Semifinals: Junya Iyanaga vs. Shougo Sunada

Posted in GRAND PRIX CHIBA 2015 on May 31, 2015

By Chapman Sim

MTG Mint Card's Junya Iyanaga is one of the two World Champions in the Top 8 this weekend. As a matter of fact, both of the World Champions have made it through to the semifinals. If Katsuhiro Mori manages to win the semifinals match along with Junya Iyanaga, we can expect to see a truly Finals match between two titans.

For that to happen, Junya Iyanaga will at least need to defeat Shougo Sunada. If he does so, he will be able to advance and have a shot at his second Grand Prix title.

Shougo Sunada was not about to go down without a fight and he similarly wanted to be crowned Champion in the largest Japanese tournament to date! With that, they shuffled up and began the Black Green mirror match!

Game One

Junya Iyanaga's Plagued Rusalka proved important enough and Shougo Sunada felt that it was worth it to spend Nameless Inversion on it. He then built up his board with double Scion of the Wilds and Kozilek's Predator.

Junya Iyanaga was quickly facing a pair of huge creatures but he did have Tukatongue Thallid, Nest Invader, and Algae Gharial to discourage any temporary attacks. A flurry of trades and chump blocking transformed the lowly 1/1 into an 8/8 monstrosity when Iyanaga decided to act.


World Champion Junya Iyanaga turns the tide with Algae Gharial.

In a matchup with so many tokens, it was only natural for both Scion of the Wilds and Algae Gharial to be grossly oversized. The key difference was that, Scion of the Wilds could shrink and be killed. Algae Gharial couldn't be.

The attrition war ensued and Iyanaga had the edge by extracting much value out of his second and third Plagued Rusalka. He was able to chump opposing Scion of the Wilds with his useless creatures, before sacrificing them to kill off any opposing toughness-one creatures.

Eventually, a very large Algae Gharial finished the job.

The Black Green mirror match is pretty much like the classic Rock mirror matches: a lot of trading and chipping away at each other's resources. This phenomenon was even more evident in the second game.

Shougo Sunada revealed what his blue splash was for when he summoned Shadowmage Infiltrator, but it wasn't about to get past Scuttling Death. He was forced to hold it back and add Necroskitter and Selesnya Guildmage to the board.


Shougo Sunada threatens to take over the game with Selesnya Guildmage.

Iyanaga went over the top with Kavu Primarch and Wolfbriar Elemental, but those were not recurring threats that could stack up to Selesnya Guildmage's token generation.

Fortunately for Junya Iyanaga, he assembled the combo of Necrogenesis and freshly peeled Plagued Rusalka (in combination with two other sacrificed creatures) to put an end to the madness before it got out of hand.

Eventually, Iyanaga tracked down his trusty Algae Gharial and threatened to dominate the board once again. Adding Culling Dais to the mix, he was able to grow it whenever he wanted while refilling his hand for more gas.

Using this degenerate and synergistic combination of cards, he eventually grew it into a 15/15 creature and forced Shougo Sunada to chump every turn. Shougo Sunada had sunk into the abyss and once again, the mighty crocodile clinches the win for Junya Iyanaga!

Shougo Sunada 0—Junya Iyanaga 2

Junya Iyanaga advances to the finals!

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