Posted in GRAND PRIX KOBE 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on August 24, 2014

By Ben Swartz

Known for his inventive constructed decks, Shota Yasooka came to Grand Prix Kobe equipped with a Blue-Black Tezzeret control deck. Similar to a deck that he played at Grand Prix Yokohama 2012, Yasooka hoped tear opponents hands apart with cards like Inquisition of Kozilek and Duress, before landing his deck's namesake Planeswalker, Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas. Once in play, the Blue-Black planeswalker would generate Yasooka even more card advantage and allow him to turn his utility artifacts--Darksteel Citadel, Talisman of Dominance, Dimir Signet, Torpor Orb--into venerable 5/5 creatures.

His opponent, Kazumasa Sato was playing the explosive but vulnerable Ad Nauseum combo deck. The Chiba native hoped to use the combination of Angel's Grace and Ad Nauseum to draw through his entire deck. With his deck in hand, he hoped to use Simian Spirit Guide to power a lethal flashbacked Conflagrate. The fragile combo deck had treated Sato well thus far, leading him into day two with only a single loss.

The Games

Yasooka started game one off characteristically with an Inquisition of Kozilek.

Sato revealed his hand of Lotus Bloom, Pact of Negation, Ad Nauseum, Boseiju, Who Shelters All, Sleight of Hand, and a couple of lands.

Yasooka took the Lotus Bloom, knowing that doing so would slow down Sato's combo considerably. On his fourth turn, Yasooka played a Batterskull.

Sato, unphased by his lack of Lotus Bloom, got down a Pentad Prism and had access to five mana on his fifth turn. He showed patience, though, and played Boseiju, Who Shelters All, giving him the ability to combo off through any countermagic that Yasooka could have.

Yasooka dropped Sato to 3 life after a pair of attacks with Creeping Tar Pit and Batterskull and forced Sato to combo off or find an answer on his following turn.

Shota Yasooka

Sato had an Ad Nauseum in his hand, but needed an Angel's Grace. With only one draw step to find it he peeled his last card. When it wasn't the white instant, he conceded.

Yasooka 1-0 Sato

The first play of the second game came in the form of a Phyrexian Unlife from Sato.

It wasn't until Yasooka's fourth turn that he made a meaningful play in the form of Duress.

Duress revealed what Sato was up to--he was ready to go off on the following turn with a hand of Angel's Grace and Ad Nauseum. Yasooka took the Ad Nauseum and put Sato on the back foot.

Kazumasa Sato

With some breathing room, Yasooka expanded his board, playing a Tezzeret and using the -1 ability to make his Darksteel Citadel into a 5/5.

Phyrexian Unlife was able to buy Sato some extra time, but when Sato finally found a second copy of Ad Nauseum, Yasooka revealed his last card: Negate.

Without another Ad Nauseum, Yasooka crashed through Phyrexian Unlife with a pair of 5/5 Darksteel Citadels.

Shota Yasooka defeats Kazumasa Sato 2-0

The Aftermath

Yasooka mentioned after the match that he thought this matchup was very good for him. The second game brought the potential of difficulty in the form of Leyline of Sanctity. Once Sato was unable to start game two with a Leyline of Sanctity in play, though, Yasooka knew that he was advantaged. With just a few pieces of hand disruption in both games Yasooka was able to buy the time he needed to get his aggression online. Once there, he needed only to press his advantage through countermagic and large game-ending creatures.