Day 1 Coverage of Grand Prix–Yokohama

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  • by Josh Bennett
    Saturday, 11:26 p.m. : Round 9 Feature Match
    Kim Min-Su vs Satoru Kiuchi

  • by Josh Bennett
    Saturday, 11:05 p.m. :
    Road Warriors

  • by Josh Bennett
    Saturday, 10:46 p.m. :
    Round 8: The Undefeateds Fight!

  • by Josh Bennett
    Saturday, 8:36 p.m. : Round 7 Feature Match
    Shuuhei Nakamura vs Sam Black

  • by Josh Bennett
    Saturday, 7:36 p.m. : Round 6 Feature Match
    Shouta Yasooka vs Yusuke Iwasaki

  • by Ron Foster
    Saturday, 7:16 p.m. :
    Friday's Winning Last Chance Trial Decklists

  • by Josh Bennett
    Saturday, 5:30 p.m. : Photo Essay
    Event Snapshot

  • by Josh Bennett
    Saturday, 4:16 p.m. : Round 4 Feature Match
    Katsuhiro Mori vs Luis Scott-Vargas

  • by Josh Bennett
    Saturday, 3:53 p.m. : Round 3 Feature Match
    Shougo Kamiya vs Masashiro Kuroda

  • by Josh Bennett
    Saturday, 1:17 p.m.
    Super FNM - A Short Report

  • by Josh Bennett
    Saturday, 12:28 p.m. : Round 1 Special Showdown
    Duel Decks: Phyrexia (Tsuyoshi Ikeda) vs The Coalition (Brian Kibler)


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  • Saturday, 12:28 p.m. – Round 1 Special Showdown - Duel Decks: Phyrexia (Tsuyoshi Ikeda) vs the Coalition (Brian Kibler)
    by Josh Bennett


  • While the rank and file have to struggle through a full day’s worth of Magic, the pros get three rounds of relaxing, enjoying the byes their standing affords them. Rather than spend their extra time battling or in a quick team draft, heavyweights Tsuyoshi Ikeda and Brian Kibler have agreed to an exhibition match showing off the new Phyrexia vs. the Coalition Duel Decks.

    Kibler, naturally, was armed with the Coalition. After all, it has both Rith, the Awakener AND Armadillo Cloak. Ikeda would be standing in for the Father of Machines, albeit with more cowboy flair than Yawgmoth was willing to show. Before the match started, Kibler flipped through the two decks and did not like his chances. They shuffled quickly.

    "Your deck seems preeeeetty good." - Brian Kibler

    "No, I think yours. I practised last night." - Tsuyoshi Ikeda

    "What!?! What am I in for?" - Brian Kibler

    Kibler won the roll and they were off. Kibler led with Terramorphic Expanse for forest. Ikeda had Phyrexian Battleflies. Kibler made a Quirion Elves (choosing blue) and took two from Ikeda’s flier. Tribal Flames dispatched it and Kibler sat back on his very obvious counter mana. Ikeda played a third land and giggled, refusing to bite.

    Kibler played a land and passed it back. Ikeda dropped Slay at end of turn and Kibler countered with Evasive Action. That left the path clear for Ikeda’s turn: Priest of Gix into Phyrexian Arena. Kibler put a stop to that immediately, playing out Fertile Ground, then kicking up a Thunderscape Battlemage with green, too short on mana for the double whammy.

    "Who doesn’t wait a turn?" - Brian Kowal from the crowd.

    Ikeda’s rejoinder was a meek Phyrexian Denouncer. Kibler untapped and windmilled Darigaaz, the Igniter. The Dragonmaster was in the house. Ikeda had nothing more than a Phyrexian Vault. Kibler added insult to injury with a doublekicked Thornscape Battlemage, dispatching the Vault and Priest. Two attacks later and Ikeda was scooping up his cards.

    "Yeah! Go dragon!" - Brian Kibler

    "The black dragon... I had this," said Ikeda, and held up Hideous End.

    Kibler 1 - Ikeda 0

    Ikeda chose to draw, and again started with the Battleflies, earning first blood. Kibler had no play on forest, island, and plains. Ikeda busted out Priest of Gix and Worn Powerstone. Kibler played mountain and passed it back, waiting on his Charging Troll. Ikeda used his six mana to good effect with a Phyrexian Gargantua.

    Down came the Charging Troll, and Ikeda crashed in with his team. Kibler chose to kill the Priest of Gix (eaten by a precombat Carrion Feeder for a counter) and fell to ten. Kibler sat back on his mana while the Battleflies continued to serve damage overhead. He made three tokens with Rith’s Charm at end of turn, then untapped and played Power Armor.

