Gateway Round 5: William Jensen vs. Itaru Ishida

Posted in Event Coverage

By Randy Buehler

William Jensen

With just two rounds left in the Masters Gateway, Billy Jensen and Itaru Ishida had to be thinking about the pot of gold at the end of the Masters rainbow. Jensen drafted a black-white deck with amazing card quality, but 15 spells that cost 4 mana or more. Ishida drafted a red-green beatdown deck that seemed like it could really punish Huey if his draw had any flaws.

Ishida started with a pair of Ember Beasts in game 1, and then followed them up with a Springing Tiger and a Pardic Firecat. Jensen's draw didn't have any white mana so the Cease Fire he was running to try to slow down his opponent and give himself time to get to four mana just sat uselessly in his hand. His first spell was a turn 4 Dirty Wererat and that cost him a life since he had to play Cabal Pit as his fourth land. When Ishida swarmed him with his four creatures, Huey set up tee regeneration shields so he could get enough cards into his graveyard to use Ghastly Demise. Ishida sent his team in again on his next turn and finished Huey off with a Muscle Burst.

Jensen seemed a bit depressed when he had to mulligan before game 2, but this time Ishida couldn't punish him early. Jensen used Sadistic Hypnotist and then Gravediggered it back to knock a total of four cards out of Ishida's hand. Meanwhile Dirty Wererat plus a pair of removal spells stabilized the ground and bought Huey the time he needed to Diabolic Tutor for Cabal Patriarch, play him, and use him to take over the game. Once the Patriarch hit play, there was little Ishida could do.

It was clear to everyone watching that Ishida's deck was better in the early game, but Huey's deck was better in the late game. This classic battle has played itself out many times with any thousands of dollars on the line and game 3 was yet another skirmish in the ongoing war between beatdown and control.

Itaru Ishida

Ishida played turn 2 Wild Mongrel and turn 3 Spark Mage. He didn't have a turn 4 play and Huey's Resilient Wanderer looked like it might take control of the board, but Ishida played out Savage Firecat. 7/7 tramplers are pretty good in limited, I hear - good enough that Ishida didn't really need to tap his lands for anything else. Huey pitched cards to his Wanderer and Wererat just to soak up some trample damage while he played creatures out as quickly as possible. Ishida's third attack with the Firecat was met by a quadruple block where Ishida got to kill off a Mystic Zealot and a Wererat. Ishida felt 5-for-1 (if you count the cards that were discarded to soak up trample damage) was good enough and now it was time to play out the rest of his hand.

Huey drew the third black mana he needed to play out his Cabal Patriarch, but before he could untap Ishida put Demoralize on the stack and then discarded five cards to Rite of Initiation! That gave all four of his creatures +5/+0 and gave him threshold so that none of Huey's creatures could block. Cabal what? Smash!

Final Result: Ishida 2 - Jensen 1

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