Day 2 Blog

Posted in Event Coverage on March 9, 2008

By Wizards of the Coast

EVENT COVERAGE

  • Feature Match: Round 16 Feature Match - This will only be the final round for one of them
  • Feature Match: Round 15 - Fighting for Top Eight
  • Blog: Fujita-san speaks!
  • Blog: The best food ever to come on a stick
  • Blog: Tribal Madness!
  • Blog: Metagame Breakdown
  • Blog: Living the Magic
  • Feature Match: Round 12 - Letters Home
  • Feature Match: Round 11 - Rift-Watch Out!
  • Feature Match: Round 10 - Battling Burn
  • Blog: Day 1 Undefeated Standard Decklists
  • Day 1 Blog: Feature Match coverage, Top of the Tribes, and more!

BLOG

Blog - Day 1 Undefeated Standard Decklists

By Keita Mori

 

Hiromasa Imagawa

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Taichi Fujimoto

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Kenji Tsumura

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Round 10 Feature Match - Battling Burn

Hiromasa Imagawa vs Kenji Tsumura
By Tim Willoughby

Kenji Tsumura and Hiromasa Imagawa had pretty good days on Saturday. Each fought their way through the field of over 800 without picking up a loss, each with very differenct decks. While Kenji's Reveillark deck slowly works its card advantage magic to engineer a win, Hiromasa's burn deck takes a more direct route, overpowering opponents before they can stabilize.

Hiromasa won the roll, getting to play first with an already fast deck. Not what Kenji was hoping for.

Mogg Fanatic on turn one was followed up by Keldon Marauders from Hiromasa ֠his burn deck didn't hang around, and was looking to get its hits in early, before the control deck of Tsumura could find its feet. Kenji had a turn two suspend of Riftwing Cloudskate, and followed up with a devastating Aven Riftwatcher. While he approached single digits fast, just one Momentary Blink on the Riftwatcher would win back most of that life at a low low cost.

When Riftwing Cloudskate came in, it targeted Kenji's Aven Riftwatcher. Hiromasa responded with a Shard Volley on the flyer. Kenji had Venser, Shaper Savant to respond, but it was Hiromasa that got the last laugh, with Mogg Fanatic plus Sulfurous Blast being sufficient to wipe the board. Kenji had a Mulldrifter, but dropped to four following Shard Volley and subsequent attacks.

Tsumura was on the ropes. He played a Mulldrifter to dig for answers, and used Momentary Blink to continue his digging. Hiromasa had one card in hand, but Kenji was tapped out. Sulfurous Blast made it just one life.

There was still life in Kenji yet though. Body Double copied Aven Riftwatcher to take the little master back up to four. The following turn an evoked Reveillark got back the Riftwatcher, and Riftwing Cloudskate, who bounced the Body Double. Suddenly Kenji was at 7. On his following turn, he replayed the Body Double, this time as Reveillark. In the meantime, Hiromasa's gas appeared to have run out, though he could have been looking for a moment to unload a flurry of burn.

There were to be no flurries though. With a creature base all of a sudden, Kenji was able to start attacking, and a Momentary Blink on Reveillark finall convinced Hiromasa to scoop up his cards.

Hiromasa Imagawa 0 ֠1 Kenji Tsumura

Kenji's start for Game 2 was a little awkward, with a pair of Nimbus Maze as his first land drops, which were joined by a Mind Stone. He evoked a Mulldrifter early to find land, but swiftly dropped to 11, as Hiromasa powered out Keldon Marauders followed by Countryside Crusher in short order.

It soon became clear why Kenji had kept though. He had an Aven Riftwatcher, and played it with sufficient mana up to have a Rune Snag for the first burn spell that Hiromasa could point its way.

With Countryside Crusher in play, Hiromasa was kept down to 3 lands, though the reveals from the top of his deck didn't make the giant any bigger anyway. Effectively, Countryside Crusher was just giving Kenji more information, a dangerous thing to do. The Riftwatcher blocked and died to Countryside Crusher, only to be returned (along with Mulldrifter) by an evoked Reveillark. It seemed that Kenji had stabilized faster in game 2, and with 6 cards in hand, and 6 lands to his opponents three, he was presenting an uphill struggle to Hiromasa, who shook his head as he surveyed the board position.

