Round 2: Jinpei Hassaku vs. Kenji Ito

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Jinpei Hassaku is mostly known as "That Draco-Explosion Guy" from Pro Tour – Houston. There, he took all the snickers at his goofy deck and earned the best revenge, a twenty-fourth place finish. He still flies under the pro-recognition radar, but is easy enough to spot if you know to look for glasses, baseball cap and windbreaker. His opponent is relative unknown Kenji Ito, and you can tell from the shakes in his hands he's worried about this matchup.

Game 1

Hassaku won the right to play first, and kept a spicy hand with all three of his colors. When his first draw step yielded a second forest, he was away at the races. Elvish Warrior hit the table, soon to be followed by Timberwatch Elf. Ito played out Disciple of Grace and a morph. Not great.

Meanwhile Hassaku continued to bring the noise, this time with morph and Goblin Sledder. Ito sat back on his mana. Hassaku's morph and Warrior ran in, and Ito blocked the morph with his. Hassaku unmorphed Shaleskin Plower, destroying Ito's only swamp. Ito returned fire by showing Skirk Marauder, but between Timberwatch Elf and Goblin Sledder he only managed to fell the Sledder.

With his back against he wall, Ito set up Glory Seeker and Beacon of Destiny. Hassaku continued to hammer, adding Totem Speaker. Ito fell to nine. He added a morph to the table. Hassaku finally drew his second mountain, and Avarax hit the ground running. Ito was in a bad spot. He lost most of his defenses and fell to six. His next turn he still didn't have enough to unmorph his Skinthinner, and scooped.

Hassaku 1 – Ito 0

Game 2

Both players grimaced at their opening hands. Ito chose to keep. Hassaku, staring at a single forest, could not. His second was more acceptable. Ito cycled away Disciple of Grace on turn two, and then dropped a morph. Hassaku matched him. Ito had Shock, cutting down what turned out to be Skirk Commando, and bashed for two before dropping Beacon of Destiny. Hassaku dropped another morph and waited until he could drop his bigger men.

Ito hit for another two and held back on five mana. Hassaku showed him Barkhide Mauler, and earned Cruel Revival. The morphs traded (Daru Healer and Nantuko Vigilante), and both players started to rebuild. Ito's morph was outclassed by Totem Speaker, and then Hassaku dumped his hand of Sledder, Flamewave Invoker and Stonewood Invoker. Smother and Prowling Pangolin reduced him to just the Speaker.

Ito made a bid for control when his morph turned out to be Whipcorder, but both players were drawing blanks. Hassaku was the first out with Needleshot Gourna. Ito matched with Lowland Tracker. Hassaku pulled Echo Tracer and played it face-down. The fear of it was enough to convince Ito to let three more damage through. On the swing-back the Tracer rescued itself from the Tracker. Ito added Glory Seeker. Again the Totem Speaker swung in, and this time Ito decided to double-block, losing the Seeker. The Tracer saved the Speaker, and when the Tracker tried to take revenge, Hassaku showed the Vitality Charm he'd just drawn.

All Ito could muster was a Festering Goblin. Hassaku had the Speaker and then Avarax. Ito had a morph and a plummeting life total. His mana was constrained the turn he played the morph, so he couldn't activate Whipcorder and show Skinthinner. He opted to tap, and fell a little further behind. The next turn he reversed things, costing Hassaku both the Speaker and Needleshot Gourna for just his Beacon. It looked like he might be able to pull this one out. A timely Swooping Talon negated Hassaku's draws of Wirewood Savage and Nantuko Vigilante. Just when things were at their worst, Hassaku drew Skirk Marauder. He played it face-down, intending to hit the Whipcorder, then checked the life totals, and saw Ito was at one. He sent it to the face for the win.

Final Result: Jinpei Hassaku defeats Kenji Ito 2-0

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