Event_Coverage

Saito Slaughters Singapore

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After finishing just outside the top 16 at Grand Prix Hanover last weekend, Tomoharu Saito went back to the drawing board, gutting his Naya Zoo deck and rebuilding it. He had the technology. He made it better, stronger and faster. Entering the Top 8 without a match loss, he continued battling on, knocking back Sam Black and his Faeries and Yuuta Takahashi with a seemingly unfavorable match up in Green/Black Loam before finally besting Masaya Kitayama’s Next Level Blue deck to become the Grand Prix–Singapore champion. Fourteen wins and three draws—now that has to be good for his rating.




Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Masaya Kitayama   Masaya Kitayama, 2-0        
8 Tzu Ching Kuo   Masaya Kitayama, 2-1
       
4 Chin Heng Tan   Chin Heng Tan, 2-1   Tomoharu Saitou, 2-1
5 Yong Han Choo    
       
2 Tomoharu Saitou   Tomoharu Saitou, 2-1
7 Sam Black   Tomoharu Saitou, 2-1
       
3 Yuuta Takahashi   Yuuta Takahashi, 2-0
6 Liang Chen    

EVENT COVERAGE INFORMATION

  • by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
    Finals
    Masaya Kitayama vs Tomoharu Saito

  • by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
    Semifinals
    Yuuta Takahashi vs Tomoharu Saito

  • by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
    Semifinals
    Chin Heng Tan vs Masaya Kitayama

  • by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
    Quarterfinals
    Sam Black vs Tomoharu Saito

  • by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
    Sunday, 3:50p.m.
    Top 8 Profiles

  • by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
    Sunday, 3:49p.m.
    Top 8 Decks


  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 2 Blog Archive: More Quick Questions, Featured Matches and more!


  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 1 Blog Archive: Trial Decklists, Quick Questions, Featured Matches and more!

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Fact Sheet
 1.  Saitou, Tomoharu $3,500
 2.  Kitayama, Masaya $2,300
 3.  Tan, Chin Heng $1,500
 4.  Takahashi, Yuuta $1,500
 5.  Choo, Yong Han $1,000
 6.  Chen, Liang $1,000
 7.  Black, Samuel H $1,000
 8.  Kuo, Tzu Ching C $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
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  • Sunday, March 22: 3:49p.m. – Top 8 Decks
    by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
  • Tomoharu Saitou
    Grand Prix: Singapore Top 8

    Yong Han Choo
    Grand Prix: Singapore Top 8

     

  • Sunday, March 22: 3:50p.m. – Top 8 Profiles
    by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
  • Name: Masaya Kitayama
    Age: 24
    Home Town: Kanagawa, Japan
    Occupation: Tarmo-master
    What deck did you play this weekend?
    Faeries (Next Level Blue)
    Why?
    Tarmogoyf Love!
    Best Magic Achievement:
    Japan National Champion 2007




    Name: Tomoharu Saito
    Age: 25
    Home Town: Tokyo, Japan
    Occupation: Pro Magic Player and Card Shop Owner “Hareruya”
    What deck did you play this weekend?
    Naya Burn
    Why?
    My Naya Zoo is the best (deck) in this tournament, because last weekend it didn’t win.
    Best Magic Achievement:
    Team Pro Tour Champion and Player of the Year 2007




    Name: Yuuta Takahashi
    Age: 23
    Home Town: Tokyo, Japan
    Occupation: Faerie Slayer
    What deck did you play this weekend?
    Green/Black Loam, no White.
    Why?
    Good match against Faeries (or blue decks)
    Best Magic Achievement:
    Two times Grand Prix Winner




    Name: Chin Heng Tan
    Age: 19
    Home Town: Singapore
    Occupation: NSF (National Service Full-time)
    What deck did you play this weekend?
    Faeries
    Why?
    The deck just beats everything in testing. It’s the best deck in the format!
    Best Magic Achievement:
    (Left blank)




    Name: Yong Han Choo
    Age: 19
    Home Town: Singapore
    Occupation: NSF (National Service Full-time)
    What deck did you play this weekend?
    TEPS
    Why?
    Because you will win if you are lucky!
    Best Magic Achievement:
    Won 2008 Nationals




    Name: Liang Chen
    Age: 19
    Home Town: Taipei, Taiwan
    Occupation: Card Gamer
    What deck did you play this weekend?
    Tezzerator
    Why?
    Because it is good against TEPS/Elves/Faeries
    Best Magic Achievement:
    Meeting a lot of good friends! GP Shizuoka/Kyoto Day two.