    Ikeda suited up his Battleflies with Lightning Greaves and brought Kibler to six. This time, the Dragonmaster’s call was answered by Treva, but Bone Shredder was waiting in the wings, and he found himself at three. He needed to draw a Swamp to get Darigaaz into play to stay alive, but his deck denied him.

    Kibler 1 - Ikeda 1

    Kibler followed Ikeda’s lead and chose to draw for the deciding game. Ikeda didn’t bother suppressing his joy when he opened with Dark Ritual and Phyrexian Arena. Kibler nearly fell out of his chair. Luckily for him, Ikeda seemed to be drawing his cards out of order, as he didn’t play anything but swamps for his first four turns. Kibler, meanwhile, built up with Quirion Elves and then Harrow into four land types with the fifth in hand, and Yavimaya Elder. He hit Ikeda down to fourteen, but had no further play.

    Finally Ikeda hit five lands and got busy. He put a damper on Kibler’s offense with double Priest of Gix and Phyrexian Plaguelord. Kibler played a second Elder. Ikeda dropped Phyrexian Vault and Lightning Greaves, suiting up his Plaguelord, but stayed on the defensive. Kibler drew his card and agonised over the decision before him. Eventually he chose to kick Thornscape Battlemage for damage only, putting Ikeda to ten, rather than also killing the Greaves. He wanted his four mana available for his Elders.

    The decision immediately came back to haunt him, as Ikeda cast Dark Ritual into Phyrexian Colossus. It put on the Greaves and crashed in for eight. Kibler drew up an Armadillo Cloak and put it on his Battlemage, then swung in. Ikeda chose to trade his Plaguelord for it, not sacrificing one of his creatures to shrink the Battlemage. He sacrificed a Priest for a card before untapping.

    The Arena had him totally gassed up. He dropped Phyrexian Debaser and Order of Yawgmoth, which also gained haste and swung in. Kibler’s last card was Urza’s Rage, and he pointed it at Ikeda’s head. He untapped and attacked with his two elders and Quirion Elves into Ikeda’s two blockers. The Priest and Debaser blocked the two Elders. Kibler sacrificed one for a card, and the unblocked Elf took Ikeda to four.

    He untapped and fell to three. He was so excited to rip Puppet Strings for his Colossus that he forgot to put his Greaves on it before attacking. Kibler was ready with Treva’s Charm in hand, and Ikeda could only shake his head at the mistake. He made a Phyrexian Denouncer and sheepishly put the Greaves on it.

    Kibler’s draws hadn’t yielded much action. He played a Thornscape Apprentice and passed the turn to Ikeda, who first Denounced the Apprentice, then ate another monster for a card. He was digging for the Tendrils of Corruption that would stop his death and probably seal the game in his favor. At two life it still hadn’t shown. Ikeda played a Phyrexian Totem and passed.

    Kibler found a nice one waiting for him on his turn: Allied Strategies. He counted off the five cards, and flipped over the Darigaaz’s Charm he drew to burn Ikeda’s last points away.

    The Coalition (Brian Kibler) defeats Phyrexia (Tsuyoshi Ikeda) 2-1




     

  • Saturday, 12:28 p.m. – Super FNM - A Short Report
    by Josh Bennett
  • You don’t have to wait until Saturday to kick off your Grand Prix Weekend. Friday means a host of Grand Prix Trials (seventeen in all! Winning decklists will be posted soon) and then Super Friday Night Magic. I sat down with 129 other players to try my hand at some Zendikar-Worldwake sealed. I even got a foil FNM Ancient Ziggurat for entering.

    If you ask me, writing about this game is a lot easier than playing it. Here’s the card pool I opened.

    Not the most exciting pool to open. The doubles in particular tell the sad story of my Zendikar boosters, capped by two Ascensions and an Elemental Appeal. Worldwake was much, MUCH kinder. Though not as kind to the guy who opened a foil Jace. Here’s what I settled on, after LSV suggested Razor Boomerang in place of Feral Contest. I thought it would be clunky, and it was, but it still did good work. Plus it was another target for Stoneforge Mystic.

    Not insane, but not bad. Kitesail on fatties seems like a winning formula. Any comments on how you would have built differently are more than welcome.

    Round 1: Kazuki Takeda

    In Game 1 I got Kitesail with Stoneforge Mystic and then played Marsh Threader. Takeda punished my decision with Cunning Sparkmage. The Mystic took to the air and I got extra damage when Groundswell stopped Burst Lightning. Takeda had Tideforce Elemental that kept my Vastwood Zendikon busy.

