Semifinal Feature Match: Satoshi Nakamura vs. Gordon Lin

Posted in Event Coverage on December 16, 2015

By Wizards of the Coast

By Yaro Starak

This semi-final featured one of Japan's premiere players playing Turboland and a relatively unknown player from New Zealand playing Pandeburst. The winner would go on to the finals.

Game 1

Nakamura opened with what has been his standard start to a game so far in the finals, a mulligan. Lin had no mana problems and opened with a Mystical Tutor. While Lin resolved the Tutor, looking through his deck for a card, Nakamura started mumbling deck names as he had no idea what Lin was playing. When Lin revealed Intuition there was no doubt he was playing Replenish, aka Pandeburst. A Pandemonium and 2 Saproling Burst's were the 3 cards Lin selected and Nakamura let Lin have the Pandemonium with the 2 Bursts hitting the graveyard. At the end of Satoshi's next turn, which only featured an Impulse, Lin played Brainstorm. The Brainstorm proved extremely helpful, providing him with 2 Duress.

Lin used the first of the Duress's on his turn and Nakamura presented him with 3 Gush, a Force of Will, a Time Warp and a Gaea's Blessing as choices. Lin decided the Force was the worst threat and placed it in the graveyard. During Nakamura's next turn he Gushed returning 2 of his land back to his hand. He followed this up with a Gaea's Blessing and was done. Lin's next turn was only used to play another land, and when Nakamura had his turn he used Wasteland to keep Lin on 3 land.

Lin played a City of Brass to bring his land total to 4 and then cast a Demonic Consultation for Frantic Search. He safely gets the Frantic Search and then uses it to draw some cards and discard the Pandemonium, meaning the entire combo was in the graveyard. He then played the second Duress taking an Arcane Denial leaving a Time Warp and 2 Gush in Nakamura's hands. Lin attempted to play a Replenish to finish Nakamura off. Nakamura answered with a Gush in the hope of drawing a Force of Will, but found nothing, giving the first game to Lin.

Game 2

Again Nakamura started with a mulligan. An Exploration gave Nakamura 2 lands on his first turn, but unfortunately both were Forests (no sources of blue mana). Lin played an end of turn Brainstorm. Nakamura had a turn but draws no land so said done. A Duress is the next card played by Lin, which of course is not countered because of lack of blue mana on Nakamura's side of the table. The Duress gave Lin the choice of Impulse, Horn of Greed and Gush. Although Nakamura still had no blue on the table, he decided that the Impulse was the best choice. Nakamura had another turn, and again drew no land.

On Lin's next turn, he cast a Consultation looking for an Ancient Tomb to quickly bring up his available mana. He found it safely and then used it to cast an Intuition, choosing the standard two Saproling Burst and a Pandemonium. Nakamura once again let Lin keep the Pandemonium. On Nakamura's next turn, he finally drew a land, and as a bonus it was an Island, providing Nakamura's with the much needed blue mana. Nakamura used the Island to Impulse, which gave him another land, this time a Taiga, which he then played thanks to the Exploration.

Lin then made a unique play, choosing not to cast any cards so that when he went to his end step he would have to discard his Pandemonium. On Nakamura's next turn he played a Gush, tapping the Island and Taiga before returning them to his hand. He then replayed the 2 land, tapped another land, and used the 3 mana in his pool to attempt to cast a Horn of Greed. Lin simply used Annul to stop it. Lin did nothing but untap and draw a card during his next turn. Nakamura went through the exact same plays as his previous turn, and much to the amusement of the crowd, Lin again played Annul to stop the Horn of greed.

An unanswered Duress removed a Force of Will from Nakamura's hand, leaving him with another Horn of Greed and a Gush. At the end of Nakamura's next turn, Lin cast a Demonic Consultation looking for an Intuition to complete the kill. He amazingly flipped it over as the 7th card, which drew more laughter from the crowd. Nakamura looked for some countermagic with an Impulse during his turn, which prompted Lin to Intuition for 2 Duress and a Force of Will. Nakamura let him keep the Force of Will. Lin then finally went for the kill, tapping all but a Gemstone Mine and an Underground sea, to cast the Replenish. As a surprise to all, Nakamura simply presented his handshake in congratulations for the win.

Final Result: Gordon Lin 2-0

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