Grand-Prix Kobe: Day 1 Archive

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EVENT COVERAGE
  • by Brian David-Marshall
    Feature Match Coverage: Round Eight
    Tsuyoshi Fujita (Next Lev el Blue) vs. Yuuta Takahashi (Rock)

  • by Brian David-Marshall
    Saturday, 7:58 p.m
    And Now for Something Completely Different

  • by Brian David-Marshall
    Quick Questions
    What is the appeal of a premier event for you?

  • by Brian David-Marshall
    Saturday, 5:29 p.m.
    Trust him, he’s been here before...

  • by Brian David-Marshall
    Feature Match Coverage: Round Five
    Osamu Fujita (Ranger Zoo) vs. Jun’ya Iyanaga (Ranger Zoo)

  • by Brian David-Marshall
    Quick Questions
    Tell us which deck you didn’t want to play, and which decks you considered while testing for this format.

  • by Brian David-Marshall
    Feature Match Coverage
    Hisaya Tanaka (Stretcherator) vs. Takahiro Katayama (Elves)

  • by Coverage Staff
    Saturday, 11:35 a.m.
    Last Chance for Innovation: The winning decklists from Friday’s Grand Prix Trials

  • by Brian David-Marshall
    Saturday, 10:15 a.m.
    Photo essay: Stuffed with Steak

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Fact Sheet

 

  • Saturday, 10:15 a.m. – Photo essay: Stuffed with Steak
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • There are many reasons why assignments in Japan are so coveted by coverage team but none are more compelling than the food. Whether you like sushi, pork, steak, or are simply a junk food addict the food in Japan is unlike any other place on earth. I have had several of my most memorable meals in Kobe including a teppanyaki staff dinner in 2004 that featured the most delicious beef I had ever encountered – until last night.

    Wizards staff members who have been coming to Kobe since the first Grand Prix in this town back in 2001 have long raved about the food at Sakurai, a nearby steak joint that has been turning out absurdly good food since 1987. Friday was the first chance I have had to sample the food first hand and I was not disappointed. The inside of the small restaurant – with its walls covered in hand-written messages from raving fans -- featured only 16 seats around a teppanyake bar.

    Along with Scott Larabee, Rob Alexander, and our host Ron Foster we eagerly awaited a multi-course celebration of the cow. The message over our heads promised happy results.

    I will not bore you with pictures of the soup – which was delicious – and skip right to the single most delicious thing I have ever consumed in my life. I am sorry fattiest tuna, you have been replaced in my heart by Kobe Beef nigiri. It was the most succulent bite of food I have ever encountered. I ate everything on this plate except for the flowers and the big leaf. The citrus on the plate is apparently something called sudachi which tasted like a mild lime.

    Even the salad had steak on it... You can see in the picture that the restaurant was a rare non-smoking venue in Japan – essential in such closed quarters with this quality of food.

    We did a little bit of surf and turf next with some Cthulu Nuggets...

    A steak and mushroom dish rounded out the parade of cow flesh. Lucky for me Scott Larabee does not like the mushrooms and I got to double up on the fungus! This dish had a heaping mound of fresh garlic chips on the side which Scott threatened to protect with lethal force if need be.

    We were the last patrons left and our jaws dropped as head chef and owner Masatake Sakurai personally prepared a steak dinner for his staff. If you ever have a chance to visit Kobe you should make a point of getting yourself stuffed with delicious steak!

     

  • Saturday, 11:35 a.m. – Last Chance for Innovation: The winning decklists from Friday’s Grand Prix Trials
    by Coverage Staff
  • With this being the last weekend of the PTQ season you might not think there is much room for innovation in Extended but Kenji Tsumura says you would be wrong. Kenji is MIA this weekend but his presence was felt in the very first of nine GP Trials that were held on Friday when a Tezzerator variant he built took down the three byes. The deck, dubbed The Stretcherator, uses the Cloudpost/Vesuva mana engine to power out Time Stretch, with those extra turns it is easy to get the loyalty counters just right on Tezzeret to overrun your opponent with an army of 5/5 artifacts.

    Most of the other winning lists were decks you have seen before; Ranger Zoo, Rock, and next Level Blue. Apparently the hottest cards at the dealer’s tables yesterday and this morning were Ethersworn Canonist, Vedalken Shackles, and Umezawa’s Jitte, so we there should be more various and sundry Level Blue decks this weekend. The other deck that was interesting among the nine also relied on Cloudpost and Vesuva and bore a striking resemblance to Gabriel Nassif’s deck from Worlds in Paris.