    He started to take control of the game with some removal, but then forgot about my Kitesail and tapped out for Shoal Serpent. With him unable to tap down my Zendikon, I flew over for lethal.

    For Game 2 he chose to keep a one-land, Wind Zendikon hand. Not only did he fail to draw another land, but I ripped Journey to Nowhere to exile his island. By the time he found two more lands I had played out Lodestone Golem, essentially locking him out of the game.

    1-0 and feeling good.

    Round 2: Don Mysterioso

    Ok, you got me, I just forgot to write down his name. Probably because of how brutally he beat me.

    In Game 1 I opened with

    Turn 1: Arbor Elf
    Turn 2: Greenweaver Druid
    Turn 3: kicked Mold Shambler, destroying one of his lands.
    Turn 4: 4/4 Gnarlid Pack

    I lose this game. It definitely had something to do with Kazandu Blademaster, Ondu Cleric and another Ally. That Blademaster is no joke.

    In Game 2 I’m put on the defensive early after my turn 3 Lodestone Golem with Kitesail backup gets Journeyed after one hit. He has a bunch of monsters backed by Marshal’s Anthem. I foolishly give up my Arbor Elf instead of my Fledgling Griffin to stay at a life total that won’t get me wrecked by Searing Blaze, only to draw land number five.

    Fortunately for me, another is waiting right after it. This lets me free my Lodestone Golem with Mold Shambler. I get to trade the Golem for his Bladetusk Boar, then bring it right back with Marshal’s Anthem. I also fail to use a lethal Groundswell, but win the following turn. Oops.

    In Game 3 I keep a very sketchy hand with lands, Razor Boomerang and Stoneforge Mystic. I can’t justify this to you. He opens with Plated Geopede and then Kor Skyfisher. I’m brought to twleve and kill the Geopede with the Boomerang. I get to keep a glimmer of hope as we both build our forces, but then he shows me Journey to Nowhere and Searing Blaze in the same turn.

    1-1, and slightly punch-drunk.

    Round 3: Takanori Matsuo

    In Game 1 his red-black deck matches removal with my first four creatures, but he has no offense of his own. Vastwood Zendikon hits play and gets to bring the pain with help from Kitesail. Two hits and he’s at six with Cosi’s Ravager in play, and for some reason I move Kitesail to my plant token. The game goes on three additional turns because of this. Oops again.

    Game 2 opens with Nissa’s Chosen and Snapping Creeper for the good guys, but he puts on the brakes with Giant Scorpion and starts attacking with Jagwasp Swarm. I get a Kitesail to put that nonsense on hold and eventually take over the air with Vines of Vastwood. Lodestone Golem wins it for me six points at a time, with the assist from Kor Skyfisher.

    2-1, and in the hunt for prizes!

    Round 4: "Akiho"

    I’m going to level with you. By the time this match was over I was so hungry that I forgot to take notes. I’d spent the whole day on-site, enjoying Magic and had forgotten to eat.

    Akiho was also playing black-red, but with an aggressive creature base and less of a removal suite. We split the first two games quickly, and the third game came to a creature stalemate. I had Razor Boomerang to clear out Blood Seeker that could have cost me dearly, and we both built our forces. Finally, I hit Marshal’s Anthem to break the parity and swung in. Akiho failed to account for the crusade bonus, making my first attack much more brutal than it should have been. From there, victory was mine.

    3-1, tired and hungry.

    For my efforts I won a couple packs of Worldwake, and and my choice of one of four FNM foils: Tidehollow Sculler, Oblivion Ring, Sakura-Tribe Elder, and Ghostly Prison. I could not resist the O-Ring.

    Canned coffees consumed:
    Fire - Beans Roasted Aroma
    Boss - Rainbow Mountain Blend


     

  • Saturday, 3:53 p.m. – Round 3 Feature Match: Shougo Kamiya vs Masashiro Kuroda
    by Josh Bennett
  • Veteran magician Masashiro Kuroda, PT Kobe Champion, has been out of the spotlight since responsibilities away from the game have demanded his time. He’s back this weekend, though, and his first opponent is Shougo Kamiya.

    Shougo revealed himself to be playing Scapeshift with a first-turn Valakut. Kuroda’s Reflecting Pool also gave information, suggesting Hypergenesis.

    Kamiya played Misty Rainforest and passed. Kuroda played Fungal Reaches and did the same. Kamiya slowly drew his card for the turn. He passed without playing a land. Kuroda was fine playing the slow game, building counters and playing out lands. Another turn for Kamiya and still no lands. He discarded Jace.

