Round 8 Feature Match: Dan O'Mahoney-Schwartz vs. Tsuyoshi Fujita

Posted in Event Coverage

By Adrian Sullivan

Dan O'Mahoney-Schwartz (OMS) has been a regular pro player for years, most noted for being a member of Team Antarctica with his brother Steve and the illustrious Jon Finkel. His Black/Red control deck is based strongly off of discard, and features Crypt Angel. His opponent needs no introduction to the Japanese players here, but is unknown to many players in the West. Tsuyoshi Fujita has four Grand Prix Top 8s to his name, as well as being the champion at Grand Prix Kyoto (the largest Extended event ever held). Playing on his home turf in a Constructed event is certainly going to give him a slight edge.

The first game started slowly, with Dan attacking Fujita's hand with Bog Down and forcing counterspells out of Fujita's hand with Blazing Specters. Dan pushed a Crypt Angel past Tsuyoshi's control spells, and returned a countered Blazing Specter, and started swinging.

Fujita returned with an Urborg Shambler, and then dropped a second Shambler to kill Dan's Blazing Specter. With only one card in hand, things still looked very good for Fujita. Two Urborg Shamblers faced off against a single Crypt Angel and a Battlemage. From off the top, Dan drew one of his two Voids, clearing Fujita's table, and knocking his last card out of hand, Fact or Fiction.

As both players sideboarded, the match was decided. Tsuyoshi brought in more Urborg Shamblers to combat the eight 1/1s from Dan. Dan sideboarded out all of his 1/1s, in a move that might at first glance seem correct. Bringing in Addle and Yawgmoth's Agenda, Dan hoped to side the Shamblers, and bring in stronger control elements to his deck. The flaw to this reasoning is fairly subtle, however. Ravenous Rats are actually a big problem for Black/Blue. Repulse and Recoil are poor answers to a Ravenous Rat, and the speed of the spell is also significant versus a control deck. In addition, the Rat improves the rest of the discard that Black/Red has. Finally, Yawgmoth's Agenda is a horrible card versus Black/Blue. With a huge amount of instants (including Countermagic), only being able to cast a single spell a turn can be horrible versus a deck that has significant card drawing.

The second game started slowly, with no spells being cast before the fifth turn. Dan finally dropped a Thunderscape Battlemage with kicker, only to have it Prohibited, while two Yawgmoth's Agenda sat in his hand. Dan Tried to make something happen with a Blazing Specter, only to have it Repulsed and then Undermined.

He followed up with a Void, which Fujita countered, and then cast Bog Down with Kicker to reduce Fujita to a single card. That card, however, was Yawgmoth's Agenda. Dan's own Yawgmoth's Agenda sat in his hand, and after Fujita's was in play, Dan couldn't afford to cast his own Agenda - a play that would lock him down to one spell a turn, and easily set himself up for a lockdown.

The game turned south from there. Fujita started reusing his countermagic and Repulses, tearing the game away from Dan with a small army of Rats. The final game was probably the most frustrating for Dan. Beginning on turn 3, Fujita cast Recoil after Recoil after Recoil on Dan's land, stalling him out immensely. Dan eventually recovered to cast a Skizzik, but Fujita had used the time to find land, and had a Spite/Malice on hand to kill the Skizzik.

On his next turn, Dan cast Thunderscape Battlemage with Kicker to hit one of Fujita's six cards. Fujita responded with a Fact or Fiction to reduce the damage, picking up a pair of Addles and a land. Dan followed up with a Crypt Angel, only to have in Undermined.

Then Fujita again sealed the game with an Agenda.

Dan's hand had started with two Agendas from the beginning of the game and he held on to one as the Recoils hit him early. Now, as he looked at Fujita's graveyard, he realized that he couldn't afford to cast his own Agenda. Once again, an army of Rats began the steady march into Dan, and he couldn't recover.

Final Result: Fujita 2 - O'Mahoney-Schwartz 1

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