gpnag14

Kasuga Drops the Hammer in Nagoya

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The letter T!he second-largest Japanese Grand Prix is in the books, and from a field of 1786 players Ryousuke Kasuga is the last man standing. One of six players to put up perfect 9-0 records on Day 1, Kasuga never took his foot off the gas on his way to a spot in the Top 8. The story of the weekend was the rising tide of amateur power as the big names fell by the wayside. Of the Top 8, only Chapman Sim could boast of previous experience in the elimination rounds. Finalist Takashi Boku sent him packing in the quarterfinals.

The Black Gambit has been an open question in Born of the Gods / Theros draft, and those who favor Asphyxiate over Akroan Skyguard can add this event to their evidence pile. Both finalists had invested heavily in swampland. Fittingly, their clash went to three games. It was an all-attrition match, and Game 3 was a showdown of the God-Weapons, Boku's Whip of Erebos against Kasuga's Hammer of Purphoros. Boku came close, but ran out of gas, and that's one thing the Hammer doesn't do. Congratulations to Ryousuke Kasuga, Grand Prix Nagoya 2014 Champion!




  Follow live streaming video coverage of Grand Prix Nagoya at DailyMTG.com and Nico Nico. The live video stream will start at approximately 10 a.m. local time / 11 p.m. ET (Friday 4/11) / 1 a.m. GMT.


Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals Champion
(1) Takashi Boku Takashi Boku, 2-0
(5) Chapman Sim Takashi Boku, 2-1
(7) Takatoshi Satou Takatoshi Satou, 2-1 Ryousuke Kasuga, 2-0
(3) Hiroshi Date
(4) Ryousuke Kasuga Ryousuke Kasuga, 2-0
(8) Yuuya Sugiyama Ryousuke Kasuga, 2-1
(6) Hisataka Matsui Hisataka Matsui, 2-1
(2) Ryuuji Itagaki









EVENT COVERAGE INFORMATION
 1.  Ryousuke Kasuga $4,000
 2.  Takashi Boku $2,700
 3.  Hisataka Matsui $1,500
 4.  Takatoshi Satou $1,500
 5.  Yuuya Sugiyama $1,000
 6.  Ryuuji Itagaki $1,000
 7.  Hiroshi Date $1,000
 8.  Chapman Sim $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
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Black Bracket
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  • Top 8 Profiles

    by Josh Bennett


  • Kasuga, Ryousuke

    Age: 25
    Hometown: Chiba
    Occupation: Care staff


    Where do you play Magic in your local community?
    LMC, Hobby Station Chiba, Aiko-do

    Do you play Magic Online?
    NO.

    What was your record in Sealed Deck?
    What did you play, and did you have any key cards?
    9-0 with 0 byes. I played Green-Black splashing red with Courser of Kruphix.

    What were your records in the drafts?
    What did you play, and did you have any key cards?
    I played Green-Black both times, going 2-1 both times.

    What is your favorite Draft strategy?
    Pick Green-Black! Green-Black is strong!

    What is the most underrated card in Born of the Gods/Theros Limited?
    ALL black cards.

    What surprised you the most at Grand Prix Nagoya?
    I made Top 8 without byes!

    Which Journey to Nyx preview has excited you the most?
    AAAAJAAAANIIIIII!!!!!




    Chapman Sim

    Age: 28
    Hometown: Singapore
    Occupation: "Professional Tourist"+MTG OFFICIAL EVENT Coverage Writer


    Where do you play Magic in your local community?
    I mostly play overseas!

    Do you play Magic Online?
    Yes,but not much.

    What was your record in Sealed Deck?
    What did you play, and did you have any key cards?
    I went 7-2 playing Blue-White-Green. Sea God's Revenge was my most important card.

    What were your records in the drafts?
    What did you play, and did you have any key cards?
    I went 3-0 in both, one with Blue-White featuring Thassa's Emissary, and the other with Red-Green splahing blue. The Voyage's Ends were key!

    What is your favorite Draft strategy?
    Blue or Red. Team MTGMintcard "broke" the format.

    What is the most underrated card in Born of the Gods/Theros Limited?
    Omenspeaker. Ken Yukuhiro taught me it is a first pick.

    What surprised you the most at Grand Prix Nagoya?
    My teammates (Tzu-ching Kuo and Shi-Tian Lee) and I were all in contention for the Top 8. I'm surprised I was the one that made it because they're so much better than I am.