    They passed another round and when Kamiya went to discard again, Kuroda played Violent Outburst, cascading into Hypergenesis. Kamiya Remand ed it, then discarded Cryptic Command.

    Kuroda untapped and showed an Ardent Plea, getting his second Hypergenesis. They began playing permanents. On Kuroda’s side were Gemstone Mine, an extra Ardent Plea, Simian Spirit Guide, two Angel of Despair, and Terastodon. Kamiya had a pair of Wood Elves and a Vendillion Clique.

    Terastodon stomped Kuroda’s two pleas, and Valakut on Kamiya’s side. The Angels took out Breeding Pool and Vendilion Clique. The Wood Elves searched out forest and Breeding Pool. Kamiya Cliqued himself, getting rid of Cryptic Command.

    Kamiya untapped, staring down an army. He played Sakura-Tribe Elder and passed. Kuroda swung with all of his team, save the Simian Spirit Guide. The Elder stepped in front of Terastodon, and elephants traded. Kamiya fell to seven. He played Stomping Ground s and readied himself for another assault. This time Wood Elves stopped the Terastodon, and Echoing Truth took care of the Angels. He was left at just two life. He Peered Through Depths for Remand, untapped, drew his card, and conceded.

    Kuroda 1 - Kamiya 0

    After a mulligan from Kuroda, Kamiya started off with a pair of Ravnica duals and a Sakura-Tribe elder to get an island, his third blue source. Kuroda, faced with countermana, had to hold back on his cascade spells.

    They played out lands, Kamiya getting ahead thanks to both Sakura-Tribe Elder and Wood Elves. A draw step Vendilion Clique on Kuroda revealed a hand of two Ardent Plea, Violent Outburst, 2 Simian Spirit Guide and Ricochet Trap. Kamiya got rid of the trap, sitting on four untapped lands.

    Kuroda drew and thought hard. He had a lot of mana at his disposal. He eventually chose to Plea into Hypergenesis, which was Remand ed. He cashed in the counters on his Calciform pools for another Plea, and again Hypergenesis was stopped by Remand. Violent Outburst hit a third Hypergenesis and this one got to stick. Kuroda played out two Spirit Guides and Terastodon, blowing up all of Kamiya’s green sources and giving him three elephants.

    Kamiya drew and passed the turn. Kuroda swung with a 4/4 Spirit Guide and traded it for an elephant. Kamiya sent the Terastodon home with Echoing Truth and swung in with his team. Kuroda tried to hold him off with Angel of Despair, destroying another green source, but his lifetotal was also threatened by the monsters in play, and in two attacks the game was over.

    Kuroda 1 - Kamiya 1

    Kamiya took a double mulligan for the deciding game, and the clock was down to just six minutes when the game got underway. Kuroda had an opener that allowed a turn-two Hypergenesis, but he had no monsters in hand to go with it. Forced to play a slow game, he watched Kamiya build a board of seven lands.

    As the clock ticked its last, Kuroda went for it. First he tried Ardent Plea into Hypergenesis. Kamiya Remand ed, and Kuroda hit it with Ricochet Trap, redirecting it to send the Trap back to his hand. Kamiya had another Remand for the Hypergenesis. Kuroda got mana from his Fungal Reaches and played Violent Outburst. This time, Hypergenesis resolved.

    Kuroda wound up with Simian Spirit Guide, Progenitus and Terastodon. Kamiya had Vendilion Clique and Oona, Queen of the Fae. Terastodon blew up all of Kamiya’s blue sources giving him nine power of elephants. He floated one blue and activated Oona for two, getting two faeries.

    Kamiya untapped on the first of the five extra turns. He attacked with all his creatures, save one faerie. Kuroda blocked as expected and fell to eleven. Kuroda took turn two, swinging in with Terastodon and Progenitus. The lone faerie took one for the team. The remainder of Kamiya’s army couldn’t swing for lethal damage, and unable to stop Progenitus, Kamiya conceded.

    Masashiro Kuroda defeats Shougo Kamiya 2-1

     

  • Saturday, 4:16 p.m. – Round 4 Feature Match: Katsuhiro Mori vs Luis Scott-Vargas
    by Josh Bennett
  • The influx of pros with three byes at round four usually makes for some exciting matchups, and this round did not disappoint. Spectators began heading for the Feature Match area as soon as the Head Judge announced who would be playing. Before the first card was played, they were standing three deep. 2005 World Champion Katsuhiro Mori of Japan, against the history maker from PT San Diego, Luis-Scott Vargas.

    Scott-Vargas mulliganed to six, and opened with a Thoughtseize. Mori showed him a hand containing Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Thirst for Knowledge, Dark Confidant, Chrome Mox and Lands. He took the Confidant. Mori played out some lands, and Scott-Vargas undid some of the mulligan damage with a Thirst of his own, discarding Sword of the Meek.

