Sealed Deck: Masahiko Morita

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Masahiko Morita is a bit of a poster boy for Japanese limited play. Before he finally earned a title with teammates P.S.2 (Masashiro Kuroda and speed demon Katsuhiro Mori) at Nagoya earlier this year, he was stopped in the finals of Grand Prix at both Shizuoka and Fukuoka. Those near-misses earned him a reputation as "Mister Second Place", a nickname he reaffirmed at Sapporo where he again fell in the finals. Such consistency is to be admired, even if it stings to come so close, so often. If anyone's a good pick to ease into Top 8, it's Morita.

Laying out his cards, the first feature to demand his attention was Doom Cannon. No matter the rest of it, at least he'd have that. It spurred him on to look for more gold. Green was an excellent assortment of beasts that could provide the backbone to a deck. He cut off the chaff and went into red. Things started strong with Solar Blast, Pinpoint Avalanche and Lavamancer's Skill, but after splitting off the unplayables he was left with just six cards. He left them fanned out as a possible splash.

Black was next, and met his approval immediately. He set it next to the green and moved on. This time it was Arcanis the Omnipotent smiling back at him, heading up the stack of blue cards. His fingers flicked through eagerly, but his smile quickly fell. Blue was as shallow as it threatened to be. That left white. Pacifism and Sandskin jumped out as splashable, but the rest of it was a bunch of clunky creatures that needed their tribal abilities to work to earn their keep. He dumped it.

He couldn't help but take a second look at the blue, but it was still terrible and he tossed it unceremoniously in a heap with the white. He went back over his green and black, pulling all but the completely unplayable Accursed Centaur off the bench, then started to build, piling his black and green cards by mana cost. He started with all the cards that had survived the first pass. All his Morph cards except Snarling Undorak went in the three slot. He had seventeen cards so far. He looked at his second string and pulled Disciple of Malice and Anurid Murkdweller. Naturalize also got the bump to starter.

He looked to his red splash. He wanted Solar Blast, and probably Lavamancer's Skill. For card twenty-three he was looking at such winners as Shade's Breath, Shepherd of Rot (with few zombies that would hit play before turn five), and Run Wild. He rejected all three and went for Skittish Valesk instead, leaving out Wave of Indifference since he already had a Dirge of Dread.

He ended up with a little bit of everything, removal (bolstered by his red splash), big creatures, evasion and a strong late-game thanks to Oversold Cemetary and Doom Cannon. As if they weren't good enough on their own, the interaction between the two is downright ridiculous. While not thrilled with his deck, Morita isn't dissapointed either. He's got his fingers crossed that three byes and his prodigious skill will earn him a place at Day 2's draft tables.

Masahiko Morita
Day 1 Sealed Deck

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