It has been a little over a month since Pro Tour Theros. Two Japanese players made the top eight in Dublin: Makahito Mihara and Kentaro Yamamoto. This weekend they teamed up with friend Jun'ichiro Bandou to form one of the most feared teams of the tournament. After ending day one with a single loss, they powered through day two picking up only a loss and a draw on their way to the top four.
There they faced off against relative unknowns Takayuki Kadono, Toshinori Shigehara, and Hiroki Furukawa. Toshinori is well known in Japan for qualifying for Worlds via Magic Online in both 2004 and 2008. They ended day one with a loss and a draw and had to go undefeated on Sunday to make their way into the top 4.
Mihara/Yamamoto/Bandou vs. Kadono/Shigehara/Furukawa
Kentaro Yamamoto (Green/White) vs. Takayuki Kadono(Red/White)
Yamamoto got off to a quick start with Leafcrown Dryad and Ordeal of Nylea. Kadono countered with Minotaur Skullcleaver and Ember Swallower. When the Leafcrown Dryad hit three +1/+1 counters, Kadono removed it with Divine Verdict.
Yamamoto had a trick of his own—Divine Verdict—which he used to get rid of Ember Swallower. He followed that up with Agent of Horizon. With both players sitting at 5 life, Yamamoto made the Agent unblockable, cast Feral Invocation, and attacked for the win/
Yamamoto 1 – 0 Kadono
A pair of Minotaur Skullcleavers traded with a pair of Leafcrown Dryads to start the second game. On his fourth turn, Yamamoto cast Polukranos, World Eater. After a few pieces of removal hit some of Kadono's creatures, Polukranos became monstrous and Yamamoto took the first match.
Yamamoto 2 – 0 Kadono
Jun'ichiro Bandou (Blue/Black) vs. Toshinori Shigehara (Black/Green)
Play started somewhat slowly between Junichirou Bandou's and Toshinori Shigehara. After a couple turns of back and forth, Shigehara tried to resolve a Boon Satyr during Bandou's combat step. Luckily for Bandou, he had a timely Dissolve to shut it down. Bandou then played out a couple of flyers: Vaporkin and Blood-Toll Harpy.
Shigehara was holding a Fade into Antiquity for a situation just like this and exiled the 10/10. Unable to find anything to deal with the Shigehara's army, Bandou conceded and went to the next game.
Bandou 0 – 1 Shigehara
In the second game, Shigehara got stuck on lands while Bandou amounted a quick army of Blood-Toll Harpy, Vaporkin, and Omenspeaker. After discarding for a couple turns, Shigehara attempted to claw his way back into the game with a Nessian Courser. Bandou destroyed Shigehara's only chance with a Sip of Hemlock and sent their match to a third game.
Bandou 1 – 1 Shigehara
For the third game, things looked hopeful for Bandou as he cast a third turn Ashiok. Unfortunately, that was about all he could cast as he failed to draw another land. Meanwhile, Nylea's Emissary picked up a Boon Satyr on Shigehara's fifth turn, took out Ashiok, and eventually went on to win the match for Shigehara.
Shigehara 2-1 Bandou
Makahito Mihara (Blue/Black) vs. Hiroki Furukawa (Blue/White)
With the matches split, it all came down to Mihara and Furukawa's match.
Game one started with Mihara using Pharika's Curse to two-for-one Furukawa's early Hopeful Eidolon enchanted with Ordeal of Heliod. Furukawa, unphased, cast a Triton Fortune Hunter and another Ordeal of Heliod.
After a couple turns of draw-go, Mihara was a little behind and needed to get something going. He found exactly what he needed in Abhorrent Overlord. Though his devotion to black was only three, he followed it up with an Underworld Cerberus and, finally, a Sealock Monster. A few attack steps later, Mihara was up a game.
Mihara 1 -0 Furukawa
That was only for a turn, however, as Mihara again found an Underworld Cerberus. After a couple turns the two large creatures proved too much for Furukawa and Mihara won the match to send his team to the finals.