    Name: Sam Black
    Age: 26
    Home Town: Madison, WI
    Occupation: Writer/Magic Player
    What deck did you play this weekend?
    Blue
    Why?
    Watched Manuel Bucher crush everybody with it all week.
    Best Magic Achievement:
    Won a car/Team World Champion 2008




    Name: Tzu Ching Kuo
    Age: 27
    Home Town: Taipei, Taiwan
    Occupation: Trader
    What deck did you play this weekend?
    Tezzerator.
    Why?
    Because Liang Chen told me the deck is good
    Best Magic Achievement:
    Taiwan National Champion, five times Grand Prix top 8 (including this one)

     

  • Sunday, March 22: 5:02p.m. – Top 8: Sam Black vs Tomoharu Saito
    by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
  • While Sam Black and Tomoharu Saito tried as hard as they could to memorize each other’s decklists, the rest of the top 8 were getting started. Eventually, Black won the die roll and both players wished each other “good luck!”

    Black kept his opening seven after some deliberation, before Saito, after just as much thought, decided to send his opener back. While they were shuffling, I took a quick peek at the other matches. Chin Heng Tan was beating down Yong Han Choo with a Tarmogoyf, Venser and a Spellstutter Sprite while Choo waited for his Lotus Bloom to wind down. Masaya Kitayama was doing the same to Tzu Ching Kuo, but Kuo was playing Tezzerator, so he could actually defend with a Trinket Mage. Meanwhile, Yuuta Takahashi and his Loam deck were trying to find a way around a Chalice of the Void for two, and struggling.

    “I’ve been saying all week that it’s my turn to top 8, out of my friends,” Black told us as Saito shuffled. “Brian Kowal made top 8 in Chicago, then Gaudenis (Vidugiris) made top 8 in Hanover.”

    A turn one untapped Breeding Pool took first blood, as Black suspended an Ancestral Vision on his first turn. Saito dropped even lower when he found a Stomping Grounds with a Bloodstained Mire to play a Wild Nacatl. Black then made a Mutavault, and took 3 from the Nacatl, after Saito fetched a Sacred Foundry. Saito added a Mogg Fanatic to the table, and then thought for a bit, before passing the turn back, not playing either the Kird Ape or the other Mogg Fanatic in hand. Sure enough, Black took some more pain to play an untapped Hallowed Fountain, and then an Engineered Explosives for 1. Saito’s next attack took Black down to 9, before he popped the Explosives at the end of Saito’s turn. The Fanatic dropped Black to 8.

    Saito thinned his deck further with another Mire, dropping to 13 himself, while Black waited for his Ancestral to finally unwind. Saito made a new Mogg Fanatic, and then a Kird Ape. While they shuffled from another Sac-land from Saito, I noticed Choo and Tan were now at one game apiece. Kitayama was up a game, but Takahashi and Chen were also still on Game 1.

    Black’s Ancestral finally resolved, topping up his grip and giving him more to think about. In the end he decided to play an Umezawa’s Jitte, before shipping the turn, and dropping a Vendilion Clique during Saito’s draw step, getting rid of a Seal of Fire and leaving a land. Saito made a show of pulling the replacement card off the top of his deck, but it was just another land. Saito sent in the Fanatic.

    “Block.”
    “Block?”
    “Block!”
    “Block?”
    “Battle!” Black cried as both players laughed, the Fanatic dropping Black to...
    “Seventeen.”
    “Seven?”
    “Yeah, I mean seven. I wish I was on seventeen.”

    Black’s Mutavault picked up the Jitte, and attacked into the Ape. The Ape ate the ‘Vault, but died to one of the Jitte counters. Saito then played a Jitte of his own. “Gain two!” Black announced, before playing another Jitte and sending it over on a new Mutavault. Soon enough his Jitte had too many counters for Saito to get around. Black played an end of turn Thirst for Knowledge. After he resolved the draw spell, he looked searchingly at Saito.

    “May I untap?”
    “No.”
    “...”
    “No. Before you do... I concede,” Saito joked with a smile.

    While they sideboarded, I discovered Tan’s Next Level Blue deck had defeated Choo’s TEPS combo 2 – 1. The other matches were still where we’d left them, Takahashi and Chen still on Game 1 and Kitayama up a game over Kuo.