    Which Journey to Nyx preview has excited you the most?
    Keranos, God of Storms




    Yuuya Sugiyama

    Age: 24
    Hometown: Hiroshima
    Occupation: Bookstore Clerk


    Previous Magic Accomplishments?
    Finished in the money at the last Pro Tour. Won my last two tournaments.

    Where do you play Magic in your local community?
    Shop ACP

    Do you play Magic Online?
    Yes,more than paper.

    What was your record in Sealed Deck?
    What did you play, and did you have any key cards?
    I went 8-1 with two byes playing White-Green. Heliod's Emissary was my key card.

    What were your records in the drafts?
    What did you play, and did you have any key cards?
    First draft I went 3-0 with Black-White, again with Heliod's Emissary. In the second I went 2-0-1 with White-Red, and yes, another Heliod's Emissary.

    What is your favorite Draft strategy?
    Either Blue-White or Blue-Green

    What is the most underrated card in Born of the Gods/Theros Limited?
    Obviously it's Heliod's Emissary.

    What surprised you the most at Grand Prix Nagoya?
    That I managed 8-1 with my card pool.

    Which Journey to Nyx preview has excited you the most?
    DRAGON.




    Hiroshi Date

    Age: 30
    Hometown: Tokyo
    Occupation: Systems Engineer


    Where do you play Magic in your local community?
    Jyu-chin Gumi, PWC

    Do you play Magic Online?
    No.

    What was your record in Sealed Deck?
    What did you play, and did you have any key cards?
    8-1 with Green-White splashing Reaper of the Wilds.

    What were your records in the drafts?
    What did you play, and did you have any key cards?
    I went 2-1 with Red-Black and 3-0 with White-Black. No standout cards.

    What is your favorite Draft strategy?
    Play Beatdown.

    What is the most underrated card in Born of the Gods/Theros Limited?
    Dragon Mantle.

    What surprised you the most at Grand Prix Nagoya?
    I took a game with Two-Headed Cerberus, alone.

    Which Journey to Nyx preview has excited you the most?
    Mana Confluence




    Takashi Boku

    Age: 25
    Hometown: Okazaki
    Occupation: Postman


    Previous Magic Accomplishments?
    This is my best!

    Where do you play Magic in your local community?
    MMC, SmileKing ToyotaYoshiwara

    Do you play Magic Online?
    No.

    What was your record in Sealed Deck?
    What did you play, and did you have any key cards?
    8-1 with one bye. I played Red-White with Hundred-Handed One.

    What were your records in the drafts?
    What did you play, and did you have any key cards?
    I played Blue-Green both times, going 2-1 and 3-0. Sea God's Revenge was my most important card.

    What is your favorite Draft strategy?
    Blue-Green Beatdown

    What is the most underrated card in Born of the Gods/Theros Limited?
    I don't know about Limited, but Pain Seer in Standard.

    What surprised you the most at Grand Prix Nagoya?
    Some cards have gone WAY up in price!

    Which Journey to Nyx preview has excited you the most?
    Gnarled Scarhide




    Ryuuji Itagaki

    Age: 24
    Hometown: Saitama
    Occupation: Salesman


    Where do you play Magic in your local community?
    I don't.

    Do you play Magic Online?
    No.

    What was your record in Sealed Deck?
    What did you play, and did you have any key cards?
    I went 8-1 with no byes. I played White-Red with Elspeth, Sun's Champion.

    What were your records in the drafts?
    What did you play, and did you have any key cards?
    I went 3-0 with Black-Red in draft one. Marshmist Titan was amazing for me. In the second I went 2-0-1 playing Blue-Black. Benthic Giant was key.

    What is your favorite Draft strategy?
    Anything heroic.

    What is the most underrated card in Born of the Gods/Theros Limited?
    Marshmist Titan.

    What surprised you the most at Grand Prix Nagoya?
    The fact that I actually opened an Elspeth!

    Which Journey to Nyx preview has excited you the most?
    Godsend.




    Takatoshi Satou

    Age: 29
    Hometown: Tokyo, Tachikawa
    Occupation: Famikon-kun 2gouten Store Manager


    Where do you play Magic in your local community?
    Saitama/Tachikawa at Famikon-kun 2gouten.

    Do you play Magic Online?
    A few times a month.