    Tomohiro Tajima took down the fourth Trial with MatryrPost. Can he and Tanaka continue their winning ways in this Pro laden field? We’ll begin to find out once the fourth round begins and the action begins in earnest. Enjoy these decklists in the meanwhile.

    Ranger Zoo
    Yousuke Fujimoto -- Winner Trial #5

    TEPS
    Takanori Itou -- Winner Trial #8

     

  • Feature Match Coverage: Hisaya Tanaka (Stretcherator) vs. Takahiro Katayama (Elves)
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • You will have to permit me a round of indulgence. As we pushed into Round Four – the first round in which all the players in the tournament are playing -- I could easily be covering matches featuring former Player of the year Shota Yasooka, former Rookie winner Yuuya Watanabe, or multiple Pro Tour Top 8 competitor Kazuya Mitamura. This round it is a Grand Prix Trial winner that intrigued me more than all those other title holders.

    Which is not to say that Hisaya Tanaka – who won the first GP Trial on Friday with an exciting Tezzeret variant utilizing Cloudposts and Time Stretch – is by any means a slouch with a second place finish at Grand Prix Kyoto during the ‘02-03 season. His opponent was Takahiro Katayama, who won Grand Prix Hamamatsu as a member of the team Tanii Monogatari. (Interesting piece of useless trivia: Akira Asahara was involved in the finals of both of these players’ GP finishes.)

    Game 1

    I was unsure if Tanaka was still playing the deck he used on Friday to sweep through the first Trial as his deck looked like a blue-white control deck with nary a Cloudpost or Vesuva in his hand. It was quickly apparent what his opponent was playing as he led off with Nettle Sentinel. Tanaka used Spell Snare to catch an Elvish Visionary but Katayama just shrugged and dropped Birchlore Ranger. Tanaka Repealed Nettle Sentinel to end the turn.

    Nettle Sentinel wanted to make a reappearance and Tanaka allowed it. He did not allow Wirewood Symbiote using Cryptic Command to counter it and draw a card. Katayama had a Hivemaster and another Symbiote and his board began to get out of hand. Solemn Simulacrum tried to stave off the team for Tanaka but Katayama just sent everyone into battle. The Simulacrum blocked the Symbiote but Pendlehaven saved it -- after damage was on the stack. Katayama did not want Tanaka to gain any card advantage. Visionary joined the team.

    Triskelion came down for Tanaka and promptly shot the Symbiote and Hivemaster but it did not look like it would be enough as Katayama had Glimpse of Nature for his next turn and a handful of cards. Heritage Druid, Llanowar Elf, Heritage Druid. Visionary and Essence Warden were parlayed into Chord of Calling for Ranger of Eos, which in turn found a pair of Wirewood Symbiotes. Katayama bounced Heritage Druid and continued to dig through his deck.

    Tanaka could only rest his head on his hand and hope to untap. He did manage to snipe a Symbiote with the remaining Triskelion counter when Katayama tapped his Pendelhaven for the mana to keep his turn moving forward. It did not matter. Katayama had found his Brain Freeze. They began to count up spells but Tanaka waved him off.

    Game 2

    As he reached for his sideboard I craned my neck to see if he was even playing the same deck he had used in the Trial the previous day. As I watched Tanaka contemplate his Game 2 options it became apparent that he was running Stretcherator. He did relegate half of his Stretches as well as his Cryptic Commands to the sideboard in favor of cards good in the matchup like Ethersworn Canonist and Crovax Ascendant.

    Tanaka, who could not lose with the deck yesterday, sighed as he shipped his opening hand back for six new ones. He led off with a Cloudpost. Katayama had Nettle Sentinel to kick things off.

    Tanaka played a pair of Islands and did nothing while Katayama added Symbiote and Llanowar Elf to his side of the table. Tanaka had Thirst for Knowledge and discarded Solemn Simulacrum. He pondered the board across from him before deciding to lay a Plains and passing the turn. Katayama made a play with Chord of Calling for one and it resolved as Heritage Druid. Tanaka decided to play Path to Exile on the Symbiote before handing the turn over to his opponent.

