Olivier Ruel chose Grand Prix – Kyoto knowing that the competition would be stiffer than at Grand Prix – Singapore. For him, the chance to visit a city he was interested in was too great to pass up, and if he managed to pay for the trip along the way, all the better. Don't let his relaxed attitude fool you. The former Invitationalist is always looking for a win. His lack of sleep just might stand in the way. Ryo Tamura is in the same boat, with three byes and two losses. Though better rested, his resume is best described as nearly nonexistent. He's determined to put up a fight and earn himself some recogntion.
Ruel led with some anemic beats from Wellwisher and Battlefield Medic. Had he drawn his Akroma's Vengeance a turn earlier, he might have held back. As it was, his turn-four Explosive Vegetation set up Glowering Rogon quite nicely. Tamura had a morph on table, and played into Ruel's plan with Lay Waste on the island. Ruel conveniently had another land in hand.
Tamura played another morph and took five on the chin. Ruel followed up with Barkhide Mauler he'd used to amplify his Rogon. Tamura spent his next turn flipping over Skirk Marauder to kill the Medic, and adding another morph to his cause. Ruel charged. All three of Tamura's men blocked the Mauler. Ruel killed the two morphs. They turned out to be Shaleskin Plower and Rockshard Elemental. Tamura bounced back with Daru Lancer.
Ruel swung in with his Rogon. Tamura chose not to block before he realized that he would be knocked to two. Ruel added Needleshot Gourna. Tamura tried furiously to stabilize. He made a Goblin Taskmaster. Ruel swung with all his creatures, losing the Rogon to the Marauder and Taskmaster, but knocking Tamura to one. He then dropped Wirewood Herald. Tamura steadied his defenses with Goblin Sledder, Starlight Invoker and Flamewave Invoker. Ruel suicided his Herald to serve up Taunting Elf. Tamura had Crested Craghorn for the save, but left himself empty-handed.
Ruel drew Krosan Vorine, and then it was Vengeance Time. Tamura drew a blank, and that was it.
Ruel 1 – Tamura 0
Tamura led with Deftblade Elite, stopped in its tracks by Wirewood Herald. He took to the air with Gustcloak Harrier, and Ruel had no play but Wellwisher. It was a trade Tamura was happy to make. He added a morph to the table. Ruel dropped Aven Redeemer. Tamura swung in, and the Herald spared Ruel two damage, fetching Symbiotic Elf. Tamura played another morph. Ruel untapped and played the Vegetation.
Tamura swung with all his guys. Ruel blocked a morph with the Redeemer and had it rescue itself. Tamura saved his morph, a Liege of the Axe, and then finished the Redeemer by revealing his Marauder. That was Ruel's cue to score a three-for-one with the Vengeance.
Tamura wasn't out of gas. Crested Craghorn brought Ruel to seven. He came back with a 5/5 Crested Craghorn (courtesy Barkhide Mauler). Unfortunately, Tamura had Sandskin at the ready, and a stream of creatures to match Ruel's, the Craghorn trading with the mauler. It didn't help that Ruel forgot the provoke on his Throwback, writing off Sandskin as Pacifism. Soon Tamura had eight mana to go with his Flamewave Invoker, and Ruel was done.
Ruel 1 – Tamura 1
Tamura sideboarded elaborately, removing his red in favor of green. Ruel added a pair of mountains and Slice and Dice. After much shuffling they were ready to fight.
Ruel curved out in the deciding game, cycling Renewed Faith before hammering with Morph, Aven Redeemer and then Krosan Vorine, for the full Abyss. Tamura had set up Deftblade Elite, Wirewood Herald and a pair of morphs, but they were nothing compared to the might of Ruel's soft lock.
Doom Cannon (naming Elf) threatened to give Tamura an out. Ruel couldn't help but tap the Nantuko Vigilante in his hand. His plans changed when Improvised Armor was waiting at the top of his deck. He dropped it on the Vorine and swung in with all his men, provoking away the Elite. Tamura untapped and Sandskinned the Vorine, then shot the Redeemer with his Cannon. Ruel almost forgot about his face-down Daru Mender. Tamura fetched Elvish Soultiller, but wasn't ready for what happened next.
Ruel tapped five and used his Vigilante to dispatch the Sandskin. His Vorine was once again lord of the table. Tamura found himself short on answers with an empty board. He extended the hand to Ruel.
Final Result: Olivier Ruel defeats Ryo Tamura 2-1