By Matthew Vienneau
American Tobey Tamber is teaching English in Taiwan, but that doesn't stop him from going to Grand Prix tournaments. This is his third Top 8 in an Asian Grand Prix, the previous two both being in Tapei. His opponent, Katsuhiro Mori, has been going to so many tournaments that he had to decline a spot at the 2000 Magic Invitational as he couldn't miss any more school.
Tamber's Stompy deck opened with three River Boas, Quirion Ranger, Skyshroud Elite, Vine Dryad and a Forest. He played Skyshroud Elite first turn with a Vine Dryad companion joining it during Mori's end step. Tamber attacked for three and played a Quirion Ranger and then a second Vine Dryad during Mori's end step. Tamber was worried that he was facing Oath and thankfully breathed "Replenish" when Mori cast Merchant Scroll.
Tamber still only had one Forest in play but with the aid of the Quirion Ranger he was able to play a River Boa on turn three. A topdecked Rancor allowed him to serve for eight on turn four giving Mori only one turn to win the game.
Unfortunately for Tamber, Replenish decks are very capable of winning the game on turn four as Mori proved by Intuitioning during Tamber's end step and then casting two Frantic Search on his own turn to put the combo in his graveyard. Playing a fourth land he cast Replenish to win the game and the crowd is audibly amazed at this sudden turnaround.
Not as perturbed as one might expect, Tamber went to his sideboard and prepared for the second game. His opening hand held Bounty of the Hunt, Deepwood Elder, Wild Dog, Winter Orb, Forest and two Rancor. Tamber mentioned that his Rancors have been very shy all day and he hadn't been casting them as much as he would have liked. He played the Wild Dog and Rancor'ed it up second turn to attack for four. Drawing a Forest on turn three allowed him to play a second Rancor on the Wild Dog as well as cast an Elvish Lyrist. As with the first game, Mori does very little other than cast Brainstorm and accidentally attempt to discard two cards as if it was Frantic Search.
The fourth turn gave Tamber a variety of options with two Bounty of the Hunt in hand, a Deepwood Legate and a Winter Orb. Tobey chose to play the Winter Orb and it was Force of Willed. As Mori was only at nine life, this allowed Tobey to attack with this 6/1 Wild Dog and Elvish Lyrist and cast Bounty of the Hunt to deal the final points of damage. Unfortunately for this plan, Mori Intuitioned for Force of Will and cast it to prevent him from losing, but also putting him at one life. Again Mori has to win on turn four!
Mori drew; cast Frantic Search discarding a Burst and a Pandemonium followed by a second Frantic Search leaving him with only two cards. If they were a fourth land and a Replenish then Mori would win - and they were! Mori won game two the same way he won game one - with a perfect fourth turn Replenish.
Tamber explained after that he knew his deck loses to NecroDonate and Replenish if his opponent gets a perfect draw, but his green rush forces them to get a perfect draw or lose. Tamber had already defeated three Replenish decks this weekend, but Mori's perfect hands proved to be his undoing.
Katsuhiro Mori - 2
Tobey Tamber - 0