Finals: Tomonori Hirami vs. Ryota Takeuchi

Posted in Event Coverage on January 31, 2016

By Chapman Sim

Both players had come a long way, and were the last two remaining competitors of Grand Prix Nagoya. Against all odds, they've managed to emerge from the field of 2656 to be in this enviable spot.

Pro Tour Shadows over Innistrad invites and airfare are in the bag, as well as a guaranteed cash prize of $5,000. However, the victor will go home with double that amount, a hefty sum. Most importantly, it was the coveted title of Grand Prix Champion and eternal glory that both were eyeing.

Tomonori Hirami's streamlined White-Green deck is up against Ryota Takeuchi's Black-Red Devote deck. Judging from their performances in the quarters and semis, both decks seem very solid and it was hard to determine who had the advantage.

Without further ado, let's proceed with the final match of Grand Prix Nagoya, to see who will be crowned the Champion.

Game 1

Takeuchi opened with Slaughter Drone and Reckless Bushwhacker, quickly applying pressure on Hirami. Usually the aggressor, Hirami has determined that he should be the control player this time, and wisely traded the opposing Drone with his very own Stalking Drone.

After all, Ondu War Cleric and Spawnbinder Mage were great tools against Takeuchi's strategy. All he needed was to stay alive, and grow his army with the wide range of Support spells his deck had to offer.

Takeuchi wasn't about to let that happen, and used Press into Service to pump his team, while stealing Spawnbinder Mage momentary to attack for 7. Ondu War Cleric's ability cushioned the blow, putting Hirami at a comfortable 13. If left unchecked, this powerful two-drop could undo all of Takeuchi's efforts.

Ryota Takeuchi attempts to end the game quickly.

Oh, is that an Outnumber? I guess the life-gain shenanigans are out of the window then.

Next, Hirami's Broodhunter Wurm was held back by an opposing Vile Aggregate, which meant neither player wanted to attack. This was totally fine with Hirami, because he had the absolute advantage in standstills like this.

Seer's Lantern was doing a great job at filtering away unwanted cards and finding actual threats. His (and the lantern's) efforts netted him Pilgrim's Eye, Tajuru Pathwarden and Lead by Example, which not only provided additional defense on the ground, but also assembling a 2/2 flier as a win condition. Tapping down one of Takeuchi's two creatures, Makindi Patrol allowed Hirami's entire team to swing without risking a potential counterattack. Another alpha strike, and Hirami was up one game!

Tomonori Hirami 1 vs. Ryota Takeuchi 0

Game 2

The tournament was in its final throes and both players made several adjustments to the deck. Takeuchi's stance did not waver, and he had to go as fast as he possibly can.

When Takeuchi attacked with Slaughter Drone, Hirami surprisingly declined to trade with Stalking Drone. The reason was apparent the next turn, when he pointed Searing Light at it. Broodhunter Wurm was quickly killed with Grasp of Darkness, but Hirami bounced back with Spawnbinder Mage and Scythe Leopard.

Tomonori Hirami's aggressive deck capitalizes on his opponent's stumble.

Even without that dominating board, Takeuchi was in serious trouble. Controlling only 4 Swamps and no way to cast any of the Red spells in his hand, he could only watch as Hirami's team marched into his empty city over the course of the next two turns. Failing to find his second color did him in, and he extended his hand to congratulate Hirami for winning Grand Prix Nagoya!

Tomonori Hirami 2 vs. Ryota Takeuchi 0

Tomonori Hirami wins Grand Prix Nagoya 2016!

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