When these two faced off they both knew there was more than three points at stake. Scott and Kai, lying 5th and 4th respectively in the Pro Tour Player of the Year Race were not only contending for this but also the possibility of being the first player ever to have won two Pro Tours in one season. Despite the obvious importance of this round the atmosphere was extremely relaxed due to their team affiliation - both players having worked together since two months before PT Tokyo.
Scott had an aggressive r-b deck that he felt should have the advantage in the match up. Kai had what seemed to be a weak u-b splash w deck, but that certainly had the cards to win if his draws were good (having already achieved a draw and a win). Even so, Kai believed that Scott had the edge too.
Scott won the toss and elected to play first, but Scott had to think for a fair while before deciding to keep his 6 lands and a Terminate hand! As a result, Kai managed to make the first play - a turn 2 Stormscape Apprentice.
Scott rallied though with possibly the best turn 3 play in his deck - a Caldera Kavu. A Morgue Toad was made in reply, but it was too scared to block the Caldera Kavu as Kai had no white mana to tap it with his Apprentice.
By the end of Scott's sixth turn all that had been added to the board was his Nightscape Apprentice and they were just trading blows. One other spell had resolved - a Bog Down, but Scott just laughed and discarded two of his many land.
With Scott on 14 and Kai on 8 the tide suddenly turned as the German made a Hunting Drake - returning the Caldera Kavu to the top of Scott's library. Kai then stayed at 8 for a long period of time as he gradually beat down with his Hunting Drake and chumped the Caldera Kavu with a few guys. The poor Stormscape Apprentice died twice to it as Budde mercilessly Recovered it to be thrown in front of the angry beast again. Scott was managing to hold off the non-aerial assault with his Terminate and a Plague Spores, but it was looking grim for him - even after he Soul Burned Kai for 5.
Low on life and with one draw phase to stabilize, Johns ripped his second Soul Burn off the top and won game one.
Kai sideboarded in his Disrupt to deal with the two Soul Burns.
Kai elected to play first, but yet again Scott was faced with an ugly seven cards and this time he decided to mulligan. His six-card hand was not the greatest either: 1 Swamp and a Battleflies, but he took it.
Scott did manage to drop a second land on turn 2 after having dropped his Battleflies on the first, but with only two swamps on the table he could not mount an offense at all until he drew a mountain on turn 6. So the Flies kept nipping in - getting Repulsed on turn 3 and then getting joined by a Nightscape Apprentice. Kai then bounced it with an Urborg Emissary, which ended up trading with the Apprentice, Recovered the Emissary, then bounced a second black Apprentice that Scott had drawn.Scott Johns
Finally Scott managed to make a real threat - a Lava Zombie on his seventh turn, but it was Recoiled immediately, then Excluded the turn afterwards. The real blow for Scott then came when his Terminate on a Phyrexian Bloodstock was Disrupted! A freshly-cast Lava Zombie and Nightscape Familiar then traded with the Bloodstock and the Emissary. The board situation at this stage was Scott: Nightscape Apprentice + 3 cards in hand; Kai no creatures and 5 cards in hand. Kai then cast Bog Down with kicker, and laid a Metathran Zombie - removing a Lava Zombie, Soul Burn and Hooded Kavu from Johns's hand.
At a stand off with the regenerators over the next ten or so turns, the two players did almost nothing, gradually laying the occasional creature, but there was no way Johns could attack as there was a great big fat Vodalian Serpent on the opposing team. Then, on Kai's 19th turn, he finally draws the Hunting Drake and started to abuse Scott by bouncing his Pouncing Kavu not once, but three times with a Recoil, and a Marsh Crocodile (obviously attacking first). A nice touch to this match was when Scott started playing fast due to time constraints and taped 5 mana for his Pouncing Kavu when he had a Nightscape Familiar in play. Kai did not ask him to burn, but simply told him to untap the land. The third time the Pouncing Kavu was cast Scott did not bothering tapping the lands at all as they were both racing along.
With no answer for the 2/2 flier Scott swept and they went to game 3.
Scott chose to go first but was exasperated when once again he had to mulligan, but his six card hand was quite strong.Kai Budde
His turn one Battleflies was immediately Cursed with a Fleshy disease, as both players has come to realize that the match came very heavily down to controlling the skies. Amusingly Kai then cast the second creature - a Dream Thrush. In fact this match was almost totally decided by the air battle for supremacy. The ground became stalled very quickly as the Caldera Kavu Scott had played was Recoiled and Excluded, then both players sat there with regenerators and equally sized creatures.
The air battle: As I said, Battleflies was Cursed Fleshed, the Dream Thrush then served for a few points, joined by a Tower Drake which was Terminated. Scott then made a Battleflies that blocked the Thrush but the Bird was Repulsed then replayed after damage had gone on the stake. Taking his beats all the way down to 12 Scott finally drew the removal for the Thrush - a Plague Spores! Then came the Hunting Drake which hit the board on turn 11, then continued to serve for two a turn until Johns died with no Soul Burn and a big fat Marsh Crocodile sitting on the floor.
Final Result: Kai wins 2-1