    What was your record in Sealed Deck?
    What did you play, and did you have any key cards?
    I went 9-0 with one bye playing White-Red. Akroan Skyguard was my key card.

    What were your records in the drafts?
    What did you play, and did you have any

    key cards?

    Draft 1:
    2-1 with Green Whitel. 4 Voyaging Satyr, 3 Vulpine Goliath and 3 Chronicler of Heroes!

    Draft 2:
    2-1 with White-Blue splash Green. Battlewise Hoplite was my key card.

    What is your favorite Draft strategy?
    Ask my friends what my strategy should be.

    What is the most underrated card in Born of the Gods/Theros Limited?

    Voyaging Satyr. How did I get 4?

    What surprised you the most at Grand Prix Nagoya?
    That I went 9-0 on Day 1!

    Which Journey to Nyx preview has excited you the most?
    Athreos, God of Passage




    Hisataka Matsui

    Age: 32
    Hometown: Chiba
    Occupation: Part-time worker


    Previous Magic Accomplishments?
    I played on the Pro Tour twice.

    Where do you play Magic in your local community?
    I don't.

    Do you play Magic Online?
    No.

    What was your record in Sealed Deck?
    What did you play, and did you have any key cards?
    I went 8-1 with 2 byes playing Blue-White. Aqueous Form was awesome for me.

    What were your records in the drafts?
    What did you play, and did you have any key cards?

    Draft 1:
    2-1 playing Red-Green-White with Xenagos, God of Revels.

    Draft 2:
    3-0 playing Blue-White. Wingsteed Rider was my key card.

    What is your favorite Draft strategy?
    Heroic beatdown

    What is the most underrated card in Born of the Gods/Theros Limited?
    Aqueous Form.

    What surprised you the most at Grand Prix Nagoya?
    That there were so many players!

    Which Journey to Nyx preview has excited you the most?
    Athreos, God of Passage.




     

  • Quarterfinals - Hisataka Matsui vs. Ryuuji Itagaki

    by Josh Bennett

  • After a quick tour of the Top 8 during their deckbuilding period, Ryuuji Itagaki's blue-green deck was one that stood out to me. It had a solid core of creatures, a few powerful key cards, and a good suite of tricks. Maybe the weekend's King of the Hill would also be its Champion?

    His first challenge was Hisataka Matsui and his Green-White heroic deck. He had many of the standout cards of the archetype, including as Reap What is Sown and Chronicler of Heroes, but a shortness of playables kept the deck from being as powerful as it could be.

    Itagaki kept his opening seven almost immediately, but Matsui paused over his with a deepening frown. He took a moment with his head in his hands, and decided he would keep.


    Ryuuji Itagaki

    Itagaki hassled Matsui early with Deepwater Hypnotist while Matsui returned fire in the skies with an unaugmented Akroan Skyguard. When Matsui tapped out for Stout-Hearted Warrior, Itagaki seized his chance to rid himself of the flier. Time to Feed on his Triton Fortune Hunter got him a card and three life.

    Matsui used Reap What is Sown to grow his Warrior to a 5/5 when it went unblocked. Itagaki summoned Nessian Asp and took another hit. This one was for nine thanks to Battlewise Valor. Still, Itagaki had chump blockers to spare and Matsui only had the one attacker. Itagaki went to the skies with Horizon Scholar and started taking large chunks out of Matsui's life total. A timely Griptide sent the Warrior to the top of Matsui's library. It was far less scary the second time around. A few hits from the airborn 4/4 and they were on to game 2.

    Itagaki 1 - Matsui 0

    Itagaki had Annul for Matsui's first play of Leafcrown Dryad, and tried to stop a Nyxborn Wolf with Noble Quarry. Matsui was ready with Feral Invocation. However, he was stuck on three forests. Itagaki played out Courser of Kruphix, no help for the immediate problem of the 5/3 across the board.


    Hisataka Matsui

    Matsui slowly peeled his top card and dropped land number four into play. He tapped all his lands and bestowed a second Leafcrown Dryad. Itagaki confirmed that the Wolf was now a 7/5 and made a face. He hit for two and played Nessian Asp, accepting that he would have to take seven more on the chin. Excoriate got the Courser off the board. Finally, a bestowed Nyxborn Triton meant that his Asp could blockade against the titanic Wolf.