A Cryoclasm from Hiromasa attacked Kenji's life and mana base, while pumping Countryside Crusher. However, the giant couldn't get through as again Aven Riftwatcher blocked. Kenji played Body Double copying Reveillark, swung with his Mulldrifter and passed. Kenji got to see that there was another Cryoclasm coming for Hiromasa, carefully taking note of his opponent's draws each turn off the Crusher.

Body Double was essentially shutting off Hiromasa's attacks, as any time it would block and die to Countryside Crusher, it could come back again as Reveillark and bring Aven Riftwatcher with it. This left Hiromasa with the job of burning Kenji out. That second Cryoclasm took Tsumura to 12, but there was still a long way to go, and Kenji had a lot of cards, and a clock on the table. Kenji attacked with his team, taking Hiromasa to 8, and when the swingback came, he had Venser, Shaper Savant to bounce Countryside Crusher, and block Mogg Fanatic, who domed Tsumura when he was blocked.

Suddenly Kenji was the aggressor. He attacked with his team, threatening 10 damage. Hiromasa surveyed the board and extended his hand.

Kenji Tsumura wins 2-0

Round 11 Feature Match - Rift-Watch Out!

Akira Asahara vs Sara Shingai
By Tim Willoughby

For round eleven we have two players currently on 8-2, at the part of the day where Grand Prix's can't be won by good play, but they can definitely be thrown away in a matter of rounds. Akira Asahara is no stranger to the spotlight, having won two Grand Prixs previously, and made a Worlds top 4, but his opponent Sara Shingai is looking for her first big finish. With goblins she is marching to here own beat deck construction-wise, and thus far it appears to have paid off.

Shingai had the first play of the game, in a Mudbutton Torchrunner. This was quickly stolen by Asahara, and it was probably just as well for him, as a Grave Pact soon followed. The goblins build Sara is employing gets more value out of sacrifice effects than most, and Grave Pact is just one of the ways it does it. Unfortunately for her, Asahara was the control right from the start. With Buttons stolen, he followed up with Aven Riftwatcher, and had a Rune Snag ready for Siege-Gang Commander.

When Venser, Shaper Savant bounced Grave Pact, it only compounded the board advantage that Asahara held. Mirror Entity was enough to elicit the scoop from Sara for Game 1.

Akira Asahara 1 ֠0 Sara Shingai

For game 2, Sara was on the play for a second time, and she watched placidly as Asahara took first one mulligan, then thought for a while before keeping with some reluctance.

Shingai had a great start, with a Bitterblossom followed up by Cryoclasm, while Asahara had, as it turns out, kept a risky one land hand. Akira was not about go through the motions on this game, it was over.

Akira Asahara 1 ֠1 Sara Shingai

Knowing she would be on the draw for the final game, Sara made a slight sideboarding adjustment for the deciding game.

In the decider there would be no mana issues. A Thoughtseize from Sara revealed Asahara to have 2 lands in hand to compliment the first which he had played, along with double Aven Riftwatcher, Venser, Shaper Savant and Reveillark. One of the Riftwatchers went away, and Sara followed up with Mogg War Marshal. Sara elected not to pay the echo on her goblin, stymied temporarily by the Aven Riftwatcher that Asahara had been able to get down. She played a Cryoclasmon Asahara's Island, and passed.

A small amounts of beats were exchanged as both Aven Riftwatcher and the Goblins went on the offensive. Sara suspended Greater Gargadon, but had her Nantuko Husk stopped by Rune Snag.

Another Aven Riftwatcher came down for Asahara, making Sara's beatdown plan a tough one. It did leave him tapped out of blue mana though, giving Shingai the opportunity to sneak in something. Her chosen sneaky rogue was Marsh Flitter, who handily filled her board with tokens. Unfortunately for Sara, her beatdown plan was lef looking a little redundant in the face of Reveillark from Asahara, with two Aven Riftwatchers in the graveyard.

Again Asahara was tapped out. Sara played Grave Pact. She had four tokens that she could sacrifice, along with a couple of good sacrifice outlets. She ticked down her Gargadon by three, and pumped her Marsh Flitter, but in the process winced as Aven Riftwatchers came into play, and then disappeared from it, taking Asahara well above 20 in life. His board was wiped, but there was still a long way to go for Shingai if she was to successfully beat down. Asahara played a land and passed. Sara had Bitterblossom and a second Greater Gargadon to suspend.

