Posted in NEWS on December 22, 2013

In the final round of day one, two undefeated players, Masayasu Tanahashi and Ken'ichiro Arai faced off. Both were no stranger to high level competition. Masayasu Tanahashi made the top eight at Pro Tour Kyoto in 2009, while Arai is a consistent figure in the Japanese competitive scene.


Masayasu Tanahashi had gotten this far with the help of his green devotion deck. Similar to the one used by Makahito Mihara at Pro Tour Theros, the explosive deck is capable of powering out early Arbor Colossuses or creating gigantic Polukranoses.


On the other side of the table, Ken'ichiro Arai fought with the boogeyman of the format: Mono-black devotion. Thoughtseize, Pack Rat, and friends had fared well for him so far. Would they be good for one more match?


The Games


Tanahashi mulliganed to five, and Arai kicked him while he was down by unleashing a first turn Thoughtseize. Tanahashi revealed Burning-Tree Emissary, Kalonian Tusker and Reverent Hunter along with two lands. Arai took the Hunter.


Unphased by the early removal spell, Tanahashi curved out of it. He cast both his Burning-Tree Emissary and Sylvan Caryatid on turn two, and used Nykthos to power out a Polukranos on turn three.


Arai used Hero's Downfall to take out the mythic rare and started attacking with his Nightveil Specter. Gray Merchant of Asphodel came down and dropped Tanahashi to 11 life.


An Arbor Colossus off the top came down for Tanahashi. It started taking chunks out of Arai's life total, but, after a few turns, Arai found a Hero's Downfall for the giant.


The players were at a standstill: Tanahashi kept drawing small creatures, while Arai kept drawing lands. Consecutively, both players drew haymakers: Arai with Pack Rat and Tanahashi with Polukranos, World Eater.


While Tanahashi made the World Eater a 10/10, Arai started to create an army of rats. Finally, Tanahashi drew a Mizzium Mortars off the top, but it was too late; Arai had already created five rats making them immune. With the writing on the wall, Tanahashi conceded and headed to a second game.



Ken'ichiro Arai


Arai 1 - 0 Tanahashi


Another first turn Thoughtseize from Arai revealed a lackluster hand from Tanahashi: Polukranos, World Eater, Sylvan Caryatid, Mizzium Mortars and three lands. Polukranos hit the graveyard and Tanahashi accelerated with Caraytid.


Masayasu Tanahashi vs. Ken'ichiro Arai


Expecting Tanahashi to burn through his Mortars, Arai cast Pack Rat. The top of Tanahashi's deck had a different answer, however, in the form of Chandra, Pyromancer.


Chandra bit the dust to a Hero's Downfall and Tanahashi drew a pair Arbor Colossuses, which each met quick demise at the hand of Hero's Downfall. The top of Tanahashi's deck, however, continued to give him what he needed: a second Chandra and a Domri Rade.


Though Arai tried his hardest to remove the planeswalkers, the card advantage proved too much forcing the match to a third game.


Masayasu Tanahashi


The final game was over in a flash. Tanahashi had a quick start with a pair of Kalonian Tuskers, followed by a Reverent Hunter. A Hero's Downfall took out the Hunter, but the Tuskers continued taking chunks out of Arai's life total. With no answer, to them, Arai conceded allowing Tanahashi to escape day one with a perfect 9-0 record.


Masayasu Tanahashi 2 - 1 Ken'ichiro Arai