    Mori played his third land and passed. Scott-Vargas played a Dark Confidant. Mori cast Thirst for Knowledge, discarding a pair of superfluous Urborg s. He untapped, played a Ghost Quarter, and then Jace, sending the Confidant back home.

    Scott-Vargas dug further with another Thirst for Knowledge, discarding Dark Depths and Tolaria West. Mori peeked with Jace and let Scott-Vargas keep the island on top of his deck. He then played Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, Dark Confidant and Thopter Foundry. The Confidant was quickly Smother ed.

    Scott-Vargas played Vampire Hexmage with his newfound black mana, and killed off Jace with it. He played a Confidant of his own. Mori used his Ghost Quarter to kill off Dark Depths at end of turn, then untapped and played his own, with a Hexmage to go with it. Scott-Vargas untapped and drew, then scooped his cards when Mori freed Marit Lage.

    Mori 1 - LSV 0

    If Game 1 was lopsided, Game 2 was a drubbing. Scott-Vargas had to mulligan again, but this time his six-card hand had Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, Dark Depths and Hexmage, the recipe for a second-turn Marit Lage. He played out his Urborg and passed the turn.

    Mori played one of his own, Strip Mining him. Scott-Vargas did not have another mana-producing land in hand. He played Dark Depths and passed the turn. Mori played a Sunken Ruins, and Scott-Vargas failed to draw a mana producer.

    Mori went for the throat, imprinting a pair of Chrome Mox es with Repeal and Gatekeeper of Malakir, then playing Jace, the Mind Sculptor. He peeked at the top card of Scott-Vargas’s deck, and left it right where it was. Scott-Vargas sighed.

    Jace continued to work him over. Twice the top card was sent to the bottom, and once Scott-Vargas even got to draw a land. Jace hit thirteen loyalty, and Scott-Vargas conceded.

    Katsuhiro Mori defeats Luis Scott-Vargas 2-0

     

  • Saturday, 5:30 p.m. – Photo Essay - Event Snapshot
    by Josh Bennett
  • The entrance to the site gives a sense of an epic arena. An epic arena with concierges.

    Over a thousand players ready to fight. No matter how many events I attend, I never get tired of this image.

    Players swarm the dealer tables to implement last-minute deck changes.

    The good people at MINT keep everyone well stocked in the other tools in every mage’s arsenal.

    Legendary Japanese Rules Guru Pao Kaoru Yonemura mans the Netrep desk, answering every rules question under the sun.

    The Prizes for Sunday’s Legacy open. Thanks to the huge turnout, first prize has been upgraded to a Black Lotus. Mmmmmm, Lotus.

    Lord of Vermillion 2. This game is even more awesome than it looks. A full writeup is forthcoming!

    Guest Artist Jason Chan poses with one of his fans, showing off a 3D version of his own Naya Hushblade, created by the master, Seshiro Ookubo. Read all about his creations here !

    More of Ookubo’s incredible handiwork.

    Of course, there’s one art on everyone’s mind.

     

  • Saturday, 7:16 p.m. – Friday's Winning Last Chance Trial Decklists
    by Ron Foster

  • Grand Prix Yokohama 2010 Last Chance Trial B Winner
    Takashi Koyanagi



    Grand Prix Yokohama 2010 Last Chance Trial D Winner
    Yoshihiko Ikawa


    Grand Prix Yokohama 2010 Last Chance Trial E Winner
    Shun Kurakami


    Grand Prix Yokohama 2010 Last Chance Trial F Winner
    Hideo Mishima


    Grand Prix Yokohama 2010 Last Chance Trial G Winner
    Takahito Kobayashi


    Grand Prix Yokohama 2010 Last Chance Trial I Winner
    Shouya Yamashita


    Grand Prix Yokohama 2010 Last Chance Trial J Winner
    Tatsuhiro Nakano


    Grand Prix Yokohama 2010 Last Chance Trial K Winner
    Yuutarou Hirashima


    Grand Prix Yokohama 2010 Last Chance Trial L Winner
    Jinpei Hassaku



    Grand Prix Yokohama 2010 Last Chance Trial N Winner
    Shuuhei Kosuga


    Grand Prix Yokohama 2010 Last Chance Trial O Winner
    Kenta Takahashi


    Grand Prix Yokohama 2010 Last Chance Trial P Winner
    Shouya Hayashi


    Masayuki Yasuda
    Grand Prix Yokohama 2010 Last Chance Trial Q Winner


    Yuuki Uchida
    Grand Prix Yokohama 2010 Last Chance Trial R Winner

     

  • Saturday, 7:36 p.m. – Round 6: Shouta Yasooka vs Yusuke Iwasaki
    by Josh Bennett
  • Shouta Yasooka, former Player of the Year 2005, added to his resume last year by becoming the first Magic Online Player of the Year. He boasts ten Grand Prix Top 8’s, but has yet to walk away a GP Champ. This round he squared off against Yusuke Iwasaki, a disciple of Katsuhiro Mori. One of them would walk away still undefeated.

