Makihito Mihara Wins Grand Prix–Okayama

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2006 World Champion Makihito Mihara won Grand Prix Okayama with an Esper deck that boasted three copies of Sanctum Gargoyle and a pair of the Tower variety. He was one of only two Esper drafters in a Top 8 that was stretched thin for green, white, and red playables as evidenced by his finals opponent, Kazuya Mitamura’s decision to play Ooze Garden and Keeper of Progenitus in his main deck.

The Top 8 featured the former World Champion, Pro Tour Yokohama finalists Mitamura and Guillaume Wafo-Tapa, Mitamura’s PT Charleston teammate Chikara Nakajima, two-time Pro Tour Top 8 competitor Tsuyoshi Ikeda, and Hall of Famer Olivier Ruel. Between them they sported a total of 15 Pro Tour Top 8 appearances and dozens and dozens of Grand Prix Top 8s.

Coming into the Top 8 Olivier Ruel had hoped to close some ground on Shuhei Nakamura in the Player of the Year race. Shuhei finished in the Top 16 earning 3 points but Olivier was only able to gain a single point in the race when he was defeated by Nakajima in the quarterfinals.




Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Yamamoto, Akimasa   Ikeda, Tsuyoshi, 2-0        
8 Ikeda, Tsuyoshi   Mihara, Makihito, 2-0
       
4 Muramatsu, Daisuke   Mihara, Makihito, 2-1   Mihara, Makihito, 2-0
5 Mihara,Makihito    
       
2 Mitamura, Kazuya   Mitamura, Kazuya, 2-0
7 Wafo-tapa, Guillaume   Mitamura, Kazuya, 2-1
       
3 Ruel, Olivier   Nakajima, Chikara, 2-0
6 Nakajima, Chikara    

EVENT COVERAGE INFORMATION

  • 7:42 p.m.: Finals Feature Match: Kazuya Mitamura vs. Makihito Mihara
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • 6:35 p.m.: Semifinal Feature Match: Kazuya Mitamura vs. Chikara Nakajima
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • 6:12 p.m.: Quarterfinals Feature Match: Olivier Ruel vs. Chikara Nakajima
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • 5:52 p.m.:Drafting With Olivier Ruel
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Info: Top 8 Decklists
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Top 8 Player Profiles
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Day 2 Blog Archive: Photo Essay, Featured Matches, Drafting with Morita and more!
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Day 2 Player List
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Day 1 Blog Archive: Ask the Pros, Featured Matches, Deck Building with Shuhei and more!
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Fact Sheet
    by Event Coverage Staff
 1.  Makihito Mihara $3,500
 2.  Kazuya Mitamura $2,300
 3.  Chikara Nakajima $1,500
 4.  Tsuyoshi Ikeda $1,500
 5.  Daisuke Muramatsu $1,000
 6.  Olivier Ruel $1,000
 7.  Akimasa Yamamoto $1,000
 8.  Guillaume Wafo-Tapa $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
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  • Top 8 Player Profiles
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Daisuke Muramatsu

    Hometown: Aichi
    Age: 27
    Occupation: Nose follower, Ponyo

    What was your record on Saturday, and what were your best card(s)?
    I was undefeated on Day 1. My friend Nose told me Goblin Assault was strong, and he was right!

    What card do you think is currently the most undervalued in Alara draft?
    I don’t know—I’d have to ask Nose.

    What archetype do you hope to draft? What do you think are the three most important commons for that archetype?
    I like Red-Black. I’m always happy to see Vithian Stinger, Bone Splinters, and Resounding Thunder.

    What hobbies outside Magic do you have?
    Nose.

    Who do you think will be this year’s Player of the Year?
    I don’t know—I’d have to ask Nose.

    What are your major previous Magic achievements?
    Nose follower.

    What are your major non-Magic achievements?
    Nose follower.