Asahara seemed content to play the waiting game. He was on 26 life, and could play draw go for some time before being in any real danger. That time found him his fourth Aven Riftwatcher. Asahara's life seemed to be steadily rising, while Sara's was ebbing away thanks to Bitterblossom.

Sara's first Greater Gargadon came off suspend. Sara cleared the way of blockers by sacrificing a faerie token to the second, allowing Grave Pact to do its work. Attacks prompted a seemingly inevitable Venser, Shaper Savant from Asahara, keeping him relatively safe. A Body Double from Asahara copied Reveillark. While the blue/white Reveillark deck can be a combo deck, what is so difficult to fight about it is that the combo is almost inicidental. All the elements of its plan that come before the combo are devastating enough that it frequently functions as a control deck, and as Sara was finding, as a control deck, it was still more than a handful.

With a Body Double copying Reveillark around, Grave Pact was actually counterproductive for Sara, if she attacked, Reveillark would always trade, as even a 1/1 dying would allow him to sacrifice it. Sara looked at the board, and the life totals, which still had Asahara above 20, and scooped up her cards. This was not a fight the goblins could win.

Akira Asahara wins 2-1

Round 12 Feature Match - Letters Home

Olivier Ruel vs Kenji Tsumura
By Tim Willoughby

I was meant to be doing a metagame breakdown this round. Then two level eight mages got paired against each other. While neither has won a Pro Tour, they've each pretty much done it all. Olivier is up for the Pro Tour Hall of Fame this year, and is chasing Jon Finkel in terms of lifetime Pro Points. Kenji is, well, Kenji. He sits in an illustrious few who gets mentioned in the conversations about the top 5 Magic players of all time.

"Can you tell my mum I love her very much?" asked Olivier as he cast a turn two Bitterblossom against Kenji, taking the initiative early. Ruel now gets enough feature matches that communicating through them is more efficient than email. He had a Scion of Oona to follow up, and got to beat Kenji down quite a bit before Riftwing Clouskate came off suspend. In the meantime, he had a Cryptic Command for Mulldrifter.

Riftwing Cloudskate successfully hit play, with limited targets thanks to Scion of Oona. The Scion got bounced, and Kenji started his fight back, on 12 life. He cast a Reveillark, only to see a Cryptic Command which countered it, and drew Olivier a card. There was an Unsummon to get rid of the Cloudskate, and those Bitterblossom tokens that had been accumulating all game continued to run in. There was a second Bitterblossom from Olivier, who seemed well positioned to finish things fast, with Kenji on just 9.

Kenji tried to replay the Riftwing Cloudskate, only to see Rune Snag. He had a Rune Snag of his own, but when Olivier showed a second, Tsumura scooped it up.

Olivier Ruel 1 ֠0 Kenji Tsumura

"Actually my mum is probably not reading... she'll probably just read my profile if I top eight. Can you tell my brother I love him very much instead please?"

Olivier Ruel is a man with a lot of love to share.

Ruel didn't have a play until turn 3 in the form of Pestermite, but made up for lost time by stopping not one but two Mulldrifters with Rune Snag. He had a third Rune Snag for Wispmare, and got to prowl out Notorious Throng for one of the first times all weekend, knocking Kenji down to 10 with his extra turn. A Mistbind Clique followed, allowing Thoughtseize, which took Pact of Negation over Riftwing Cloudskate, Sower of Temptation and Crovax, Ascendant Hero.

Olivier passed with five lands up but only a single card in hand, while Kenji graciously played with most of his hand face up to save Ruel from having to write down what was in his hand. It wasn't there for very long, as Kenji tried for a Sower of Temptation, only to find that there was a counterspell waiting, which was enough for him to extend his hand.

Olivier Ruel wins 2 - 0

Blog - Living the Magic

By Tim Willoughby

Those of you that saw much of the Pro Tour Yokohama coverage might remember that in addition to the Pro Tour Serra Angel who gets to travel to events pretty regularly, both Akroma, Angel of Wrath and Akroma Angel of Fury showed up, even taking part in the big game. Well, we're back in Japan again, and the 'cosplay' (the Japanese term for playing dressing up) continues. This time, Kayoko Iioka, who makes all her own costumes, has come as the darkest of all the Planeswalkers, Liliana Vess.

