Day 1 Coverage of Grand Prix–Yokohama

Posted in Event Coverage on March 20, 2010

By Wizards of the Coast

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.

FNM Draft Pool

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.

FNM Draft Deck

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 A Winner

 

Grand Prix Yokohama 2010 Last Chance Trial B Winner

 

Grand Prix Yokohama 2010 Last Chance Trial C Winner

 

Grand Prix Yokohama 2010 Last Chance Trial D Winner

 

Grand Prix Yokohama 2010 Last Chance Trial E Winner

 

Grand Prix Yokohama 2010 Last Chance Trial F Winner

 

Grand Prix Yokohama 2010 Last Chance Trial G Winner

 

Grand Prix Yokohama 2010 Last Chance Trial H Winner

Grand Prix Yokohama 2010 Last Chance Trial I Winner