    Black 1 – Saito 0

    Saito began Game 2 again with a turn one Wild Nacatl but dropping to 17 life to get it. Black had a River of Tears, and Saito again fetched out a Sacred Foundry to crank the Nacatl up to full. Saito added a Seal of Fire and passed it back. Black started his second turn with a Chrome Mox, imprinting a Spellstutter Sprite to suspend Ancestral Vision, and then played a Mutavault. Saito attacked Black down to 14, before sinking into the tank. Meanwhile, seasons changed and Takahashi finally won Game 1 over Chen. Evidently he had found a way around the Chalice for two. Finally, Saito searched out a Mountain with a Wooded Foothills, and played a Wooly Thoctar.

    Masaya Kitayama finished off Tzu Ching Kuo’s Tezzerator deck with his Faeries, and we were down to two matches left.

    Black played a tapped Breeding Pool, and then dropped to 6 from Saito’s next attack. Saito again mulled over his options post-combat, this time deciding on a Kird Ape. Black went for a Thirst for Knowledge at the end of Saito’s turn, but could only pass it back after playing another Mutavault. Saito began calculating the pre-combat math, and Black got bored waiting, and reached for his still suspended Ancestral Vision, and used it to slowly scoop up his permanents.

    Black 1 – Saito 1

    While they shuffled up for the third game, Yuuta Takahashi’s Loam finished off Liang Chen’s Tezzerator 2 – 0.

    Black again dropped to 18 on his first turn to suspend Ancestral Vision, this time from a Steam Vents. Saito lapsed into thought, before finally deciding which land to play, eventually going with a Bloodstained Mire that immediately fetched a tapped Stomping Grounds. Black played a tapped Breeding Pool and passed it back. In an uncharacteristic second turn from Saito, he also played a land and ended. “Control Zoo!” he declared proudly. Black played a Riptide Laboratory and again passed it back, catching a Wooly Thoctar with a Mana Leak. Turn four, Black diversified his permanent base with a Jitte, but at least had no Mutavault in play to gear it up with on the following turn. Saito’s fourth turn play was a Ranger of Eos, finding a pair of Wild Nacatls.

    Black’s Vision finally ran out of time counters and doubled up his hand. After a wee think, he took the Ranger with a Sower of Temptation and passed it over to Saito to see what he had to say about it. Saito dropped an Oblivion Ring on the Sower, and then dropped the twin kitties into play. A Threads of Disloyalty took one of the Nacatls, which then picked up the Jitte.

    While Black only had one mana open, Saito went for an Ancient Grudge on the Jitte, and then swung in with his team. The Ranger traded with the traitorous cat, and the remaining one dropped Black to 15. Saito then played a huge Wooly Thoctar. When it attacked with the Nacatl on the following turn, Black moved to put a surprise Spellstutter Sprite in front of it. With the Riptide Laboratory in play, Black potentially had an everlasting blocker. Saito let it block, and when Black went to return the Faerie to his hand, Volcanic Fallout busted that plan wide open.

    Black passed the turn without play, so Saito flashed back the Ancient Grudge to take out Black’s Chrome Mox. Not wanting to waste the mana, Black used it to run out another naked Spellstutter Sprite. While the players considered their options, I noticed that Tan and Kitayama had not only started their Semifinals match, but Tan was even up a game.

    Despite having another Fallout in hand, Saito let Black bounce his Sprite when it blocked this time. Black replayed it at the end of turn, and attacked with it, with a smile on his face. What he had that had him smiling so much, was an Engineered Explosives for three, which would not only kill the Thoctar, but the Oblivion Ring that was holding the Sower captive. During Saito’s upkeep, he blew the Explosives, but when the Sower’s ability targeted the Nacatl, Saito cleared the air with his sand-bagged Fallout, and swung in with the Nacatl, dropping Black to 2 life. Instead of playing the Lightning Helix he had in hand, because Black still had a single Blue mana open to threaten Spell Snare, Saito played a Kird Ape and passed it back. Black drew his card and could only offer the handshake in concession.

    Tomoharu Saito defeats Sam Black 2 – 1

     

  • Sunday, March 22: 6:06p.m. – Top 4: Chin Heng Tan vs Masaya Kitayama
    by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
  • While Saito and Black took their time finishing their games, Masaya Kitayama and Chin Heng Tan had got on with their Semifinals match. By the time the last Quarterfinals match was finished, Tan had won Game 1 and Kitayama Game 2 in this Next Level Blue mirror.

