Semifinals: Kazushige Suzuki (Grixis Control) vs. Takuma Morofuji Green-White Tokens)

Posted in GRAND PRIX TOKYO 2016 on May 8, 2016

By Chapman Sim

Kazushige Suzuki simply wants to watch the world burn, figuratively. His Grixis Control simply has the ability to annihilate anything in his way.

Ruinous Path, Ultimate Price, Kolaghan's Command, Silumgar's Command and Fiery Impulse will all go very nicely with Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet. Aside from Read the Bones, his other sources of card advantage comes from the multiple "Snapcaster Mages" which he is running, namely Jace, Vryn's Prodigy and Goblin Dark-Dwellers.

Takuma Morofuji is the 2005 Japanese National Champion, and a 2005 Team Worlds Champion. After taking a break in 2006, he returns nearly 10 years later and won Grand Prix Kobe 2015. Today, he is playing for his second title in his second Grand Prix Top 8 and has White-Green Tokens by his side, except that he's running with the long-forgotten Megamorph package of Den Protector and Deathmist Raptor.

Game 1

Suzuki kicked off with Duress to remove Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, the most problematic card in his eyes. When Jace, Vryn's Prodigy appeared, Declaration in Stone got rid of it. Suzuki cashed in the Clue, and even found time to cast Read the Bones.

A pair of Sylvan Advocates hit the board, which would have been a decent amount of pressure if not for Suzuki's mighty Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet. Goblin Dark-Dwellers provided additional defense, as he recast Read the Bones once more.

However, the reason that Morofuji wasn't budging was apparent. With only 5 lands in play, the Sylvan Advocates were just 2/3s. Also, he couldn't activate Westvale Abbey to start growing his team. A second copy of Goblin Dark-Dwellers allowed Suzuki to recast Transgress the Mind, which cruelly plucked Dragonlord Dromoka from Morofuji's grip.

When Morofuji finally found his sixth land, it would seem that it was too late, facing a board against Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, double Goblin Dark-Dwellers and Jace, Vryn's Prodigy which was about to transform very soon. To make matters worse, Virulent Plague shut out any Westvale Abbey shenanigans.

Morofuji nearly gets to the finish line.

However, Suzuki did encounter a near-death experience. Since he was only at 9 life, he could lose the game if Morofuji chumped with a creature and then flashed in Archangel Avacyn at the end of the turn. Since a creature died, she'd transform, dealing Suzuki 3 damage, and then 6 with the attack.

To prevent that, Morofuji decided to attack with his team, since it was lethal damage. Morofuji was forced to cast Archangel Avacyn before blockers, and Suzuki gave it -2/-0 with Jace, Telepath Unbound.

Escaping death, he untapped and cleared the path with Ruinous Path, prompting Morofuji to concede.

Kazushige Suzuki 1 - Takuma Morofuji 0

Game 2

Suzuki could have very easily lost the second game, if not for the Turn 1 Duress to prevent Morofuji from landing a Turn 2 Evolutionary Leap. This is the best card Morofuji can ask for in this matchup, since he be able to replace every creature which dies and eventually run the Grixis player out of removal spells and bury him with card advantage.

Suzuki pilots his Grixis deck masterfully.

After using Ruinous Path to kill Sylvan Advocate and Goblin Dark-Dwellers to kill another, Suzuki made Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet. It was ensnared by Stasis Snare, but a second copy arrived.

Evolutionary Leap #2 was his next card, which could try to pull him back into the game. Carefully managing his life total and creating some tokens via Westvale Abbey, he was eventually able to find Dragonlord Dromoka.

Thankfully, Suzuki was able to seal the game before it could hit the board. Activating Wandering Fumarole and attacking with all his creatures, it was barely enough to end things right there before Evolutionary Leap could rebuild Morofuji's board.

"Thank you very much for the game, it was such a great match and you're really difficult to beat," Suzuki.

"No worries, go win the finals" was the sincere reply.

Kazushige Suzuki 2 - Takuma