Round 8: Louis Deltour (Jund Delirium) vs. (12) Yuuya Watanabe (Red-Green Ramp)

Posted in Event Coverage on August 5, 2016

By Marc Calderaro

It only announced a few rounds ago, but as of now, Louis Deltour is playing against a Pro Tour Hall of Fame elect, twelfth-ranked Yuuya Watanabe (his election was announced along with second-ranked Owen Turtenwald). Both players were 6-1 going into the round, but now Deltour would have to be a Hall of Fame elect who's 6-1. That's much different that just a regular 6-1, in case you didn't know.

Team Cygames' Yuuya Watanabe has accolades far and wide, winning the Players Championship in 2012, and performing well in both the World Championships in 2013 and 2014 (where he finished third), along with, you know, the Pro Tour Top 8s. He's running the Red-Green Ramp-like deck that many of the Japanese players are slinging. It builds to a big Emrakul, the Promised End, but it's got Goblin Dark-Dwellers, Chandra, Flamecaller, Dragonlord Atarka, and even Collective Defiance along the way.

On the other side of the table was France's Louis Deltour. He's a player on the rise, with two Grand Prix finals appearances. And for this Pro Tour, he got himself a slot on Team EUreka. He's here looking to lock Gold, but more than that, he's looking to permanently up his game. This was something that working with Team EUreka has definitely helped.

"It was amazing. It really was," he said. "It was a great experience. I was definitely one of the weaker players on the team, and I gained a lot from them. I only hope I contributed as much back."

He was running the team's Jund Delirium deck that they had been working on for a long time. "With this deck, we just went through so many iterations." he said. "We eventually kind of merged everything together. Rebuild it, rebuild it, rebuild it. Take it apart again. We must have gone through 20 different decks."

Both Louis Deltour of Team EUreka and Yuuya Watanabe of Team Cygames were playing to end the day at a solid 7-1.

Both decks are looking to explode in the midgame, trumping whatever the other had been doing. If either player can get an early foothold they can try to leverage it, but there are many surprises in both players' decks that can basically invalidate everything that had come before—the decks were full of knockout punches.

The Games

Watanabe started the game off with a Hangarback Walker, and placed a counter on it. Deltour used Grapple with the Past and cast Liliana, the Last Hope, also getting a counter on that.

Both players ticked up their respective counters, then Watanabe made a play that surely seemed odd to people unfamiliar with the format. Instead of pumping his creature again, he cast a Fiery Impulse on it, netting two tokens before untapping. Deltour was clearly a bit confused by the play. But it all made sense when Ishkanah, Grafwidow came down.

"Ah, delirium. Now I get it." Deltour said. The Impulse and the Walker added the second, third, and fourth card type for delirium. On Watanabe's next turn, now flush with tokens, he added Chandra, Flamecaller for even more tokens and swung at Deltour with all his might. In basically two turns, he'd gone from a 2/2 Hangarback Walker to thirteen power worth of attackers.

Pro Tour Hall of Fame elect Yuuya Watanabe was and continues to be a player you dread having to face off a against.

Deltour had been a busy beaver himself. But rather than amassing tokens, he was amassing cards in his graveyard via Grapple with the Past. There was a Kozilek's Return staring back at him but it was not providing any guidance right now while Deltour was staring at a bunch of creatures turned sideways.

After a long time in the think tank, Deltour said, "Take 13; I go to 4." He calmly untapped.

Deltour tried to get out of this mess that had come from almost nowhere. But although he'd cast three Grapple with the Past, none of his pulls from his library were cooperating. He had an Emrakul, the Promised End currently stranded in his hand—with almost the requisite mana to cast it. However, he did have a Kozilek's Return, and used it on the next turn to stave off death, sinking to 1 life.

And then, at the last moment, he did it. On the final turn he was able to slam down Emrakul. It landed with a thud, and he couldn't take a turn from Watanabe quickly enough.

Deltour killed Chandra, Flamecaller by removing all the loyalty counters from it for the –X ability. He then sacrificed Evolving Wilds. He wouldn't find a land for Watanabe, of course, but he wanted to see the deck.

"Let's see what's going on..." Deltour trailed off as he looked. "Crazy... Wait, three Emrakul?!"

"Yes, three Emrakul."

"Collective Defiance?!" Deltour gasped. If Watanabe drew that card on his extra turn, he could still win the game, with the Frenchman at 1 life.

Watanabe laughed and said "Please!" He then held his hands together, praying for the red escalate spell. Deltour ended his take on Watanabe's turn, and now it was the Japanese pro's version.

He drew for his "extra" turn. He needed the draw to be Collective Defiance.

"Ooooo!" Watanabe said and revealed Tormenting Voice. Now he had two more draws to find the spell. He started getting quite excited.

His first draw was a Mountain. It was no help.

He rubbed the next card facedown on the table, hoping to magically transform it into the one card that would save him from a promised end of a 13/13. It was...

Collective Defiance! Watanabe slammed the card down and pumped his fist. He burned Deltour for 4 damage, and with his life total at 1, it was more than enough.

Deltour had learned a lot with his team, and he was aiming for gold.

In the second game, Deltour started strongly with Pick the Brain into Mindwrack Demon. The black discard spell showed Deltour Dragonlord Atarka, Nissa's Pilgrimage, two Tormenting Voice, and Tireless Tracker. After thinking about it hard, he took Nissa's Pilgrimage over the Atarka. This was a choice he later questioned, but Watanabe assured him it was the right call.

After the Mindwrack Demon easily hit delirium for Deltour, the next turn's Ishkanah, Grafwidow was all the more powerful. For the moment, the Frenchman was steering the ship.

But the Dragonlord Atarka was looming. Deltour knew well it was coming, especially with the consistent land-laying Watanabe had been doing.

When the dragon came down it took out the demon post haste. Deltour tried to block it with all his Spider tokens, Ishkanah, and two Pilgrim's Eye he had just cast. He mashed his palm over all the creatures, and pushed them into the dragon, hoping for the best.

But Watanabe had the Kozilek's Return ready, and happily cleared Deltour's entire board and still trampled over for damage. Deltour shrugged. He saw the distinct possibility of that happening, despite being not too happy about it. He could still swing the game, but his hand was devoid of haymakers.

Watanabe followed up his Plague Wind with Goblin Dark-Dwellers casting a Traverse the Ulvenwald. This found him an Emrakul. It was impending next turn. It felt eerily similar to the Infernal Spawn of Evil, just revealing it as it went into his hand had the "It's Coming" effect of the Unglued masterpiece, and Deltour knew he'd have to act quickly.

He drew for his turn.

"It's coming..."

Deltour thought. He thought some more.

"It's coming..."

Sadly, Deltour couldn't get there. The next-turn Emrakul was more than enough to clean up what the Dark-Dwellers and Atarka had started.

The Hall of Fame elect, Yuuya Watanabe, had finished the first day at 7-1—a great way to celebrate his election. Louis Deltour would have to be content with a 6-2.

Louis Deltour – Jund Delirium

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Yuuya Watanabe – Red-Green Ramp

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