Day 1 Blog Archive

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  • Blog - 7:14p.m. : Round 8: Hidetoshi Yamashita vs Kenji Tsumura
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Blog - 6:01 p.m. : Round 7: Takayuki Nagaoka vs Shuuhei Nakamura
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Blog - 4:05 p.m : Round 5: Masashiro Kuroda vs Tsuyoshi Fujita
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Blog - 2:36 p.m: Round 4: Shuu Komuro vs Chikara Nakajima
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Blog - 10:37 a.m.: Building a Sealed Deck
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

  • Saturday, Nov 10: 10:37 a.m. - Building a Sealed Deck
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

  • Winning a Grand Prix can have its perks, nobody is going to deny that, and for his troubles in Bangkok a fortnight ago, Masahiko Morita has been allowed to build his deck backstage with us today instead of amongst the crowds in the main hall. Not because we're trying to give him the advantage of solitude and quite though, far from it. We've dragged him back here so we can get all up and personal while he's building his deck. Sound unfair or cruel? Quite possibly, but you wanna see what it takes, and we're gonna try to bring it to you. So shuffle over Masahiko, we coming in for a look.

    First he laid out all of his playable creatures in a curve, and I mean all of them. It's not that he was thinking of running five colors, more that he was looking for concentrations in the overall curve. Is one color more top heavy that the rest? Is another shy on three drops? First he decided that his Blue was good enough to start, and toyed with the other colors alongside it. Realizing he didn't have the depth in his card pool to play only two colors, he immediately started browsing for a splash as well as a second color. Green won out, bringing a huge Changeling Titan and a pair or Fertile Grounds to help facilitate the splash.

    Ordinarily Masahiko prefers White he told us, its commons being quite heavy on good flyers, but with a mere five playables this time, was forced to leave them on the bench. He decided in the end that his splash should be Black as it featured what many consider the best common in the set, Nameless Inversion. He also went with only 16 lands, reasoning that he could get by with his two Fertile Grounds and a Leaf Gilder to bulk out his mana base.

    He wasn't as hopeful about his chances here this weekend, considering his deck to be only "so-so". Apparently he charged into day two in Bangkok on the back of a pair of AEthersnipes and triple Warren Pilferers, and felt his deck today was far below the power level he had in his hands then.

    Meanwhile, out in the main hall, a few of the names we've been following over the last few weeks were getting stuck into their sealed decks as well. André Coimbra told me he'd only be playing two colors this week, instead of the four colors he played in Bangkok. This may have been in part because he missed the cut in Bangkok and ended up helping me with the coverage for day two. At one point when I strolled past, he had spread out the playables in White, Green, Blue and Black and was somewhat slumped in his chair in deep thought. In the end he showed me a strong Green/White deck, splashing a Changeling Berserker. Raphael Levy was trying to strike a balance between his Green, Red and Blue cards. I didn't see exactly what he submitted finally, as to whether or not his Blue was merely a splash for Mulldrifter and AEthersnipe, or if the rest of the Faerie team had been invited in for the fight.

    Despite being convinced his Sealed Pool in Brisbane was the Worst Ever, Olivier Ruel again had tales of woe to tell about his deck here today, "this is the worst deck I have opened in this format so far." Trying White and Black with a splash or Red for his pair of Tarfires and Lash Outs, Olivier ended up moving the Black off to the side in favor of Blue, forsaking a Warren Pilferers, a Fodder Launch and the always good Nameless Inversion. But at least now he'd have some creatures he could attack with. Kenji Tsumura on the other hand seemed very pleased with his pool, flashing me his trademarked grin, a pair of Warren Pilferers and a pair of Lash Outs. Scratch that, Kenji made sure he caught my eye and held it for a moment, before flicking a third copy of the Red burn spell out from behind the other two with a chuckle. You could tell he now had a glimmer of hope at least maybe catching up with Player of the Year Race leader Tomoharu Saito.

  • Saturday, November 10: 2:36p.m. - Round 4: Shuu Komuro vs Chikara Nakajima
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Just as I was sitting down to watch this match, Tournament Organizer Ron Foster informed me that due to a rescinding of the slot, Shuu Komuro will now be playing on the National Team for Japan this December in New York. Considering their track record in the past few years, Shuu has to be happy at the extra winnings he's almost certain to be getting out of this.