What will she come as next? Imperious Perfect? Jaya Ballard? Now that we've seen Kyoko's darker side, will she find something more suitable in Shadowmoor? I guess we're going to have to wait until the next Japanese event to find out.

Blog - Metagame Breakdown

By Tim Willoughby

Here on day two of GP Shizuoka, we have 128 players, but there are definitely some decks that are more popular than others. Here's how they break down.

UW Reveillark ֠21
UB Faeries ֠20
GB Elves ֠18
RG Big Mana - 15
Burn ֠11
RB Goblins - 6
Doran ֠5
"Joytime" (4-colour Reveillark) ֠5
GB Control ֠2
UGW Reveillark -2
UBW Reveillark -2
UB Makeshift Mannequin ֠2
Mono-green Elf Explosion ֠2
Miscellaneous ֠17

One way or another Reveillark is the most popular archetype, but there is still room for experimentation, with burn (largely mono-red, though occasionally supplemented by green for Treetop Village and Tarmogoyf) having done well, along with various tribal strategies. Within the miscellaneous decks, there are a few interesting ones, including the blue/green control deck designed by Tsuyoshi Fujita and being played by Jin Okamoto. I'll be trying to track down Tsuyoshi today, as between that deck, the red deck that went 9-0 on day one and his Elf deck sporting Heritage Druid for explosive starts, he has had a great weekend for innovation.

Blog - Tribal Madness!

By Tim Willoughby

In addition to the PTQ and Vintage tournaments being run on Sunday here in Shizuoka there is a special Tribal Wars Standard event running with a very exciting prize ֠a full uncut foil rare print sheet of Japanese Morningtide. This is the sort of thing that is about as rare as they come, and unlike boosters, you can put it up on your wall without people looking at you like you're crazy.

Ron Foster, the tournament organizer for the weekend, and head of organized play for Japan, realized on the morning of the tournament, that given the tribal nature of the event (standard, but with every deck having to have 20 tribal cards from the same Lorwyn tribe) it would not be sanctioned. This meant that he could play! Some furious booster cracking later he had a wicked treefolk deck, sporting Doran and Chameleon Colossus as some of its big hitters.

Both Ron and Jushi Apprentice Nakajima of Takara Tomy, the local distributor of Magic in Japan are playing in the event, with bounties of boosters on their heads, so that everyone who wins a game against them gets a booster. While Ron hasn't been able to play sanctioned Magic in quite a while, he is a mean Elder Dragon Highlander player, and was excited to sleeve up 60 cards and be able to battle ֠in the feature match area no less!

Blog - The best food ever to come on a stick

By Tim Willoughby

Different people have different definitions of what a tourist is. I am very bad when it comes to getting out to visit the tourist spots while on event coverage. I haven't been up the Empire State Building or seen the Statue of Liberty. While in Paris I didn't go up the tower. Within my preparation pack for Japan it said that if you wear jeans, you will stand out as a tourist. I didn't pack any.

However, when you start taking photographs of your food, I don't think you're going to fool anyone but yourself. This weekend I am that fool.

Japan is a country that is in equal parts very familiar to me and completely foreign. I'm perfectly comfortable in the busy cities, but every now and then I encounter something that is both unfamiliar to me, and pretty awesome. Every night I've been out to dinner, there have been moments of this. On Friday night it was Korean barbeque, with a variety of meats all cooked up at the table over piping hot coals. Last night I went to the Japanese equivalent of a pub, where fried shrimp (the first food, I think, where I have eaten the face) and salted beans are the traditional chasers to a beer. Even better, you can get cheese, wrapped in bacon! It's a heart attack waiting to happen, but in the meantime you get a beautifully efficient bit of bar food, all served up on a stick!

For lunch today I had a sandwich which bore the caption "we send to you the lovely flavour of the wind in the meadows", and a bottle of Pocari Sweat (which is infinitely better than it sounds).

I love this country.

Blog - Fujita-san speaks!