    In the deciding game, both players had a handful of land in play, but Tan was holding the board with a Vedalken Shackles, preventing Kitayama’s Umezawa’s Jitte from living up to it’s potential. Eventually, Tan’s mana reached critical mass, and he sent in two Mutavaults. While Kitayama had one he could defend with, the Shackles made that a lost cause. The ‘Vaults dropped Kitayama to 10, and when Tan sent them in yet again, Kitayama made to make a Vendilion Clique, which was naturally abducted before it could get in the way of the ‘Vaults. Kitayama untapped and wracked his brains for an answer, eventually deciding to animate his Mutavault, equip it with his Jitte and send it in while Tan and the Shackles were tapped out, and then add a Tarmogoyf to the table.

    Tan untapped his Shackles, returning the Clique and then going for the Goyf, only to run afoul a Stifle from Kitayama. Tan just shrugged, played a ‘Goyf of his own and suspended an Ancestral Vision before passing it back. Kitayama was definitely not giving up without a fight, and aimed a Threads of Disloyalty at Tan’s Tarmogoyf. With limited mana available, all Tan could do was Mana Leak the Aura, which resolved after Kitayama paid the cost of the counter. Kitayama then made to equip the Jitte to his Clique, but Tan had a Stifle of his own. The attack back from Kitayama reduced Tan to 8 life to his 5.

    Tan main-phased a Clique of his own, taking them both down. He decided to let Kitayama keep an Ancestral Vision and a Spellstutter Sprite before passing it back. With the Shackle open again, Kitayama had to consider his options carefully before heading to his attack step. In the end, the Tarmogoyfs bounced, and Kitayama used his Jitte to finish off the one Tan had taken. Tan untapped and then stole the remaining ‘Goyf before playing another one himself, only to have it countered by a pair of Spellstutter Sprites, the first one powering up the second. Having a slight life advantage along with a severe Shackles advantage, Tan again sent in his Mutavaults, Kitayama’s Jitte barely keeping him afloat. Another Threads from Kitayama took the Tarmogoyf, the only thing telling us who owned what at this point, was the card sleeves.

    When Kitayama attacked again, Tan moved to Shackles one of Tan’s men, but this time Tan had the bomb to break the game open, an Ancient Grudge on the Vedalken Shackles. Tan could only grin and throw out his hand in congratulations.

    Masaya Kitayama defeats Chin Heng Tan 2 – 1

     

  • Sunday, March 22: 6:31p.m. – Top 4: Yuuta Takahashi vs Tomoharu Saito
    by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
  • Takahashi won the die roll, 9 to 6, but was forced to mulligan his opener. Saito gave great consideration to throwing his back as well, but kept it in the end. Takahashi played a Tranquil Thicket first, and made ready to mark a life total change for Saito, who for once didn’t drop to 17 on his first turn, merely playing a Windswept Heath and ending. Takahashi landed a Tarmogoyf on his second turn after finding a Swamp with a Polluted Delta. Saito removed the ‘Goyf from the game at the end of his turn with a Path to Exile, and then dropped to 14 on his turn to make a Gaddock Teeg. A last minute change he made to his decklist yesterday, moving them into the main and the Oblivion Rings out to his sideboard. Takahashi continued laying lands while Saito expanded his board with a Wooly Thoctar, and then an Umezawa’s Jitte, dropping Takahashi to 9. Takahashi drew his card for the turn, and dropped his hand onto the table with a smile and shake of his head. Gaddock Teeg had him well and truly locked out and reaching for his sideboard.

    Saito 1 – Takahashi 0

    Takahashi again started out with a mulligan, and pulled a Saito, dropping to 17 to Raven’s Crime a Sacred Foundry out of his opponent’s hand on turn one. Not to be outdone, Saito also went to 17 to play a Wild Nacatl. Takahashi played a Forest, cycled a Tranquil Thicket and passed it back to Saito. Both players then dropped to 14 when Saito fetched a Sacred Foundry before attacking with the Nacatl. Takahashi cycled another Thicket at the end of Saito’s turn, before untapping and killing the kitty with a Crime/Punishment. Saito Lightning Helix’d Takahashi at the end of his turn, before playing a Kird Ape. Takahashi’s monster was better however, when he played a 4/5 Tarmogoyf, which Saito had to throw an Incinerate and a Lightning Helix at to remove. Takahashi rallied with a Garruk Wildspeaker. Saito removed it with an Oblivion Ring, only to see Takahashi drop another one, causing a murmur through the crowd. As the beasts grew in number, Saito wasted no time in packing it in for Game 3.

    Saito 1 – Takahashi 1

    Game 3 it was Saito’s turn to mulligan, revealing a “full house” of three Wild Nacatl and two Wooly Thoctar, but no land.

