Quarterfinals: All Business

Posted in Event Coverage on February 28, 2009

By Sam Black

Sam Black is a Platinum Pro Player and longtime writer for StarCityGames.com. He is a respected deck builder and took over Daily Decks for the first half of 2013.

Luis Scott-Vargas vs. Masayasu Tanahashi

Luis Scott-Vargas, entering the Top 8 at the top of the standings, and relative unknown Masayasu Tanahashi wasted no time in getting started. Both players were all business, and a language barrier prevented any communication before or between their games.

Game 1

Masayasu Tanahashi plays in his first PT Top 8 match.

Scott-Vargas won the roll and Tanahashi mulliganed to six, and Scott-Vargas opened with a Tidehollow Sculler taking his opponent’s Broken Ambitions, followed by Glorious Anthem and an attack. Next turn, Tanahashi’s Mutavault woke up to try to help a Spellstutter Sprite counter Scott-Vargas’s second Tidehollow Sculler, but Terror killed the Mutavault to fizzle the Spellstutter Sprite’s ability and let Tidehollow Sculler take another Broken Ambitions.

Down a land and another card, Tanahashi conceded less than three minutes into the round when Scott-Vargas played a turn-five Cloudgoat Ranger.

Luis Scott-Vargas 1, Masayasu Tanahashi 0

Game 2

Scott-Vargas mulliganed, then answered Tanahashi’s first-turn Faerie Conclave with a first-turn Windbrisk Heights. Tanahashi played a Sunken Ruins, which forced him to mana-burn for one when he Thoughtseized Scott-Vargas. He saw an awesome hand of two Glorious Anthems, two Bitterblossoms, a Caves of Koilos, and a Reflecting Pool, and thought for awhile before taking one of the Bitterblossoms. Scott-Vargas played the remaining Bitterblossom on his turn and passed to Tanahashi who showed Scott-Vargas a Spellstutter Sprite when he played a Secluded Glen so that he could play Jace Beleron, which he ticked down to two counters to draw a card. This left Scott-Vargas open to play his Glorious Anthem. Jace ticked down to one counter and Tanahashi who played a Faerie Conclave and passed with only three mana available. A Faerie Rogue token killed Jace, and Scott-Vargas played another Bitterblossom leaving two lands untapped so Tanahashi couldn’t counter with a Broken Ambitions. Tanahashi played Spellstutter Sprite at the end of Scott-Vargas’s turn.

Scott-Vargas sipped a giant bottle of iced tea while Tanahashi tried to find a way out of a very difficult board and eventually passed without so much as a land drop. Scott-Vargas played a Kitchen Finks, and Tanahashi tapped out to animate a Faerie Conclave and counter it with Spellstutter Sprite before he fell to 13 from Scott-Vargas’s attack. Tanahashi played his fifth land and passed, and on Scott-Vargas’s beginning of combat step, Tanahashi played a Mistbind Clique to stop Scott-Vargas from activating his Windbrisk Heights. Scott-Vargas attacked with four tokens and lost one to the Mistbind Clique to drop Tanahashi to 7.

On Tanahashi’s turn he attacked with the Mistbind Clique, which killed another token, but left Scott-Vargas with four more tokens. Tanahashi held off Windbrisk Heights for another turn by using Cryptic Command to tap Scott-Vargas’s creatures and draw a card, but that allowed Scott-Vargas to resolve a Spectral Procession that Tanahashi had no way to counter with only two mana available. At the end of Scott-Vargas’s turn, Tanahashi tapped out to play an Agony Warp to kill a token and Scott-Vargas took the opportunity to Path to Exile Tanahashi’s Mistbind Clique. Tanahashi drew for the turn and conceded.

Luis Scott-Vargas 2, Masayasu Tanahashi 0

Scott-Vargas intently pile shuffled while Tanahashi took some time to take in the scenery, looking all around before what could be his final game of the tournament.

Game 3

Up two games, Luis Scott-Vargas takes no chances.

Tanahashi mulliganed again and LSV brightened up and looked away from the cards for the first time since the last game. That was before Tanahashi mulliganed a second time. Scott-Vargas had a turn-two Bitterblossom after Tanahashi missed his second land drop. Scott-Vargas followed up with a third-turn Tidehollow Sculler, which took the Bitterblossom—the reason Tanahashi had kept the one-land hand—before Tanahashi drew a land to play it. On turn four Scott-Vargas played a Kitchen Finks, and Tanahashi, who had finally found his second land, played a Spellstutter Sprite at the end of Scott-Vargas’s turn.

It was mostly futile at this point, as Tanahashi’s deck has a trouble beating a Bitterblossom even with lands, but when Scott-Vargas attacked with everything Tanahashi blocked the Tidehollow Sculler and Peppersmoked it to get his Bitterblossom back. Luis added a Knight of Meadowgrain and a Kitchen Finks to the board, knowing Tanahashi’s 75 did not include Infest. Tanahashi still hadn’t hit his third land, and he was now too far behind to even play his Bitterblossom. Instead, he left his mana open for an Agony Warp, but when Scott-Vargas played a Glorious Anthem, Tanahashi was out of options. He conceded after drawing his next card.

Luis Scott-Vargas defeats Masayasu Tanahashi 3-0 and advances to the Semifinals!

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