    Katayama played Choke and Tanaka gruntingly allowed it. Another Nettle Sentinel came down for Katayama but he was down to one card. Tanaka had to tap out – locking down three Islands – to play Triskelion and shoot the Druid and Birchchlore Ranger. Katayama played Chord of Calling for Ranger again and fetched Wirewood Symbiote and Heritage Druid. There was still one counter on Triskelion but Tanaka was guarding that jealously as Katayama bounced and replayed Elvish Visionary a couple of times until it was Spell Snared off the mana from a Chrome Mox. Tanaka was down to one card in hand and still did not have any access to his Islands.

    The Ranger and Trike traded in combat, with Tanaka shooting down the Symbiote after damage went on the stack but even without the combo enabled for Katayama, Tanaka was facing down an angry horde of elves. He Repealed Nettle Sentinel and was able to stay at one but he could not do anything without his islands and scooped after drawing his next card.

    Final result: Takahiro Katayama – 2 Hisaya Tanaka - 0

     

  • Quick Questions: Tell us which deck you didn’t want to play, and which decks you considered while testing for this format.
    by Keita Mori / Daisuke Kawasaki

  • Shouta Yasooka (Tokyo)
    I would never use Zoo...I think its run is coming to an end. I don’t like TEPS, so I wouldn’t use that, either. I think Elves is the strongest deck, but I wouldn’t use that myself. If Elves is the strongest deck, the trick is to come up with a deck that beats it.


    Norikazu Ishikawa (Aichi)
    I would never ever use Affinity Elves myself. It requires a lot of practice to learn how to use...Although if you put the time in, it’s probably the best.

    Naya Zoo is easy to use, and it can just win sometimes, but someone who’s put a lot of practice into Affinity Elves is still likely to win.

    As for me, I’m playing Affinity. I didn’t have a lot of other cards or much time to practice, but I played Affinity a lot in the past, so I’m counting on my experience to pull me through.


    Makihito Mihara (Chiba)
    I think Zoo is a great introduction to the Extended format. It plays pretty much the same as in Standard. However, I’m not really a beatdown player, so personally I wouldn’t use it. That’s just my preference.

    I think Elves is the best deck. But, while it’s the strongest deck, is also hard to play, so there probably isn’t a single deck that dominates the format. I’m playing it because it’s the one I have the most practice with. I plan on playing against Asahara in the finals to see who’s the best Elf player!


    Tomoharu Saito (Tokyo)
    I wouldn’t use Cycling! After spending 4 days trying to build a Cycling deck, I can tell you that all you get with it is a bunch of draws.

    I think Elves is the most reliable deck in the format right now. However, you need practice to learn how to get the most of it, so you can’t just pick it up. I think Zoo is not as good as people want it to be or think it is. Still, it’s a likely candidate to win, so that’s why I would pick it.

     

  • Feature Match Coverage: Round Five - Osamu Fujita (Ranger Zoo) vs. Jun’ya Iyanaga (Ranger Zoo)
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Osamu Fujita, with his Sunday finish at pro Tour Amsterdam to go with a win in nine Grand Prix Top 8 finishes, and Jun’ya Iyanaga, with his win in a pair of GP Top 8s, met in round five for what I expected would be a very quick pre-lunch match between a pair of Ranger Zoo lists. Both players have been playtesting in the Tokyo community being fostered by Tomoharu Saito.

    Game 1

    Both players made their one drops – a new fangled Wild Nacatl for Iyanaga and an old-timey Kird Ape for Fujita. Iyanaga followed up with Ethersworn Canonist. Fujita took down the cat with Lightning Helix. Iyanaga fortified with Ethersworn Canonist and Mogg Fanatic. Fujita made a Tarmogoyf on his turn and the game slowed down – somewhat – with a Mogg Fanatic from Iyanaga.

    Fujita attacked with Kird Ape and ate a Canonist before playing another Tarmogof. They were now 4/5 with creatures in the yard. Down came a third Mogg Fanatic for Iyanaga. Fujita just pushed into the red zone with his Ernham-sized ‘Goyfs. Iyanaga looked for a profitable block – or at least one that was not a total loss. He ended up trading the Canonist and two Fanatics for one of the ‘Goyfs. Fujita kept piling on the pressure post combat deploying Knight of the Rellequery and Wild Nacatl.

