Semifinals: Shota Yasooka (Blue-Black Control) vs. Ondrej Strasky (Green Devotion)

Posted in PRO TOUR DRAGONS OF TARKIR on April 12, 2015

By Tobi Henke

It was the second Pro Tour Top 8 for both of these players, although their careers couldn't have been more different. Japan's Shota Yasooka's first made the Top 8 in 2006, when he won Pro Tour Charleston alongside teammates Tomohiro Kaji and Tomoharu Saito and now, nine years later, he was playing in his second. Ondrej Strasky from the Czech Republic, on the other hand, had made his first Pro Tour Top 8 barely half a year earlier, at Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir. His Top 8 appearance at Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir effectively makes him the Pro Tour Summit Prowler.

The matchup here was Blue-Black Control, played by Yasooka, versus Strasky's mostly Green Devotion deck. Traditionally, the ramp strategy was considered to be at a severe disadvantage when playing against a control deck. However, Strasky had proved before that he was well able to overcome it, most recently when he defeated Andrew Ohlschwager in the quarterfinals.


Ondrej Strasky and Shota Yasooka were the lone Sunday stage veterans, with both playing in their second Pro Tour Top 8.

The Games

Things began with a mulligan and a Sylvan Caryatid from Strasky. His next two spells, a pair of Whisperwood Elementals, ran into a pair of Silumgar's Scorns, revealing Yasooka to have Icefall Regent in hand.

Foul-Tongue Invocation took out Sylvan Caryatid, because why not, and Strasky was momentarily left without play. However, he was closing in on 7 mana, and had a couple of cards left in hand, which included the almighty Dragonlord Atarka.

In fact, the game ended in a flurry of Dragons. First was Yasooka's Icefall Regent, which Strasky trumped (and killed) with Dragonlord Atarka. Yasooka had an even better Dragon in Dragonlord Silumgar, and took control of Atarka, amid the sound of laughter and cheers filtering through from the spectator area.

Not enough with that, Strasky cast yet another Dragonlord Atarka to wipe all Dragons from Yasooka's side of the battlefield!

But Yasooka was not to be outdone. He cast a second Dragonlord Silumgar, took over this second Atarka, and finally added a third Dragon to his team with Silumgar, the Drifting Death.

Strasky conceded, and as he was picking up his cards commented, "That's quite some Dragons!" Yasooka nodded and gave a little chuckle.


Yasooka may very well earn the nickname of Dragonlord after this Pro Tour.

The second game started out at a much more sedate pace, with neither player casting any spells on their first two turns. And even on turn three, Strasky just summoned Sylvan Caryatid, followed by its longtime buddy Courser of Kruphix on turn four.

His next play, Polukranos, World Eater, was countered by Disdainful Stroke. However, Yasooka found himself without a fifth land, while Strasky was beginning to get some value out of his Courser, both on offense and also by shuffling away unwanted cards with a pair of Windswept Heaths.

Arbor Colossus was countered with Silumgar's Scorn, revealing Icefall Regent, while a second Courser of Kruphix resolved. Finally, Yasooka hit land and summoned Icefall Regent. With Yasooka tapped out, Strasky used Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx to generate an absurd amount of mana and proceeded to both cast Arbor Colossus and made it monstrous, killing Icefall Regent. With four creatures deployed to the battlefield, none of them Whisperwood Elemental, Strasky was basically just asking for Crux of Fate, and Yasooka happily obliged.

The reason why Strasky had so recklessly played into Crux of Fate turned out to be one Nissa, Worldwaker sitting at the ready in Strasky's hand. Nissa soon made her way onto the battlefield and sent a land into combat. Yasooka fell to 7.


Strasky may be young, but he is among one of the world's best, as his second Pro Tour Top 8 of the season proves.

On his turn, Yasooka spent a long time—well, by his standards, as the he usually plays blisteringly fast—looking at the cards in his hand and at the cards on the battlefield. When he was done thinking everything through, Yasooka nodded and made his move.

He picked up his cards and went to the final game.

Here, things began with turn one Elvish Mystic. On turn two, Strasky cast Rattleclaw Mystic without playing a land, either signaling he didn't have a second or was trying to get Silumgar's Scorn out of Yasooka's hand. In any case, Yasooka went for the Scorn, and Strasky played a land afterward.

A number of trades followed, with Strasky's threats thwarted at every turn: Courser of Kruphix? Ultimate Price. Arbor Colossus? Silumgar's Scorn. Whisperwood Elemental? Disdainful Stroke. Whisperwood Elemental? Dissolve. Nissa, Worldwaker? Disdainful Stroke. Arbor Colossus? Ultimate Price.

Meanwhile, Yasooka had managed to deploy an Icefall Regent and began the process of reducing Strasky's life total. Surrak, the Hunt Caller joined the party and actually stuck around for a bit, whereas a newly cast Nissa, Worldwaker was taken down by the incoming Icefall Regent after a single activation. Icefall Regent number one was joined by Icefall Regent number two, which tapped down Strasky's 4/4 Forest for a turn before jumping in front of Surrak, the Hunt Caller.

That was quite a skirmish, so let's pause for a moment, pull back a bit, and take a look at the board. On one side sat Yasooka, now in control of but one Icefall Regent that wasn't keeping anything tapped. On the other side, Strasky had a 4/4 Forest, which was due to untap next turn. Both players were low enough on life at this point that the next couple of turns would decide the game.

Yasooka attacked again and passed the turn. Strasky untapped, cast another Surrak, the Hunt Caller, and went to attack. Yasooka stopped him and killed the 4/4 Forest by pointing Hero's Downfall at it, preventing Surrak from attacking in the process. Strasky passed the turn and Yasooka cast Dig Through Time, finding the perfect card. On his turn, he summoned Dragonlord Silumgar, took control of Surrak, and attacked for lethal damage.

Strasky nodded glumly, and then shook Yasooka's hand. "Good luck in the finals."

Shota Yasooka defeats Ondrej Strasky 2-1 and advances to the Finals!

Ondrej Strasky's Green Devotion Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir

Shota Yasooka's Blue-Black Control Pro Tour Dragon of Tarkir

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