Finals: Jason Chung vs. Shin'ya Saito

Posted in Event Coverage on January 8, 2017

By Mike Rosenberg

Mike Rosenberg is a writer and gamer and has been part of the Magic text coverage team since 2011. He joined Wizards as organized play’s content specialist in June 2014.

The finals of the Super Sunday Series Championship represented the dynamics of this event: A place where new players, veterans, and pros collide, become friends, and compete, with a mixture of all groups oftentimes meeting the finals. In this case, Gold-level pro Jason Chung faced off against relative premier play newcomer Shin'ya Saito to determine who would win this tournament.

Both Chung and Saito were on blue-black reanimation strategies, though Chung's deck was dipped into red for Firebolt, as well as the haste effect for his two copies of Torrent of Souls. The red gave Chung an advantage in this matchup, as Saito's reanimation plan would need to be a full two turns ahead of Chung's to properly race. Void also provided an answer to an opposing Inkwell Leviathan, which would prove to be powerful. That said, having an advantage did not mean having a guarantee, and Saito's tight play all weekend was likely to make up for a lot.

The Games

Chung led off with Night's Whisper as the first play, discarding Nekrataal after his end step. Saito's first play, Ticking Gnomes, met an Eyeblight's Ending, as Chung took 1 to fall to 17. Saito switched gears with Jayemdae Tome, to which Chung retorted with the powerful Fact or Fiction. The piles flipped an unexciting four lands with a Twisted Abomination, with the creature being placed in a pile with a Mountain as three lands sat in the other. Chung quickly took the two cards.

With Saito still struggling to do anything big, Chung began to execute his game plan, using Mystical Tutor for Entomb, and then Entomb to bin an Inkwell Leviathan. This set up a Torrent of Souls to bring the giant artifact creature back, which crunched in for 9. Saito had no way to deal with the Leviathan in time, and quickly nodded before picking up his cards.

"All that cube drafting paid off," Chung said.

Jason Chung

Saito, after some deliberation and sideboard, opted to draw first for the second game. He opened the game with Duress, taking Void and leaving Gravedigger, Eyeblight's Ending, Torrent of Souls, a Mountain, and a Swamp. Prismatic Lens was next, providing some acceleration or—in the case of Saito's third turn—some fixing to cast Hymn to Tourach. The discard spell robbed Chung of Eyeblight's Ending and a Swamp.

Night's Whisper began to refill Saito's hand, and was followed up by Carrion Feeder. Chung, who found an Island after missing a color and a land drop on the fourth turn, let him get on to the board with Gravedigger. That proved to stop nothing, as Sengir Autocrat produced enough tokens to ensure an unimpeded swing from the zombie creature.

Peregrine Drake gave Chung another blocker for any non-Carrion Feeder creatures, but the zombie had eaten the Sengir Autocrat's army, including the autocrat itself, and Chung found himself at 13 after playing his land—a Swiftwater Cliffs—for the turn.

Animate Dead brought the Sengir Autocrat back for Saito, which gave him more Carrion Feeder fodder. Tragic Slip cleared away one blocker, and after one turn of chump-blocking the 1-mana zombie, Chung picked up his cards in the face of a massive 1-mana titan.

Shin'ya Saito

Chung chose to draw for the third and final game, and he showcased an excellent start, with Night's Whisper to dig deeper, discarding Wonder after his end step. Saito was slow to get on the board, with Wakedancer being his first form of pressure, followed up with Wake of Vultures. Gravedigger brought back Chung's discarded Wonder, then traded with the Wakedancer on Saito's next attack.

While Saito had a good follow-up in a second Wakedancer, this time with morbid active, Chung went for an upkeep Mystical Tutor, finding Toxic Deluge for 3 life to clear Saito's army away.

Saito, as a follow-up, had nothing, and a Duress from Chung let him see why as his opponent fanned out Inkwell Leviathan, Sengir Autocrat, and a land. With no defense lying in wait, Chung deployed Wonder to begin attacking, as while the hand wasn't capable of anything at that point, it would be if Saito drew more lands.

With Saito needing to deploy something, Sengir Autocrat finally hit the table. Chung, after thinking for a moment, decided to Entomb, putting Duplicant into the graveyard. Torrent of Souls for Gravedigger returned the artifact creature to Chung's hand, and Eyeblight's Ending got rid of the Autocrat and its serfs.

Of course, while this has been going on, Saito's draw steps—lands—weren't worthless. He eventually reached the mana necessary to simply cast the 7/11 out of his hand. Chung had an answer in his hand with Void... but unfortunately, lacked the red mana to cast it. Hymn to Tourach from Saito hit both that as well as Torrent of Souls, and the sigh from Chung signaled the end approaching.

With one more attack, Chung offered the handshake, giving Saito the match, the championship title, and the $6,000 prize that goes with it.

Congratulations to Shin'ya Saito, the Super Sunday Series champion!

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