Teams Round 5: Copycats

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With just two rounds to go before the Finals of the team competition, we see a repeat of the Finals of the 2006 World Teams competition. Last year, a Dutch team of Julien Nuijten, Kamiel Cornelisson, and Robert van Medevoort emerged the victors, and this year just Robert is back to defend the title. For this match, Roel van Heeswijk joined van Medevoort against Naoki Nakada and Masaya Kitayama, while his teammates battled Shuu Komuro and Takashi Akiyama one table over.

Naoki Nakada and Masaya Kitayama walk in the footsteps of last year's Japanese team.
Japan won the roll and chose to go first, with one mulligan, which was mirrored by the Dutch. With the initiative, Japan accelerated out a Moonglove Winnower with Leaf Gilder, and had a Judge of Currents to begin gaining life. The Dutch had some acceleration of their own in Stinkdrinker Daredevil, but looked in awkward shape when Sygg, River Guide came down to help the Japanese—all they could muster in return was another Stinkdrinker Daredevil.

Japan tried to press their advantage with Oblivion Ring but were thwarted by Faerie Trickery. The counterspell out of the way, Mad Auntie came down, who would potentially be able to regenerate any of the Japanese creatures thanks to an Amoeboid Changeling in play.

It seemed that everything was going right for the Japanese team—they stopped a Hearthcage Giant with Broken Ambitions. When Roel tried to change Amoeboid Changeling into Sygg, the Changeling tapped to lose all its own creature types to fizzle the effect.

The Dutch snuck Moonglove Extract into play, and waited until Sygg and Moonglove Winnower attacked to use it on Amoeboid Changeling. The Japanese used Mad Auntie to give the changeling a regeneration shield, but then used it to remove its own creature types, fearful of Shapesharer. At the point that the damage from the Extract was done, the Changeling was not a Goblin any more though, and the regen fizzled. First blood to the Dutch!

Next up Shapesharer turned a Japanese Skeletal Changeling into Sygg, River Guide, in order to let the Legend rule take down both. Through cunning play, the Dutchies were getting right back in the game, and looking to steal the momentum back. A Surgespanner came down from the Japanese, along with Jagged-Scar Archers, but the Dutch struck back with Shriekmaw for the Archers, and Æthersnipe for the Merfolk.

A Gilt-Leaf Ambush from the Japanese lost on the clash, and the first attacks of the game from Roel and Robert looked good. There was some work to do with Judge of Currents having given the Japanese a life buffer, but it was clear that this had been a turning point in the game.

Attacks finally got Japan below 30 life, and left them with just Mad Auntie, Streambed Aquitects and Judge of Currents left. The Dutch were all about building a board position though, with a veritable menagerie of monsters springing from Robert's deck.

Robert van Medevoort is on his second national team in as many years, this time joined by Roel van Heeswijk.
An Elvish Harbinger from Japan revealed Imperious Perfect, who the Japanese would have to hope survived long enough to let them back in the game. The Japanese replayed Surgespanner, but it seemed to little good effect when Shapesharer copied it and then bounced Japan's Streambed Aquitects.

While the Perfect did come down, it seemed outclassed by an end of turn Makeshift Mannequin for Hearthcage Giant, and Pestermite to tap Mad Auntie.

At this point there was a further boost to the spirits of the Dutch—they heard that their countrymen had prevailed in the other match. If they won here, then they would get the full 9 points. The Dutch had another Hearthcage Giant, and used Streambed Aquitects to make their Shapesharer islandwalk, before turning it into Hearthcage Giant, to swing for a colossal amount of damage. With some sacrificed Elementals included, the Dutch took the Japanese down to just 6, and threatened to finish things the very next turn.

Displaying signs of nervousness for the first time in the game, the Japanese passed. When the Dutch attacked, it was quickly clear that they didn't have enough blockers. The hands were extended.

The Netherlands wins!

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