Round 12 Feature Match – Anand Khare vs. Vidianto Wijaya

Posted in Event Coverage on May 11, 2014

By Nate Price

A longtime member of the Pro Tour and Grand Prix coverage staff, Nate Price now works making beautiful words for all of you lovely people as the community manager for organized play. When not covering events, he lords over the @MagicProTour Twitter account, ruling with an iron fist.

The Players

"I played against Kibler last round, and he was stuck on one land in the first game and too many lands in the second. You could say I've been running pretty well."

This was how Anand Khare described how his day had been going so far. Khare is a consultant from out east that grew up in the crucible of the Neutral Ground New York Magic scene. He's been an intermittent sight at the Pro Tour and upper Grand Prix level, but hasn't ever cracked through for a Top 8.

His opponent, Vidianto Wijaya, is someone that Khare actually knows fairly well. Khare has spent some of his past doing coverage for other games, and for one of them, Vidianto Wijaya was one of the best players in the world. That skill has carried over to Magic, as Wijaya picked up a win at Grand Prix Denver, a Legacy Grand Prix, in 2012.

The Decks

This matchup is a taste of two flavors of Pod, one Kiki-Jiki, one Melira. The decks share about 80% of their lists, but the other 20% is a big difference. Kiki-Jiki Pod gains an immense amount of value with Kiki-Jiki, as almost every creature in the deck has some sort of enter the battlefield trigger. Combined with Restoration Angel, it's a lethal combo. The Melira Pod deck opts to go with Melira, Sylvok Outcast, and the myriad of combination possibilities she offers, from unlimited life via Kitchen Finks to unlimited damage with Murderous Redcap. The Melira Pod deck seems to have a bit more of an actual attack plan than Kiki-Jiki Pod, tending to win more games through durdly combat than its counterpart, but the difference in that regard is very slim.

The Games

Wijaya opened the match with a mulligan to six, keeping a hand that allowed him a first-turn Birds of Paradise and a second-turn Kitchen Finks. Khare matched with a Wall of Roots. Wijaya attacked with his Kitchen Finks, and Khare opted to block the 3/2 with his Wall of Roots, allowing Wijaya to finish it off with Murderous Redcap. His next attack was enhanced by a Gavony Township, and he knocked Khare down to 11.

Vidianto Wijaya

Khare dropped a Birthing Pod into play, trading his Voice of Resurgence in for a Kitchen Finks, gaining a 2/2 Elemental token in the process. It cost him four life to play and activate the Pod, putting him at 9 life after the Finks trigger. Wijaya attacked, sending his 3/3 Redcap and 4/3 Finks. Khare's token stood in the Finks's way, keeping him at 6. After combat, he played and used Qasali Pridemage to kill Khare's Pod before playing one of his own, emptying his hand. It was an impressive draw off of a mulligan, and he looked very close to finishing the first game out with a victory. When his top card proved to be Melira, Sylvok Outcast, victory arrived.

"Must be nice," Khare sighed. "Must be nice to draw the Melira there." He chuckled a little about his luck while reaching for his sideboard.

"I probably shouldn't have blocked there," he said referring to his dead Wall of Roots. "It was a little mistake."

Wijaya agreed.

Both players mulliganned their opening draws in the second game of the match, but kept their next six. Wijaya started with another Birds of Paradise into Kitchen Finks, but Khare was ready with the incredibly important Scavenging Ooze on his second turn. The Ooze would allow him to remove any persist creatures before they became persistent, preventing the many loops that enable Melira Pod to go off. The deck is still more than capable of simply winning through

Anand Khare

Entomber Exarch, revealing Zealous Conscripts, Birthing Pod, Path to Exile, Restoration Angel, and Linvala, Keeper of Silence. The Exarch stripped Khare of his Birthing Pod and then traded with the Scavenging Ooze on the following combat. Wijaya continued to add creatures to his board, recruiting Qasali Pridemage and Spike Feeder to continue his assault. His Finks met a Path to Exile, as did his Spike Feeder, but his other creatures appeared to be more than enough to take Khare down

"That was probably a loos keep, but I don't know," Khare mused about his hand for the second game. "If I drew an additional land of any type or a creature, I thought I was pretty good."

Kiki-Jiki Pod – Anand Khare

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Melira Pod – Vidianto Wijaya

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