Posted in GRAND PRIX MANILA 2015 on January 4, 2015

By Chapman Sim

Both players have made the voyage across the oceans to arrive here in Manila, but one player's trip might have been a little longer than the other.

Gold Pro Christian Calcano has decided to use this golden opportunity to visit Asia, while attending both Grand Prix Manila and Grand Prix Shizuoka on consecutive weeks.

He's rattled off seven straight wins with his Abzan Whip deck, only to find himself paired against another player who has done the same. Hall of Famer and World Champion Makihito Mihara has opted to eschew white for Green Black Constellation.

Both players are at 10-0, and this match will decide who will remain the lone undefeated player in the room.

Christian Calcano

"I don't think we've ever played against each other. This is the first time, right?"

Makihito Mihara nodded shyly, his silent demeanor apparent. With that, they began to shuffle, and deal.

Game 1

Mihara used his first three turns to recruit Elvish Mystic, Sylvan Caryatid and Polukranos, World Eater. Calcano received lands from both Sylvan Wayfinders and recruited Siege Rhino, currently no match for the opposing legendary hydra.

Mihara's big turn came after he untapped. Dropping Courser of Kruphix onto the battlefield, it revealed Sylvan Caryatid from the top of his deck. He didn't like that very much, and wasted no time cracking Windswept Heath to shuffle it away.

Calcano made the customary cut and (voilà!) Mihara flipped over Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, immediately putting it into play as his land drop for the turn! This generated him six mana, which enabled a monstrous Polukranos to take out the pair of opposing chump blockers to crash in for 7 damage.

Polukranos fell to Hero's Downfall, but that was an insignificant loss. Mihara had more than enough to summon Hornet Queen as replacement. Whip of Erebos hit the battlefield next and he was able to use his bunch of lifelinking insects to outrace Calcano's pair of Siege Rhinos.

A timely Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx and Hornet Queen ensured victory for Makihito Mihara.

Christian Calcano 0 – Makihito Mihara 1

Game 2

Calcano fixed his mana with the aid of Sylvan Wayfinder, while Mihara tried to do the same with Courser of Kruphix. Calcano put a stop to that, summoning Reclamation Sage. Nonetheless, Doomwake Giant entered the battlefield soon after, sending both Calcano's one-toughness creatures to the grave.

Both players presented Eidolon of Blossoms and Doomwake Giant, but Mihara had Reclamation Sage to switch off Calcano's card drawing shenanigans.

Calcano was not without a plan though. If he was able to kill the opposing Doomwake Giant with the Hero's Downfall, that could pave the way for Hornet Queen to take over the game.

However, Mihara's backbreaking topdeck messed up with the entire plan.

Drawing Soul of Innistrad off the top, Mihara generated upwards of 15 mana with the aid of Nykthos and Voyaging Satyr. Using his well of mana, he resurrected Doomwake Giant, Reclamation Sage and Courser of Kruphix from the graveyard. With all the resources at Mihara's disposal, it only took a matter of two turns for Calcano to throw in the towel.

Things go downhill for Calcano after Mihara topdecked Soul of Innistrad.

In Calcano's words, "I got smashed!"

Christian Calcano 0 – Makihito Mihara 2