By Tim Willoughby

Tsuyoshi Fujita is one of my deck building idols. He has consistently emobodied the idea of playing fun, innovative, competitive decks more than any other player on the Pro Tour, and his induction into the Pro Tour Hall of Fame felt like a natural step that honored both Fujita, and the Hall of Fame itself.

Here in Shizuoka, he has again made his own ripples on the metagame, through his philosophy of deckbuilding, and the killer decks that are a product of it. He chose to play a mono-elf deck here in Shizuoka, which stands out from the crowd by virtue of it's sheer explosiveness. With Heritage Druid and Hunting Triad, it can create a lot of creatures, and a lot of mana with relative ease, and unlike other elf decks, it doesn't hold back on Glorious Anthem effects.

 

Tsuyoshi Fujita

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He built the deck as a fun deck, to make the most of Bramblewood Paragon, and the large numbers of mass pump effects available to elves. He had been playing in Osaka with Hunting Triad, and it seemed a natural fit. Upon testing it, it felt most akin to affinity, with the sort of starts that it could achieve. Most of all, it was fun.

When looking at the decks available to him for the Grand Prix, the Reveillark deck stood out in terms of power, but did not seem like a fun deck to play. He admitted that had this been Pro Tour Shizuoka, he would probably be playing the Reveillark deck in some form, but that for a GP, he wanted to have fun.

Tsuyoshi feels that there are two important things in deckbuilding. Firstly, you should build a deck that you enjoy to play. Secondly, you should build a deck that is competitive. Both of these are important, but the first rule always applies. He feels that the decks he built for GP Shizuoka are all fun, and good starting points, but that there is still room for them to be taken by other people, worked on, and improved. Tsuyoshi is keen to see what the rest of the world could do with the lists as they stand, and hopes that people have fun along the way.

You might notice that I said decks, rather than just 'deck'. Tsuyoshi's deckbuilding influence spans farther than the elf deck that he and some of his friends played. He was instrumental in the 9-0 red deck that Hiromasa Igawa is playing. Fujita has quite a history with red decks, and when at dinner, Igawa suggested he wanted to play the elf deck. While the elf deck is a lot of fun, Fujita knew Igawa as more of a red player, and roughed out a list that he thought would be good for him. It turns out that with some tweaks it really was, and Igawa finds himself on day two with a real chance at top eight.

Then there is the blue/green deck played by Jin Okamoto. This was a deck designed by Tsuyoshi for his girlfriend who was playing in a Grand Prix Trial. She likes to play blue green, and Fujita looked at Time Spiral block constructed for inspiration. The deck, with a lot of flash creatures and control elements, really makes the most of Cryptic Command, both as a counterspell and a source of tempo.

"If Elves is like Affinity, blue green is like Psychatog!"

 

Jin Okamoto

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The deck is another that Fujita feels can be taken and improved, but the base is a strong one and the deck is fun. In general, Tsuyoshi prefers decks that can beat down, as they can punish weaker draws from opponents. Both the elf deck and the blue/green deck can do this, indeed Fujita suggested that if the blue/green deck hits eight mana, and has cards in hand, it is a big favourite to win.

Looking ahead at PT Hollywood, Fujita was still uncertain as to whether he would attend. The current state of standard he felt was a little highly strung power wise. Wren's Run Vanquisher as a 3/3 for two he feels is a creature that is too big for its cost, given how easy it is to play. Watchwolf was alright. Spectral Bears were good. He fondly remembered playing a deck with 12 Grizzly Bears (2/2 creatures for two mana) some years ago, but laments that this wouldn't be good enough in standard now. Looking at Reveillark, he felt that it could easily have only triggered on going to the graveyard, but that it too is a force stronger than is ideal in the format.

I showed Fujita the most recent magicthegathering.com Shadowmoor preview (have a hunt around on the site it's a doozy!), and he suddenly looked intrigued. With the short amount of time between Shadowmoor's release and PT Hollywood, good deckbuilders should have an edge on the field with their adaptability. He optimistically declared that if with Shadowmoor he found a good deck, he would make the trip.

While Tsuyoshi Fujita doesn't wear his Hall of Fame ring all the time (it apparently looks very big on his hand), he doesn't need to, as soon as you speak to him it is clear that he always has been.