    Guillaume Wafo-Tapa

    Hometown: Nantes
    Age: 27
    Occupation:Magic pro player

    What was your record on Saturday, and what were your best card(s)?
    I went 7-1, with a Caldera Helion.

    What card do you think is currently the most undervalued in Alara draft?
    Courier’s Capsule.

    What archetype do you hope to draft? What do you think are the three most important commons for that archetype?
    I love Esper. I try to get Sanctum Gargoyle, Courier’s Capsule, and Executioner’s Capsule as much as I can.

    What hobbies outside Magic do you have?
    Reading fantasy novels, watching TV dramas, reading Japanese manga.

    Who do you think will be this year’s Player of the Year?
    I’m sure it will be Nakamura. His lead is pretty big.

    What are your major previous Magic achievements?
    Pro Tour Yokohama 2007 Champion, Pro Tour Kuala Lumpur 2008 Top 8.

    What are your major non-Magic achievements?
    None, I think.


    Kazuya Mitamura

    Hometown: Chiba
    Age: 28
    Occupation: Student

    What was your record on Saturday, and what were your best card(s)?
    6-1-1. Seaside Citadel.

    What card do you think is currently the most undervalued in Alara draft?
    Drumhunter.

    What archetype do you hope to draft? What do you think are the three most important commons for that archetype?
    Red-Green. I look for Vithian Stinger, Branching Bolt, Resounding Thunder.

    What hobbies outside Magic do you have?
    NicoNico Movies (similar to YouTube for Japan).

    Who do you think will be this year’s Player of the Year?
    Nakamura.

    What are your major previous Magic achievements?
    Two Pro Tour Top 8s, two Grand Prix Top 8s.

    What are your major non-Magic achievements?
    None.


    Makihito Mihara

    Hometown: Chiba
    Age: 26
    Occupation: Salaryman

    What was your record on Saturday, and what were your best card(s)?
    I went 8-0 with a Broodmate Dragon.

    What card do you think is currently the most undervalued in Alara draft?
    Drumhunter.

    What archetype do you hope to draft? What do you think are the three most important commons for that archetype?
    I like Naya, with Vithian Stinger, Oblivion Ring, and Branching Bolt.

    What hobbies outside Magic do you have?
    Reading.

    Who do you think will be this year’s Player of the Year?
    Nakashu.

    What are your major previous Magic achievements?
    2006 World Champion.

    What are your major non-Magic achievements?
    None.


    Chikara Nakajima

    Hometown: Kanagawa
    Age: 32
    Occupation: I sell cards at the Chameleon Club Kobuchi store.

    What was your record on Saturday, and what were your best card(s)?
    I went 6-1-1, with a lot of help from Soul’s Fire.

    What card do you think is currently the most undervalued in Alara draft?
    The cycling creatures.

    What archetype do you hope to draft? What do you think are the three most important commons for that archetype?
    I like Naya, with Vithian Stinger, Oblivion Ring, and Branching Bolt.

    What hobbies outside Magic do you have?
    Guessing Komuro’s weight.

    Who do you think will be this year’s Player of the Year?
    Nakamura.

    What are your major previous Magic achievements?
    PT Charlestone Top 4, Grand Prix Okayama Top 4.

    What are your major non-Magic achievements?
    (blank)


    Akimasa Yamamoto

    Hometown: Wakayama
    Age: 24
    Occupation: Freelancer

    What was your record on Saturday, and what were your best card(s)?
    I was undefeated thanks to Bull Cerodon and Caldera Hellion.

    What card do you think is currently the most undervalued in Alara draft?
    I don’t really know...I think Call to Heel is good. It seems to come late, though.

    What archetype do you hope to draft? What do you think are the three most important commons for that archetype?
    Esper. I like Agony Warp, Sanctum Gargoyle, and Executioner’s Capsule.

    What hobbies outside Magic do you have?
    Anything that makes me money.

    Who do you think will be this year’s Player of the Year?
    I don’t know.

