Round 10 Feature Match: Shuhei Nakamura vs. Teruya Kakumae

Posted in Event Coverage on November 22, 2015

By Ben Swartz

With only 8 players at the end of day 1 with perfect 9-0 records, it seemed inevitable that two titans would clash sooner rather than later. Pro Tour Hall of Famer Shuhei Nakamura and Grand Prix Kobe 2014 Champion Teruya Kakumae sat down at the feature match table for the first round of day 2. Starting off a Grand Prix 9-0 is good, but starting it off 10-0 is better; only one of these players would remain undefeated at the end of the match.

This weekend, Czech pro Martin Jůza decided to make the trip to Kobe and convinced his friend, Shuhei Nakamura, to play the deck Jůza played last weekend in Brussels: Esper Dragons. Expecting a lot of Abzan in the field, the players crafted their deck essentially pre-sideboarded against the White/Black/Green menace. It fared the two well with both of them making into day 2 and Nakamura doing so without a blemish on his record.

Kakumae decided to bring a more Green heavy version of Atarka Red with him. Featuring the standard suite of Atarka red cards–Become Immense, Monastery Swiftspear, and Temur Battle Rage, he decided to dip more heavily into Green for cards like Scythe Leopard and Den Protector. Throughout yesterday, Kakumae was seen crushing his opponents in no time flat.

Teruya Kakumae (left) and Shuhei Nakamura (right)

The Games

Game 1 started off quickly for Kakumae with a Scythe Leopard and a pair of Den Protectors. Nakamura was able to stem the early bleeding with a pair of Silkwraps.

Despite the early roadblocks that Nakamura put up, Kakumae's early aggresion was able to drop the Pro Tour Hall of Famer down to 10.

Teruya Kakumae

From there it was elementary for Kakumae. He untapped and attacked with his Den Protector. Without a potential blocker from Nakamura, Kakumae used Become Immense and Titan's Strength to take the first game.

Kakumae 1 - 0 Nakamura

Kakumae exploded early in Game 2 with a pair of Monastery Swiftspears and a Scythe Leopard. By the third turn, thanks to a Titan's Strength, Kakumae dropped Nakamura down to 10.

The only answer Nakamura had on his fourth turn was a Foul-Tongue Invocation, which removed a Swiftspear and padded Nakamura's life total to a seemingly healthy 14.

Shuhei Nakamura

Unfortunately for Nakamura, 14 was not healthy enough; Kakumae untapped and cast Become Immense and Temur Battle Rage on his Swiftspear to take the match and remain undefeated at Grand Prix Kobe 2015

Teruya Kakumae defeats Shuhei Nakamura 2-0 and advances to 10-0

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