Live Coverage of 2004 Pro Tour Seattle

Posted in Event Coverage on July 11, 2004

By Ted Knutson

Stir the Pride

As owner of Shop Fireball, Tsuyoshi Ikeda is a veteran of more than 30 Pro Tours. He is part of the a huge weekend for Japanese teams which saw the island nation place 40 percent of their participating teams in the Top 4. Though he clearly got out-opened in the final draft, he felt very confident going into the final and felt his matchup would hinge largely on the power of Stir the Pride and Murderous Spoils.

Jelger Wiegersma has two previous Pro Tour top 8s to his name, and is considered by many to be the strongest player on a very strong Dutch team. The final draft went well for him, and he ended up with a very solid W/G equipment deck. Along with strong tempo creatures, he felt he had been given a gift pick during the draft when Ikeda chose a Loxodon Mystic for his deck, and passed the bombtastic Pulse of the Fields along to the Dutch. As Justin Gary pointed out during the live webcast prior to the final match, if Pulse came online, it would be very hard for Ikeda to win since Ikeda's deck was not particularly fast or overwhelming.

Game 1

Ikeda's opening hand was Bonesplitter, Loxodon Mystic, Whispersilk Cloak, plus four land. He played the axe on turn 1, Leaden Myr on turn 2, and followed with Shattered Dreams on turn 3, revealing Skyhunter Prowler, Viridian Shaman, Horned Helm, a Plains and a Forest. Ikeda pointed to the only artifact in Jelger's hand, and sent it to the grumper. Jelger played a turn-2 Leonin Den-Guard and attacked with it on turn 3, doing the first damage of the finals. Turn 4 Loxodon Mystic from Ikeda gummed up the ground, while Jelger steadily built his board position, playing Skyhunter Prowler and Loxodon Anchorite on consecutive turns.

Viridian Shaman from Jelger destroyed a Whispersilk Cloak equipping the Mystic, as the Dutchman whittled away Ikeda's life point by point through the air. Cathodion entered play for Ikeda, equipped by a Bonesplitter. He then began tapping down Jelger's Prowler each turn, effectively stalling the game until Jelger cast Arrest on Ikeda's Mystic and followed up with a Razor Golem on the cheap. Ikeda then Arrested Jelger's Anchorite, insuring there would be no combat shenanigans before the coming attack.

Cathodion and Fleshgrafter ganged up to block a the Razor Golem, killing the Cathodion in the process, but things were quickly getting out of hand for the Japanese player as Jelger now had a 3/3 Arcbound Crusher, and a new Vulshok Morningstar equipping the Den-Guard, while all Ikeda could draw was land.

Another attack from Jelger dropped Ikeda to 3, and then to 1 on a subsequent attack that wiped out Ikeda's blockers. Another land off the top for Ikeda, and it was on to game 2.

Wiegersma 1 - Ikeda 0

Game 2

Synod Centurion

Watching as Ikeda sideboarded, it became clear that his deck was filled mostly with scruffy creatures, some decent spells, and equipment. Jelger's deck clearly appeared more powerful, and it would take either Stir the Pride with a bunch of creatures in play from Ikeda or some unfortunate circumstances for Jelger for the long-time Japanese pro to win this game.

A one-land hand for Ikeda was sent packing, and his second hand contained Healer's Headdress, Synod Centurion, Skyhunter Patrol, Arcbound Fiend, and two Swamps. An early Leonin Squire, followed by a Razor Golem, was a very strong play from Wiegersma, while Ikeda stalled for a turn on two and a Healer's Headdress. It only got worse for Ikeda, as on turn 4 Jelger dropped an Auriok Glaivemaster and a Skyhunter Cub. As Justin Gary described it to the web commentary team, this match was looking pretty brutal.

Ikeda cast Leonin Den-Guard and put the Headdress on it, but dropped to 5 on turn 5 as Jelger cast and equipped Horned Helmon on his Skyhunter Cub and bashed with his whole crew. Turn to Dust on Ikeda's Headdress saved Jelger's Squire from death, and suddenly nothing could help Ikeda survive more than another turn.

Jelger's quick win put Von Dutch up 1-0.

Final Score
Wiegersma 2 - Ikeda 0

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