Posted in NEWS on April 12, 2014

By Josh Bennett

The Players

These two are a couple of Grand Prix regulars lining themselves up for their best performance to date. One of them will finish the day with the coveted 9-0 record.

Yuuta Iwazaki vs. Ryousuke Kasuga

The Decks

This far into a Sealed Deck tournament you'd be right to expect powerhouses. Iwazaki's deck was a streamlined Blue-Green Machine with many bestow creatures and plenty of tempo tricks. Archetype of Imagination and Hunter's Prowess provide ways to break out of snarled boards. Kasuga's deck leans the other direction, multicolored with good fixing, a host of powerful creatures, and a removal suite to beat the band.

The Games

Iwazaki was at an early disadvantage thanks to a mulligan to six. He had early pressure, but Kasuga matched him with blockers, so he could only keep the Hero of Leina Tower on the table. As a 1/1 it wasn't doing him much good, so he cashed in a Retraction Helix for four +1/+1 counters on his next attack, dropping Kasuga down to twelve.

Yuuta Iwazaki

However Iwazaki was left with just lands in hand, and Kasuga was hitting his stride. Keepsake Gorgon forced the Hero to stay at home for a turn, and that only opened the door to Asphyxiate. From there it was clear sailing and Kasuga took the first game.

Kasuga 1 - Iwazaki 0

Iwazaki got to play with a full hand this game but was slow off the starting blocks. He played a third-turn Setessan Oathsworn and then had to play a Temple of Mystery as his fourth land and pass an otherwise empty turn. Meanwhile Kasuga was not idle. He suited up his Nessian Courser with Leafcrown Dryad and began administering the beats.

Iwazaki flipped the script on him on turn five. Two mana gave the Oathsworn Ordeal of Thassa, which he got to cash in during the attack step. After Kasuga declined to block, Iwazaki decided to go for pure damage and added a Savage Surge to the mix. The Oathsworn hit for eight. Iwazaki was banking on the Archetype of Imagination in his hand to sew up the game. The only problem was that he was stuck on five land. Still, after Kasuga dropped the dreaded Keepsake Gorgon, Iwazaki had Sudden Storm to force through still more damage.

Ryousuke Kasuga

Kasuga got a look at what was coming thanks to Disciple of Phenax and was able to stay ready with Lightning Strike mana open. Iwazaki's deck thought it would be fun to serve up ineffective creatures, and Kasuga's removal meant that his would be the only giant monster that got to stay in play. Soon Iwazaki was extending the hand.

Ryousuke Kasuga defeats Yuuta Iwazaki 2-0