Semifinals: Ikuya Asai vs. Ryota Takeuchi

Posted in Event Coverage on January 31, 2016

By Chapman Sim

“Some relic hunters have given up exploring and gone to fight the Eldrazi. But I know our work is more important than ever. The secrets we uncover could lead to the world's salvation.”

That is Jori En, Ruin Diver's stance on the war and Ikuya Asai was glad to be part of the endeavor. His Blue-Red deck was very solid, featuring not only Jori En, but also other Izzet gems such as Brutal Expulsion. A plethora of tricks comprising Slip Through Space, Brute Strength and Sparkmage's Gambit helped cheapen his Surge spells, such as Boulder Salvo, Reckless Bushwhacker and Comparative Analysis.

On the other side of the table was Ryota Takeuchi, who was fighting on the Eldrazi's side. He's managed to assemble a rather impressive army of Drone, backed with a myriad of spot removal. It's as though the war is happening right here!

Game 1

Asai's first play of this semifinals match was Valakut Invoker, which Takeuchi promptly killed with Grasp of Darkness, before deploying Nettle Drone and Dominator Drone.

Eldrazi Aggressor and Cinder Hellion tried to keep Takeuchi's team at bay, but Vile Aggregate threatened to grow beyond proportion. Slip Through Space allowed Cinder Hellion to literally slip through space, hitting Takeuchi for 4. A Surged Boulder Salvo killed Nettle Drone before his life could trickle away.

After the 3/1 hit the bin, Takeuchi replaced it with another 3/1, this time a Flayer Drone. Asai's deck was not only aggressive, it had a certain amount of reach as well. Still, both players were unable to break through each others' lines of defense, unless you count the Sky Scourer which was “racing” through the skies for one damage a turn.

Jori En, Ruin Diver from Asai was the perfect card for standstill like this. Before Asai could overload Takeuchi with card advantage, he had to end the game quickly. All this while, Takeuchi was stuck on three lands (against Asai's 7), but he was ahead in the damage race.

When Takeuchi drew his fourth land, an Oblivion Strike cleared away Asai's only creature, allowing him to swing for more than 10 lethal damage! Ouch!

Ikuya Asai falls behind.

Ikuya Asai 0 vs. Ryota Takeuchi 1

Game 2

Umara Entangler and Eldrazi Aggressor was Asai's opening, but it was held back by Flayer Drone. Wanting to push damage, Asai decided to use Brutal Expulsion to clear the path. Both creatures crashed in for 5, dropping Takeuchi to 13.

When Takeuchi produced Vestige of Emrakul and Embodiment of Fury to block, Asai used Comparative Analysis to refuel. That found him Stormchaser Mage and Reckless Bushwhacker, but not the tempo spell he needed to reapply pressure.

Unfortunately, he didn't need to worry about that anymore, because Takeuchi was about to teach him a lesson. Now that Asai was tapped out, Takeuchi mounted an all-out attack, lowering Asai to 10 life. Post-combat, Grasp of Darkness and Outnumber was used to wreck Asai's once dominant board position.

Ryota Takeuchi regains dominance of the board.

Backed with an Unnatural Endurance, Takeuchi overran Asai with his horde of creatures. Asai's Izzet deck might be tricksy, but creature-light. It also didn't help that he was severely land-flooded.

Jori En might be too late to stop the Eldrazi War, and Ryota Takeuchi advances to the finals.

Ikuya Asai 0 vs. Ryota Takeuchi 2

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