Round 14 Feature Match: Tomohide Sasakawa vs. Tsuyoshi Fujita

Posted in Event Coverage

By Josh Bennett

This landmark match foretells a piece of Magic history. Both players were one win away from the Top 8. Unfortunate though it may be that they had to face each other, it guaranteed that one of them would be the the first Japanese player to make Top 8 at a Pro Tour.

Tsuyoshi Fujita is a dominant force in Asia. Arguably the best player in the Osaka area, he has been Japanese National Champion, as well as the winner of Grand Prix Kyoto 2000. With such a steller record, it's not surprising to see him so close to greatness.

Tomohide Sasakawa is near-complete unknown on the Japanese magic scene. This is his first premier event, and his performance has attracked everyone's attention. The Feature Match Area was filled to capacity, onlookers leaning over the restraining bars to better see the competitors hands.

The match began with mulligans on both sides, Sasakawa having to take two. It didn't seem to do him too much harm, because Fujita stalled at two lands. He Addled Sasakawa for black, taking his Ravenous Rats and leaving behind a Blazing Spectre and lands.

Sasakawa topdecked Pyre Zombie and put it into play. Fujita took only one hit from it before he cast Recoil to deal with it. It was sacrificed to stop the discard effect. Sasakawa drew into a second Rats and played it. Fujita Excluded them, and the Blazing Spectre he tried next turn.

Sasakawa played a Ravenous Rats and hit a land. Fujita Fact or Fictioned into Urborg Shambler, two more Rats, a Salt Marsh and an Island. He got the Shambler and lands. He played the Shambler to take control of the game.

Sasakawa played a diminutive Shivan Zombie, taking a hit for four. He then tried to remove the Shambler with Ghitu Fire, but was Undermined. His Urza's Rage succeeded. Unfortunately for him, Fujita had a Yawgmoth's Agenda in hand, and played it next turn.

He Excluded Sasakawa's Pyre Zombie, taking three from an end-of-turn Ghitu Fire. He untapped and played out the Shambler. When he played a second one the next turn, Sasakawa conceded.

He began the second game with a Ravenous Rats, taking away a Prohibit. Fujita returned the favor, getting Sasakawa's Ghitu Fire, then trading their Rats. Blazing Spectre made it into play, but Fujita Repulsed it before it could hit him. He did it again the next turn.

Sasakawa Addled Fujita, and he thought for a while before letting it through. His hand was Fact or Fiction, Addle, Two Shamblers and Prohibit. He lost the counter. Sasakawa finally got to hit him with the Spectre, but Fujita cast Fact or Fiction to cushion the blow. He turned over two more Fact or Fictions, an Agenda, a Recoil and a Swamp. He got the Agenda and a Fiction, dropping an Addle to the Spectre.

He untapped and played the Agenda. Sasakawa's face fell, knowing he'd need something special to get past it.

Fujita dropped a Fact or Fiction to the next Spectre hit, and Sasakawa upped the ante with a Nightscape Familiar. Fujita Repulsed the Spectre and Excluded, firmly putting on the kaibosh. He made a Shambler and protected it from Sasakawa's Rage with another Repulse. Sasakawa played a Pyre Zombie, but it didn't seem to matter. The Shambler took care of it.

Not happy with his card advantage, Fujita cast another Fact or Fiction. He showed a pair of Undermines, some land, and an extra Agenda. He got Island, Agenda and Undermine. His Shambler died to a Ghitu Fire.

He spent a couple of turns controlling Sasakawa's hand with Ravenous Rats before playing yet another Fact or Fiction to find a Shambler. Having spent his graveyard, he Recoiled his Agenda. Backed by countermagic, his Shambler went all the way to make him the first Japanese player in the Top Eight of a Pro Tour.

Final Result: Fujita defeats Sasakawa 2-0

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