    What are your major previous Magic achievements?
    I won a tournament at Mana Source!

    What are your major non-Magic achievements?
    None.


    Olivier Ruel

    Hometown: Lille
    Age: 27
    Occupation: Magic pro player

    What was your record on Saturday, and what were your best card(s)?
    I rode the wings of Battlegrace Angel to a 6-1-1 finish!

    What card do you think is currently the most undervalued in Alara draft?
    Common: Cancel
    Uncommon: Necrogenesis
    Rare: Kederekt Leviathan

    What archetype do you hope to draft? What do you think are the three most important commons for that archetype?
    I like White-Green with either Blue or Red.
    For WGR, I look for Wild Nacatl, Oblivion Ring, and Branching Bolt.
    If I’m UUG, I look for Akrasan Squire, Oblivion Ring, and Knight of the Skyward Eye.

    What hobbies outside Magic do you have?
    Music and soccer.

    Who do you think will be this year’s Player of the Year?
    Me. I know Shuhei has a 99% chance of winning, but I like to bet on the underdog. Things will get interesting if I win GP Okayama, won’t they?

    What are your major previous Magic achievements?
    I have twenty-five Grand Prix Top 8s, five Pro Tour Top 8s, and I’m 1-0 again Jun Nobushita.

    What are your major non-Magic achievements?
    I got 18.5/20 points on the “Roman Mythology” quiz. Ive run a semi-marathon in 2 hours 5 minutes.


    Tsuyoshi Ikeda

    Hometown: Fukuoka
    Age: 35
    Occupation: Magic store “Fireball” manager

    What was your record on Saturday, and what were your best card(s)?
    I went undefeated thanks to the help of my three tri-color lands.

    What card do you think is currently the most undervalued in Alara draft?
    Bloodthorn Taunter.

    What archetype do you hope to draft? What do you think are the three most important commons for that archetype?
    If I’m Red-Green, I want to get Wild Nacatl, Magma Spray, and Branching Bolt.

    If I go White-Blue, I look for Oblivion Ring, Deft Duelist, and Guardians of Akrasa.

    What hobbies outside Magic do you have?
    Raising my daughter.

    Who do you think will be this year’s Player of the Year?
    Jeff Fung (I know it’s a long shot).

    What are your major previous Magic achievements?
    2000 Japan National Team, two Pro Tour Top 8s.

    What are your major non-Magic achievements?
    Managing my card store.



     
  • Top 8 Decklists
    by Event Coverage Staff









  •  
  • Sunday, 5:52 p.m.: Drafting With Olivier Ruel
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • “My plan is to not play against Guillaume,” laughed Olivier when asked about his strategy for the Top 8 draft. “My real plan is to not draft artifacts. I love 5-color so if I open a spoiler – a bomb rare – I will do that. If I get an Oblivion Ring or Wild Nacatl in my pack I will go aggro.”

    Olivier sat down for the draft and saw that Guillaume was sitting a few seats away, headed for a quarterfinal rematch of the Pro Tour Yokohama finals with Kazuya Mitamura. That part of the plan was taken care of, Olivier would be playing Pro Tour Charleston Top 4 competitor – and a teammate at that event with Mitamura – Chikara Nakajima. He was being fed by Tsuyoshi Ikeda and passing to Daisuke Muramatsu, one of only two players in the Top 8 without any experience on the Sunday stage on the Pro Tour.

    Olivier opened his first pack and saw a bounty of cards including Oblivion Ring, Vithian Stinger, Executioner’s Capsule, Deft Duelist, and Hissing Iguanar. He took the Ring, which many pros consider to be the best common in the set. Ikeda passed him a pack with Godsire, Kiss of the Amesha,. Tidehollow Strix, Metalurgeon, and an uncommon missing. Olivier happily took the mythic rare without knowing that the missing uncommon from Ikeda’s pack was a Wooly Thoctar. Olivier considered a Rockslide Elemental for his third pick but opted for Sigil’s Blessing instead.

