Grand Prix-Kuala Lumpur
Quarterfinals Recap

Posted in Feature

By Wizards of the Coast

Tsuyoshi Ikeda vs. Jun Nobushita

The Quarterfinals saw two Japanese players, Tsuyoshi Ikeda and Jun Nobushita, paired against each other. Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur had 9 Japanese participants, three of whom advanced to the Quarterfinals. The most popular deck fielded by the Japanese was "Trix" (Necro-Donate); played by 6 participants (the remainder played CounterSliver). Both Nobushita and Ikeda belonged to the Trix camp.

Nobushita won the toss for the first game, and was forced to mulligan due to a no-land hand. Opening with a Duress, Nobushita grabbed a Duress from Ikeda's hand. The following turn, Ikeda attempted to pull ahead by playing a Necropotence (with the help of the card so broken it had to be banned, Dark Ritual), which was promptly met by a Force of Will from Nobushita. On his next turn, Nobushita plays his own Necropotence, and begins using the mad power of the skull to gain card advantage over Ikeda. Attempting to buy time, Ikeda used the Hoodwink he drew to bounce Nobushita's Peat Bog, leaving him with one land. When Nobushita attempted to Duress him, Ikeda responded by Firestorming for two, emptying his hand. The rest of the game was downhill from there, as Nobushita was able to outdraw Ikeda. Ikeda conceeded once Nobushita played Illusions of Grandeur.

The second game saw a fast start from Ikeda with a Ritual-Necropotence, but Nobushita was ready for him with another Force of Will. Nobushita, not to be outdone, followed with his own Ritual-Necropotence. After using Necropotence to draw into land, Nobushita went fishing by attempted to Lobotomize Ikeda. Ikeda countered the Lobotomy with Pyroblast, bringing his hand down to two cards. Gambling Ikeda is lacking a proper counter, Nobushita played Phyrexian Negator, eliciting a grimace from Ikeda. However, after taking two beats from the Negator, Ikeda drew into a solution. With Nobushita at 3 life, Ikeda Duresses him, removing a Force of Will--Nobushita's only counter. Safe from the threat of counter magic, Ikeda plays Firestorm for 3, targetting himself, Nobushita's Negator, and Nobushita, taking the match to the third game.

At the start of the third game, Ikeda was forced to mulligan twice, first drawing a hand with no land, then a hand with nothing but land. After taking his 5 cards, the content of his hand is Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Necropotence, Swamp, Underground River. His first card: Necropotence. Although the first Necropotence was countered by a Force of Will, Nobushita is out and unable to counter the second Necropotence. Needless to say, two Dark Ritual-Necropotences in a row drew a surprised reaction from the spectators, not to mention Nobushita. Using Necropotence to rifle through his deck, Ikeda puts Nobushita on a short clock by quickly playing two Negators. Nobushita uses Contagion to soften up the Negators and responds by using Lim-Dul's Vault. Two turns later, Nobushita attempts to draw his own Negator to block one of Ikeda's...Only to discover that when replacing cards on the top of his library, he put them back in the wrong order. Amid guffaws from spectators and his opponent, Nobushita goes down in defeat, leaving Ikeda to advance to the Semifinals.

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