Quarterfinals: Martin Müller (Jeskai Tokens) vs. Kazuyuki Takimura (Abzan Aggro)

Posted in PRO TOUR BATTLE FOR ZENDIKAR on October 18, 2015

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

Silver pro Kazuyuki Takimura is competing in his first Pro Tour Top 8 this weekend. Since meeting his fiancé, he has promised her that he would, someday, make it to the Sunday stage at the Pro Tour. Now he has the opportunity not only to bring home this tremendous accomplishment, but a chance to bring home the trophy and an assuredly welcome $40,000 wedding present.

His opponent, eighteen-year-old Martin Müller, recently put up a tremendous result at the 2015 Magic: The Gathering World Championship in Seattle, and finds himself in his first Pro Tour Top 8. Team EUreka, one of the best teams at the Pro Tour this weekend, has rallied behind the young Dane in preparation for this Top 8, so much so that his bedmate actually took up residence in the bathtub last night so that Müller could get some valuable sleep.

Both players sat quietly as they shuffled up for the first game, mostly because of the language barrier, but at least partially due to the gravity of the situation. Müller's strong finish in the Swiss rounds of the tournament meant that he would be on the play.

Kazuyuki Takimura and Martin Müller clash in their first Pro Tour Top 8.

The Games

Kazuyuki went down to six cards to start the first game, but he was able to get off to a fast start with Warden of the First Tree on the first turn.

Müller had Dragon Fodder, but it wouldn't be good enough to contend with the now 3/3 Warden of the First Tree on Kazuyuki's side of the table.

The players traded hits and advanced their board states, with Hordeling Outburst and Anafenza, the Foremost respectively.

Müller had Gideon, Ally of Zendikar as a follow-up play and quickly made a 2/2 before passing the turn back to Kazuyuki, who seemed to be in quite the bind against Müller's board of six tokens and a Planeswalker. Anafenza, the Foremost and Warden of the First Tree tried to pressure Müller's Gideon, but the young master simply chump blocked with a pair of goblins.

Despite being so young, Martin Müller has already established himself as one of Europe's greats.

Müller's start was ideal, but Kazuyuki had a Siege Rhino, one of the best cards against Müller's deck.

Jeskai Ascendancy came down alongside Silkwrap for Müller, but the Siege Rhino on the other side of the table meant that he still wouldn't be able to attack. Müller's board was impressive and Kazuyuki would need to pressure Gideon if he wanted to have any chance of winning.

Kazuyuki found himself deep in thought, trying to find the best line of action. He came out of the tank and successfully dealt with Müller's Gideon by attacking with both of his creatures. Den Protector came down as a morph, and it appeared that Müller was out of gas.

Takimura's play was methodical and calculated.

Den Protector got flipped up and Kazuyuki sent his team into the red zone for what threatened to be a lethal attack. Müller threw a few goblins in the way where he could and, when he couldn't find anything useful on the following turn, he was forced to concede and move on to a second game.

Again, Müller got things started with Dragon Fodder right away. Kazuyuki had Den Protector followed by Anafenza, the Foremost which was immediately dealt with via Silkwrap.

A face-down Den Protector got double blocked by a pair of goblins and Kazuyuki let it die so that he could pull far ahead with Siege Rhino, far and away the best card in the matchup.

Müller tried his best to get back in the game with Hordeling Outburst, but the pressure kept coming and Kazuyuki was able to secure the match in just a few attacks.

Kazuyuki Takimura defeats Martin Müller 2-0 and advances to the semifinals!

Kazuyuki Takimura's Abzan - Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar

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Martin Müller's Jeskai Tokens - Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar

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