    He took another Blessing with his fourth pick but seemed to be getting an uneasy feeling about the way the packs were coming, with few Naya cards and plenty of Jund and Grixis goodies. Mosstodon joined the Hall of Famer’s team with pick number five and Oli also took note of a Behemoth’s Herald that he clearly expected to lap the table. He rounded out the pack with an uneasy sixth pick Welkin Guide, a couple of Obelisks, and the Hissing Iguanar from his opening pack – the Herald did not come back to him.

    Olivier was happy to see Magma Spray in pack two but shuffled it to the back as soon as he saw Sigil of Distinction. He seriously considered taking Dragon Fodder over Magma Spray and loudly flipped back and forth between the two of them for the maximum amount of time allowed for deliberation before taking the removal spell. The next pack was chock full of on-Shard goodness with Realm Razer, Rhox Charger, Quasali Ambusher, Druid of the Anima, and Rakeclaw Garagntuan – he took the Charger. The hits kept coming from the left as he was passed in the next few packs Branching Bolt, Soul’s Fire, Rakeclaw Gargantuan, and Elvish Visionary. He debated between Jungle Weaver and Rip-Clan Crasher in the next pack and reluctantly took the hasty beater. Druid of the Anima was the only notable card in the later packs, returning from the Naya heavy pack he had seen earlier. Despite a very solid second pack Oli was light on playable and was considering two Goblin Mountaineers for his maindeck at this point.

    The third wave of packs kicked off with Wooly Thoctar, Bloodpyre Elemental, Naya Panorama, and Skelotinize before drying up to almost nothing by pick five. It was obvious that not only had he been hooked into Naya by Ikeda but there were clearly more Naya drafters than the table could support.

    “I should have been unearth,” groaned Olivier as he laid out his deck pointing to the Druid of Anima, Elvish Visionary, and Guardians of Akrasa. “Was I too committed by my fourth pick of the draft? I have no guys. Some of these look like guys but they are just lands or cyclers – and this wall is a ... wall.”

    He did have a decent arsenal of removal spells and that was his plan heading into the Quarterfinals: “I have to kill, kill, kill and then play Godsire or Sigil of Dsitinction.”

    As he finalized his list he looked disgustedly at his Rip-Clan Crasher and snorted: “I wasted this pick. I should have picked the 5/6 – I still thought I would get some guys and make an aggro deck. I have won with worse decks but one round only – not a whole Grand Prix.”



     
  • Sunday, 6:12 p.m.: Quarterfinals Feature Match: Olivier Ruel vs. Chikara Nakajima
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • I was torn about which match of the two that were featured – both French vs. Japanee showdowns. I wanted to cover Guillaume vs. Mitamura’s Yokohama rematch but the story coming into this event was the Player of the Year race and I would be remiss if I did not follow him through the remainder of his time in the event. Plus, let’s be realistic, Guillaume would still be playing long after this one was finished... right?

    There has never been two non-Japanese in the finals of a Japanese Grand Prix and there would not be this weekend with the winners of the two relevant matches destined to collide in the semifinals but for now Olivier had to contend with Pro Tour Charleston Top 4 competitor Chikara Nakajima. Nakajima made headlines earlier in the day when he pulled off the double Sarkhan Vol kill, making five dragons and then playing a second Planeswalker to give them haste and +1/+1.

    Game 1

    Nakajima led off with Wild Nacatl and almost made a hasty attack before playing Mountain. He managed to catch himself in time and got in for two then followed up with Goblin Mountaineer. There were way too many Naya drafters at this table if that guy was making a maindeck appearance – either out of a canny read or desperation.

    Olivier had an Obelisk into Magma Spray for the Nacatl but Nakajima just smiled and played another. Olivier sent a member of the Rip-Clan crashing in for two and braced to take three back from the Plains-less Nakajima.

