Quarterfinals: Kei Umehara (Temur Delver) vs. Kazuya Murakami (Blue White Miracles)

Posted in Event Coverage on April 19, 2015

By Chapman Sim

Three years ago, Kei Umehara made his first Top 8 at Grand Prix Yokohama. Today, marks his second Top 8 appearance and Temur Delver was his weapon of choice. Clearly, Nimble Mongoose and Tarmogoyf had served him well and was worth the green splash.

His opponent was not a slouch either, having broke into the Top 8 in the first seed out of 1942 other competitors. Kazuya Murakami's Blue White Miracles homebrew that he has christened "Counter Top Mentor" was aptly named. He was playing with 4 copies of Monastery Mentor, the Young Pyromancer on steroids.

Game One

Murakami received the right to play first. After a mulligan, he tried to resolve a pair of Counterbalance, but both were hit by Spell Snare.

Delver of Secrets appeared on Turn 3, only for it fall to Swords to Plowshares. Umehara let out a wail when Murakami drew into his third Counterbalance. With no threats on the board, Umehara would need to try to force one into play.

Tarmogoyf was countered by the Stoneforge Mystic sitting atop his deck. Umehara had to settle for Nimble Mongoose, the very last card in his hand. However, that was quickly outclassed by Stoneforge Mystic and Batterskull and Umehara reached for his sideboard.

Kazuya Murakami is up a game with the help of Stoneforge Mystic and Batterskull.

Kei Umehara 0 – Kazuya Murakami 1

Game Two

Murakami had to go down to six cards again and quickly faced pressure from an opposing Delver of Secrets. It fell to Swords to Plowshares after three attacks as a Human Wizard and one attack as an Human Insect. Ouch.

Umehawa replaced it with Nimble Mongoose, which got in for three more unimpeded attacks, putting Murakami at a dangerously low life. More ouch.

When Murakami tapped out for Monastery Mentor, it provided a window for Umehara to resolve Vendillion Clique. With Pyroclasm removed, Vendillion Clique was able to sneak in for the lethal blow.

Kei Umehara equalizes by playing the tempo game.

Kei Umehara 1 – Kazuya Murakami 1

Game Three

Umehara's first move was to counter the opposing Counterbalance with Spell Snare, before baiting out some countermagic and removal spells for his Delver of Secrets.

That enabled Umehara to resolve Vendillion Clique once again, and Murakami could only let it resolve, revealing a hand of Brainstorm, Sensei's Divining Top, and Monastery Mentor.

However, that was the turning point of the game. Feeling that he could win the damage race, he chose to remove Sensei's Divining Top. That turned out to be a grave mistake, as Umehara later admitted.

Naturally, Murakami put Monastery Mentor into play, and outraced Umehara with a bunch of Monk tokens and prowess triggers.

Kei Umehara 1 – Kazuya Murakami 2

Kazuya Murakami advances to the semifinals.

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