Final - Tom Martell vs. Tomoharu Saito

Posted in Event Coverage on August 1, 2010

By Nate Price

A longtime member of the Pro Tour and Grand Prix coverage staff, Nate Price now works making beautiful words for all of you lovely people as the community manager for organized play. When not covering events, he lords over the @MagicProTour Twitter account, ruling with an iron fist.

It only seemed fitting that the one and two seeds of the Top 8 should win through their brackets to meet in the finals. Before the match, both players spent the full amount of time studying each others' decklists. Saito was amused at the one Mountain in Martell's deck.

"Wasteland. Too good," Martell explained.

When Saito noticed the Llawan, Cephalid Empress in his board (which happens to be there for this matchup), he asked to make sure he was reading the right card.

"Yes. So how do I sideboard," Martell asked? "Want to tell me?"

"...no."

Both players shuffled their decks thoroughly. Then, they shuffled each others' decks thoroughly. Somewhere along the line, maximum randomness was achieved.

Martell won the die roll and chose to go first. Saito made the first move with a first-turn Æther Vial. Martell played a Brainstorm in response, but Saito made him think that he might Daze it for a minute before letting it resolve. Martell really needed to find an answer to the Vial. LSV and PV told me earlier in an interview that their worst matchups are games that start with a resolved Vial. Unfortunately, Martell found no help. The Vial hit play.

Martell attempted to land his own permanent, a Counterbalance, on the following turn. Again, Saito thought for a long minute before deciding to Daze it. Saito kept Martell's lands under control with a Wasteland on his turn. Thanks to the Vial, he no longer had to worry about building up his mana to play his creatures. Martell just untapped and played a Sensei's Divining Top. Saito moved his Vial up to two and tapped it to two a Coralhelm Commander into play with it. An Island followed and his Commander went to level one.

Martell's Top paid him dividends, helping him to find an Oblivion Ring to deal with Saito's Vial. Unwilling to let it go without a fight, Saito removed a Merrow Reejerey to Force of Will the Ring. Keeping his Vial on two counters, Saito began his turn. He activated his Vial to put a Silvergill Adept into play, drawing him a second card for the turn. He then leveled up his Commander and sent it over for three. His final play for the turn was a Cursecatcher.

Martell, needing to stem the bleeding activated his Top to search before using it to draw a Swords to Plowshares from the top of his deck. He promptly aimed it at the Commander, which Saito allowed. He then plopped a 3/4 Tarmogoyf into the way of the marauding Merfolk. Unfortunately for him, Saito had a Lord of Atlantis to give them a way around the 'Goyf. Martell dropped to eleven.

Martell replayed his Top and activated it. After ordering the top of his deck, he sent his Tarmogoyf over for three. At the end of his turn, Saito thought for a minute before passing on activating his Vial. HE then untapped, played a Mutavault, and attacked Martell down to four. When a Brainstorm failed to find Martell any help, he conceded before even putting the cards back on top of his library.

Tom Martell 0 – Tomoharu Saito 1

Before sideboarding, Saito gave himself his signature slaps to focus his attention. Martell shuffled his whole sideboard into his deck before carefully thumbing through it and picking out his fifteen rejects. Saito just pulled out he changes he needed to make and made them.

Martell thought for a minute about an opening hand that contained a Counterbalance, but no way to protect it before keeping his draw. Saito seemed quite pleased with his hand as he immediately followed Martell's declaration to keep with an enthusiastic one of his own. When he led off with a Cursecatcher on the first turn, it became apparent why. Martell managed to get his Counterbalance on the table on the following turn, much to his relief. He whiffed on his blind activation in an attempt to counter a Coralhelm Commander, but at least he was online.

Saito managed to sneak another Merrow Reejerey into play through Counterbalance, which revealed a Swords to Plowshares on top. Martell's inability to manipulate his deck was really starting to become a problem. Saito attacked him down to fourteen.

Martell decided on his turn to clear the board with a Firespout. Saito Dazed, leaving his Cursecatcher behind. Martell couldn't stop the Daze and was simply forced to pay the one mana. This forced Saito to sacrifice his Cursecatcher, netting the Firespout at least one creature. Unfortunately, there were still some very problematic ones on the board, and a Mutavault in reserve. When Saito sent the team on his turn, Martell dropped to five. Martell simply played a land and passed his turn. Saito activated two Mutavaults and sent his whole team. Martell did the math and conceded the game.

Tom Martell 0 – Tomoharu Saito 2

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