    Olivier cringed as he got in for two again and then devoured the Rip-Clan to make a 4/4 Thorn-Thrash Viashino: “I am a card advantage master.”

    “Attack phase,” announced Nakajima and Olivier decided not to block but then he decided not to attack as well when his deck did not give him any other options. No Pro is happy with “no blocks, no attacks” sequence and Olivier seemed resigned to the Resounding Roar when he put his Thorn-Thrash in the way of the Nacatl with a shake of his head. Nakajima played an off-Shard but on-color Aethersworn Canonist.

    Olivier dejectedly played Guardians of Akrasa which fell to Skeletonize after blocking on the next turn -- Olivier fell to seven.

    He drew the eighth mana he needed for Godsire but it did not matter as a giggling Nakajima had another Resounding Roar to secure the win. Resounding Roar from Mitamura also took down Game 1 against Wafo-Tapa and both French players were down a quick game.

    Game 2

    Olivier made a loose keep of his opening hand that contained no Forests. He needed a turn three Obelisk to unleash his Rip-Clan and attacked for two. During his opponent’s upkeep he used Soul’s Fire in an attempt to kill Druid of the Anima. Nakajima used Naya Charm to kill the Rip-Clan in response.

    Elvish Visionary and Druid of the Anima came down from the now green-enabled Oli. Nakajima used Magma Spray to hose down the Druid. Olivier came back with Wooly Thoctar and a 4/4 Thorn-Thrash. It seemed like Olivier should be winning the game but a Resounding Thunder cycled to kill the Thoctar and Nakajima mounted a motley crew of scrappy fighters that included Bant Battlemage, Rip-Clan Crasher and Welkin Guide. Olivier was quickly down to 6.

    The Hall of Famer played Magma Spray to kill the Welkin Guide mid-combat and fell to two. Nakajima played Vithian Stinger. It was now or never for Olivier who attacked Nakajima down to four with his Thorn-Thrash. Nakajima attacked with everyone except the Stinger and Oli asked if he wanted to send him as well. Nakajima wagged a finger at him. Olivier played Angelsong to fog and Nakajima called for Dragon Fodder. Olivier knocked on his deck. “I need one card!”

    He played the Rhox Charger that his deck offered but Nakajima was ready to put everything in the path of the 5/5 trampler, which was not enough for Olivier to force Game 3. He extended his hand and congratulated Nakajima on going to the semifinals against Mitamura who had apparently blown out his Yokohama rival in two brutally quick games.

    “I actually had two cards I could draw there,” sighed Olivier as he showed off the Sigil of Distinction and Welkin Guide, either of which would have won him the game. “I should also not have Magma Sprayed the flier in case I drew a Branching Bolt,” he clucked at himself, thinking about how he could have played the match differently.

    Final result: Olivier Ruel was dispatched in two quick games by Chikara Nakajima and Guillaume Wafo-Tapa was similarly taken down by his Yokohama rival Kazuya Mitamura.



     
  • Sunday, 6:35 p.m.: Semifinal Feature Match: Kazuya Mitamura vs. Chikara Nakajima
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • There was a good time vibe in the air as Pro Tour Charleston teammates Mitamura and Nakajima faced off in the semifinals. There was plenty of laughter in the area as their third from that Pro Tour, Ryuchi Arita watched from the rail. He was shaking his head at the contents of Mitamura’s opening hand – which he was keeping. I leaned over to see what the jokes were about and Mitamura showed me a mix of lands and green and white cards keeping one card hidden – obviously embarrassed by the Ooze Garden that he was taking some ribbing over. At least four players at the draft table were either green-white or Naya and everyone was stretching for playables – stretching mighty thin.

    “Bleeping anorexic,” as Sergeant Martin Riggs would say.