    Iyanaga snuck a point of damage across with his Fanatic and then took down the Knight with the goblin and Lightning Helix. Fujita added a Kird Ape – and still had two cards left in hand. Iyanaga’s hand was running a little thin but he filled it back up with Ranger of Eos for a pair of Nacatls. Both players were above ten life and Fujita only sent his Kird Ape and Tarmogoyf into the lone Ranger, leaving back his Nacatl. Iyanaga traded the Ranger for the Ape.

    Iyanaga untapped and played one of the cats and added his own Tarmogoyf to keep both players off of the red section of the playmat. Iyanaga added the other cat a turn later but neither player was attacking. Fujita dropped a fresh Kird Ape along with a 5/5 Knight of the Reliquary that was going to be burn proof in short order.

    The players stared at each other across the red zone for a couple of turns but Fujita had a plan. He drew one Treetop Village and fetched another with his Knight. Path to Exile on Iyanaga’s Tarmogoyf gave Fujita the clear opening he had been waiting for and he just shoved all his creatures and a couple of lands in the area of the red zone. Iyanaga did not need to do the math and they hunkered down for the next game.

    Game 2

    “Same deck,” laughed Fujita of the match-up. He guessed that they were playing somewhere between 71 and 73 identical cards. Ranger Zoo has gotten so popular in the closing weeks of the season that statement is probably true of many players in the room.

    Iyanaga led off with a full sized Kird Ape it attacked for a couple of turns while both players spent a lot of time breaking lands and shuffling their decks. Fujita’s turn three Wild Nacatl drew fire from Iyanaga who got in for two more on the following turn and played Ranger of Eos for Figure of Destiny and that darned cat. Fujita was playing at breakneck speed with an eye on the clock. Despite being an agro mirror he was concerned about having enough time should Game 3 be neccessary. He played a fetch land and cut his searching time in half by showing Iyanaga the Ranger of Eos was going to play and got everything at once.

    The Ranger fell to Helix from Iyanaga and Fujita fell a turn later with just under 20 minutes – and Fujita’s worried eyes -- left on the clock.

    Game 3

    Fujita considered a mulligan but kept a slow hand that led off with Treetop Village. Iyanaga played a Nacatl and attacked for three with a Jitte waiting for the cat to pick it up a turn later. Fujita had other plans and stuck the Kamigawa artifact under Oblivion Ring. Iyanaga went into the tank to determine what land to play on turn three. He began playing the next few turns in his head and ultimately decided to lay down a Treetop Village and play a second Jitte. If the game somehow ran out of time it would definitely be due to the deliberation about every fetch land as Fujita took precious minutes before finding a Plains to (more or less) painlessly pay for Ranger of Eos – fetching a pair of kitties.

    Iyanaga was quicker to decide what land he would get with his fetch land as he Helixed the Ranger and sent an equipped cat to get in for three. Fujita played both of his Nacatls and added a freshly drawn Ape. He still had enough mana to Path the equipped Nacatl that had already taken him down to 8. Iyanaga went back into the think tank during his second main phase while time ticked away – there were only 7 minutes left. He eventually decided to take three from a fetch land to play his Ranger and the resulting Nacatl. His other option was to play a Kird Ape instead of the Ranger and equip it with the Jitte.

    Fujita considered an attack but opted to play Ranger of Eos for the remaining members of his pride and passed the turn with less than 5 minutes remaining. Iyanaga continued to run through the turns and try to find a play he was comfortable while Fujita continued to fret. Ranger of Eos picked up the Jitte and Fujita slammed Path to Exile on the table. Iyanaga was out of basics. He played out a couple of guys and passed the turn.

    Fujita – after emptying his hand of the two cats and a land -- sent his previous cats and Ranger into the red zone. Iyanaga traded with them all leaving only Figure of Destiny standing on his side of the table. He was holding Elspeth, Fujita’s hand was empty, and there was more than enough time left on the clock.

    Final result: Jun’ya Iyanaga – 2 Osamu Fujita - 1

     

  • Saturday, 5:29pm - Trust him, he’s been here before...
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • The last time there was an Extended Grand Prix in Japan it was in 2005. The event was Kitakyushu and the winner was Tomoharu Kaji – a season before he would be a member of the Pro Tour Charleston winning team. There were only 272 players at that event – one of the smallest Grand Prix in this part of the world. The Top 8 from that event was billed as possibly “The Best Top 8 Ever?” by the coverage team. It has only gotten better with hindsight with Kaji winning Charleston and Mihara becoming a juggernaut at events he able to attend.

