Round 7: (9) Paul Rietzl (Temur Emerge) vs. Ken Yukuhiro (GR Ramp)

Posted in Event Coverage on August 5, 2016

By Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

Since each player picked up a 2-1 in Draft this morning, both Ken Yukuhiro and Hall of Famer Paul Rietzl are so far 3-0 with their Standard decks. Yukuhiro, who finished 4th at Pro Tour Avacyn Restored back in 2012 and has more than a handful of Grand Prix Top 8s under his belt, is playing Red-Green Ramp, while Rietzl, who has a resume so good that the Magic community wasted no time voting him into the Pro Tour Hall of Fame in 2014, is playing Temur Emerge.

By all accounts, both players are largely trying to do the same thing: Churn through their decks to play Emrakul, the Promised End as quickly as possible to ensure they reach their goals, although with slight differences. For Yukuhiro, it's quite straight forward. He fetches additional lands and draws cards, and his attendance this weekend gets him Silver status for the year. A Top 8 gets him Gold, and a win gets him Platinum. For Rietzl, things are more nuanced. He also searches out lands, but more carefully puts cards into his graveyard for use later, and he's in the running for a bunch of different World Championships slots.

Paul Rietzl and Ken Yukuhiro settle in for a match featuring decks that take the term "control" to a different level.

The Games

Rietzl hit the board early with Gnarlwood Dryad and Pilgrim's Eye while filling his graveyard with Gather the Pack. Yukuhiro burned through his cards with Tormented Voice, and then through more of his cards and Rietzl's creatures with Collective Defiance and Fiery Impulse before playing Chandra, Flamecaller and drawing even more cards. Rietzl instead turned towards the late game with pairs of both Nissa's Pilgrimage and Vessel of Nascency.

Yukuhiro slammed the first haymaker, a Traverse the Ulvenwald into Emrakul, the Promised End. Chandra threw a couple of hasty elementals across the table at Rietzl to drop him to 14 and Rietzl cracked one of his Vessels before he would lose control of his turn. The Vessel gave him an Emrakul of his own.

Yukuhiro's Emrakul took the wheel.

He confirmed that Rietzl's Emrakul would cost 7 mana and that Rietzl had 7 land in play, and sighed as he played a Gnarlwood Dryad out of Rietzl's hand and then fed it to an Elder Deep-Fiend, no doubt wishing he could have fed it a much larger meal. Yukuhiro passed the turn back.

Rietzl shot back with his own Emrakul. First, he forced Yukuhiro to play Tormenting Voice, discarding Collective Defiance. Then, he attacked Yukuhiro's Emrakul into his own and instructed Chandra to spend all of her loyalty on dealing 5 damage to everything, which was just shy of taking out Rietzl's Elder Deep-Fiend.

Yukuhiro wages Emrakul war with his opponent.

Yukuhiro resumed control of his game and played World Breaker on Rietzl's Vessel of Nascency. The World Breaker could hold back the first Deep-Fiend, but not the second one from Rietzl, which was followed by a second Emrakul. Yukuhiro drew a second Emrakul of his own. After the dust cleared, Rietzl drew a Grapple with the Past and retrieved one of his dead Emrakuls to play his third Emrakul of the game, which sealed the deal.

Game 2 was a battle of the sideboard cards. Rietzl began it with Jace, Vryn's Prodigy, but Yukuhiro came over the top with Nissa's Pilgrimage into Tireless Tracker and Goblin Dark-Dwellers to play the Pilgrimage again. Rietzl had a Pilgrimage of his own, but Yukuhiro had another Tracker and more clues than a children's TV show. Rietzl picked up an Emrakul with Grapple with the Past, but could not yet play it, so he played another Jace, Vryn's Prodigy. Disaster struck for Rietzl as Yukuhiro found his own Emrakul and could play it. Rietzl had a Clip Wings for the Eldrazi, but couldn't stop Yukuhiro looting away his Emrakul with the Jace, and the two Trackers and Dark-Dweller finished the job.

Rietzl demonstrates that aggro isn't the only archetype he can pilot.

Game 3 was again more of Game 1. Both players made it to the late game and started hurling Emrakuls at each other. Yukuhiro was the first to land one, but was forced to make Rietzl play one of the two Emrakuls in his hand, and then fed it to a Wretched Gryff.

Time was called in the round.

"So I get a turn, and then you get a turn?" Rietzl asked before turning to the table judge. "Okay, and if I play another one, he'll get 2 extra turns, right?" The judge confirmed that at this point, Rietzl will get to take the final turn. "Who knows who will get to control it though," Rietzl retorted.

The judge clarified that Emrakul turns would count towards the 5 additional turns. Rietzl went for it anyway, and stripped Yukuhiro's hand of anything worthwhile and then tapped Yukuhiro down with an Elder Deep-Fiend. Yukuhiro found a Goblin Dark-Dwellers, which allowed him to Traverse the Ulvenwald for an Emrakul of his own, but there weren't enough turns left to find a result. Rietzl's Emrakul attacked in the air taking away a sizeable chunk of Yukuhiro's life total, but it wasn't all of it, and the match ended in a draw.

Rietzl 1 - Yukuhiro 1


Paul Rietzl's Temur Emerge

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Ken Yukuhiro's Red-Green Ramp

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