Round 11 Feature Match: Makihito Mihara vs. Gao Zhen Xing

Posted in GRAND PRIX BEIJING 2016 on April 17, 2016

By Ben Swartz

Coming into day 2 there were 4 undefeated players. Thanks to a draw between two of them, at the end of round 10 there were three. Makihito Mihara sat at 10-0 in the feature match area to face off against 9-0-1 Gao Zhen Xing

While the former World Champion played a Black-Green deck yesterday in sealed, in the first booster draft of Grand Prix Beijing Makihito Mihara assembled a White-Black spirit deck. Flying creatures backed up by removal is always a winning strategy; Mihara had access to Sinister Concoction, Apothecary Geist, and a pair of Topplegeists.

While not a former World Champion, Mihara's opponent, Gao Zhen Xing, was no slouch to competitive Magic. With two Grand Prix Top 8s in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur the game designer from Beijing crafted a White-Black-Green Humans deck. His show stoppers included Sigarda, Heron's Grace, Always Watching, and Declaration in Stone.

The Games

The first game started with both players playing out creatures: Wicker Witch, Thraben Inspector and Emissary of the Sleepless for Mihara and Cathar's Companion and Harvest Hand for Gao.

When Gao attacked with his Cathar's Companion, Mihara blocked; Gao was quick to use Throttle to two-for-one the former world champion.

Gao Zhen Xing

Mihara cast Apothecary Geist and used his Dauntless Cathar to get a 1/1 spirit token. Armed with the flyers, he was finally able to force some damage through.

The next big play from Gao was Sigarda, Heron's Grace. Immediately, Mihara answered it with Sinister Concoction.

[pictures of Sigarda, Heron's Grace and Sinister Concoction]

By this point Mihara's flyers had dropped Gao down to 8. Gao found a Watcher of the Web, but Mihara found a Topplegeist to keep the spider at bay.

Mihara dropped Gao to 2 before Gao was able to remove the spirit with Dead Weight. From there Gao cast Always Watching and looked to stabilize. Unfortunately for Gao, Mihara was able to find a second copy of Topplegeist and take the first game.

Mihara 1 – 0 Gao

As if a continuation from the previous game, Mihara started game two with a pair of Topplegeists. Mihara followed the spirits up with an Apothecary Geist and was able to drop Gao down to 13. Gao's first play was Vessel of Ephemera.

Makihito Mihara

With Gao stuck on 3 lands, Mihara used Tooth Collector to deal with Gao's Spirit token. Without blockers, Mihara was able to continue beating Gao down in the air. Without access to a fourth land, Gao fell to Mihara a couple turns later.

Makihito Mihara defeats Gao Zhen Xing to remain the only 11-0 at Grand Prix Beijing!