    Yasooka mulliganed, then led out with Creeping Tar Pit. Iwasaki played Sunken Ruins, Chrome Mox imprinting Echoing Truth, and a Vamprie Hexmage. Yasooka played a Mutavault. Iwasaki failed to draw a land and swung in for two. Yasooka continued to play lands.

    Iwasaki’s next draw was Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth. He hit and gave it back to Yasooka. Yasooka, stuck on three land, tried Thoughtseize. Iwasaki responded with Vendilion Clique, but Yasooka had Mana Leak to cut that short. He looked at a hand of Sword of the Meek, Engineered Explosives, Chrome Mox and Muddle the Mixture. He took the Muddle.

    Iwasaki found a fourth land and played and equipped his Sword, speeding up his clock. Yasooka waited for action. Iwasaki’s attacks brought him to five. He played an end of turn Spellstutter Sprite, then untapped and attacked for one, telegraphic Mistbind Clique. Iwasaki, however, was not receiving and swung in with his Hexmage. Down came the Clique, tapping him out and eating his Hexmage.

    That was the turning point. Despite being at five Yasooka was back in the driver’s seat. He Thoughtseize d again and took Muddle the Mixture over Thopter Foundry. When Iwasaki tried to play it on his turn, Yasooka was ready with Spell Snare. The clique hit, and the following turn Mutavault joined the party, bringing Iwasaki down to four. He tried a Thirst for Knowledge at end of turn, but Mutavault was still a creature, allowing Spellstutter to counter.

    Yasooka 1 - Iwasaki 0

    Yasooka opened with Thoughtseize, seeing Iwasaki’s hand of double Dark Depths, double Thirst for Knowledge, Thopter Foundry and Island, to go with his River of Tears in play. He took away his Foundry. Iwasaki played his island and passed the turn. Yasooka played an untapped Secluded Glen (thanks to Spellstutter Sprite ) Thoguhtseized again, seeing Iwasaki had drawn Phrexian Arena. He took that away too. He also suspended an Ancestral Vision.

    Iwasaki ripped a third land and promptly cast Thirst for Knowledge, sending Sword of the Meek to the bin where it belongs. Yasooka untapped and passed the turn with three lands of his own, casting Vendilion Clique on Iwasaki’s draw step. He got to choose between another Thirst, Vampire Hexmage, Dark Confidant, Dark Depths, and Darkblast. He put the Darkblast away. Iwasaki played out Depths and Confidant.

    Yasooka hit for three and Smother ed the Confidant. Iwasaki played River of Tears and passed the turn, then cast Thirst for Knowledge when Yasooka cracked a fetchland before the turn’s end. Iwasaki pitched Hexmage and Dark Depths. Yasooka hit for three and Thoughtseize d yet again, taking another Thirst over Dark Confidant and Oona, Queen of the Fae.

    Iwasaki drew and passed. Yasooka’s Ancestral Vision came off suspend and Iwasaki showed he had drawn Muddle the Mixture. Yasooka had Spellstutter Sprite to force through his draw spell. Iwasaki hit his sixth mana-producing land and slammed down Oona, then made an exasperated sound when Yasooka showed him Sower of Temptation.

    Yasooka 2 - Iwasaki 0

     

  • Saturday, 8:36 p.m. – Round 7 Feature Match: Shuuhei Nakamura vs Sam Black
    by Josh Bennett
  • After six rounds Sam Black led the charge of the Americans with a 5-1 record. To the surprise of few he was playing Faeries this weekend and feeling quite good about his deck choice. Shuuhei Nakamura couldn’t say the same. At the close of round six he was lamenting his choice to play Zoo.

    Both players went to six cards, and stayed. Sam Black opened with Bitterblossom in the face of Nakamura’s tapped Stomping Ground s. Nakamura added Hallowed Fountain and Umezawa’s Jitte to his side. A third land let Black play Jace Beleren, not the most popular Jace in the room, and drew a card. Nakamura answered with Wooly Thoctar.

