Round 4 Feature Match: Ryoichi Tamada vs. Shota Hirai

Posted in GRAND PRIX KOBE 2015 on November 21, 2015

By Ben Swartz

Coming off of his 2nd place appearance at Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar, Ryoichi Tamada came hungry for more Standard here in Kobe. With a quick win after his two byes, Tamada sat down in the feature match area against Tottori area native Shota Hirai.

Keeping with the deck that brought him success in Milwaukee, Tamada again brought Jeskai to the table. Hirai, on the other hand, brought an aggressive white black Warriors deck featuring Bloodsoaked Champion, Chief of the Edge, and Arashin Foremost.

The Games

The first game started with a Chief of the Edge for Hirai and a Jace, Vryn's Prodigy for Tamada. Tamada followed up Jace with a 1/1 Hangarback Walker.

Hirai got down a second Chief of the Edge and a Bloodsoaked Champion and was able to drop Tamada down to nine after using a Murderous Cut and Silkwrap on Tamada's Creatures. Quickly though, Tamada found his footing with a transformed Jace, Telepath Unbound, and a Gideon, Ally of Zendikar.


Ryoichi Tamada

With Gideon, Tamada made a pair of white Ally tokens and cast a copy of Mantis Rider. With Tamada's board fully stabilized, Hirai conceded and looked to his sideboard for the second game.

Tamada 1 - 0 Hirai

Transgress the Mind was the first play of the second game from Hirai. Tamada proudly revealed a hand with no cards with converted mana cost 3 or greater, but including such heavy hitters such as Jace, Vryn's Prodigy and Hangarback Walker. Tamada cast his pair of low cost spells, but Hirai had a pair of Silkwarps to stop things from getting too out of control.

When Hirai activated his Shambling Vent to attack, Tamada showed a card from his sideboard--Rending Volley--and used it to remove the land. He untapped and cast Treasure Cruise, refilling his hand and looking to take a commanding lead in the second game.

Hirai wasn't out of the game just yet; he cast Arashin Foremost and attacked in with his Mardu Woe-Reaper for 4 dropping Tamada down to 8.

Tamada was able to deal with the first copy of Arashin Foremost, but Hirai had a second copy ready in his hand.

Tamada got out a Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and used a removal spell to get rid of the second copy of Arashin Foremost, but Shambling Vent left him at only 2 life. When Hirai was able to take out Tamada's only creature--a 2/2 Ally that Gideon created--with a third copy of Silkwrap, Shambling Vent was able to take the match to a third and deciding game.

Tamada 1 - 1 Hirai

Play started with a Bloodsoaked Champion and a Jace, Vryn's Prodigy on opposite sides of the battlefield.

Hirai's hand featured three copies of Duress, and he used them to strip Tamada's hand of the only legal targets: Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and Radiant Flames.


Shota Hirai

The use of Duress helped Tamada, however, as it allowed him to transform the Jace on his third turn and play a Mantis Rider.

The Mantis Rider seemed to shut down Hirai's offense--his pair of Bloodsoaked Champions had no chance against the 3/3. This gave Tamada more time, which he used to get down a Hangarback Walker and draw Radiant Flames and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar.

Tamada used Radiant Flames to wipe Hirai's board. Without any answer to the planeswalker, Hirai, scooped up his cards and Tamada advanced to 4-0 at Grand Prix Kobe 2015!

Ryoichi Tamada wins 2-1 over Shota Hirai.

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