    “It’s a flush full house,” Saito announced with a grin, “all Naya!” as he shuffled through his mulligan. After much deliberation, Saito kept the next six, but didn’t look pleased with them, fetching a Sacred Foundry at the end of Takahashi’s first turn, and playing a Gaddock Teeg on turn two. Takahashi cracked his own Sac-land to bring out an Overgrown Tomb, cycling a Tranquil Thicket at the end of Saito’s turn, then getting both lands back with Life from the Loam and having to discard a Worm Harvest at the end of his own. Teeg swung in, dropping Takahashi to 15 and was joined by a Wooly Thoctar. Takahashi rallied with a Kitchen Finks, but let the Thoctar run on through on the following turn, dropping him to 10. Saito added two Kird Apes to his team and sent it back.

    Takahashi again decided against dredging back the Loam, drawing his card, then taking a Stomping Grounds out of Saito’s hand with a Raven’s Crime and passing it back with three mana open. The last card in Saito’s hand was a Lightning Helix, so it looked like Takahashi was in real trouble. If he didn’t have a spell in his hand he could play, if he was planning of throwing the Finks and a Mutavault in front of the Thoctar, Saito would punish him severely.

    Saito sent in the team. When Takahashi activated his ‘Vault, Saito slammed the Helix down on it. Takahashi was now on 9 life facing the Thoctar, two Apes and Teeg. The Finks chump blocked the Thoctar, and Takahashi briefly fell to 3 before going back up to 5. At the end of Saito’s turn, he finished off the Thoctar with a Darkblast that forced Saito back in this chair. Takahashi considered his options, before finally deciding to dredge back the Life from the Loam, flipping over a Tarmogoyf, a Polluted Delta an another Darkblast. Loam retrieved the two Sac-lands and the Tranquil Thicket, and Takahashi played one of the Delta’s before passing the turn back.

    Sinking into the Tank, Saito tried to figure out how to finish off his opponent if he had, for some reason, sided in his Extirpates, eventually earning receiving a hurry on from the table judge. Saito just shrugged, dropping a Lightning Helix on the table and turning his men sideways. A smile crept on to Takahashi’s face, but it was a look of gracious defeat, as he reached across the table to wish Saito luck in the finals.

    Tomoharu Saito defeats Yuuta Takahashi 2 – 1

     

  • Sunday, March 22: 7:36p.m. – Finals: Masaya Kitayama vs Tomoharu Saito
    by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
  • While it wasn’t obvious at first, Tomoharu Saito finished day one this weekend undefeated, at 7 wins and a draw. After picking up a few intentional draws in the later rounds today, he entered the top 8 without a loss to his name, and still hasn’t dropped a match in the top 8. Playing a similar deck to the one he had played last weekend in Hanover without success, Saito went back to the drawing board, changing around ten cards. Apparently still not happy, his decklist showed a last minute change on Saturday morning, moving the three Oblivion Ring to the sideboard in favor of the three Gaddock Teeg. Teeg has been instrumental in Saito winning both his Quarterfinals and Semifinals matches. While Masaya Kitayama’s Next Level Blue deck only has five spells affected by the Legend, three Engineered Explosives and two Cryptic Command, those Explosives are reasonably important in this match-up if Kitayama wants to come away from these finals with a win.

    Saito won the roll and got the party started with a Stomping Grounds and a Kird Ape, while Kitayama played an Island. Saito missed his second land drop, but added another Ape to his team anyway, and then a Mogg Fanatic while Kitayama fetched up a Breeding Pool and played a Mutavault. Saito theatrically peeled his next card, but still didn’t find a second land, instead playing a second Mogg Fanatic. When Saito entered his attack step, Kitayama tapped the men down with a Cryptic Command, before dropping a deadly Engineered Explosives for one. When Saito motioned towards his next attack step, Kitayama wiped the board clean, Saito still missing a second land.

    When Saito moved to his discard step on his next turn, Kitayama went in for a look with Vendilion Clique, seeing two Lightning Helix, and Incinerate, a Path to Exile, an Isamaru, Hound of Konda and three Wooly Thoctar. Kitayama let him keep them all, and Saito discarded the Hound. His next discard step saw him ditching an Umezawa’s Jitte, and it wasn’t long before they were on to Game 2.

    Kitayama 1 – Saito 0

    While they sideboarded, Saito bemoaning the fact that he probably could have won that game not drawing a second land until his fifth turn, but getting as far as his eighth or ninth without a whiff of earth was unfortunate.

