Round 10 Feature Match: Mike Long v. Masahiko Morita

Posted in Event Coverage on February 18, 2002

By Josh Bennett

Old-school Pro Mike Long recently took Top 4 at Grand Prix - Sendai, and hopes that his good fortune in the Japanese arena will continue. In the final round of the first draft, he faces Masahiko Morita, who is looking for some retribution for his loss at the hands of Kouhei Yamadaya in the finals of Grand Prix - Shizuoka. Long is playing a white-black deck that splashes blue for Skywing Aven and Psychatog. Morita is with a very standard blue-white deck. This match will determine the winner of their pod.

Long's opening hand was shy on black mana and big on black cards, but he chose to keep it. His first play was a Teroh's Faithful on turn four, matched by Morita. Next the two compared Aven Flocks. Finally, Long found a swamp. He added a Mystic Zealot to his team.

The first big break came on Morita's next turn, when he dropped a Cephalid Broker and protected it with Strength of Isolation. Long added Soul Scourge but still couldn't break through. He Unhinged Morita, who continued to Broker away lands. Soon Morita's graveyard was just seven lands.

Long looked to break the stalemate with Pianna, Nomad Captain, but Morita put the kaibosh on that with a Nomad Decoy. That put Long firmly in the think tank. He waited for a few turns, trading two damage in the air with Morita. Then, at the end of one of Morita's turns, he struck.

A Ghastly Demise on the Decoy forced Morita to save with his Hydromorph Guardian. Long responded with a Second Demise. Morita rescued with Aether Burst, but the damage had been done. Long attacked all out, and though Morita had Second Thoughts and his Pro-black Broker he still fell to eight. Morita tried to make an impromptu defence, but without his Decoy keeping Long's forces in check, another all-out attack ended things.

Long got the ball rolling in game two with an early Skywing Aven and Dusk Imp over Morita's Auramancer. Morita put the brakes on with Ghostly Wings. Long's hand was well suited to waiting. He Unhinged twice while Morita made an Aven Flock, then built up a huge mob of dudes including Psychatog, Cabal Torturer, Mystic Familiar and a Flock of his own.

Under this barrage, all Morita could manage was Beloved Chaplain and Hydromorph Guardian. When Morita inexplicably sent for one with his Chaplain, Long made his move. First, a Ghastly Demise forced the Guardian off the board. Then Long attacked with everyone but his Torturer.

Morita blocked, but let the Psychatog through. Long didn't flinch. Seven damage was enough for him. But then Morita pitched Strength of Unity to try and kill the Soul Scourge. This left him with just enough mana for Aether Burst. Long pitched all but one of his cards and emptied his graveyard, aiming to do exactly lethal damage. Morita played his Burst, and Long slammed Shelter on top of it. Morita simply shook his head as he packed up his cards.

Mike Long defeats Masahiko Morita 2-0

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