Finals: Steven Tan (Affinity) vs. Hitomi Masaaki (Affinity)

Posted in GRAND PRIX SINGAPORE 2015 on June 28, 2015

By Chapman Sim

Judging from the results of Grand Prix Charlotte and Grand Prix Copenhagen, who would have expected an all-Affinity mirror match in the finals amidst a sea of unfair combo decks and midrange decks laden with hate?

The last two men standing at Grand Prix Singapore are both armed with the explosive beatdown deck, spearheaded by Cranial Plating, Etched Champion, Arcbound Ravager and an assortment of cheap artifacts.

Despite largely similar maindecks, the main difference between both decks was the choice of removal. Tan went with a pair of Dispatch, while Masaaki went with a quad of Galvanic Blast. Despite that, it could be anyone's game!

Game One

After a mulligan, Tan led with Vault Skirge, Memnite and Ornithopher. Kawasaki was not to be outdone, using Ornithopter, Darksteel Citadel and double Mox Opal to power out a turn 1 Etched Champion.

Tan tried to negate the damage that Etched Champion would deal by summoning a second and third Vault Skirge but Masaaki had the Cranial Plating to upset the combat math.

Tan still had a chance to recover if he was allowed to untap with Steel Overseer. That could grow his trio of Vault Skirges into 2/2 lifelinkers. And into 3/3 lifelinkers. And then 4/4 lifelinkers.

However, one can only hope.

Masaaki was ready with Galvanic Blast to throw that plan out of the window. When Tan tried to chump with both his Blinkmoth Nexus on to successive turns, a second and third Galvanic Blast put an end to the plan.

A second Cranial Plating and Spellskite was the final nail in the coffin for Tan.

Hitomi Masaaki takes the first game with triple Galvanic Blast.

Steven Tan 0 – Hitomi Masaaki 1

Game Two

It is sometimes said that the Affinity deck mulligans often but mulligans well. Masaaki would have to disagree. Going down to four cards, he quickly faced pressure from Ornithopter, Vault Skirge and Steel Overseer.

Masaaki did not have the Galvanic Blast so Tan proceeded to summon Arcbound Ravager and put +1/+1 counters on his entire army.

Masaaki had Ancient Grudge to kill both Arcbound Ravager and Steel Overseer. Regardless, Tan had the board advantage, backed up with Dispatch and Wear // Tear. It was certain that Masaaki could not recover from that ill-fated series of mulligans.

Steven Tan capitalizes on his opponent's mulligans and equalizes the score.

In under five minutes, Tan had forced the rubber game!

Steven Tan 1 – Hitomi Masaaki 1

Game Three

It seems like a reversal of fortunes would sculpt the final game. It was Tan who went down to five cards.

Kawasaki kickstarted with Inkmoth Nexus, Ornithopter, Springleaf Drum and Vault Skirge.

On his turn three, Cranial Plating and Vault Skirge were melded as one. Thankfully for Tan, Wear // Tear made its dramatic appearance to buy him a little more time but was still facing a pair of Signal Pests, Memnite, Vault Skirge and Ornithopter.

When Tan added Steel Overseer to the board, Kawasaki decimated his entire board with Galvanic Blast and Ancient Grudge (with flashback).

The Singaporean crowd winced and everyone knew it was over. Hitomi Masaaki had denied Singapore of yet another Grand Prix Trophy, bringing glory to Japan.

Hitomi Masaaki defeats Steven Tan and wins Grand Prix Singapore! Congratulations!

Steven Tan 1 – Hitomi Masaaki 2