    Game 1

    Nakajima led off with Nacatl while Mitamura played Knight of the Skyward Eye into Court Archers and attacked for three. Nakajima – who had started the game with only six cards and did not have the right array of lands to make his Nacatl big. Mitamura sent in the Knight and Nakajima took three. He was representing a Resounding Roar but with four mana available to pump the exalted Knight to 6/6 he would just be throwing away two cards to tap Mitamura out.

    Mitamura played Manaplasm and was having a good time when he got to flash out Quasali Ambusher and make it a 4/4. Nakajima – laughing with his teammate the whole time – went to his sideboard for Game 2.

    “Mulligan,” said Mitamura of his opening draw with the green enchantment as he slid Ooze Garden and Keeper of Progenitus (!?!) out of his maindeck for Game 2. Then after flipping through his options – or lack thereof -- he put the Ooze Garden right back in.

    Game 2

    Nakajima had to mulligan a hand that was land heavy and did not support the spells he did have in hand. He kept the second. Mitamura played Akrasan Squire which attacked past two Dragon Fodder tokens. He added Steward of Valeron before Nakajima made a 7/7 Thunder-Thrash Elder, which I hear is pretty good against a green-white deck.

    Mitamura made a Knight and another Steward. Nakajima got in for seven and played Bant Battlmage. Mitamura sent in the two Stewards and the Knight and played a turn four Cavern Thoctar. Optimistically, Mitamura nudged his Squire in the way of the Elder but Bant Battlemage gave it trample. Soul’s Fire did the remaining damage. It was a turn five kill for Nakajima. The crowd roared and the good times draft moved onto one more game.


    Game 3

    It was not a good sign for Mitamura’s deck when he had no turn two play. Nakajima played Aethersworn Canonist which was blocked by Mitamura’s turn three Court Archers. Nakajima finished them off with a Magma Spray but locked himself out of any more plays that turn.

    Mitamura played a Steward and the two friends traded pokes for two until Mitamura dropped a Yoked Plowbeast onto the field of battle. Nakajima sighed. He had his sixth land for the Realm Razer but was behind on the board. He sent his Canonist in and used Naya Charm to finish off the fatty when it blocked. Bant Battlemage blocked the Steward but Mitamura was at seven mana the hard way and launched another Yoked fatty.

    All Nakajima drew were lands while Mitamura was playing Topan Ascetic and Knight of Skyward Eye. Nakajima knew his time in the Top 8 was up and if he felt bad about losing to a deck playing Soul’s Might, Keeper of Progenitus, and an Ooze Garden it was not showing on his smiling face.

    Mitamura explained his unusual card choices by showing that there was nothing else playable in green and white in his sideboard: “I think it is better than basic land.”

    Final result: A playables-challenged Kazuya Mitamura advanced past Chikara Nakajima two games to one to face former World Champion Makihito Mihara in the finals.



     
  • Sunday, 7:42 p.m.: Finals Feature Match: Kazuya Mitamura vs. Makihito Mihara
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Pro Tour Yokohama finalist Kazuya Mitamura was at a huge disadvantage in this match-up against World Champion Makihito Mihara. While Mitamura was fighting with practically everyone else at that table for Naya and Bant cards, Mihara only had Wafo-Tapa contesting him for Esper in the draft. Of course, Mitamura made short work of the Frenchman in the quarterfinals. To find out how that happened while Mitamura was sporting the likes of Ooze Garden and Keeper of Progenitus in his maindeck you will have to learn Japanese and read the coverage – it was over too quickly for me catch any of it other than a Resounding Roar in Game 1.

    Game 1

    Mitamura led off with Akrasan Squire and then faced his deck’s worst nightmare – Tidehollow Sculler – his hand’s contents would be laid bare. Mihara tried to contain his laughter and disbelief as he took Naya Battlemage and left a bashful Mitamura with lands and Keeper of Progenitus.