    But enough of that and on to the match at hand. Shuu's first play was a Streambed Aquitects to hold the ground, followed by a Faerie Harbinger, fetching a Sower of Temptation. His opponent, Chikara Nakajima could only respond with a few ground-based 2/2's of his own, none of which could stop Shuu's flyers. Chikara found a Changeling Titan and a Dauntless Dourbark and gave racing a go, only to find Shuu repeatedly Summoning the School to thwart that plan.

    Chikara charged into Game 2 with a second turn Ashling the Pilgrim, which took several swipes at Shuu before he could stabilize with a Brigid, Hero of Kinsbaile. The table then began to clutter up as both players laid out 2/2's left, right and center. A Pestermite helped Brigid take out a pair of attackers who'd thought they were large enough to make it through, and with a Avian Changeling, started attacking back to try and even up the life totals. However, Chikara found and employed a Merrow Harbinger, who was large enough where it counted to slip by and finish off what Ashling had started before the flyers could recover the lost ground.

    Game 3 looked better for Shuu, who caught two of Chikara's early spells with back to back Broken Ambitions. However, he found himself stuck on three Islands and a Mountain and unable to put up any defense against Chikara's Merrow Harbinger, who invited a Surgespanner to the party and together they had Shuu hissing between his teeth and picking up his cards.

    Chikara Nakajima defeats 2-1 Shuu Komuro

  • Saturday, November 10: 4:05p.m. – Round 5: Masashiro Kuroda vs Tsuyoshi Fujita
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • I wasn't going to cover a feature match this round, as I was still typing up the games from the fourth round, but when a pairing like this falls in your lap, you just don't say no. Tsuyoshi Fujita will be the first Japanese player inducted into the Hall of Fame this December in New York, while Masashiro Kuroda was first Japanese player to win an individual pro tour, using a deck designed by Tsuyoshi no less. If you want forerunners in the Japanese Pro community, these long-time friends are definitely it.

    Tsuyoshi's early Faerie rush was soon facing off against an Æthersnipe from Masashiro, which in itself is often big enough to pose a problem for the pint-sized flyers. The soon to be Hall of Famer calmly upgraded his board position with a Dread, threatening to finish Game 1 before anyone could bat an eyelid. Masashiro placed a Runed Stalactite in the hands of his Æthersnipe and added a Lowland Giant to the table, only to see Tsuyoshi play an Æthersnipe of his own, and crashing into the red zone with Dread. Still not out for the count, Masashiro played a Tar Pitcher and passed the turn back, getting ready to throw his Æthersnipe at the first person to as much as sneeze out of place. Tsuyoshi then splashed an Incremental Growth all over his guys and crashed in again. Masashiro chumped where he could, drew his next card and scooped

    To make matters worse, Masahiro lead the second game with a Mulligan and stopped playing lands after his just a Forest and a Plains, which as you'll no doubt notice, is somewhat different to the Islands and Mountains he'd played in the first game. Tsuyoshi could only proclaim in disbelief at what he was seeing, while Masashiro grinned at me simply stated "five color". A Lignify from Masahiro landed on an improved Nath's Elite, causing Tsuyoshi to ask how the layer rules worked in regards to the +1/+1 counter.

    "I play too much constructed" he explained with a chuckle, as the judge explained that the Lignify set the Elite's power and toughness first, then the +1/+1 counter was applied. Another Lignify enchanted an Amoeboid Changeling of all things and an Oblivion Ring took Dread aside for a while. It almost looked like Masashiro might pull out... but no, Tsuyoshi had Benthicore as well. Masashiro found a fourth land, finally playing an Island and a Bog-Strider Ash, but Tsuyoshi just dropped a Pestermite on his friend's blocker and pushed his men into the red zone to finish the match.

    Masashiro showed us afterward that he had actually sideboarded out his Red cards and Black splash for White and Green. "I overestimated Thundercloud Shaman" he said with a laugh and a shrug "I only have three Giants and it doesn't have much synergy with my Merfolk." He did mention that he still managed to play it for three in the last round though, clearing out his opponents board convincingly.

