Round 9: Feature Match – Katsuhiro Mori vs. Makihito Mihara

Posted in Event Coverage on July 17, 2011

By Rich Hagon

Rich Hagon combines a deep knowledge of the players of the Pro Tour with a passionate love of the game. He's a regular commentator for Pro Tour and Grand Prix live video coverage, and is the official Pro Tour Statistician. He has been covering Magic events since 2006.

What a matchup. This is the kind of head to head that makes watching Magic fun. Two genuinely outstanding players with great records, looking to advance to 8-1, both having won their opening match of the day. Both players are former World Champions. Mori defeated Frank Karsten on home soil in Yokohama 2005, while Mihara travelled to Paris a year later to claim the 2006 title with his Dragonstorm deck.

Game 1

Mihara opened with Ponder, checking his hand before leaving the cards on top of his library. With Mind Control amongst the three, that was no surprise. Crimson Mage on turn two met with Wring Flesh from Mori, who spent turn two looking at Mihara's hand with Distress. Mihara revealed Incinerate, Fiery Hellhound, Mind Control, and Skywinder Drake. The 3/1 flyer hit the graveyard, with Mori casting a 3/1 of his own in Bloodrage Vampire. That didn't last long, Mihara using his Incinerate before attacking. He added Phantasmal Bear, and reloaded with Divination.

Katsuhiro Mori

With Mori having just three Swamps in play and no action, Mihara continued to press. A Plains allowed Mori to cast Pacifism, but Mihara took the game up a notch with Bonebreaker Giant. Mori got to five mana and cast Vengeful Pharaoh, which is a very good card. Mihara spent three mana, and cast Frost Breath, and that turned out to be even better.

Mori 0 - 1 Mihara

Game 2

Mori elected to draw at the start of game two, and he had the first action of the game on turn three with Devouring Swarm. Mihara considered that enough of a threat to Incinerate it, spending his fourth turn drawing two cards with Divination. Diabolic Tutor from Mori fetched up Grave Titan, with Mihara laying Bonebreaker Giant.

After Mori cast Vengeful Pharaoh, Mihara was ready with Mind Control.

When Mori cast his Grave Titan the following turn, Mihara wasn't so ready...He traded his Bonebreaker Giant for the pair of 2/2 Zombies that had arrived with Grave Titan, and cast Crown of Empires, which would ensure that those Zombies wouldn't be replaced. Turns out he was kind of ready after all...

Makihito Mihara

Mori cast Distress, seeing two Fiery Hellhound, Turn to Frog, and Skywinder Drake. Mori got rid of one of the Fiery Hellhounds, before laying a Forest. What was his green splash? A second Diabolic Tutor saw him spend a little time choosing between two cards. He was torn between Pacifism and Smallpox. Which would he choose?

Mihara attacked with Mori's Vengeful Pharaoh, dropping Fiery Hellhound and leaving back enough mana to activate his Crown of Empires. Mind Rot from Mori saw Mihara discard Turn to Frog and Skywinder Drake, both cards that Mori knew from the earlier Distress, leaving Mihara a lone card in hand, unknown to his opponent. In came the Vengeful Pharaoh and Fiery Hellhound once more, with Mori taking a huge eight damage and falling to just three life. Goblin Tunneler joined the Mihara team, and Mori was in a really tough spot.

He drew for the turn. Mihara duly tapped the Grave Titan, and Mori scooped them up. Turn four Diabolic Tutor, turn five Vengeful Pharaoh, turn six Grave Titan. Nowhere near enough.

Katsuhiro Mori 0 - 2 Makihito Mihara

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