Round 15 Feature Match - Fighting for Top Eight

Shintarou Ishimura vs Kazuya Mitamura
By Tim Willoughby

With just two rounds to go, both Shintarou Ishimura and Kazuya Mitamura are within a whisker of making top eight at GP Shizuoka. Mitamura had a great 2007, and has shown himself to be consistently strong in constructed formats. This strength appears to continue for this weekend.

Ishimura began with Treetop Village, following up with a second and a Birds of Paradise who was a little late to the party, but did power out Garruk Wildspeaker on turn three, who untapped lands for a Thoughtseize. When faced with Reveillark, Momentary Blink, Sower of Temptation, Rune Snag and lands, he went for the Sower, before playing Llanowar Elves.

Kazuya Mitamura Mitamura played a Coldsteel Heart and passed with mana up. Ishimura had a big turn in making both Doran, the Siege Tower and Tarmogoyf, but never got a chance for a big swing, as Mitamura had the Wrath of God at just the right time. Suddenly Ishimura's board was reduced to 3 lands and a Garruk Wildspeaker with 5 counters. He beat in with one Treetop Village, made a Beast token and passed. Mitamura had a Reveillark, who came down and thoroughly messed with Ishimura's math. That Reveillark could spell trouble, especially backed up by the amount of land and cards in hand that Mitamura had.

Looking at the suddenly very unfavorable board position, Ishimura picked up his cards. It was on to Game 2.

Shintarou Ishimura 0 ֠1 Kazuya Mitamura

Game 2 saw some quick mana creatures from Ishimura matching up against a quick Mind Stone for Mitamura. A Bitterblossom came down for Shintarou, which is generally tricky for control to deal with, and gave Kazuya pause for thought. He eventually played Sower of Temptation to steal his opponent's Birds of Paradise, given a lack of juicier targets. Given that the Reveillark deck runs Momentary Blink, there was nothing to say that Mitamura couldn't upgrade later.

Shintarou Ishimura Ishimura played a Tarmogoyf ֠a tempting Sower of Temptation target, and passed. He would be facing swings back, but attacking life totals when Bitterblossom is around can be a strong tactic, and it also gave Ishimura pause to suspect that Momentary blink. When Mitamura passed with plenty of cards in hand, and six mana up, Ishimura thought for a while, and picked up his cards.

It seemed that in this matchup Ishimura had reached the conclusion that he had to make his quick starts stick. If Mitamura reached a position of board parity where he had both significant amounts of cards in hand and mana, then it was too late. This was the case here ֠without a quick clock, Ishimura couldn't stop Mitamura once he got going. With six mana up, Venser and either Blink or Rune Snag seemed an inevitability. Ishimura shook Mitamura's hand and wished him well in the top eight.

Kazuya Mitamura wins 2 ֠0

Round 16 Feature Match - This will only be the final round for one of them

Tsubasa Tomii vs Akira Asahara
By Tim Willoughby

Akira Asahara and Tsubasa Tomii Akira Asahara and Tsubasa Tomii each sit down needing a win for a shot at top eight. Asahara, a multiple GP winner, is playing the popular Reveillark deck, while Tomii has a black green control deck, which ideally needs a quick start to fight against the elementals.

Tsubasa led with Llanowar Elves and followed up quickly with a Wren's Run Vanquisher, revealing Wren's Run Packmaster. He had a turn three Thoughtseize, seeing Mirror Entity, Momentary Blink, Rune Snag, Mind Stone, Mulldrifter and land. He took the Mulldrifter, before beating in with his elves, and a Mutavault.

Asahara's first play of the game was a good one, in the form of Aven Riftwatcher. Given that the Reveillark deck essentially is just looking for time in order to win, the Riftwatcher seems a natural inclusion, as that is what it gives you. The flyer was taken out by Nameless Inversion, but Asahara seemed unconcerned, playing a Mirror Entity and passing.

For his turn Tsubasa continued to beat with his Wren's Run Vanquisher, and what was now a pair of Mutavaults. Asahara was at just five by this point, and would need some quick action to get back in the game. He had a Body Double, which copied Aven Riftwatcher. Not only was Asahara buying himself the time he needed, it left him with nearly all of his combo.

