This semifinals match was a study in contrasts. Tsuyoshi was the old hand on the Grand Prix with the hot new deck—Goblin Bidding—while his opponent was the young, nervous rookie with one of the oldest decks in the ever changing Standard format—Psychatog.
Vincent Gan was the last line of defense against an all Japanese finals (and a potential all Goblin Bidding finals). Fujita Osamu was squaring off against Itaru Ishida one table over with an identical deck to the one that was being played by Tsuyoshi.
Mountain and Skirk Prospector has become a dreaded opening over the course of the weekend but Vincent had the Innocent Blood ready. He followed with a Compulsion but Tsuyoshi's next two plays were Piledriver and Sharpshooter. Things threatened to get out of hand quickly when Tsuyoshi attempted a Sledder after a second Sharpshooter but the Malaysian had the Logic.
Vincent quickly found a wall pressing against his back and had to keep countering goblins—including an Incinerator. When a Goblin Matron was attempted he cycled two Sandbars to find Counterspell. The Sharpshooters were jammed into the locked position but the Piledriver took Gan down to five all by his lonesome—a Firebolt dropped him to three. Anything that killed a goblin would spell doom for Gan and yet he had to find and answer.
He cast Upheaval and replayed an Island—purely defensively--and Fujita had no play for his new turn one. He drew in to a Prospector and Gan had to decide if it would resolve—it did.
Engineered Plague killed the Prospector but Gan fell to two from a freshly cast Warchief. He Smothered it when he untapped. Counterspell dealt with one Piledriver but he could not stop the second. Tsuyoshi attempted a back-breaking Bidding but the Malaysian had the Spike. He had nothing for the flashed back Firebolt and cycled into more of nothing.
Vincent Gan was very upset with himself after the match and shook his violently and was clearly second guessing some decisions he made during Game 1.
Fujita – 1 Gan – 0
Fujita's second turn Sparksmith was returned to his hand with Chain of Vapor. Duress revealed two copies of Sulfuric Vortex and a bunch of Goblins but no third land to cast the enchantment.
Fujita attempted a Piledriver and it was Force Spiked. Sparksmith came down on the next turn but it was dispatched with an Engineered Plague. Goblin Warchief came down and Gan answered with a Psychatog. Another Warchief hit play and Goblin Matron searched for Piledriver but it was met with Circular Logic.
Another Tog cane down as did another Piledriver. When Tsuyoshi attempted a Siege Gang it was met with a Cunning Wish for Circular Logic that the younger player removed form the game with his Tog. Sulfuric Vortex finally came down—Tsuyoshi figured the Piledriver could occupy one of the Togs for a while.
A second Vortex was countered and Gan swung in with both Togs. He took Fujita down to six and Innocent Blooded away a Tog and a Warchief after combat. The Vortex was ticking away both their life totals. Fujita swung in with both his creatures and dropped his opponent to two—same as his own life total. He played out his Prospector, which promptly died to a Plague to indicate that he was all in—if Gan had a Chain of Vapor or any way to deal with the Vortex they would move onto Game 3. Gan faked the Chain but it was a Force Spike.
Fujita was jubilant as he advanced to the finals—and all Japanese finals. Would it be an all Goblin Bidding finals as well? Stay tuned!
Final Result: Fujita – 2 Gan – 0