    Black drew another card, played Pendelhaven and hit for two. He suspended a pair of Ancestral Vision s. Nakamura equipped the Thoctar and attacked. Black put a token in front of it. Nakamura added Meddling Mage to the mix, blocking out any potential Smother s. He spent a Jitte counter getting rid of Black’s last faerie.

    With Jace running low on loyalty, Black gave both of them a card. He had five land untapped and passed the turn. Nakamura sent both his creatures at Jace. Black put a token in front of the Meddling Mage and activated Pendelhave. Nakamura naturally responded by spending his last Jitte counter, and Black tapped the rest of his mana for Cryptic Command. He had barely announced the modes before Nakamura flipped out Bant Charm to counter.

    With Jace now dead, Nakamura added Tarmogoyf to the board and ended his turn. Black played a Jitte of his own to destroy Nakamura’s, losing his newest token. He played another Bitterblossom. Nakamura ran in for eleven damage, and Black drew nothing to prolong his battle.

    Nakamura 1 - Black 0

    Nakamura mulliganed again to start Game 2, and his six were unremarkable. He opened by taking three to fetch Stomping Ground for Wild Nacatl, and frowned as Black answered with a second-turn Bitterblossom. Nakamura played Noble Hierarch and fetched a basic plains, then swung in for four.

    Black hid behind his token and played Jace Beleren, drawing a card. The token stopped the Nacatl, and Nakamura aimed Lightning Bolt at Jace’s head. Unfortunately, Deathmark took care of his Nacatl, and his attempt at Knight of the Reliquary was blocked by Spellstutter Sprite. And Black’s air force continued to grow.

    Black turned on his Mutavault and attacked for four. Nakamura made it two with Path to Exile on Mutavault. He untapped and hit for one with the Hierarch, then played Sword of Light and Shadow. Black swung again. Nakamura played Blood Moon, leaving Black with just a lone island for blue mana. It was enough, though. He hit Nakamura down to seven, and then Repeal ed the Hierarch when it tried to pick up the Sword.

    Nakamura 1 - Black 1

    Black went to six for the deciding game and grimaced at them. He watched Nakamura lead with forest and Noble Hierarch and played a tapped Watery Grave. Nakamura cracked Scalding Tarn for a mountain and dropped a backbreaker of a Blood Moon, fresh off the top of his deck.

    Black had an island in hand but couldn’t make anything happen. They played nonbasic mountains for a while, with Nakamura plinking away with the Hierarch, then he upgraded to a 1/2 Tarmogoyf. The following turn he managed a Sword of Light and Shadow with Bant Charm mana open.

    “This is gonna be a little late.” - Sam Black

    It was Ancestral Vision. Tarmogoyf picked up the Sword and started taking bigger chunks of Black’s life total. In a few turns, it was all over. Black showed that he’d had the one Mana Leak in his deck, but it the Blood Moon hit a turn too quickly.

    Shuuhei Nakamura defeats Sam Black 2-1

     

  • Saturday, 10:46 p.m. – Round 8: The Undefeateds Fight!
    by Josh Bennett
  • Here’s a quick shakedown of the 7-0 matches in round eight.

    Masashiro Kuroda (Hypergenesis) vs Takuya Masuyama (Zoo)

    Kuroda takes it in two quick games. In the first, an early Hypergenesis into a pair of Angels of Despair. In the second, blue mana from Masuyama forced him to take it slow, but Venser at end of turn took it out of the equation, enabling a devastating Hypergenesis.

    Kentarou Yamamoto (Faeries) vs Tzu Ching Kuo (Thopter Depths)

    This was a knock-down drag-out streetfight that went past regulation time. Kuo edged out the second game to force a third, but with just eight minutes left in the round, neither player could get the job done in time, resulting in a draw.

    Kim Min-Su (Doran) vs Yoshihiko Ikawa (Zoo)

    Kim took this one in two straight, riding the deck’s signature Siege-Tower to victory.

    Katsuhiro Mori (Thopter Depths) vs Tomohiro Aridome (Dredge)

    After splitting the first two games, Mori got a disruptive opener while Aridome struggled on just two land. Mori had Hexmage and depths in play on turn five, and responded to Aridome’s third creature with Extirpate on Dread Return. Marit Lage threw the knockout punch, naturally.

    Takatoshi Nakamura (Zoo) vs Takahito Kobayashi (Scapeshift)

    Nakamura took the match with a steady application of pressure from Wooly Thoctar, Tarmogoyf and Umezawa’s Jitte, backing Kobayashi into a corner. Kobayashi plucked what would have been a lethal Scapeshift on his last turn, but Nakamura was ready with Negate.

