Finals: Itaru Ishida vs. Tsuyoshi Fujita

Posted in Event Coverage on July 13, 2003

By Brian David-Marshall

Brian David-Marshall is a New York–based game designer who has been involved with Magic since 1994, when he started organizing tournaments and ran a Manhattan game store. Since then, he has been a judge, a player, and one of the longest-tenured columnists on, as he enters his second decade writing for the site. He is also the Pro Tour Historian and one of the commentators for the Pro Tour.

The finals match was yet another study in contrasts. While both of these Japanese players have vast experience at high level tournaments it is their approach that differentiates them. While Tsuyoshi's game is clearly visible all across his highly animated features, Itaru chooses to reveal nothing. He refuses to even smile for the cameras lest he give some edge away.

Tsuyoshi has been the star of the tournament and his deck has been fighting him for top billing. All three players running his build of the deck advanced to the Top 8. It does not bode well for Yoshi that his opponent dispatched one of those players in the Semifinals—Fujita Osamu. Itaru was playing one of the most popular decks in the format—Green-Red beats. One would imagine that Itaru would be dripping with confidence—although you could not tell by looking at him.

Game 1

Box cars

Itaru Ishida did not keep his opening draw but kept his next six cards. There was no turn one play from Tsuyoshi, while Itaru had the Grim Lavamancer. Tsuyoshi Firebolted it and Itaru passed back turn two with no play. Goblin Warchief got in for two before it was Firebolted but Itaru had no land for his third turn.

Tsuyoshi played a Goblin Matron and searched up a Siege-Gang Commander. As he searched his pockets for tokens, Itaru waved him off. There was no coming back with him stuck on two lands.

Ishida – 0 Fujita – 1

Game 2

Itaru had the turn one Rootwalla—taking one from his Karplusan Forest to do it. He played a Mossfire Valley and got in for three on the next turn. He Firebolted Tsuyoshi's Sparksmith and made a Wild Mongrel-this game was going much better for him.

Tsuyoshi had another Sparksmith but Itaru's forces were quickly getting out of hand. Grim Lavamancer and Call of the Herd joined the team and the best Tsuyoshi could do was to kill the Lavamancer with a Gempalm.

Siege-Gang Commander was not as scary this game with the wall pressing into his back—although he did "fog" the team for a whole chump-blocking turn.

Patriarch's Bidding brought back all the goblins—and Itaru's two Lavamancers. Itaru sent in the troops and Tsuyoshi looked for the right block. His eyes rolled and he moved his creatures around with animated gestures while Itaru sat quietly with his hands in his lap waiting for the final blocks. When all the dust settled Itaru lost only a Rootwalla while all of Tsuyoshi's men save the Siege Gang and a Gempalm were dead. Itaru made his fourth Call token and stoically passed back the turn.

Another Siege Gang Commander was still no answer for the Call tokens and they moved to the final game of the weekend.

Ishida – 1 Fujita – 1

Game 3

If any tension could be seen in Ishida's face you would have to be reading quite a bit into a quick purse of the lips and a subtle twist of the neck.

Yoshi led off with the Skirk Prospector and had the Firebolt ready for the Rootwalla. He followed up with a third turn Warchief but it only got in for two before drawing a Firebolt of its own. He followed up with a Sledder and a Sparksmith but Ishida had the Phantom Centaur.

Yoshi was stalled on three lands and thinned his deck with a Matron. He thought about getting a Warchief but ended up with a Sharpshooter. The Matron chipped a counter off of the Centaur. Violent Eruption killed the Sledder and Prospector and the Sparksmith shot off another counter form the Centaur EOT.

Fujita finished the Centaur off with the Sparksmith and used a Matron to fetch another Matron. He was trying to thin his deck into land. Ishida was only one land ahead but was bale to cast a Blistering Firecat face-up and take Yoshi down to eleven—he may have also lost some hair from the tugging he was giving it hoping for lands.

He attacked with both his Goblins and Matroned for a Warchief still stuck on three. Ishida found a Firebolt to deal with the Sparksmith and he was able to play a Call of the Herd. Yoshi had the sideboarded Smother and pounded on the table as he attacked for two. He had all the tools to win the Grand Prix in his hand if only he had more land.

Wild Mongrel came down to watch the fort for Ishida and Yoshi drew into the lands he needed for Siege-Gang Commander. Ishida had the Threaten and took the powerful goblin and attacked. Yoshi blocked it with one token and Ishida used his red mana to toss the Commander at his followers. It did not matter though. The Goblin Warchief finally made an appearance and Tsuyoshi was able to attack for the win.

He threw his hands up in the air. Tsuyoshi Fujita was the Grand Prix Bangkok Champion.

Final Result:Ishida – 1 Fujita – 2

Tsuyoshi Fujita

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Itaru Ishida

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