Round 13: (3) Lukas Blohon (Scapeshift) vs. (8) Shota Yasooka (Abzan Company)

Posted in Event Coverage on September 3, 2016

By Frank Karsten

There were two rounds to go before the Top 4 cutoff, and both players in this feature match sat down at the table with 8-4 records. This meant that they needed at least one more win to make it to the Sunday competition. A lot was on the line, but that was nothing new for these two Pro Tour Champions.


Pro Tour Champions Shota Yasooka (left) and Lukas Blohon have both survived high-pressure situations before.

No. 3-ranked Lukas Blohon, winner of Pro Tour Eldritch Moon, has had an incredible season, winning 69% of his matches at the Pro Tour level. Although this was his first World Championship, he started playing competitively over ten years ago. Previously, he worked part-time at a hotel, juggling that alongside traveling for premier events. Now, he just plays Magic professionally and splits his time between Magic, his family, and his girlfriend. Although Lukas prepared for the event alone, he could always rely on his Czech friends Petr Sochůrek and Martin Jůza for advice.

No. 8-ranked Shota Yasooka, winner of Pro Tour Charleston 2006, also had a good season, earning a spot at the World Championship as one of Asia's top three Pro Point earners this season. Yasooka has loved card games since he was a kid, and has always been fiercely competitive. His prowess at the game earned him an inclusion in the 2015 Pro Tour Hall of Fame class. He is known as a Constructed master, often showing up with offbeat decks, and for making excellent plays at breakneck speed.

The Decks

The matchup would be between Blohon's Scapeshift and Yasooka's Abzan Company. Blohon would aim to assemble his mana base early on, followed by a Scapeshift to get Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and seven or eight Mountains to roast his opponent to death. Yasooka aimed to piece together Viscera Seer, Melira, Sylvok Outcast, and Kitchen Finks for a googolplex life and infinite scry, leaving him with a Murderous Redcap on top for unlimited amounts of damage.

Both players had access to tutors and several silver bullets. For instance, Blohon had the option to fetch Damnation with Bring to Light to sweep the board, and Yasooka could cast find Spellskite with Chord of Calling to redirect a number of Valakut triggers. Both players had to keep these options in mind during the games.

Another factor was a new sideboard card from Eldritch Moon. "Before, this matchup used to be really good for Scapeshift. I have a lot of interaction, and he can't really stop my combo," Blohon explained after the match. "But Distended Mindbender is just such a brutal card. If he goes Birds of Paradise, Kitchen Finks, Distended Mindbender, then I can't really win." Yasooka had two copies of the emerge creature in his sideboard, but he never drew them during the match.

The Games

In Game 1, Yasooka had to start off with a couple of mulligans and wasn't able to put on a lot of pressure. Kitchen Finks started attacking, and his board got boosted by Gavony Township, but it still wasn't exactly a fast clock.

Blohon, meanwhile, assembled his mana base with Sakura-Tribe Elder, sculpted his hand with Worldly Counsel, and stifled Yasooka's development with Cryptic Command.

Since he had already drawn Scapeshift, Blohon had pretty much everything locked up, except for the fact that he needed another land to secure lethal damage. Fortunately, Bring to Light can fetch everything, including Search for Tomorrow. When Blohon used his powerful tutor to merely find a land, Yasooka knew what was up.

Indeed, a lethal Scapeshift was cast on the next turn, and there were more than enough Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle triggers to reduce Yasooka's life total below zero.

In Game 2, Yasooka had to start with two mulligans once again, but at least he did find two discard spells for disruption. The first Thoughtseize revealed that Blohon had kept a hand with Remand, Snapcaster Mage, Bring to Light, Lightning Bolt, and three lands. Yasooka selected Remand, which ensured his second Thoughtseize would resolve.


Yasooka began Game 2 with five cards in hand, hoping his disruption would buy him enough time.

The second Thoughtseize took Bring to Light, which left Blohon with Lightning Bolt and Snapcaster Mage in hand. Yasooka then added Spellskite to the battlefield, effectively nullifying the Lightning Bolt in Blohon's hand unless he wanted to Bolt-Snap-Bolt the 0/4.

But Blohon had bigger plans for that Snapcaster Mage. Since Yasooka again wasn't putting on a lot of pressure, Blohon had more than enough time to assemble his mana base. It didn't take long for him to ramp up to eight lands, at which point he used Snapcaster Mage to flash back the Bring to Light that was discarded earlier in the game.

Bring to Light found Scapeshift, which turned seven of his lands into two Valakut, the Molten Pinnacles and five Mountains. Even Spellskite couldn't save Yasooka, as redirecting all ten triggers would cost him 20 life points, so he extended his hand in defeat.

Lukas Blohon defeats Shota Yasooka 2–0.

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