Finals Report: v. Anchans

Posted in NEWS on December 29, 2015

Josh Bennett Well, this was it. For all the marbles. The two visiting titans. ABU, the unquestioned kings of Team Limited, against the one-time Japanese powerhouse, Anchans. Dave Williams lunged off the starting blocks with Shivan Zombie and Phyrexian Battleflies. Osamu Fujita tried to slow his assault with Caldera Kavu, but Williams dropped a Trench Wurm. Though Fujita found enough black mana to keep the Wurm at bay, Williams kept his aerial assault up, knocking Fujita to 10. Chris Benafel had all his eggs in one basket against Itaru Ishida. He had a Coalition Honor Guard with Wings of Hope on it. It was a good thing, too, since Ishida's next play was Tahngarth, Talruum Hero. Fujita tried to turn the tide against Williams with a doubly-kicked Necravolver, a scary prospect indeed. Lucky Williams had come prepared. He untapped, Strafed the 'Volver, then kicked up a Magma Burst to wipe Fujita's board. He swung with his whole team for eight. Fujita packed up next turn. A kicked Bog Down from Katsuhiro Mori took away a bunch of Dan Clegg's lands, and then he summoned a Trench Wurm to go to town on his non-basics. However, Clegg's hand was mana-rich, and he had a Loafing Giant and Angelfire Crusader on the go. His Horned Kavu and Amphibious Kavu were being held off by a Coastal Drake. Then Mori dropped Crosis. The Kavu were purged from Clegg's hand, and though his beats had dropped Mori to five, he couldn't push past the 6/6 beastie. He knocked Mori to one with a final thrust, but couldn't convert. Next to him, Benafel had taken the first game against Ishida. Ishida never found a way around Benafel's monster flagbearer, and Benafel dropped Voice of All and Living Airship on successive turns. He flew to victory. Fujita had turned the tables on Williams in their second game. His team was four strong: Caldera Kavu, Rooting Kavu, Slingshot Goblin and Thunderscape Apprentice. Williams threw his best firepower at him, dropping Dead Ringers on the goblin and wizard, and reacting to Fujita's Lava Zombie with a kicked Magma Burst. The situation stabilised with Williams on three land and a Nightscape Apprentice, and Fujita with seven and a Mire Kavu. It was brutality at the far end of the table. Mori had been beating on Clegg with Trench Wurm and Phyrexian Bloodstock, and when Clegg moved to stop the madness with Lightning Angel, Mori dropped Cavern Harpy, gating the Bloodstock and taking down the Angel. Then he kicked up a Bog Down that left Clegg with no cards in hand! Clegg couldn't scoop fast enough. Fujita had finished mopping up Williams in their second game about this time. Thunderscape Apprentice was working Williams's already precarious life total. Consume Strength just speeded his demise. Ishida and Benafel were at an impasse. Benafel had a Helionaut with Squee's Embrace, and a Stormscape Apprentice with Wings of Hope. Ishida had Gerrard Capashen and a Thornscape Battlemage. Benafel looked to break the game wide open with Raka Sanctuary. Ishida drew Tangarth, and put him into play. Benafel was so taken aback he had to take his hat off! Clegg finally seemed to be getting the better of Mori, with a prodigious force of Lightning Angel, Angel of Mercy and Loafing Giant. Temporal Spring got Crosis out of harm's way, leaving Mori at five. Benafel finally decided to go on the offensive, swinging with both his fliers and leaving Ishida at seven. He used Deliver to keep the Minotaur Hero from wrecking his game plan. Fujita was delivering pain in his third game against Williams. Williams had to fight through a 4/4 Necravolver, a Kavu Howler and a pair of Caldera Kavu. His two Mournings slowed things down, and he raced in the air with Phyrexian Battleflies, but he didn't have nearly enough blockers. When Fujita's stream of monster's kept up, Williams folded. Once Tahngarth came online, Benafel's world fell apart. Working alongside his crewman Gerrard, he picked off the Stormscape Apprentice, and then went to town on Benafel's head. Clegg was the only ray of sunshine. His flying brigade forced a fourth game from Mori. ABU's mood darkened significantly. With the matches at 2-1, 1-1, and 2-1, favoring Anchans on every side, they concentrated their energies