    Matsui began diversifying his portfolio. He summoned Pharika's Mender and got back his ill-fated Dryad. Itagaki played his seventh land and waited to monstrous his Asp. He would need it, too, because next up for Matsui was Vulpine Goliath. Itagaki tapped out for Arbor Colossus and Vaporkin, but that was still only two blockers and he was down to just eight. Matsui untapped and gave his Mender the Dryad, which meant he had three attackers with at least six power, and Battlewise Valor meant the game was his.

    Itagaki 1 - Matsui 1

    Matsui mulliganed and seemed unenthused with his six, but decided to keep. Again Annul dispatched Leafcrown Dryad. This time Itagaki had the tempo, playing out Agent of Horizons onto the empty board. Matsui summoned Nyxborn Wolf and went for the trade. Itagaki had no trick to stop it. He summoned Vaporkin and passed.

    So they matched smaller creatures while the Vaporkin went overhead, and then Itagaki took command of the situation with Vulpine Goliath. Unfortunately for him it would only attack once thanks to Excoriate, and soon they were back to just a lone Vaporkin attacking in the air. Matsui all but slammed his sixth land when it came off his deck and threw down a Vulpine Goliath of his own. It was a tight race: Itagaki was at a comfortable life total, and his attack brought Matsui to just six.

    Matsui returned fire with the fox and added Battlewise Valor. His top card was a keeper. Itagaki hit again with his Vaporkin but his deck was giving him no help. Matsui hit for six with the Vulpine Goliath and with a flourish summoned a second copy to the battlefield, earning approving murmurs from the crowd. Itagaki peeled his top card slowly and peeked. He checked the board, and then extended the hand, congratulating Matsui on his victory.

    Hisataka Matsui defeats Ryuuji Itagaki 2-1




     

  • Quarterfinals Round-Up

    by Nate Price

  • Takashi Boku (Black/Green) vs. Chapman Sim (Blue/Red/Green)

    The first game of this match did not take long at all, unfortunately for Sim. Boku was on the play and made a Fleshmad Steed and enchanted it with Ordeal of Erebos on the immediate next turn. Sim had a Lightning Strike in his hand to deal with the Steed before it became too big to matter, but he didn't have a Mountain to cast it. In fact, he didn't have any other lands in his hand, and he had to pass the turn back with a shake of his head. It wasn't long before Sim, still on two lands, just conceded a very quick Game 1.

    The second game was startlingly like the first, initially. Boku once again had a Fleshmad Steed with an Ordeal of Erebos, and Sim, once again, didn't have a way to deal with it immediately. He took one hit from the enchanted Horse before opting to tap it down in Boku's attack step with a Sudden Storm. This bought him a little bit of time to cast an Ill-Tempered Cyclops, but Boku just upped the ante once again. Rather than stay on the ground, he used a Herald of Torment to send a Felhide Minotaur to the sky, creating a 5/6 flying attacker.

    Sim was in dire straits, but the time he bought with the Sudden Storm allowed him to make his Cyclops a Monster, taking down the Steed. He then added a Stratus Walk to make it able to block the Minotaur. Unfortunately for him, his ability to stabilize would end there. Baleful Eidolon was just enough to make the Minotaur able to successfully attack into the Cyclops. Sim didn't have anything, and the Minotaur, combined with a Blood-Toll Harpy, finished him off.

    Takashi Boku 2 – Chapman Sim 0



    Hiroshi Date (Red/White) vs. Takatoshi Satou (Green/White)

    This match was far more interesting than I would ever have given it credit for being. Date began with an exposition on just how big a Wingsteed Rider can get. The Rider hit play, picked up an Everflame Eidolon, and then dropped a Fall of the Hammer on a Snake of the Golden Grove. For those keeping track at home, that's bigger than a 4/4 big. The finishing touch on this build-your-own-Baneslayer was the Hopeful Eidolon, creating a 7/7 flying, Firebreathing, lifelinking monstrosity that you can bet finished the game right off.

    The second game was just as one-sided, but in the other direction, as Satou took a Swordwise Centaur, gave it a Feral Invocation on the third turn, and just demolished Date. Anticlimactially, Date mulliganned to five cards in the final game and failed to draw more than one land for a few turns. He tried to make a game of it with a Wingsteed Rider and Gift of Immortality once he drew lands, but the damage had more than been done, Date dropping to Satou's army despite his best efforts.