    While he is in attendance this weekend I can assure you he will definitely not become a back-to-back Extended champion this weekend. That is impossible since Kaji is here as a coverage reporter for the Japanese side of the coverage. I asked him a couple of questions about what it was like being perpendicular to the red zone, covering the action as opposed to participating.

    “It is really hard. The work is really difficult,” said Kaji, who has retired from playing to continue his education. “Normally, these days, I would be reading the coverage but now I have to write the words – and that is very hard. Even as a player I always thought it would be interesting to do some coverage work. It is very interesting to be on this side of it.”

    As someone who has successfully navigated his way through Day One of an event and then managed to win it all on Day Two, I asked Kaji to describe what was necessary for a deck – and player – to succeed at an event like this.

    “Sideboarding is very important,” he answered immediately. “There are strong cards in this format that can be shut down by other cards that come in from people’s sideboards. You need to anticipate that and sideboard against people’s sideboards. Mind’s Desire, for example, gets shut down by Rule of Law. If you assume people are going to bring in Rule of Law against your deck, what do you need to bring in against Rule of Law?”

    “It is a very fast format – it is a very complicated format. There are five or six decks that are really strong. Everyone’s decks are strong – that’s a given. The difference comes in playing. If you make a lot of little mistakes or overlook things, it will cost you. The person who practices the most, the person who understands how their deck works, and can play correctly can be the ‘better player’”.

    Based on the amount of practicing and playtesting that is taking place in the Tokyo community around Tomoharu Saito it would not be surprising to see someone from that community do well this weekend – although Kaji would obviously prefer if that person was Saito himself. The two were teammates on the winning team for Pro Tour Charleston and remain close friends.

    As for what deck, Kaji would have sleeved up for this event if he was playing?

    “Mind’s Desire combo,” said Kaji wistfully.

     

  • Quick Questions: What is the appeal of a premier event for you?
    by Keita Mori / Daisuke Kawasaki

  • Takamasa Fukada (Osaka)
    (His wife answers first: “Because you get to see all your friends”)
    ...Exactly. I’ve started playing Magic after a break for family, and it’s great to see everyone again and play with them. Also, at a premier event, there are lots of public events, so you can play Magic anytime you want, which is great.


    Hiroto Higa (Okinawa)
    It’s easy to become a fan of the pros, and it’s great to see them play their matches first-hand.

    As a player, I enjoy meeting and playing with new people. I’m from Okinawa, and since we’re a small community I pretty much know everyone there already.


    Shuuheu Nakamura (Osaka)
    Well, it’s my job as a fulltime pro player to go to premier events and try to win prize money.

    However, I have set myself a goal this year of winning an individual Pro Tour, so it’s not only about the money.


    Brian David-Marshall (New York)
    Food. I travel the world doing coverage, and I make a point of eating the local specialties wherever I go.

     

  • Saturday, 7:58 p.m - And Now for Something Completely Different
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • I have been regularly covering events since 2003 and in all that time I cannot recall seeing Hall of Famer Tsuyoshi Fujita – the first Japanese player to make the Top 8 of a Pro Tour – play a deck with Islands in it. I have seen plenty of Mountains, some Plains, and occasional Swamps and Forests but, seriously, never an Island. I would say no one was more surprised than I was when Fujita came to this event planning on playing Next Level Blue but that would be incorrect. The most shocked person was Pro Tour Kobe winner Masashiro Kuroda.

    Kuroda always plays whatever deck Fujita tells him to play. That plan has worked out well for him in the past – Fujita built his PT Kobe winning Red deck – and he saw no reason to veer from that successful formula. Even if it meant playing Islands – something Kuroda has never done either, with the exception of a Psychatog deck –which I alluded to in the Twitter feed. The deck had not done well for Kuroda though and he was out of the tournament before the end of Day One.

    Fujita, on the other hand, had only taken one loss leading into the final round and was guaranteed a spot in Day Two. He did not think anyone should be surprised by his deck decision though:

    “I like Islands,” he laughed as he prepared for the next round.

