
Pro Tour-Kobe 2/27/2004 164 3 4 0 0    
Pro Tour-San Diego 5/14/2004 127 2 3 0 1    
2004 U.S. Nationals 6/19/2004 39 8 6 0 0    
Pro Tour-Seattle (Teams) 7/9/2004 19            
2004 World Championships 9/3/2004 278 5 9 0 0    
2003-04 Season     33 30 3 6 72 50.00%
Pro Tour-Atlanta (Teams) 3/11/2005 61            
2005 Season                

  • Zvi began his career as a player on the Junior Pro Tour taking part in Pro Tour–Dallas and making the Top 8 of Pro Tour–Los Angeles in 1997 before the Juniors and Seniors were merged.
  • RECORD VS. HALL OF FAME W L D
    Jon Finkel 1 3 0
    Darwin Kastle 1 4 0
    Tommi Hovi 0 0 0
    Alan Comer 1 2 0
    Olle Rade 0 1 0
    Bob Maher 2 4 0
    David Humpherys 2 1 0
    Raphael Levy 1 1 0
    Gary Wise 0 3 0
    Rob Dougherty 1 2 1
    Kai Budde 2 1 0
    Tsuyoshi Fujita 3 1 0
    Nicolai Herzog 1 0 0
    Randy Buehler 1 1 0
    Career Total 16 24 1

  • As the creator of the Dream Halls-fueled TurboZvi, Mowshowitz was already recognized as a significant deck builder but that reputation was solidified when he finished in the Top 16 of Pro Tour–Los Angeles the following season in Tempest Block Constructed.
  • Zvi broke through into the Top 8 of a Pro Tour at Pro Tour–New York 98-99 (once again playing Block Constructed) with his Fluctuator-based Zero Effect.
  • Block Constructed would also provide the format for Zvi's Pro Tour victory in Tokyo 2001 when his perfectly positioned—and named—Solution deck mauled an aggro red field with Crimson Acolytes.
  • Chicago always seems to have the most talent packed Top 8s, and Chicago's Standard PT in 2001 was made up of 50 percent Hall of Famers. Zvi's Fires of Yavimaya deck launched an epic deck analysis–—the multi-part My Fires.
  • Zvi is one of the most prolific writers to ever tackle Magic. For more than 10 years he has contributed theory, decks, and his own unique brand of insight and humor to The Dojo, Mindripper, New Wave, The Sideboard, Brainburst, Starcitygames, and Magicthegathering.com.
  • Zvi is 15th on all time money-winners list and 19th on the all-time Pro Points list, with four Pro Tour Top 8 appearances, and eight Grand Prix Top 8 appearances with two victories.
  • One of the most important deck builders of all time, Zvi's trademark creation is TurboLand.
  • Despite a reputation as a mad scientist designer, he has always been a consummate teammate teaming with Justin Gary and Alex Shvartsman to form the Illuminati, working with deck think tanks The Mogg Squad and Godzilla to create format-defining decks, and as a member of the 1999 winning U.S. National team.
  • Listed below are notable decklists from Zvi Mowshowitz's Pro Tour career.

    Zvi Mowshowitz – Zero Effect
    Pro Tour–New York 1999, 3rd Place – Urza's Block Constructed


    Zvi Mowshowitz – My Fires
    Pro Tour–Chicago 2000, 7th Place – Standard


    Zvi Mowshowitz – The Solution
    Pro Tour–Tokyo 2001, 1st Place – Invasion Block Constructed

    Main Deck

    60 cards

    Coastal Tower
    10  Island
    10  Plains

    24 lands

    Crimson Acolyte
    Galina's Knight
    Meddling Mage
    Stormscape Apprentice
    Voice of All

    20 creatures

    Absorb
    Exclude
    Fact or Fiction
    Repulse

    16 other spells

    Sideboard
    Aura Blast
    Crusading Knight
    Disrupt
    Gainsay
    Pure Reflection

    15 sideboard cards



    Zvi Mowshowitz – The Red Army
    Grand Prix–Atlanta 2003. 5th Place – Standard


    Zvi Mowshowitz – Turboland
    Grand Prix–New Orleans 2003, 1st Place – Extended

    Hall of Fame: Zvi Mowshowitz

    Members of the Magic community share their memories of Zvi Mowshowitz on his induction into the Pro Tour Hall of Fame.

    Video

  • Pro Tour-Tokyo 2001 Finals: Zvi Mowshowitz vs. Tsuyoshi Fujita (60 MB zip)
  • Pro Tour-Tokyo 2001: Awards Ceremony (21 MB zip)
  • 1999 U.S. Nationals Semifinals, Part 1: Zvi Mowshowitz vs. David Humpherys (16 MB zip)
  • 1999 U.S. Nationals Semifinals, Part 2: Zvi Mowshowitz vs. David Humpherys (36 MB zip)
  • Photo Gallery

    The finals of Pro Tour-Tokyo 2001 featured two of the game's greatest deck designers in a, Invasion Block Constructed showdown. Tsuyoshi Fujita brought "The Rats" but Zvi triumphed with "The Solution."


    Zvi Mowshowitz changed the game with his deck designs and play theory.


    There was rarely a time during Zvi's playing career that he wasn't sharing his thoughts on a variety of websites as one of the game's pre-eminent writers.


    Teamed with Alex Shvartsman (center) and Justin Gary to form Illuminati, one of the most recognizable teams on Tour.


    Mowshowitz captured a Pro Tour title and two Grand Prix titles in his long career.

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