Posted in NEWS on February 9, 2014

By Marc Calderaro

(13) Makihito Mihara vs. (12) Owen Turtenwald

There are two giants in the finals—No. 12 Owen Turtenwald up against No. 13 Makihito Mihara. This matchup was something just about anyone could have predicted coming into this weekend. However, if you had followed the coverage yesterday, this finals was rather unexpected. Both players finished the first day at 4-2—having to mount an impressive run today to get here today.

Further, even into the Top 8, Mihara's draft was far from the best deck he's drafted. Taking an Esperzoa then immediately abandoning his plan, he had to settle for a Red-Green Midrange deck that relies heavily on two Rude Awakening to finish out the game. Granted, that's exactly what he did in both of the previous match-ups, but still.

(13) Makihito Mihara vs. (12) Owen Turtenwald

Owen Turtenwald's deck was more overtly powerful. Seemingly one of the only blue or black drafters, Owen crafted a near-perfect tempo deck that topped out with a big, fat, Death Cloud. The card helped him win the game out of nowhere, and close out games that were threatening to drag on and on and on.

The two sat down for the whole enchilada—$6,000 and the pride of being the first ever Super Sunday Series Champion ever!

Game One

Owen Turtenwald started by suspending an Errant Ephemeron, then lining its suspend counters with a Riftwing Cloudskate. Makihito Mihara ramped into Imperiosaur off the back of Search for Tomorrow. The Japanese pro (and likely front-runner for the Hall of Fame ballot coming soon) drew the first blood dealing five damage to Owen's face. Then, when he used Torrent of Stone to take out the Ephemeron, it looked like Mihara might have been in the lead.

I mean, "might have been" in the sense that if you overlooked the fact that the dinosaur was bounced by Cloudskate, and the Marsh Flitter and Rathi Trapper were given free reign to get on in there from Owen. So really, Mihara "wasn't" in the lead.

(12) Owen Turtenwald

The game went like this for a couple of turns, losing a few life a turn, and Mihara was running out of ways to win the game. His stuff kept getting bounced and the blue and black little winged beasts were just nibbling him to death.

Mihara cast a Rude Awakening and took Turtenwald down to three, but it looked like his master plan had ended there. Turtenwald's removal was just enough to halt Mihara from winning, even though it didn't look like he could win himself.

But although Turtenwald never had anything bigger than a 2/2 on the field for over a turn, he was able to win the game convincingly at a very, very low life total by tempo-ing Mihara's deck out.

(12) Owen Turtenwald 1 – 0 (13) Makihito Mihara


Game Two

Mihara could only laugh when the correct reveal to Owen's Thieving Sprite for one was a Rude Awakening. He desperately needed the early creatures to stop the quick beats of Owen's deck, even though it was the Rude Awakening that would likely actually close out the game. And Mihara could only cross his arms and slap his remaining two cards on the table, when on the next turn Owen cast a second Sprite—taking one of those early creatures he was so valuing.

Owen only had two power of creatures against Mihara's eight, but Owen sure didn't seem like he was losing, even when he sunk to 10 life (against Owen's 18) on an attack from a Pallid Mycoderm, Riftsweeper, Thallid, and some tokens (with a Thallid Germinator waiting in the wings). Turtenwald kept threatening to swing the game in his favor, but like Mihara last game, he seemed to keep falling shy.

(13) Makihito Mihara

Turtenwald's life total kept slipping away—soon it was 6-17. But he was just on the cusp—that was when Mihara cast Sandsower with a litany of creatures on the battlefield. With more than enough extra creatures on the board, Mihara was able to push through the final few bits of damage he needed—and right when Owen had thought he was going to turn the game around.

(12) Owen Turtenwald 1 – 1 (13) Makihito Mihara


Game Three

So it all comes down to this—Giant on Giant (granted, with no Giants in either players' deck).

In the third game, Owen Turtenwald was the aggressor as usual—I mean, kinda. If you call a dead Marsh Flitter's tokens and a Stinkweed Imp "aggression," then yes, he was the aggressor. Mihara mustered a barely kicked Verdeloth the Ancient to combat this aggro force, but it just traded for the Stinkweed Imp. The 1/2 that has been stellar for Owen throughout this entire Top 8.

After Mihara's follow-up Durkwood Baloth was countered, it seemed the two Goblin tokens were actually the best thing since sliced bread, stealing Mihara's life in little bits.

Rude Awakening

As per usual with Mihara's deck it was using an entwined Rude Awakening to get back into it. He used it, along with a Path to Exile to wipe away the threats and take Owen to 7. He had two cards left in his hand, and one was the second Rude Awakening to close out the game. The writing was on the wall. We all knew it.

Then, seemingly like clockwork himself, Owen cast a Death Cloud to nab the remaining two cards out of Mihara's hand, including the finishing Rude Awakening. The totals were 15-5 in Mihara's favor—but I can tell you from the floor, nothing else was.

Mihara picked up Death Cloud from Turtenwald's graveyard, "Good card," he said.

As Turtenwald had a Warren Pilferers remaining in his grip, it was only a few turns before he would take the game. The Japanese player perked back up when he topdecked a Citanul Woodreaders and drew into some more gas. His Torrent of Stone took out Owen's Warren Pilferers and then he cast an Imperiosaur.

Owen had no answer. Was Mihara going to do it?! Anyone who played during original Mirrodin block can tell you the horror stories of the Death Cloud that seemingly closed up the game, only to have the opponent draw the exact sequence of cards necessary to worm his way out of it. Was this going to be how the finals of the Super Sunday Series was to end?

Not if Owen had anything to say about it. Drawing like a champ, he tapped out and slammed a Take Possession onto the 5/5 dinosaur and Mihara let out a huge sigh. This was followed up with another tap out for an Errant Ephemeron. It was 11-9. Mihara had already snuck out a win in Game Two; could he do it again?

Nope. No he could not.

(12) Owen Turtenwald 2 – 1 (13) Makihito Mihara

Owen Turtenwald is your Super Sunday Series Champion! Who knew? The man's pretty good at Magic. Congratulations, Owen!