on their game, instead of their trashtalk. A turn-four Gerrard from Ishida had Benafel shaking his head. He had five cards in his hand, never mind the problem that a 3/4 attacker presented his defense of Sunscape Familiar and Helionaut. Williams had the early pressure against Fujita in Game 4. He dropped Shivan Zombie and Lord of the Undead, putting Mourning on Fujita's Quagmire Druid. Fujita forced him to move it when a Pouncing Kavu showed up. He stalled the board completely with a doubly-kicked Necravolver. Williams made a Phyrexian Gargantua, hoping the cards and 4/4 would put him over the top. Clegg was on the ropes quickly in his fourth game. Mori had pressure on all sides: On the ground with Lava Zombie and Trench Wurm, and in the air with Coastal Drake. Clegg's Angel of Mercy took down the Zombie, only to see Mori's airforce grow with Cavern Harpy. He had the tools to shut things down in his hand, Jilt and Desolation Giant, but had no red mana. Mori flew overtop to give Anchans the first match win. Fujita had the answer for William's crew. He summoned Nomadic Elf and put Bloodfire Infusion on it. He sacrificed it, and left Williams with only a Gargantua in play. Williams untapped and Recovered his Lord. Safe behind his 4/4, he rebuilt his army of the undead. Benafel's defenses swelled with pure beef, Helionaut and Hunting Drake sporting fine enchantments. However, the time he gave Ishida let him climb to thirty-two on Gerrard's back. Ishida brought a Glade Gnarr to bear, and started attacking. On his second assault, Benafel caught Ishida looking to rescue Gerrard with a timely Orim's Thunder on a Helionaut's Wings of Hope. He calmly tapped four and displayed the Mystic Snake he'd been holding for so many turns. This left Benafel at six with the enchanted Hunting Drake and Helionaut, the Snake and a Samite Archer. Ishida was at twenty-nine with an Aurora Griffin, a Razorfoot Griffin and the Gnarr. He had Tahngarth in hand, but no mountains to cast him. Fujita couldn't keep up with the endless 3/3's Williams could muster. The Necravolver refrained from blocking, and William's took out the rest of his defenses with a kicked Magma Burst. Swarming for the win, the Necravolver's life gain was simply too late. Benafel had no mercy for Ishida, playing Voice of All and Raka Sanctuary, while Ishida struggled for red mana. Fliers hit him for four a turn, and he couldn't draw out of it in time. In the deciding game of the Williams-Fujita match, there was a creature buildup. Fujita had Caldera Kavu and Mire Kavu, but no swamp, and Williams had Battleflies, Kavu Aggressor and Lord of the Undead. The race was on. Fujita swung with his team, and knocked Williams to thirteen. However, he was at fourteen, and had no blocker. Williams returned fire. He pumped his Battleflies twice, dealing seven. Fujita drew, and let out a frustrated sigh over his lack of black mana. The reason became clear when he plaed Bloodfire Infusion on his Mire Kavu. Had he found a swamp, he could have blown his Caldera Kavu and left the Mire as the sole survivor. The table was cleared on Williams's turn. Williams recovered his Battleflies and recast them. Fujita dropped Thunderscape Apprentice and Thunderscape Battlemage. The life totals were eight to seven in Williams's favor. Williams swung for two, and dropped Mourning on the Battlemage, holding Dead Ringers, Strafe and Magma Burst. Fujita's draw yielded nothing. Williams attacked again and played the Burst to win. The deciding match was thus Ishida-Benafel. Though Ishida had Radiant Kavu keeping Living Airship and Silver Drake off his back, he was under fire from a Voice of All in the air and unable to counterattack. Gerrard was no help, as Benafel was content to play off an empty hand. The situation was absurd, considering Benafel's dominance and the fact that he had drawn only seven spells. A Rushing River bought Ishida an extra turn. He dropped Manacles of Decay on the Living Airship and attacked for eight, putting Benafel to six. Benafel replayed his crew and dropped Ishida to three. A Sleeping Potion took Gerrard out of the equation. Another hit and he was at one. He drew his card, and extended the hand. Congratulations to Team, Grand Prix Taipei champions! defeats Anchans 2-1