Round 14: Rich Hoaen (Temur Aetherworks) vs. [7] Shota Yasooka (Grixis Control)

Posted in Event Coverage on October 15, 2016

By Melissa DeTora

Melissa is a former Magic pro player and strategy writer who is now working in R&D on the Play Design team.

Shota Yasooka was sitting at 11-2, and a win here would mean that he would be one match win away from his fourth Pro Tour Top 8. His opponent was longtime pro Rich Hoaen, known for being a master at Limited, but sitting at 11-3.

The Decks

Yasooka was piloting a Grixis Control deck featuring four Thing in the Ice, two Torrential Gearhulk, and a huge number of draw spells to support them. As an expert of control decks, it's no surprise that Yasooka had been dominating with his Standard deck this weekend. It had answers to the problem cards of the format and plenty of card selection to go along with it.

Hoaen was on Temur Aetherworks, the breakout combo deck of the Pro Tour. His plan against Yasooka was to get an Aetherworks Marvel onto the battlefield as quickly as possible before Yasooka had access to a counterspell. Once the Marvel was on the battlefield, Yasooka had no way of removing it, but resolving it would be a problem as Yasooka was running six ways to counter the artifact.


While Shota Yasooka was firmly on his way to another Pro Tour Top 8, Rich Hoaen was battling to maintain a shot at Sunday.

The Games

Yasooka won the die roll and chose to play, drew his opening, and quickly mulliganed. Hoaen kept his hand without hesitation.

"Remember the last time we played?" asked Hoaen. Shota responded with a chuckle as he drew a new hand of six cards.

"You remember? It was Grand Prix New Jersey twelve years ago. Teams." Hoaen's comment was met with another chuckle out of Yasooka. He kept his new hand of six and scryed his card to the bottom.

Hoaen cast an Attune with Aether on turn one and a Contingency Plan on turn two. Yasooka played nothing for the first two turns of the game and then a Thing in the Ice on turn three.

Hoaen began playing various Puzzleknots and Vessel of Nascency to set up his and gain energy. Glint-Nest Crane found an Aetherworks Marvel, but Yasooka had a Negate ready. A second Aetherworks Marvel was cast the following turn and Yasooka responded with Anticipate, finding another Negate. Out of gas, all Hoaen could do was attack with his Crane.

Yasooka used Galvanic Bombardment on the Crane, which was not enough damage to destroy it, but it did remove the final counter from Thing in the Ice. The Thing became Awoken Horror and Yasooka now had a clock on his opponent.


Hoaen did what he could to fuel his Aetherworks Marvel.

A few Awoken Horror attacks found Hoaen at 5 life and he had to draw another Aetherworks Marvel quickly. He cracked his Vessel, finding Woodweaver's Puzzleknot. The Puzzleknot got him to 8 life, which was enough to survive for another turn. Hoaen drew his card, saw that it was not an Aetherworks Marvel or a way to stop Awoken Horror, and the players were on to Game 2.

"I play," said Hoaen as he presented his deck to his opponent. Both players kept their opening hands.

Hoaen again began the game with a Attune with Aether and a Glassblower's Puzzleknot set up the top of his library. Yasooka followed up with a second-turn Thing in the Ice.

Yasooka missed his third land drop and was forced to pass the turn, and Hoaen spent his three mana sacrificing his Puzzleknot. He played a Spirebluff Canal as his fourth land, which entered the battlefield tapped, leaving him unable to play his turn four Aetherworks Marvel.

Yasooka played an end-of turn Anticipate, ticking the Thing in the Ice down to three. Anticipate found the land he needed and he cast Transgress the Mind. This time Hoaen had the Negate to stop the key spell. The Transgress left Yasooka with one land untapped and his shields were down.

Hoaen took advantage of his tapped-out control opponent to resolve Aetherworks Marvel. He activated it, but only managed to find Glimmer of Genius. The Glimmer did give Hoaen two additional energy, of which he now had six, giving him another shot at activating the Marvel. This time, the Marvel activation revealed Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger.

Ulamog exiled Yasooka's Thing in the Ice and his only black source, dropping Yasooka to only three lands. After an attack exiled twenty cards from his opponent's library, Hoaen was looking pretty favored to win this game. Besides Ulamog, he didn't have much else going on. He was out of energy and low on cards.


Yasooka fights through multiple Eldrazi in an attempt to stabilize.

Yasooka untapped, played a Swamp and cast To the Slaughter, forcing Hoaen to sacrifice his Ulamog. The battlefield was only lands for both players and they are each down to only a few cards in hand.

Yasooka cast Painful Truths, refilling his hand and finding a fifth land, putting him in the driver's seat. Hoaen could only play another land and pass. Yasooka played an end of turn Torrential Gearhulk, and the Anticipate it flashed back was met with Dispel.

Yasooka was finally able to chip away Hoaen's life total with Torrential Gearhulk, and Hoaen was unable to find an answer. Hoaen cast a Glassblower's Puzzleknot which allowed him to gain enough energy to activate Aetherworks Marvel for the third time this game, finding Emrakul, the Promised End.

Hoaen gained control of Yasooka's turn, but couldn't do much, as Yasooka's hand was only removal and draw spells. On Yasooka's post-Emrakul, turn he top-decked Jace, Unraveler of Secrets and bounced the Emrakul back to Hoaen's hand.

After dealing with both an Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and Emrakul, the Promised End, Yasooka had turned the corner once again. He cast a Thing on the Ice and began casting spells to tick it down, but his library was dangerously low.

Yasooka cast Painful Truths and Negated his own spell to transform his Thing, and he finally began attacking. Two swings later Hoaen was down to 1 life and it came down to a final top-deck. He drew and cast an Aetherworks Marvel, which Yasooka countered with Void Shatter. A final attack caused a concession out of Hoaen.

Hoaen 0 – Yasooka 2

Rich Hoaen - Temur Aetherworks

Shota Yasooka - Grixis Control

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