    Takatoshi Satou 2 – Hiroshi Date 1



    Ryousuke Kasuga (Black/Red) vs. Yuuya Sugiyama (White/Red)

    This final match was an exercise in running roughshod over an opponent. Sugiyama was on the back foot from the start. Kasuga's deck gave him a steady stream of difficult to block creatures, including Mogis's Marauder, Purphoros's Emissary, and Flame-Wreathed Phoenix. All Sugiyama could muster for defense was a Griffin Dreamfinder bestowed with an Observant Alseid. Regardless of how observant the Griffin may have become, it couldn't see the Bile Blight that Kasuga used to finish it off during combat, clearing away his only blocker for Kasuga's Phoenix. Without a flying defender for the Phoenix or a second creature for the Emissary, Sugiyama quickly fell.

    It's not often that a game is decided on the second turn, but the next game of this match certainly was. On the play, Sugiyama opened with an aggressive Nyxborn Rollicker into Ordeal of Heliod, looking to run away with the game. Before that could get out of control, however, Kasuga blew Sugiyama out with a Pharika's Cure. This not only got Kasuga card advantage, it also gave him the initiative. Now able to be the aggressor instead of the one reacting, Kasuga played a creature every turn, even dropping a three drop on turn five to go alongside his Bile Blight for Sugiyama's creature. Now in complete control, Kasuga attacked and never looked back, taking the match in a quick two games.

    Ryousuke Kasuga 2 - Yuuya Sugiyama 0




     

  • Semifinals - Ryousuke Kasuga vs. Hisataka Matsui

    by Josh Bennett

  • Hisataka Matsui, playing White-Green heroic sat down opposite Ryousuke Kasuga, who had drafted a Red-Black deck featuring Hammer of Purphoros and Ember Swallower.

    In the first game, Matsui's black splash came up in a big way. Kasuga had a removal-heavy hand, killing off Matsui's first few creatures while Matsui got in what damage he could. Pharika's Mender let Matsui get extra action from his Leafcrown Dryad. Kasuga had drawn his expensive bestow creatures but was stuck at five land. That meant that he wasn't able to measure up to the Vulpine Goliath that Matsui had in store.


    Ryousuke Kasuga vs. Hisataka Matsui

    Kasuga surveyed his options and decided to swallow the bitter pill. He played out a couple small guys and gave Matsui a three-for-one deal on his Goliath. Leafcrown Dryad on Cavalry Pegasus gave Matsui an evasive threat, and he was able to steal the game with Battlewise Valor before Kasuga could turn things around with an army from Hammer of Purphoros.

    Matsui 1 - Kasuga 0

    Matsui had to go down to six cards for the second game, and his hand was short of action. He had a Nyxborn Wolf that fell to Bile Blight and then had to swatch as Kasuga assembled a squad of clunky beaters. Matsui took care of a Cavern Lampad with Fade Into Antiquity, but the next turn Kasuga found a second mountain to summon Ember Swallower. Matsui went through the motions for a turn, but he was simply too far behind.


    Hisataka Matsui

    Matsui 1 - Kasuga 1

    By this point the other semifinal had finished, so all eyes were on these two. After trading cards early it was Matsui's Nyxborn Wolf up against Kasuga's freshly-cast Insatiable Harpy. Matsui was stuck on three land but had plenty of cheap threats. He hit for three and added Chronicler of Heroes to his board.

    Kasuga returned fire in the air and summoned Archetype of Aggressive. Matsui gamely swung in with both his creatures, and Kasuga played right into his hands when he chose to block the Chronicler over the Wolf. Matsui tapped three and put down Feral Invocation. That blunder paid compound interest when Kasuga summoned Wild Celebrants to try another block. Battlewise Valor made the 5/5 a 7/7. Matsui even got to leave a good one on top.


    Ryousuke Kasuga

    Kasuga untapped and considered his options. He decided it was time to race. He cast Hammer of Purphoros and immediately made a golem, attacking for five. Matsui hit back for five, but the Harpy's life gain was making things tricky. He summoned Stout-Hearted Warrior to work defence with the Nyxborn Wolf. The life totals were 11 apiece. Kasuga almost had the kill that turn thanks to Mogis's Marauder and another Hammer activation. As it was he contented himself with eight damage and keeping the Marauder home, just in case. Cavern Lampad in hand rendered the endgame academic, and Kasuga's friends erupted in cheers and applause.

