Akira Asahara vs. Carlos Romão
Akira Asahara was the first to lock in his spot in the Finals, getting off to the roaring start on day one, and finishing the Swiss rounds 9-2. Brad Nelson spent most of his time in second place in the early rounds, but Carlos Romão eventually overtook him after an intense three game match yesterday, then besting Reid Duke in three to seal the deal at 8-3.Carlos Romão and Akira Asahara: one of them is your 2010 Magic Online World Champion. But which?
For the Finals, Asahara and Romão would again be playing Standard, but they weren't confined to the deck choice they'd made the day before. As the players considered their opening hands, it became apparently that while Romão had stuck with the Blue-Black Control deck he'd piloted yesterday, Asahara had traded in his Squadron Hawks for a playset of Valakut, the Molten Pinnacles.
Having won the die roll, Asahara kept a two land hand on the play and came up wanting for his third. A turn later he'd found it, but Romão had already denied him green mana with a Spreading Seas on his Raging Ravine. By the time Asahara could begin casting his ramp spells again, Romão had Preordained himself a hand full of disruption. Finishing with a Tectonic Edge to keep Asahara well away from his Avenger of Zendikar, Romão summoned a Grave Titan and crushed Asahara in two attacks.
Romão 1, Asahara 0
An early Spreading Seas turned a Raging Ravine into an Island (kinda hard to picture, I know), but this time, Romão was unable to keep Asahara off of his green mana, and he summoned a turn-four Oracle of Mul Daya. Romão blinked once, he blinked twice. The card revealed on top of Asahara's library was none other than Kozilek, Butcher of Truth. Romão set a stop on his opponent's draw step and passed the turn back, dropping a Doom Blade on the Oracle once Asahara had drawn the Eldrazi, to reveal a Mountain behind it. Asahara summoned a replacement Oracle, which Romão countered with a Mana Leak, allowing Asahara to then cast Summoning Trap for the bargain basement price of no mana.Emrakul? That's not good!
If Romão had thought Kozilek might be trouble, what Asahara found waiting on top was even worse: Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. Romão untapped and drew his card. He had two Swamps, an Island and a Tectonic Edge in play. He had a Jace, the Mind Sculptor in hand, but not the mana to cast it. Instead he opted to Memoricide Asahara to see what else he'd smuggled in during sideboarding before they headed to the decider.
Romão 1, Asahara 1
Romão tanked while sideboarding for the last game, now that he knew Asahara's plan of attack. Meanwhile, Asahara removed an Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre for a Koth, of the Hammer, to keep Romão's Memoricides honest.
Asahara kept a hand with Valakut, four other lands, Oracle of Mul Daya, and Summoning Trap, while Romão kept four lands, Duress, Doom Blade and Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Going for the Duress on turn two, Romão took the Trap and saw Kozilek along with the rest of Asahara's goodies.
Asahara drew a Cultivate, but elected not to play it into Romão's three untapped lands. Romão then tapped out for Jace, and Brainstormed. With the Brazilian's shields down, Asahara summoned his Oracle of Mul Daya, revealing an Explore on top of his library and allowing him to play a fifth land from his hand. Romão scrolled the chat window back up to remind himself of what else had been in Asahara's hand when he Duressed him, before bouncing the Oracle with Jace and playing a land.A different set up than the feature match arena, but no less gravitas.
Drawing the Explore, Asahara cast it and then lapsed into thought, finally resummoning his Oracle. Mana Leak stopped it, and once again Asahara had a Summoning Trap. This time however, Romão also had a Stoic Rebuttal. Jace Brainstormed again, finding Romão a Preordain and a Cancel, allowing him to counter Asahara's Cultivate and find another Mana Leak for a second Explore. Asahara passed back the turn, now down to just a Kozilek in hand and seven land in play.
Romão untapped, Brainstormed, and summoned a Grave Titan, while Asahara drew a brick (a second Kozilek). Romão's Titan, Zombies, and a Creeping Tar Pit crashed in for 13, and Jace did his part by keeping the top of Asahara's deck free of gas.
Asahara brought up the right-click menu and his cursor hovered over "concede game" as he tried in vain to think of an answer. Coming up with nothing, he finally let his finger come to a rest.