The last few weeks have been hectic for South Korean Platinum Pro Nam Sung-Wook. Two weeks ago he played in Grand Prix Strasbourg and last week he lead the South Korean team to a fifth place finish at the World Magic Cup.
He's hoping to wrap his trip up with a good finish here in Milan, and is playing an interesting Red/Green ramp deck with Scapeshift, Primeval Titan, Through the Breach and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. So far it had carried him to a 5-1 record, needing to win two of the last three rounds to make the second Day of competition.
His opponent for Round 7 was Bulgarian Miroslav Slavov.
With one of the more interesting decks of the format it would be interesting to see if it could deliver. Would we see explosive starts with Emrakul the Aeons Torn cheated into play as turn four? Would it be an old fashioned game plan of turn five Primeval Titan that could do it or would he fail miserably against a fast aggro deck? We would soon find out.
With Nam Sung-Wook on the play, action started with a suspended Search for Tomorrow. His opponent matched it with one of his own, revealing that he too, was on a ramp based strategy.
Nam Sung-Wook proved to have the ideal ramp opener with a second turn Sakura-Tribe Elder, but would have to draw into a threat, as the rest of his hand was all lands. If he would however, he would be able to cast a Primeval Titan as early as turn four, or win with a Scapeshift on turn five.
Slavov, suspended a second copy of Search for Tomorrow, revealing that he was also playing Blue in his deck, by adding a tapped Steam Vents to the table.
Nam Sung-Wook sacrificed his Sakura-Tribe Elder, drew for his turn, played another land and played...
Slavov let out a sigh of relief before resolving his Search for Tomorrow, making it a race to who could find enough lands in play to win with Scapeshift, as it turned out both players were now holding a copy of the card. With seven lands in play, either of them could sacrifice enough lands to fetch Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and 6 Mountains into play. To allow them to deal a lethal 18 damage to their opponents, as they both had fetched to drop lower than the magic life total.
Nam Sung-Wook drew for his fourth turn, played a land and cast...
… still nothing.
Slavov resolved his second Search for Tomorrow, evening out the ramp race. But being on the draw he was dead to Scapeshift if Sung-Wook would opt to go for it on his turn.
Sung-Wook's fifth turn would indeed be the nerve-wrecker. To cast Scapeshift into six open mana, representing either Cryptic Command, Remand or both can be gruesome, but in the end Sung-Wook realized he didn't have a less risky alternative and went for it.
He announced that he was casting Scapeshift.
Slavov nodded that it would resolve.
Sung-Wook sacrificed all his lands. He fetched out Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and six other lands, all Mountains, and crossed his fingers that Slavov didn't have a Cryptic Command to return one of them to his hand, turning off the triggers from his Pinnacle.
Slavov however, didn't, and the first game was Sung-Wook's.
With minimal conversation both players sideboarded quickly, as if to prove that they knew exactly how to trump the match. Both looking confidant for the second game.
Slavov started, but had no ramp spells for either his first or second turn.
Sung-Wook lacked a Search for Tomorrow this time, but he did have a Sakura-Tribe Elder, that would play a much more important role than you might expect.
He cast it on his second turn, straight into Slavov's two open mana. And Slavov was quick to Remand it.
Sung-Wook shrugged and revealed that he had bigger plans for this game by casting a free Summoning Trap.
He looked at his top seven cards, and instantly slammed down Primeval Titan. Quite the upgrade from the innocent looking Sakura-Tribe Elder. Not only accelerating him instantly, but also adding a 6/6 trample threat to end the game in a hurry.
His next turn was crazy. Attack with Primeval Titan, search for two copies of Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle. Deal six damage with the titan. Cast Farseek, get a Mountain, deal another six. Finally recasting the Sakura-Tribe Elder, sacrificing it for another Mountain, dealing a lethal six damage and finishing the game.
On his third turn!
Amazing. A third turn kill enabled by a card most people wouldn't expect. Summoning Trap. The people who had gathered to watch the game were amazed. And coverage reporter Marijn Lybaert couldn't believe his eyes when he walked up to the table to see what had won the game so fast.