Posted in NEWS on January 4, 2015

By Chapman Sim

After dispatching Martin Jůza in the quarterfinals, Makihito Mihara will soon face Joseph Sclauzero. The Australian player was playing in his very first Grand Prix Top 8 and will be happy to be qualified for his very first Pro Tour as well.

His Mardu Midrange deck will go against the Hall of Famer's Green Black Devotion deck. Mihara wasn't about to let his guard down. He was only two matches away from his third Grand Prix victory.

Game 1

Sclauzero was forced to mulligan and could only recruit six Goblin tokens. That was not quite good enough against Mihara's brutal opening.

Sylvan Caryatid and Courser of Kruphix arrived first, followed up Polukranos, World Eater. Sclauzero had no access to black mana, and could only hope to chump block. However, Mihara had access to Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, and gobbled up most of the little red men.

Not wanting to waste more time delaying the inevitable, Sclauzero scooped up his cards and reached for his sideboard.

Makihito Mihara quickly takes Game 1 with the aid of Polukranos, World Eater.

Makihito Mihara 1 – Joseph Sclauzero 0

Game 2

A pair of Thoughtseize put Courser of Kruphix and Whip of Erebos into Mihara's graveyard. That didn't stop Mihara from resolving Doomwake Giant on Turn 3, thanks to the help of Elvish Mystic and Voyaging Satyr.

Read the Bones improved Sclauzero's grip and he chained Doomwake Giant to the rocks. Mihara's Thoughtseize stripped away Crackling Doom, leaving Hushwing Gryff as the only relevant card behind.

This decision came back to haunt him, because Mihara's next draw turned out to be Hornet Queen. Sclauzero immediately deployed Butcher of the Horde from the top of his deck and Mihara was forced to walk into Hushwing Gryff and summon Hornet Queen as a blocker. 3GGGG for a 2/2 flyer is not the best deal.

Things went downhill for Mihara after that, because Sclauzero topdecked Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker and Crackling Doom in succession, quickly wrapping things up before Mihara could draw anything relevant, especially Polukranos, World Eater.

Hushwing Gryff turns out to the lifesaver!

Makihito Mihara 1 – Joseph Sclauzero 1

Game 3

Both players seemed happy with their initial seven, even if Sclauzero had no white mana. Mihara's Voyaging Satyr was struck down by lightning, and Sylvan Caryatid was burnt to a crisp with Anger of the Gods.

Regardless, Mihara didn't need any of the accelerants and tapped five lands to cast Arbor Colossus and Doomwake Giant one after another.

The Mardu Midrange deck was not one which was short on answers. A pair of Crackling Doom dealt with those monsters but that was not the worst of all. Hushwing Gryff was at the ready to stop Hornet Queen from reproducing.

The Dynamic Duo races through the skies.

Together with Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker, the dynamic duo raced through the skies and ripped away Mihara's life total. Wingmate Roc's trigger was switched off (because of Hushwing Gryff), but it was inconsequential. Mihara's deck was unable to deal with all the flyers on the board.

"Good luck in the finals, and see you in Shizuoka," Mihara said while extending his hand.

Makihito Mihara 1 – Joseph Sclauzero 2

First-timer Joseph Sclauzero defeats Hall of Famer Makihito Mihara and advances to the finals!