    Saito again had the turn one Stomping Grounds into Kird Ape draw, while Kitayama, predictably, had an Island. This time however, Saito had a second Sac-land, only to lose it to a Stifle from Kitayama. The Ape kept on trucking, and Saito asked Kitayama if he had another Stifle, moving a third Sac-land to his graveyard. Kitayama could only shake his head with a laugh. Saito used his second mana to cast the all-important Gaddock Teeg, which resolved. Teeg and the Ape entered the red zone, and nothing leapt out to fight with them. A Wild Nacatl and Isamaru joined the team, and when the next attack came, a Mutavault blocked Teeg and was bounced by a Riptide Laboratory. Saito slammed a replacement Teeg into play, and Kitayama shrunk back into his chair with a mock grimace before picking up his cards. Either impressed with Saito’s draw or mistakenly thinking that was match, the audience burst into applause. Kitayama was quick to wave them quiet, so Saito joined in to keep them clapping, both players laughing happily with the crowd.

    Kitayama 1 – Saito 1

    Neither player mulliganed in the decider, Kitayama playing a Flooded Strand passing it over to Saito. When Saito played and cracked a Wooded Foothills, Kitayama cracked his Strand in response, causing Saito to slump in his chair, certain he was about to get the Stifling of the century. Kitayama fetched out a Breeding Pool but put it into play tapped, breaking out a Grin at the last second. Saito had been baited and hard, both players and audience erupting in laughter again. Now that he was allowed to get a land of his own, Saito rounded out his turn with a Wild Nacatl. Saito’s turn two Tarmogoyf landed unfettered after some consideration from Kitayama, instead swiping it with a Threads of Disloyalty.

    Saito’s hand was a monster. Another land, Wooly Thoctar, Lightning Helix, Volcanic Fallout and two Oblivion Rings. After running over the stolen ‘Goyf, he dropped the Thoctar, eliciting a groan from Kitayama.

    Kitayama played a fourth land, but didn’t appear to have a good answer to the Thoctar, eventually playing a 3/4 Tarmogoyf and leaving an Island and a Mutavault open. The Thoctar crashed in, and Kitayama let it by, dropping to 13. Saito followed it up with one of the Oblivion Rings, capturing the Tarmogoyf. Kitayama’s body language indicating that he had already resigned himself to second place this Grand Prix, played another Tarmogoyf, again leaving the Island and Mutavault open.

    Saito had drawn a Lightning Helix, and now drew a fourth land, again sending in the Thoctar. Before blockers, Kitayama threw out a Spellstutter Sprite and toyed with both creatures, before deciding to chump with the Faerie alone. Saito took the second ‘Goyf with his backup Ring.

    Kitayama main-phased a Vendilion Clique, filtering away an Ancestral Vision and finding the fifth land he had been looking for, a Flooded Strand. Saito sent in both men, and when Kitayama pushed his Clique in front of the Thoctar instead of the Nacatl, Saito’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. He played a Ranger of Eos in his second Main Phase for two more Wild Nacatls. Kitayama fetched a Steam Vents at the end of Saito’s turn, untapped and dropped a three colored Engineered Explosives with a sigh of relief. This would not only kill the Thoctar, but free both Tarmogoyfs, a similar situation to one Saito had faced in his Quarterfinals match against Sam Black, but had battled through to win never the less.

    Saito agonized over what to do, eventually playing a Jitte, equipping it to his Nacatl, and attacking with it and the Thoctar, leaving the Ranger on the bench. As expected, the Explosives decimated the board, Saito losing both attackers, but at least managing to finish off one of the ‘Goyfs with the Jitte. Kitayama destroyed the Jitte with one of his own, and passed the turn back to Saito, gradually taking control of the game. Saito used his turn to play out the two kittens the Ranger had fetched up earlier. In Kitayama’s upkeep, Saito tried for a Helix to the face, but it was thwarted by a Spell Snare, the Tarmogoyf now a monstrous 5/6 blocker.

    After a few motivational self-administered slaps to the face, Saito sat up straighter in his chair and sent in his team. The ‘Goyf ate one Nacatl, and a Mutavault traded with the Ranger, dropping Kitayama to four. Saito passed the turn back, dropping a Volcanic Fallout on Kitayama’s end step, before windmill-slamming a second one during his own upkeep to become the Grand Prix Singapore Champion!

    Tomoharu Saito defeats Masaya Kitayama 2 – 1

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