Semifinals - Brian Kibler (Next Level Mythic) vs. Shouta Yasooka (Jund)

Posted in Event Coverage on June 4, 2010

By Ben Swartz

The semifinals of Grand Prix Sendai brought two Pro Tour champions to the table. Brian Kibler, winner of Pro Tour-Austin, sporting his Next Level Bant deck was forced to battle one-third of Pro Tour-Charleston Champion, former Player of the Year, and reigning Magic Online Player of the Year, Shota Yasooka sporting a Jund deck.

Both players decided to keep their opening hands, with the first play of the game being a Borderland Ranger for Kibler. Yasooka countered with a Sprouting Thrinax. Kibler was able to land an Elspeth, Knight-Errant the following turn, creating a chump blocker for Yasooka's Thrinax. Yasooka, without a fourth land, was only able to play a Putrid Leech.

Kibler played Noble Hierarch and Wall of Omens, creating another token, but an end-of-turn Lightning Bolt and follow-up Blightning from Yasooka took care of the Knight-Errant. Undeterred, Kibler was able to cast another Elspeth the following turn. Yasooka cast Blightning, dropping Elspeth to two loyalty while allowing Kibler to discard a Vengevine. The following turn, a Ranger of Eos from Kibler allowed him to return Vengevine from his graveyard, and, after giving it flying with Elspeth, Yasooka dropped to eleven life.

A Lightning Bolt from Yasooka was able to take care of Kibler's second Elspeth. Kibler attacked with his Vengevine allowing Yasooka to turn his Thrinax into three Saprolings, while Kibler played a post-combat Gideon Jura, forcing all of Yasooka's creatures to attack it the following turn. After a forced suicide attack from Yasooka, a Seige-Gang Commander was put onto the battlefield by the former Player of the Year.

A Path to Exile from Kibler took care of Yasooka's Siege-Gang Commander, allowing Kibler to turn Gideon into a 6/6 and attack with his team. Yasooka blocked with his Goblins, dropping to two life. A Sarkhan the Mad off the top for Yasooka turned his remaining Saproling token into a 5/5 Dragon, but the Dragonmaster himself was able to simply attack in with his team and take game one.

Brian Kibler 1 – Shouta Yasooka 0

Game two got started with a turn one Birds of Paradise for Kibler and a turn two Putrid Leech for Yasooka. A Celestial Purge from Kibler took care of Yasooka's Leech. In return, his post combat Noble Hierarch was dealt with by a Doom Blade from Yasooka.

Kibler's acceleration allowed him to play a turn three Vengevine, dropping Yasooka to fifteen. Yasooka's only response was a Garruk Wildspeaker, creating a 3/3 Beast token, but an Oblivion Ring from Kibler on the token and attack from Vengevine dealt with Wildspeaker. With no play from Yasooka, he fired up his Raging Ravine dropping Kibler to fifteen.

Another Vengevine from Kibler allowed him continue the beats, while Yasooka did nothing. Another attack from Kibler elicited a Bituminous Blast, cascading into a Garruk Wildspeaker. After combat, Kibler cast a Sphinx of Lost Truths and a Noble Hiearch, allowing Kibler to bring back the recently blasted Vengevine.

Yasooka's draw allowed him to cast a Siege-Gang Commander and a Pithing Needle, while keeping two lands up thanks to Garruk. Despite this, with Yasooka at only three life, Kibler's Sphinx was enough to take the match.

Brian Kibler 2 – Shouta Yasooka 0

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