Tsubasa's team rumbled in again. That Body Double (Aven Riftwatcher) blocked, and Asahara dropped to one. Could there be a Reveillark to win it all back for Asahara? If there was, he was slow playing it with aplomb. Akira blinked a few times, looking at the board, before passing the turn, with six mana up. This could spell a variety of different things for Tomii's team, but if nothing else, Mirror Entity could ensure a reasonable set of blocks for Akira.

The first action of the turn for Tomii was to force Asahara's hand with regards to Mirror Entity. He evoked a Shriekmaw targeting the changeling, can calmly waited for what seemed like an inevitable response. Asahara was happy to make him wait, before ultimately playing Momentary Blink. This shrank the potential for Mirror Entity to cause trouble, but there was still enough mana up that the best option Tomii had was to run in with Wren's Run Vanquisher, relying on deathtouch, rather than the elf's size, to force the trade.

There was no trade though, as Body Double got hit by the flashback on that Momentary Blink. When it left play it was an Aven Riftwatcher, and gained Asahara some life. When it came back it was a Mulldrifter, who gave him some cards. Could Asahara really pull the game back?

Asahara drew and passed for his turn, This time on swings he faced the Vanquisher plus two Treetop Village, who had temporarily become 3/3 Apes. Asahara played Venser, to bounce the Vanquisher, then both Venser and Body Double blocked a Treetop Village, with a Mirror Entity pump to make the trades. The very next turn a Reveillark completed Asahara's combo, and Tomii scooped.

Tsubasa Tomii 0 – 1 Akira Asahara

For Game 2, Tomii was on the play, and forced to mulligan. Fortunately for him, Asahara was in an even worse boat, taking a trip to Paris more than once. When you're all the way over in Japan, those trips are costly.

Tomii had a Mutavault going early, and a Boreal Druid. Asahara had an Aven Riftwatcher. When Tomii played Thoughtseize, he was left with Hobson's Choice, taking Sower of Temptation, but seeing another Aven Riftwatcher, Mirror Entity and Body Double as well.

The second Riftwatcher came down, only for both to die to a Hurricaine, which was followed up by Tarmogoyf from Tomii, looking to go on the offensive. He had a second Thoughtseize, which was responded to with Venser, Shaper Savant, to bounce Tarmogoyf. When the Thoughtseize resolved all that was left was Mirror Entity and Body Double. The Body Double hit the bin, while the Tarmogoyf came back.

Profane Command for 3 took down that Mirror Entity once it hit the table, and allowed Tomii to bring the beats, redressing the balance after the game's early Aven Riftwatcher nonsense. Momentary Blink from Asahara on Venser bought a little more time, but he was still stuck on 4 lands, hurting from his mulligans, and fighting to get back in the game. Treetop Village from Tomii got stuck in, only to be bounced by a flashed back Momentary Blink.

An evoked Mulldrifter finally found Asahara his fifth mana source, but a Shriekmaw from across the board killed his only creature, allowing Tarmogoyf in. Asahara was now at 9 life, and had to Wrath, even though he knew he would then still be facing Mutavault and Treefolk Village. Attacks took him to four.

Asahara played Reveillark. This changed the face of things, as he would now go off if the elemental died, rather shutting down attacks from Tomii. Tsubasa had a quick answer though. Hurricaine did kill Reveillark, but it also killed Asahara, before he could go about winning the game.

Tsubasa Tomii 1 – 1 Akira Asahara

At this point there were just 8 minutes left on the round, and a draw would not serve either player well, so each shuffled up fast for the final game. Asahara again had a mulligan, but could still suspend a Riftwing Cloudskate on both turns two and three.

Tomii had kept a risky one land, Llanowar Elves hand, but had still got out a Tarmogoyf, and thanks to Thoughtseize, was able to beat. A second left Asahara with just a land in his hand, while Body Double and Venser, Shaper Savant had been sent to the graveyard.

Riftwing Cloudskates bounced Llanoawar Elves on consecutive turns, while Tomii stalled on land. Ashara, meanwhile, had quite a lot, and played a Mirror Entity to threaten a quick kill. The Mirror Entity got hit by an evoked Shriekmaw, with Tomii finally having hit his second land, but it was too little too late. Asahara's air force was enough to propel him to victory, and a place in the top eight.

Akira Asahara wins 2 - 1

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