     

  • Feature Match Coverage: Round Eight - Tsuyoshi Fujita (Next Lev el Blue) vs. Yuuta Takahashi (Rock)
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Neither of these players requires much in the way of introduction to regular coverage readers. Takahashi has been a dominant force on the Grand Prix scene with a pair of wins in the past year – and was Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw’s pick to win this event. Tsuysoshi Fujita is the first Japanese player to make the Top 8 of a Pro Tour, the first to enter the Hall of Fame, and one of the game’s great deck designers. Both players were 6-1 going into the final round and assured of a Day Two berth but a win would put the victor in great position to make a Top 8 run tomorrow.

    Game 1

    “I lose the die roll always,” sighed Takahashi who had apparently started every round on the draw to this point.

    He would get no sympathy from his surprised opponent who added happily while taking his turn, “It was my first time winning!”

    Takahashi led off with Urborg, which elicited a startled reaction from Fujita. Both players made turn two Tarmogoyfs, despite playing incredibly different decks. Fujita played a second copy of the future shifted rare and rumbled into the red zone with them a turn later after Takahashi played Life from the Loam.

    Dredging back Life from the Loam hit Raven’s Crime, which threatened to decimate Fujita’s hand in short order – but not before the black-green side of Crime//Punishment was offered up as a Wrath effect for the 2 mana creatures. Fujita cracked a fetch land for his fourth mana and sent in back to Takahashi’s hand with Venser. Fujita sent in the team and Takahashi had his ‘Goyf eat the legendary wizard – he fell to six.

    Life from the Loam grew back three lands and Takahashi began attacking Fujita’s hand. The first Raven’s Crime drew a Spellstutter Sprite and Takahashi passed the turn with no other play. He had two mana available and wanted to be able to activate his Mutavault. Fujita played Engineered Explosives for 0 before attacking and made that a moot point.

    Game 2

    Takahashi sent his first two hands back and was quickly down to only five cards to work with. I had been expecting Tsuyoshi to mulligan as well -- he was looking at six lands and a sideboarded Canonist – but he kept the hand and I am not sure if he would have done so if not for the five card starting hand from Takahashi.

    Takahashi offered up a turn three Tarmogoyf that was Spell Snared. Fujita followed up with Canonist only to have Takahashi drop Garruck Wildspeaker on him and make a token creature. Tsuyoshi suspended Ancestral Visions and passed the turn.

    Takahashi attacked for three and made another token. Fujita had no play. Takahashi ticked his loyalty up to play Kitchen Finks and traded one of his tokens for one of Fujita’s two Mutavaults in combat. When Takahashi made another token, a turn later, Fujita snuck Spellstutter Sprite into play and was able to finish off the Planeswalker on his own turn – he also had Riptide Lab should he need it for something later on. Tsuyoshi tried to hide behind a Tarmogoyf but Takahashi had the Putrefy to clear the way.

    Game 3

    Tsuyoshi was kicking himself over the decision to not mulligan his hand and continued to mutter about it when he had to pitch back his starting seven in Game 3. His six card hand opened on a suspended Ancestral Visions so he would be getting that card back soon. Takahashi – who started this game at full strength – attempted Bitterblossom on turn two but Fujita Mana Leaked it. Fujita played Canonist on his own turn and then suspended another Visions which prompted what I am pretty sure is the Japanese equivalent of “How lucky” from Takahashi, who landed Tarmogoyf on his next turn and Garruck a turn later. Takahashi untapped two lands and Fujita played Vendillion Clique at the end of his opponent’s turn. Takahashi wanted to Darkblast it but Tsuyoshi reminded him of the Garruck that had been played and the Canonist still in play. Fujita put the Darkblast at the bottom and took three loyalty counters off of Garruck on his attack step. He also suspended a third Visions.

    Takahashi made a token -- letting his Garruck go – and crashed in with Mutavault and ‘Goyf. Fujita traded his Canonist for the land. He left his Clique back to block on the next turn but Takahashi had Putrefy. Fujita played another copy of the legendary Faerie and used the ability on himself to push Detritovore to the bottom for a fresh card and traded with the token.

    Despite six more cards coming over the next couple of turns, Fujita had to concede in the face of Bitterblossom and the full-sized Tarmogoyf.

    “I probably should have mulliganed,” said Fujita when asked about his Game 2 decision. “I did not think about Garruck. I had Canonist which is so good against his deck.”

    Final result: Yuuta Takahashi – 2 Tsuyoshi Fujita – 1

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