Round 4: Team Fire Beat vs. Team

Posted in Feature

By Monty Ashley

Toshiki Tsukamoto vs. Dave Williams

The match started with banter as the players realized that four years earlier, Chris Benafel had sold a mint Alpha black lotus to Toshiki Tsukamoto.

Game 1

Tsukamoto's bid for an early Cavern Harpy was foiled when Williams Terminated the Stormscape Apprentice that had been marked for gating. After a Williams Vicious Kavu traded with a Phyrexian Slayer, both players had Volcano Imps as their only creatures.

Tsukamoto's Imp was Soul Burned.

Williams turned to his teammate Benafel and asked if everything was okayin his match "Doing all right. Drew my third land," replied Benafel, going on to allege that in the same situation, Benafel would be complaining vociferously.

After Williams temporarily left the skies by trading his Volcano Imp for a Lava Zombie, Tsukamoto attacked with an Aurora Griffin and Probed with Kicker. Williams discarded his cards (including another Lava Zombie) and went on the offensive, devoting all his available mana to pumping up the Zombie.

The next turn, when the Zombie went surprisingly unblocked, Williams invested only two mana in the zombie, a plan which paid off when it got Repulsed. With his mana still available, Williams was able to play an intermediary creature and step back up to the Lava Zombie right away.

Shortly thereafter, Tsukamoto bounced the Zombie with a Hunting Drake and promptly reloaded the Drake with a Cavern Harpy. Not wanting to spend the rest of his life casting and recasting the same Lava Zombie, Williams chose a new strattegy, casting a foil Duskwalker.

At this point, Jun Nobushita triple-blocked Ryan Fuller's Mirrorwood Treefolk. Nobushita was unpleasantly surprised when the Mirrorwood's ability dealt the damage of all three creatures directly to his head, ending the game abruptly.

The multiple-judge, two-language "discussion" that ensued distracted everybody at the table, including some of the players, and somewhere in there, Williams scooped, having only one ground creature against Tsukamoto's air force.

Game 2

Williams's first play was a Bog Down, taking an Island and a Swamp, eventually. Williams commented that "everything takes a year with Toshiki," a situation that was made more vexing by the delay their match had had when all the attention was on Fuller/Nobushita. The wait happened again when Williams played a Thunderscape Battlemage with the discard kicker right after a Tsukamoto Probe-with-kicker.

Williams noticeably stepped up the pace of his play, throwing Tsukamotos habitual glacial pace into sharp relief. After a few turns, Williams had a Lava Zombie and a Trench Wurm, while Tsukamoto's creatures had all been burned or Smoldering Tarred away. To Tsukamoto's credit, he scooped when it was clear he was going to lose, instead of stalling the game out.

Game 3

The shuffling began with 6:36 left on the game clock.

The first spell was Tsukamoto's: Bog Down; it got a Swamp and a Bog Down. Williams played a Caldera Kavu with 2:20 left to go in the round. A Smoldering Tar would have put some long-term pressure on, but the time ran out.

Result: Draw, 1-1

Final Result: def. Fire Beat, 2-0-1

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