Round 15: Gregory Orange vs. Kazuyuki Takimura

Posted in Event Coverage on June 2, 2018

By Adam Styborski

Stybs has played Magic the world over, writing and drafting as part of the event coverage team and slinging Commander everywhere his decks will fit.

The last two rounds of every Pro Tour are a flurry of games. Players at the top of the standings fight to earn the right to sit with Sunday's Top 8. Gregory Orange of the United States has been on the cusp of Pro Tour glory before—a ninth place finish at Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir his closest scrape—and was ready to break through. With years of experience at the top levels of play, Orange seemed headed toward a Pro Tour Top 8.

Opposite him was Kazuyuki Takimura of Japan. Same aspirations, same trajectory, same record at 11-3. Takimura, however, was no stranger to the Sunday lights of one of the game's grandest stages. Earning his first Top 8—and win—at Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar put Takimura in an elite class of player. Earning a second Top 8 would be a feat to underscore his skill.

Only one would enter the last round in a position to win or draw into the third day of Pro Tour Dominaria. Game on.

The Decks

Orange wielded White-Blue Control, his particular flavor focused on Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. His deck packed an impressive array of answers for any situation. With Cast Out, Fumigate, Syncopate, Seal Away, Disallow and more—Orange was well-prepared to stop every threat he saw. Teferi joined Glimmer of Genius and Hieroglyphic Illumination to provide additional cards. At the top of the curve was Torrential Gearhulk, waiting to provide even more value.

Like many of the weekend's competitors, Takimura came to battle with a Red-Black deck loaded with power. Leaning into bigger threats and a longer game, Takimura had not only the requisite Glorybringer, Pia Nalaar, Rekindling Phoenix, Abrade, Goblin Chainwhirler, and Scrapheap Scrounger, but also Karn, Scion of Urza in the main deck and Arguel's Blood Fast in the sideboard. Takimura knew that to outgun the control decks, he'd need to present threats as fast as his opponents could find answers.

The Games

Orange put on a clinic in White-Blue Control for the first game against Takimura. The Japanese star was quick on the attack, leading off with double Scrapheap Scroungers to drop Orange's life total quickly. Patiently, Orange absorbed the damage and set up—back-to-back Syncopates into Settle the Wreckage stabilized Orange at 5 life.

Then Teferi, Hero of Dominaria hit the battlefield.

Takimura's Pia Nalaar helped push Orange down to 2, but a third Syncopate countering Glorybringer was the final turning point for Orange. Drawing cards and untapping lands—at one point even double dipping by activating one Teferi, then casting and activating another in the same turn—filled Orange's hand with answers. When Torrential Gearhulk finally showed up, Takimura finally had enough.

Gregory Orange entered Round 15 with 33 points and a mission.

Game Two was transformational for Takimura, as his deck's range and sideboard came out in full force. An opening Duress pressured Orange from the start, and Orange desperately fought back. Takimura tried to land an Arguel's Blood Fast, but it ran into Commit. Chandra, Torch of Defiance met a Syncopate. It looked like Orange would claw into control eventually.

Then Karn, Scion of Urza arrived to join a second Arguel's Blood Fast, as Orange was stuck on four lands. Takimura loaded up on cards to keep the pressure on. Orange fended off an incoming Hazoret, but both his Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and Torrential Gearhulk crumbled to the removal Takimura had drawn. Takimura won the game at 10 life without ever taking an attack, a testament to what Arguel's Blood Fast could do.

Just a few games and some carefully-planned aggression between Kazuyuki Takimura and destiny.

The final game of the match was a shorter affair. While control decks want to see plenty of lands, Orange ended up with so many he started cycling them away on the fourth turn. Takimura wasn't in the same position, however, and quickly emptied his hand leading up to Hazoret the Fervent. Aether Meltdown, Seal Away, and Sorcerous Spyglass slowed Takimura, but once cards started getting pitched to Hazoret it didn't take long for Orange to fall.

Kazuyuki Takimura defeated Gregory Orange, two games to one.

Gregory Orange - White-Blue Control

Download Arena Decklist

Kazuyuki Takimura - Red-Black Midrange

Download Arena Decklist

Latest Event Coverage Articles

December 4, 2021

Innistrad Championship Top 8 Decklists by, Adam Styborski

The Innistrad Championship has its Top 8 players! Congratulations to Christian Hauck, Toru Saito, Yuuki Ichikawa, Zachary Kiihne, Simon Görtzen, Yuta Takahashi, Riku Kumagai, and Yo Akaik...

Learn More

November 29, 2021

Historic at the Innistrad Championship by, Mani Davoudi

Throughout the last competitive season, we watched as Standard and Historic took the spotlight, being featured throughout the League Weekends and Championships. The formats evolved with e...

Learn More



Event Coverage Archive

Consult the archives for more articles!

See All