    Ryousuke Kasuga defeats Hisataka Matsui 2-1




     

  • Semifinals - Takashi Boku vs. Takatoshi Satou

    by Nate Price

  • The Players

    Neither Takashi Boku or Takatoshi Satou had ever experienced any success on par with their appearance here in the Semifinals of Grand Prix Nagoya. Now, both of them have not only secured themselves an opportunity to become the most recent Japanese Grand Prix Champion, they earned themselves a trip to Pro Tour Magic 2015 in Portland this August. Without the pressure of qualification on their shoulders, both players were cordial as they talked and joked before the match.


    Takashi Boku vs. Takatoshi Satou

    The Decks

    Takashi Boku's black/green deck was able to utterly shred through Chapman Sim in the Quarterfinals due to a number of very inexpensive creatures and two copies of Ordeal of Erebos. In both games, his Fleshmad Steeds became so large that Sim had trouble keeping up, and, even when he did, Boku's Herald of Torment and Mistcutter Hydra could simply finish the job.

    Satou's green/white deck, however, was far more standard fare. He had his own cheap creatures and enchancers in his green/white deck, including the Swordwise Centaur and Feral Invocationhe used to dispatch Hiroshi Date in his Quarterfinal match. On top of those, he had a number of large bodies, including an undisclosed number of Snakes, from Nessian Asp to Snake of the Golden Grove.

    The Games

    Boku's deck had shown its ability to quickly decimate opponents in his Quarterfinals match against Chapman Sim, as he obliterated Sim's hand with multiple copies of Ordeal of Erebos over the course of their match. He kept that streak alive in the first game of this Semifinal match. Opening with Asphodel Wanderer allowed him to begin building his Ordeal on turn two. To make matters worse, he added a second ordeal to his Wanderer on the following turn, obliterating Satou's hand in two turns and leaving a 5/5 regenerator in its place.

    Surprisingly, Satou wasn't completely dead, as bestowing Observant Alseid on his Bronze Sable allowed him to get enough to keep things interesting, attacking and blocking. Even more interesting when Satou played Snake of the Golden Grove, gaining him enough life to actually take the lead over Boku 9-8. Unfortunately, it was all smoke and mirrors, as Satou still had no way to deal with the 5/5 regenerator on Boku's side of the table. He was able to survive, but not for more than one more turn before the dominating creature forced a concession.

    The second game of the match started just as Boku's Quarterfinals had: with a Fleshmad Steed enchanted with Ordeal of Erebos. This time, however, it was SAttou that would get card advantage, using Excoriate to remove the Steed before it got a second counter.

    Dueling Snake of the Golden Grove. Only Satou's Decorated Griffin was able to attack through the stall, taking two-point bites out of Boku's life total. Boku chose to break the stalemate by adding a Baleful Eidolon to his Nessian Courser and attacking with his two 4/4s. Satou thought for a while before deciding to take the damage, dropping to 11. His counterstrike with his whole team ended up evening up the life totals, before he once again took the lead with yet another Snake of the Golden Grove.

    Boku's hand was running out of gas, and Satou had just refilled his tank. Still, the threat of two deathtouch defenders kept Satou's ground forces home, leaving the attack to his fliers. This armistice lasted for a few turns, as Boku's life drained away in the sky. He tried to turn the tables and eliminate Satou's attacker using a Boon of Erebos on a Blood-Toll Harpy, but a Mortal's Resolve kept the Griffin safe. It did buy Boku a turn to find a Cavern Lampad, though, which he put on his Harpy to completely shut down Satou's attack.


    Takashi Boku

    He could see the end, smell the blood with Boku on 4 life, yet Satou couldn't finish him off. Even when he finally drew a Feral Invocation to push past the Harpy, he was rebuffed by a Necrobite. The Necrobite was doubly dangerous, as it not only removed Satou's only thread, but it removed his only blocker should Boku go on the offensive! Fortunately for Satou, his green/white deck was chock full of tricks, and he drew one of the best ones one turn later. After taking a hit from the Harpy down to 5, Satou sent his whole team. Boku lined up his blocks, letting only the two one-powered creatures through, but Satou had drawn his Reap What Is Sown, a poignant way to win this drawn out game if ever there was one.