    Mihara attacked with his Sculler and was stunned – nay shocked beyond belief – when he was waylaid by a Quasali Ambusher. The crowd roared with delight at this unseemly turn of events. Mihara double checked his notations to make sure he had not seen the card and finally he let reality sink in and Mitamura would get his card back. Mihara made a Battlemage of his own – Esper flavored – and took three from the Ambusher before Mitamura played his savagely salvaged Battlemage.

    Tidehollow Strix but no fourth land came down for Mihara who still had white open to use the gentler side of the Battlemage. Quasali Ambusher attacked and traded with the Strix. Even though it was known to everyone Mitamura did not want to play his walking Mana Flare which would help Mihara more than it would help his mana-glutted self.

    Tower Gargoyle from Mihara promised to keep the Naya Battlemage busy while Mitamura’s Thoctar, Cavern Thocar tied up a Puppet Conjurer on Mihara’s side of the board.

    Knight of the Skyward Eye joined the green team. When Mitamura sent them in Mihara made Homunculus and bloctared (forgive me I was tired and giddy from the things I saw on Oouchida Street.) Mihara flashed out an Etherium Astrolabe, drew a card and prevented two with his Battlemage. Mitamura added a Steward.

    “Attack?” announced Mihara.

    “Okay.”

    There was no attack since it would let Mitamura get in an “extra” tapped creature with his Battlemage. It seemed impossible that he was somehow behind in this game. I was beginning to fear for my sanity.

    He wasn’t really that far behind after call but it was going to be a close call. Sanctum Gargoyle grew back the Strix and then was fodder for Bone Splinters to kill the tapper. Mitamura attacked with everyone and the Esper Battlemage chump blocked the Steward, a token blocked Thoctar and the pumped Knight dropped Mihara to 2. It was finally time for Keeper of Progenitus to make his premiere appearance in a Premier Event.

    I swear to the elder gods my hair went white while the applause of a lone Johnny echoed through the hall.

    Mihara was taking control now and suddenly had some extra mana to work with playing the Strix and a Salvage Titan. Mitamura was not done with his ‘special’ cards yet though and played Godtoucher.

    Mihara drew an exta card during his upkeep courtesy of the Astrolabe and found a better use for his Conjurer tokens in Archdemon of Unx. Sanctum Gargoyle grew back Tidehollow Sculler and Mihara escaped what would have surely been a hard to swallow loss by the skin of his teeth.

    Speaking of his teeth... to add to the overall maddening effect of the match, Mihara had bit his lip during the match and his teeth were covered in blood and nervous laughter.

    Game 2

    Mitamura could not get to his sideboard fast enough as the Keeper and Ooze Garden came out for two Dispeller’s Capsules. Mitamura leaned over to show the Japanese coverage staff the cards he was bringing out and Mihara asked if he could see as well. Mitamura rolled his eyes and showed him the Mana Flare guy – he kept the Ooze Garden a secret garden until the deck lists were published.

    Mitamura quickly shipped his opening hand back to a roar of laughter from the crowd behind him – who knows what unlikely cards it could have contained. He kept the next six and played Dispeller’s Capsule on turn two and Manaplasm on turn three. With Court Archers he attacked for five on the next turn.

    Etherium Sculpter and Tower Gargoyle came down but a Godtoucher allowed the Manaplasm to attack a flabbergasted Mihara down to 9. Puppet Conjurer was fed to a Bone Splinters to kill the Manaplasm. Sanctum Gargoyle brought it back and he was able to play it all on the same turn thanks to the Sculpter. Mihara could see this game slipping away very quickly when he played Sigiled Paladin and Miharas chumped the Godtoucher with Sanctum Gargoyle.

    When Mihara played Courier’s Capsule into Sanctum Gargoyle, got back Sanctum Gargoyle and passed the turn Mitamura slumped in his chair – despite the urging from the crowd.

    “I can’t win,” he laughed. “I don’t want to play anymore.”

    Final result: World Champion Makihito Mihara can now add Grand Prix Okayama 2008 Champion to his trophy case.

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