By Matthew Vienneau
Japanese native Youichirou Yamakawa, who finished 11th in last week's Grand Prix Kyoto, brought his NecroDonate deck to the table against Victoria's own Sam Speller. Sam, who finished in the Top 8 at Regionals, had defeated two NecroDonate decks already in this Grand Prix with his red burn deck with Land Grants. Sam was one of the top players able to benefit from the under-1700 ranking level prize so things were looking good for him even if he missed out on the Top 8.
Speller mulliganed a hand of six red spells and a Wasteland. His new hand of Fireblast, Land Grant, Seal of Fire, Incinerate and two lands was much better, if lacking in early offense. He played a first turn Seal and drew a Wasteland to destroy Yamakawa's Gemstone Mine. Yamakawa Duressed the Fireblast and Vampiric Tutored for a land during his upkeep to play a second land on turn three. Speller was unable to do much as Yamakawa Demonic Consulted for a Necropotence going through 28 cards and three Illusions of Grandeur. The Necropotence gave Yamakawa five more cards including a Vampiric Tutor that he used to search out what he needed as he Duressed Speller's maindeck Pyroblast before casting Illusions and Donate to win the game.
Speller had no secrets in his hand as he played a first turn Mountain and cast Land Grant with the alternate casting cost. While it may have been better to cast his Cursed Scroll before revealing his hand to casting Land Grant, it didn't matter, as Yamakawa didn't counter either. He did counter the second Land Grant with a Force of Will as he didn't want Speller to get a third land for the Ball Lightning in his hand. Yamakawa laid a Necropotence on turn two with the help of a Mox Diamond and immediately began gaining massive card advantage. Speller attempted to start the beatdown with a Goblin Patrol but it was too late as Yamakawa repeated the first game and Duressed away a Pyroblast before casting Illusions of Grandeur. Speller had a Fireblast and a Seal of Fire in play to deal the final six points of damage to Yamakawa in response, but Yamakawa had the Force of Will he needed and with nothing but a Seal of Fire and Goblin Patrol in play, Speller conceded.
Youichirou Yamakawa 2
Sam Speller 0