    The third and final game was strange from the outset. Boku's draw was a step back from the level of his previous ones, as it didn't have his seemingly constant Ordeal of Erebos to enhance his quick Fleshmad Steed. As such, he built his army much slower, running Felhide Minotaur and another Fleshmad Steed out before bestowing Cavern Lampad and Baleful Eidolon on them. Boku was able to use all of his mana every turn, giving him a distinct edge over Satou.


    Takatoshi Satou

    For his part, Satou looked like he would be able to begin dropping his many five-drops extra early in the final game thanks to an early Voyaging Satyr, but instead he passed turn after turn. Every time he flashed his hand even a little, all I could see was Forests and Plains. Each turn that passed, Boku's advantage grew greater until a 5/5 Mistcutter Hydra came down to knock Satou to 2. Already clearly dead, Satou laughed when Boku tapped four mana for a Whip of Erebos on his following turn.

    "There's more," he asked with a laugh? All he could do was shake his head and Boku's hand, exiting the tournament without a win, but with an invitation to Pro Tour Magic 2015 in August! As for Boku, his enchanted Top 8 run would continue, as he stepped aside to wait for his last opponent.




     

  • Finals - Takashi Boku vs. Ryousuke Kasuga

    by Nate Price

  • The Players

    This is the first time for both of these players in a match of this caliber, meaning that the Champion of Grand Prix Nagoya will be a player without so much as a Top 8 to their name. Still, both players earned their seats the hard way. Boku was fortunate enough to come into this event with one bye, while Kasuga had to make his Top 8 in full man-mode, going 9-0 on Day 1 with zero byes.

    The Decks

    The most important thing to know about Boku's deck is that he is down with Erebos. Between Whip of Erebos, Boon of Erebos, and a couple of copies of Ordeal of Erebos, Boku's deck is probably enough devotion to Erebos to get him to materialize in the middle of the finals. Add to that Herald of Torment and Mistcutter Hydra, and you have a very powerful deck capable of either creating a difficult situation for opponents early, or staving things off until his late game can take over.


    Takashi Boku

    On the other side, Kasuga's red/black deck has an incredible amount of removal, something which will potentially pay him dividends against Boku's enchantment-reliant deck. In addition to Bile Blight, Bolt of Keranos, and Pharika's Cure, Kasuga's deck has a number of very good creatures, such as Purphoros's Emissary, Flame-Wreathed Phoenix, and Archetype of Aggression to make sure that opponents never have a chance to recover.

    The Games

    Boku managed a smile as he shuffled his deck, even after mulliganning his first two hands. His five-card hand gave him something to do, at least, so he kept. Still, it was an unfortunate showing in light of Kasuga's very good seven-card hand. Boku tried to get something going with a couple of early creatures and a Whip of Erebos, but Kasuga had, not only the removal, but the creatures to just push Boku over. Between Minotaur Skullcleaver, Ember Swallower, and Archetype of Aggression, Kasuga never failed to tap out on his turn. Boku, meanwhile, backpedaled in the face of Kasuga's aggression. He was never really in the game after Pharika's Cure gave Kasuga the initiative, which he never relinquished.


    Ryousuke Kasuga

    In the second game, it was Kasuga's turn to mulligan, and Boku's turn to take advantage of it. His Tormented Hero hit the table on turn one instead of turn two, and it was soon joined by a Nyxborn Wolf and bestowed soon thereafter with a Herald of Torment. Kasuga tried to stem the bleeding with a Bolt of Keranos to remove the Wolf, but dealing with a five-power flier was asking far too much. The first attack dropped Kasuga to 8, and the next, combined with a Boon of Erebos, did exactly enough to finish the job.

    In the final game, Boku once again had an aggressive start, but Kasuga had the early Pharika's Cure and Lightning Strike to slow him down. Whip of Erebos hit the table on turn four, and suddenly Boku's surviving Fleshmad Steed looked just a touch more intimidating. It was even more intimidating when he used a Necrobite to clear away a Purphoros's Emissary, clearing Kasuga's board. Kasuga had the perfect answer to his current predicament, though, using Anger of the Gods to outright exile Boku's board.