    Tsuyoshi Fujita defeats Masashiro Kuroda 2-0

  • Saturday, November 10: 6:01p.m. – Round 7: Takayuki Nagaoka vs Shuuhei Nakamura
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Both Shuuhei Nakamura and Takayuko Nagaoka got their match underway quickly in round seven, speedily playing out their early plays before settling in for the long game, Shuuhei holding back Takayuki's Mulldrifter with a Stonybrook Angler, while other small men battled together on the ground. They continued to trade cards with each other, and it became apparent that the extra cards Takayuki's Mulldrifter had given him were helping him keep ahead, with Shuuhei's Angler only managing to hold back so many of the incoming attackers. Smelling blood in the water, Takayuki pulled a surprise Last Out from Shuuhei's hand with a Thieving Sprite, Shuuhei having only shown Islands and Plains so far, and dropped a Shriekmaw into play, pushing the advantage and forcing Shuuhei to pick up his cards and shuffle for Game 2.

    Shuuhei played out two Avian Changelings in Game 2, getting in for some quick damage with a Tarfire taking out a potentially troublesome Dreamspoiler Witches from Takayuki. Shuuhei tried to seal the deal with an Ethereal Whiskergill, only to have Takayuki land his Shriekmaw on it, and then upgrade his Thieving Sprite with a Changeling Hero. Shuuhei added a 3/3 Hillcomber Giant to the ground, but Takayuki had one for the air, Wydwen, the Biting Gale. With plenty of mana available for Takayuki, Shuuhei's Avians suddenly had better things to do than attack, or block for that matter. With the Changeling Hero keeping Takayuki's life total topped up, and Wydwen knocking his opponent's down unopposed, it wasn't long before Shuuhei was packing up his cards and offering a grin and a "soooo lucky!"

    Takayuki Nagaoka defeats 2-1 Shuuhei Nakamura

  • Saturday, November 10: 7:14p.m. – Round 8: Hidetoshi Yamashita vs Kenji Tsumura
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Over the last month or so, fan-favorite Kenji Tsumura hasn't quite had the results he would usually have liked, to put it lightly. However, going into the last round today he finally found himself undefeated again, and standing in his way was amateur Hidetoshi Yamashita.

    Hidetoshi's deck was a mash up of power, splashing anything and everything good he could get his hands on and playing them out with help from Vivid lands and Tideshaper Mystic. He began the first game trying to gum up the ground Summon the School and a Mulldrifter while also showing Black and Green. Kenji was coming in steadily with his clean-cut Red/Black deck, his Ceaseless Searblades and Lowland Oaf crashing into red zone and knocking aside troublesome defenders with Lash Out only where needed, holding back a handful of removal in case the worst should happen.

    And sure enough, it did. Hidetoshi dropped a Mirror Entity into play with five mana open and sent his guys in to wrestle with Kenji. The Searblades blocked the Tideshaper Mystic, and when Hidetoshi threw all five of his mana into the Entity, Kenji struck back, offing the Mulldrifter with a Lash Out and saving his Searblades by taking out the Mystic with Nameless Inversion. Two Merfolk tokens still connected, dropping Kenji dangerously low, but he had survived the attack and still had his men to fight for him. On the return, Hidetoshi was forced to chump block the Oaf with his Entity. Kenji added a Ghostly Changeling to the board, and on the following turn threw it at Hidetoshi with his Lowland Oaf, and sank his mana into pumping it for lethal.

    Kenji mulliganed on the play, Hidetoshi clearly wanting to draw into his color fixers by opting instead to draw. Kenji started with a Skeletal Changeling, offed a Leaf Gilder with one of his many Lash Outs and followed it up with his Lowland Oaf. A Lys Alana Huntmaster traded with the Oaf, only for Kenji to fetch it back with a Warren Pilferers. Hidetoshi traded a Hornet Harasser for the Pilferers, and Kenji just fetched it back with another one. Kenji continued to send in his 3/3's, which were more than happy to bring back their friends and continue beating down on Hidetoshi. Kenji pushed the point with yet another Lash Out to take down a Bog-Strider Ash while Hidetoshi began to claw back a board position actually trading for some of the Hill Giants instead of just blocking. But it was already too late, and the extra damage from Kenji's repeated assaults took the match cleanly.

    Kenji Tsumura defeats Hidetoshi Yamashita 2-0

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