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Round 4: Masahiko Morita vs. Shuuhei Nakamura

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Everyone loves a grudge match. These two last tangled indirectly, as their teams (Morita's PS2 and Nakamura's S.S.D.) fought at Grand Prix – Nagoya with the Championship title and an invitation to the Team Masters on the line. Morita and his teammates Masashiro Kuroda and Katsuhiro Mori emerged victorious. They made the most of their invitation, winning the Team Masters last weekend at Venice. Now Nakamura has a chance at revenge. If only they weren't such good friends, and hadn't shown each other their decks while they sat out their byes.

Game 1

Nakamura had to mulligan to start things, and Morita started the pain early. He led with Sparksmith, and Nakamura dropped a morph, hoping for the best. It was not to be as Flamestick Courier showed his creature the door. Unable to answer the 'Smith, he took his beats as Morita added a morph and Sootfeather Flock to the table. Nakamura crossed his fingers as he dropped Pinpoint Avalanche, targeting the morph. It was indeed the Silent Specter.

Having saved himself from disaster, he was still on the back foot. He played a morph, and when Morita shot it at end of turn he showed it was Warbreak Trumpeter, making a token and dealing four to Morita. Morita took another two getting the token out of the way, and then played Frenetic Raptor. Nakamura let his displeasure be known. He had a Shock to stop the Sootfeather Flock, but no Cruel Revival to put an end to the 6/6. He started to shuffle for Game 2.

Morita 1 – Nakamura 0

Game 2

Again, Nakamura had a mulligan to start things, and again Morita had a turn-two Sparksmith. All was not lost, though. Nakamura had opened with Goblin Turncoat and an amplified Embalmed Brawler (showing Anurid Murkdiver). When Morita paused on his third turn, Nakamura started to call for the cycle. Sure enough, Morita put Disciple of Malice in the graveyard. He found no third land. His Smith shot down the Turncoat since he was under too much pressure. Nakamura played a morph.

Morita pulled land number three just in time, and traded morphs with Nakamura. He then found a fourth and put down Ridgetop Raptor, hoping to stall the ground. Cruel Revival from Nakamura stopped it, regrowing a Fallen Cleric along the way. Battering Craghorn tried the same trick, and this time it held. Nakamura replayed his Fallen Cleric, and Morita took to the sky with Sootfeather Flock.

Nakamura's sixth land didn't arrive on time, so he had to content himself with Spectral Sliver. Morita answered with a morph. Nakamura found his sixth for his Murkdiver, but Morita got rid of it with Shock and Sparksmith. Morita was meanwhile desperate for a second swamp. It would allow not only his own Murkdiver, but also enable his face-down Silent Specter. He sent his Craghorn, and traded it for the Brawler in a double-block. Frenetic Raptor hit the table. Nakamura tried to stabilize, dropping Crypt Sliver and a morph, leaving two mana open. Morita shot the Crypt Sliver, and Nakamura pumped to save it. The life totals were seventeen to eight in Nakamura's favor.

Morita ripped a swamp and sent in his Raptor and Flock. Fallen Cleric and Spectral Sliver blocked, the Spectral Sliver regenerated, and Sparksmith finished the Crypt Sliver. Morita followed up with Anurid Murkdiver. Things were looking up. He was forced to throw away his morphed Silent Specter to the Spectral Sliver. Nakamura flipped up his Infernal Caretaker before damage resolved just in case, getting back Cleric, Murkdiver and Brawler to Morita's Cleric. He needed more time.

Morita swung in with Flock and Murkdiver, dropping Nakamura to seven. He added a morph and Flamestick Courier to the table. He shot down the incoming Caretaker and threw his morph in front of the Spectral Sliver. Nakamura had no choice but to leave it as a trade. He needed his mana to power out a morph and Brawler, saving two mana for a Shock on the Sootfeather Flock in order to stay alive for one more turn. Morita dropped a morph and got ready to win, assuming Nakamura had no shenanigans. He did not.

Final Result: Masahiko Morita defeats Shuuhei Nakamura 2-0

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