    Boku was still far ahead in life, and had a couple of creatures in his graveyard, so Kasuga was going to have his work cut out for him if he was going to get ahead in this game. He started with an Ember Swallower, adding a Cavern Lampad to make it unblockable on the following turn. Now, he had an offense to deal with the Whip's lifelink. Boku made a Herald of Torment, giving Kasuga pause to think about an impending race. He was at 12, Boku at 28. Things staying as they were, he would win the race, so he began to attack. Unfortunately, things never stay as they are, and Boku eliminated the Swallower with Sip of Hemlock. Had Kasuga made his Swallower monstrous during his attack, Boku wouldn't have had the six mana to kill it. Instead, he was forced to use Lash of the Whip to temporarily get rid of the Herald.

    His attacks grew stronger while Boku's dwindled down. Spearpoint Oread gave the Lampad some extra oomph, and a Minotaur Skullcleaver joined the fray to drop the defenseless Boku to 12. Next turn, they dropped him to 6. Both players were incredibly low, but Kasuga had the advantage on the board. Boku tried to buy time with a Baleful Eidolon, but a massive Hammer of Purphoros came down to give Kasuga an extra, expendable attacker. The attack dropped Boku to 1. Next turn, the Hammer fell for the final time.

    Ryousuke Kasuga defeats Takashi Boku 2-1 to become the Grand Prix Nagoya Champion!


    Ryousuke Kasuga celebrates!



     

  • Top 8 Decklists

    by Event Coverage Staff











  •  

  • Top 5 Cards

    by Nate Price and Josh Bennett



  • 5. Hopeful Eidolon

    Born of the Gods / Theros sealed deck is all about going big. Whether that means piling up counters on heroic creatures, or stacking up bestowed auras on a single attacker, or making monsters monstrous, almost every deck will be capable of presenting a staggering threat to the opponent. The successful sealed deck is one that can present such a threat and answer the opponent's. Here, Hopeful Eidolon is a big trump. It makes sure that yours is the threat that wins the race.







    4. Retraction Helix

    Surprisingly, blue ended up being the most-played color amongst the 7-2 or better Sealed Decks, and one of the common links between many of them was the present of the Retraction Helix on the lists. Fueling the many blue/white and blue/green heroic decks, Helix is able to serve double duty as an enabler and a removal spell. Perhaps the sickest things seen during the Sealed portion of the tournament were when players combined Lord Helix with Kiora's Follower, Wavecrash Triton, or, heaven forbid, [i]both[/i]. It only takes one Retraction Helix in a position like that to create an insurmountable situation.





    3. Vulpine Goliath

    When you're in the market for a big green monster, Nessian Asp is the man for the job. However, life is not all first picks and steak dinners. Sometimes you need to go further down the list. Again and again this weekend, green mages were hiring the Big Fox to do their dirty work. Trample was the difference-maker, ensuring that aggressive decks with small creatures couldn't chump-block their way to victory.








    2. Ordeal of Erebos

    It is no secret that the Ordeal cycle from Theros is an excellent set of five cards. Inexpensive, able to trigger heroic, and one of the many ways to turn a mortal into a monster in the format, the Ordeals have been cards worth first-picking since they first saw the outside of a booster pack. Here in the Top 8 of Grand Prix Nagoya, we were privy to a front-row seat as Takashi Boku just demolished opponents with his inexpensive creatures and two copies of Ordeal of Erebos. Creatures like Fleshmad Steed and Asphodel Wanderer are most commonly found occupying space in a deck, mostly because a player needs to shore up their early game. In Boku's deck, however, they were key to his early game, as one Ordeal could turn them into utter destruction. [i]Two[/i] Ordeals would just seal the game.

    Twice in the Top 8, Boku managed to land an early pair of Ordeals, and both games he managed to use them to empty an opponent's hand and leave a monstrosity in their wake. While his deck had plenty of other scary cards in it, like Mistcutter Hydra and Herald of Torment, it was the pair of Ordeals that struck true fear into his opponents.





    1. Hammer of Purphoros

    Champion Ryousuke Kasuga made the most of this powerhouse rare, showing off its two sides in his Top 8 matches. Permanent haste meant his opponents could never be sure where they stood in the race, especially with sneaky Cavern Lampads at the ready. In longer games, the ability to muster an army of golems was invaluable. The deciding game was a battle of the God Weapons, with Kasuga and his Hammer against Boku and the Whip of Erebos. After committing most of his resources to preventing the Whip from running away with the game and keeping things close, it was Kasuga's Hammer that put the final nail in the coffin.






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