Two-time Grand Prix winner and weekend thug Masayuki Higashino is right at home in sealed deck, which is bad news for his opponent, the comparatively-unknown Kazuto Ishikawa.
Higashino earned the right to play first and took full advantage. He ran the curve for the first four turns, dropping Aquamoeba, Fledgeling Imp and then Gloomdrifter with no resistance from
Ishikawa played his fourth turn and passed it back, a move that had Higashino calling for Elephant Ambush. He swung in regardless, and was delighted and confused when no Ambush came. He added Hydromorph Guardian to his team, holding Shelter and Crippling Fatigue.
Krosan Constrictor fell to the Fatigue, and from there Higashino could just attack for the win. The game was over in two-and-a-half minutes.
In game two Ishikawa showed islands early, but stopped playing lands after two of them. Higashino was on him with Frightcrawler and Mesmeric Fiend, having taken Aether Burst and seen a hand of Dreamwinder, Aven Fisher, Krosan Constrictor, Muscle Burst, Refresh and Organ Grinder.
However, Higashino held nothing but lands in reserve. It was a topdecking race. Ishikawa ripped a swamp and dropped the Grinder. Higashino pulled a land of his own, swinging with just the Frightcrawler. Ishikawa drew another swamp, and played Aven Fisher.
Cephalid Scout came too late for Higashino, but Cycled away an island before Ishikawa's Dreamwinder could swing. Ishikawa found a fifth land, and sacrificed one of his islands for four damage. Crippling Fatigue took care of the Organ Grinder, and Higashino tried to stay in it with Gloomdrifter. Ishikawa took it down with Waste Away, pitching Refresh.
Finally Ishikawa found a Forest. He blew up his last island to swing with the Dreamwinder, and Higashino chumped with the Fiend, giving back his Burst. Krosan Constrictor meant that Higashino would have to re-use his Fatigue. He did so, and played Blessed Orator.
The way was thus clear for Ishikawa's Whispering Shade. Higashino looked at his next card, and scooped.
Higashino got the party started in game three with Psychatog. He used Patriarch's Desire to get rid of a Cephalid Looter, but only had Aquamoeba to add to his offense. Cephalid Aristocrat shut his whole team down. He was forced to take to the air with Gloomdrifter.
Ishikawa hit with his Aristocrat and added a Krosan Constrictor. With only one swamp, Higashino was forced to pitch his Crippling Fatigue for damage just so could flash it back at a discount. However, Ishikawa was again inactive, giving Higashino the advantage.
He swung in with the whole team. Ishikawa blocked the 'Tog with the Aristocrat. Higashino pitched to take it down, but Ishikawa had Muscle Burst. It didn't much matter, though, because Higashino could pitch for damage from Aquamoeba, and stop Ishikawa's next play with Rites of Refusal, then attack for the win. After seeing his spell go down the drain, Ishikawa scooped.
Masayuki Higashino defeats Kazuto Ishikawa 2-1