Ken Sawada resides in Nagoya and is a well-respected Level 2 Judge, who will be assisting with Grand Prix Nagoya in a fortnight. While he is not on duty, he is happy to compete and seems to be doing quite well this weekend.
He is paired against Feng Qianxin from Chongqing, and I was taken aback when both players started to engage in well-spirited Japanese banter. Turns out that Feng has spent a couple of years working in Tokyo, and sometimes runs along with big boys like Yuuya Watanabe, Tomoharu Saito, Yuuta Takahashi and other players in Tokyo at local stores.
Both players are playing with white, blue and black cards but have vastly different approaches. Sawada will be the aggressor in this matchup, hoping to clinch victory with Ephara & Friends before Feng can defend with his Esper Control deck.
Sawada was quick to dish out some quick damage with Soldier of the Pantheon and Imposing Sovereign and the early pair of bears were able to reduce Feng to ten life quickly. Feng however managed to use Doom Blade and Dissolve to stay alive until he could plop Elspeth, Sun's Champion on to the table.
Lyev Skynight was able to halt Elspeth's soldier production for but a turn, and threatened to chip away at Feng's life total. Sphinx's Revelation was able to bolster Feng's life totals for a while and gave him enough time to stabilize with Jace, Architect of Thought to eventually win with a bunch of soldier tokens.
Feng Qianxin 1 – Ken Sawada 0
That was exactly what happened, when Feng stumbled on his draws. When he failed to produce Supreme Verdict, Feng fell into an even deeper rut when Sawada countered his Jace, Architect of Thought with Negate. Unable to cough up any other solutions, Feng quickly reached for his sideboard to prepare for the rubber game.
Feng Qianxin 1 – Ken Sawada 1
A pair of Thoughtseizes paralyzed Feng by removing Dissolve and Blood Baron of Vizkopa. This allowed Kawada to successfully resolve Brimaz once again, to go alongside Soldier of the Pantheon and Precinct Captain that was already wreaking havoc on the battlefield.
Feng desperately drew two cards with Sphinx's Revelation, but all Kawada had to do was activate Mutavault and attack once again to clinch the match. Possibly both the second and third games took less time than the first, thanks to the fast clock provided by Brimaz, King of Oreskos.
Ken Sawada emerges victorious and is now at 11-2, still in contention to make the Top 8.