     

  • Saturday, 11:05 p.m. – Road Warriors
    by Josh Bennett
  • It’s been a whirlwind trip for Martin Juza, Brian Kowal, Alex West, Matt Marr, Brian Kibler and Sam Black. Last weekend they descended on Kuala Lumpur to fight the good fight, and then hopped on a plane for Japan to do it all again.

    As Day 1 headed into the final round, our intrepid globetrotters were not seeing things pan out according to plan. With one round to go, only Kibler, Black, West and Kowal were in the hunt for Day 2, and West had the best record at 6-1-1...

    Even tired from a less-than-fulfilling day of Magic, the world travelers were all smiles. And why not? Play the game, see the world is more than a catchy slogan. Hanging out with friends in exotic locales and more Magic than you can shake a stick at is a winning formula.

    So what was awesome about Kuala Lumpur?

    “Elephants!” - Brian Kibler

    “Monkeys!” - Alex West

    “Awesome weather and gorgeous locales!” - Martin Juza

    “Top 16’ing with a fun deck!” - Sam Black

    Kibler was quick to pull out his iPhone and show off pictures of him feeding a baby elephant.

    “We thought, travelling west, jet lag wouldn’t be a problem. But it’s SO FAR west, it ended up wrecking us.” - Brian Kibler

    Luckily the transition to Yokohama was much easier. They kicked things off with a number of team drafts on Friday (including Kibler/Juza/LSV versus Chikara Nakajima, Yuuya Watanabe and Kazuya Mitamura - that’s 40+ Pro Levels). Then a busy day of taking hard knocks at the Grand Prix.

    So what’s on for Sunday? Luis Scott-Vargas was just finishing up two decks for tomorrow’s Legacy constructed event. After all, who wouldn’t love to win a Black Lotus ?

     

  • Saturday, 11:26 p.m. – Round 9 Feature Match: Kim Min-Su vs Satoru Kiuchi
    by Josh Bennett
  • Kim Min-Su vs Satoru Kiuchi

    One of these two players would boast a perfect day one: Kim Min-Su, playing Doran, and Satoru Kiuchi, playing Scapeshift.

    Satoru Kiuchi

    Kim started off with a Tarmogoyf and hassled Kiuchi with a pair of Thoughtsiezes. Unfortunately, he was stuck on two land and so had only the one threat. Kiuchi was free to build up his stock of lands, soon hitting five while at a comfortable fourteen life.

    Kim bit the bullet and played Path to Exile on his poor Tarmogoyf, untapping and replacing it with Knight of the Reliquary. Kiuchi spent his own upkeep on two Magma Jet s to gun down the Knight. The first two cards went to the bottom, but the next two were keepers.

    Kiuchi continued to play lands while Kim rebuilt with Kitchen Finks and then Loxodon Hierarch. This last was sent back with a kicked Into the Roil. Next turn Kim tried Doran, but it was Remand ed. Kiuchi Ponder ed and found a lethal Scapeshift, and they were on to Game 2.

    Kiuchi 1 - Kim 0

    Kim’s first play of Verdant Catacomb into Overgrown Tomb into Thoughtseize left him at fifteen. He stripped a Scapeshift. He followed up with another, taking Sakura-Tribe Elder, leaving Kiuchi with a second Scapeshift and Wood Elves in hand. Unfortunately Kim had just one land to his name.

    Kiuchi played his second land. Kim drew another nonland, but had the backbreaker in hand: Extirpate on Scapeshift during Kiuchi’s draw step. Kiuchi gamely played Wood Elves, but Kim’s deck had finally relented and offered him Temple Garden, allowing him a Qasali Pridemage.

    Kim Min-Su

    Kiuchi had no play. Kim ripped a forest, and now he was ready to roll. He started with Kitchen Finks, losing his Pridemage to Dead/Gone, then upgraded to Doran. Kiuchi blocked with his Elves and bounced them with Into the Roil for another go. With no permanent answer to the Siege Tower, however, he soon scooped up his cards.

    Kiuchi 1 - Min-su 1

    Kim looked at a hand of lands and monsters and rejected it. His next had a Thoughtseize, and he kept. Kiuchi started with Sakura-Tribe Elder, and Kim plucked Extirpate off the top. Thoughtseize took Kiuchi’s Scapeshift, leaving behind two land, a second Elder, and Engineered Explosives.

    Next Kim began to build his offence. First Kitchen Finks, and then Treetop Village and Umezawa’s Jitte. Extirpate took out the Scapeshift s and his creatures started to swing. Kiuchi bobbed and weaved, but had no way to stop the beaters.

    Kim Min-Su defeats Satoru Kiuchi 2-1

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