Posted in NEWS on March 29, 2014

By Chapman Sim

Being at the perfect score for the first third of the day is a good feeling but Lei was not pleased to be paired against Hall of Famer Shuhei Nakamura. Armed with a Jund Monsters deck, splashing black for Dreadbore, Reaper of the Wilds and Rakdos's Return, Lei would need to play exceptionally well to beat Nakamura's streamlined Mono Black Devotion deck.

Game One

Nakamura kickstarted the game with double Thoughtseize, quickly removing Courser of Kruphix and Domri Rade from Lei's grip. He continued the disruption with a Lifebane Zombie on turn three, netting Reaper of the Wild this time.

Lei did manage to peel a replacement Reaper of the Wilds, but Nakamura trumped with Desecration Demon, a much faster clock than the gorgon was. Lei could only attempt to race by attacking Reaper of the Wilds, while finishing off the intimidating zombie with Mizzium Mortars.

Nakamura denied him two mana and "demonic sacrificial fodder" by pointing Bile Blight at a pair of Elvish Mystics, allowing Lei to Scry twice. This didn't net him anything useful, but Domri Rade was able to help him tank a hit from the Desecration Demon.

Turn 5 Pack Rat with 3 mana open was the final nail in the coffin though. When Lei passed the turn dropping a relatively-underwhelming Courser of Kruphix, Nakamura simply made a copy of Pack Rats, before untapping and casting another from his hand.

A flurry of hand disruption from Nakamura quickly destroy's Lei's chances.

Shuhei Nakamura 1 – Lei Yu Sheng 0

Game Two

Lei opened with Sylvan Caryatid and Polukranos, World Eater and Nakamura deflected both with a combination of Devour Flesh and Hero's Downfall. However, Lei was ready with Reaper of the Wilds once again.

Nakamura tried to pull ahead with card advantage provided by Underworld Connections, while using a pair of Duresses to strip Dreadbore and Rakdos's Return from Lei's hand, leaving him with just a pair of Stormbreath Dragons.

Ripping a 4th land off the top and tapping Sylvan Caryatid, Lei was able to deploy a hasty dragon. Sacrificing Sylvan Caryatid to feed Desecration Demon, Lei struck for eight damage, forcing Nakamura to summon Gray Merchant of Asphodel (for six) to stay alive.

Despite Nakamura's attempts to block, Lei was able to cough up enough creatures to keep Desecration Demon tapped, until he finally finished it off with Dreadbore and clinching the match with the Reaper of the Wilds that had proved problematic to remove.

Lei Yu Sheng equalizes the score against Hall of Famer Shuhei Nakamura.

Shuhei Nakamura 1 – Lei Yu Sheng 1

Game Three

Nakamura was first to begin and he did start excellently. Boring but brutal, the classic combination of Thoughtseize and Pack Rat enabled him to remove Ultimate Price and he was able to duplicate a copy unopposed.

Lei had an equally fast start involving Turn 1 Elvish Mystic, Turn 2 Sylvan Caryatid, Turn 3 Reaper of the Wilds and Turn 4 Stormbreath Dragon. Even though he could keep back Reaper of the Wilds to block, Lei decided to turn both his monsters sideways, indicating he would like to race the rodents.

Muttering under his breath, flicking his cards and tapping the table profusely, Nakamura started to do the math. Could his three (and counting) rats outrace Lei's 8 power of creatures? Clearly he felt he could and decided to go down to 10 life.

Nakamura counterattacked with 3 rats, and made a 4th, dealing 12 damage in one fell swoop. As the game reached it final throes, both players knew they had but one turn at most. Lei decided he was at the point of no return and continued to turn both his monsters sideways, but Nakamura was ready with Doom Blade, securing his victory.

It didn't matter what he was going to draw next, it would most likely become his fifth Pack Rat.

A horde of Rats outrace Reaper of the Wilds and Stormbreath Dragon.

Shuhei Nakamura 2 – Lei Yu Sheng 1