Round 6 Feature Match – Tomoharu Saito (Naya) vs Arif Kamaruddin (G/W)

Posted in Event Coverage on January 26, 2014

By Pip Foweraker

Saito stumbled on mana for the first game, eventually landing a Fabled Hero but being unable to attack effectively with it. Kamaruddin had no such issues, powering out and then suiting up a Wingsteed Rider with an adequate defence to take the first game without any real concerns.

Karamuddin keeps a tight grip on proceedings

Arif Kamaruddin 1 - Tomoharu Saito 0

Kamaruddin started the game with a Favored Hoplite and an Ordeal of Heliod, getting off to an aggressive start. Saito had a Leafcrown Dryad, looking mildly concerned at the imposing attacker on the other side of the board. Kamaruddin attacked unblocked with his Hoplite, while Saito cast an Ordeal of Heliod on his Leafcrown Dryad and attacked. Kamaruddin seemed happy to race, summoning a Wingsteed Rider and passing.

Saito feels the pinch

Saito left his Dryad home to block the Rider, still with only 3 lands open. Kamaruddin bestowed a Nimbus Dryad on his Wingsteed Rider, taking it safely out of Dryad range, and attacked with both creatures. Saito flashed in a Boon Satyr to gang-block the Hoplite, who offed the Dryad.

Saito launched his offense with the Satyr, and had a Divine Verdict for the attacking Rider when it came in next turn. Kamaruddin rebuilt his board with a Nemesis of Mortals, and with a Voyage's End to take care of Saito's next play, the players wrapped up the match.

Arif Kamaruddin 2 - Tomoharu Saito 0

For both players, the match highlighted how important it is to be able to play defensively when stumbling on mana. Too many players will mentally resign themselves to losing the game or will throw away creatures on bad blocks. Saito was clearly on the defensive for the second game, but managed to nearly eke out enough breathing room to stabilise. Had Kamaruddin not had the splashed Voyage's End, the game would have settled in to a more drawn-out battle.

Perhaps, for Saito's sake, we might talk to the venue organisers about turning the 'tunes down - having what seems to be an jazz-instrumental version of 'Killing Me Softly' playing on near-continuous loop can't be helping anyone's mental state.

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