Round 11 Feature Match: Mike Turian vs. Satoshi Nakamura

Posted in Event Coverage

By Ben Ronaldson

Battle of the Harrow decks:

Mike has a r/g/b beatdown deck with creatures from all three colors and Harrows to help his mana base. Satoshi, one of the most colorful and diverse players in Magic, has created an extraordinary deck that stems from a common archetype. When players draft green decks in this format they often start off with a green white base before they realize they have the mana fixers to be able to play bombs in all five colors. Nakamura has what is basically a green white deck with Fertile Grounds and Harrows, but he has a land of each type in his deck to make his Collective Restraint more powerful and to enable him to play Meteor Storm. As you will see from the first game though, the cards in his two main colors are quite powerful by themselves.

Game 1

Satoshi won the toss and elected to play first, but the American started the game with blistering speed making a turn 2 Barbarian, turn 3Harrow - Mongoose, turn 4 Ancient Kavu. Satoshi did his best to defend with a Thornscape Apprentice, a Benalish Trapper and a Ruham Djinn, but the Thornscape is Zapped and the other two die to a Reckless Spite, so it seemed like he would be overrun in no time. It was not to be however, as Nakamura tore off a kicked Benalish Lancer, a kicked Pincer Spider and then the death blow: Collective Restraint. On his third turn the man with the goatee had also cast Harrow, so he had four different land types in play by this stage. As if this wasn't enough defense, he then laid a Jade Leech and a Wayfaring Giant.

Meanwhile Mike had been building up a little army of creatures on his side of the table as the game reached this stalled situation. A kicked Pincer Spider, Kavu Titan and a Rooting Kavu each took their turns to try to break through the Restraint, but they just traded with his opponent's creatures and one of them (the Titan) got wrecked by the Jade Leech as Restrain was cast on the Titan after blockers are declared.

The Giant soon felt reasonably confident about attacking and Satoshi took the offensive, forcing Mike to chump with the occasional 2/2, but Turian had a game plan. In his hand sat a Soul Burn and 10 lands on the table, but he needed to get 2 points through in creature attacks to reduce his opponent from 9 to 7. The game took an amusing turn as Satoshi cast a second Restrain to stop a Duskwalker getting through then Restocked to get both of his Restrains back. Just when he finally ran out of Restrains though, Nakamura slammed an Armadillo Cloak on his Giant and served. Mike conceded.

Game 1 to Nakamura

Game 2

Recognizing Collective Restraint to be a real pain for his strategy Mike, sided a Frenzied Tilling, confident that his opponent would only be running one copy of some of the land types.

This time Mike got to go first but he had to mulligan down to six and keep a hand he was not really happy with at all. Luckily for him, Satoshi got screwed and missed a land drop on turn 3 having done nothing (discarding a Rith's Attendant), but all he had in offense was a 2/2 Kavu Titan. In fact, Mike did nothing else other than attack with his Titan until turn eight because the Collective Restraint once again made it to the table when Nakamura recovered. His turn eight play was a good one though, as he cast Plague Spores on a Razorfoot Griffin and a Swamp, reducing the power of the Restraint.

Once again, Turian's attack ground to a halt as his opponent played creatures left, right and center, and the game adopted a familiar tone as an Armadillo Cloak made its way onto the back of a huge creature (Jade Leech this time) and Nakamura's life total swung its way back up to 24 before the beast was finally dealt with by an Explosive Growth.

Other than a brief moment when a Meteor Storm hit the table and Mike cast Frenzied Tilling on Satoshi's Mountain (he had no more sources of red left in his deck), the game slowed down hugely as the armies faced each other in silence. The only sound was a lowly Plague Spitter gradually snipping away at both players' life totals. Again Mike's plan was to cast Soul Burn for the win, but towards the end of the game he was forced to take out a Wayfaring Giant. The life totals looked a little dodgy for him as he had to Reckless Spite a Cloaked up Djinn, so the Plague Spitter looked like it might finish him off, but both players soon realized that Nakamura was going to get decked. The Plague Spitter died in a blocking spree, allowing Satoshi to lay his one toughness tappers and give him a chance to win, but Turian smiled and cast a Juntu Stakes to deck his opponent.

Nakamura 1 Turian 1

There were only six minutes left in the round, so Mike was realistically the only one who could win after they shuffled, but Satoshi graciously hurried along. As it turned out though, the Japanese Hero ended the game on 20 life despite Mike's best efforts: turn 2 Barbarian, turn 3 Pincer Spider, turn 4 Ancient Kavu, turn 5 Blurred Mongoose, turn 6 Duskwalker! All this was not fast enough though as Satoshi Cloaked up a Llanowar Cavalry (which got blocked and killed), Restocked and then Cloaked up a Llanowar Knight.

Final Result: Time ran out and the match ended 1-1.

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