Semifinals: Masashi Ooiso vs. Hayashi Tanaka

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Masashi Ooiso always seems to be in a bit of a fog. It might just be his own success getting to him. He recently edged ahead of Craig Krempels in the Rookie of the Year Race, and now he's poised to extend his lead. Facing him is Hayashi Tanaka, one of Japan's top-ranked players. Ooiso was one of only two white drafters at the table, and ended up with a near-mono deck. Tanaka went for the safe road, drafting red-green.

Game 1

Ooiso mulled his first hand, and got back a one-lander. He stared and stared, but couldn't convince himself to keep it. His five were acceptable, and they were off. Tanaka started with Goblin Sledder and Wellwisher. His third turn was interrupted by Tranquil Thicket, giving Ooiso time to pause with a morph. Tanaka cycled Barkhide Mauler. He didn't find a fourth land, but he did have Timberwatch Elf. Ooiso hit for two and added Daru Cavalier, searching out a friend. Wellwisher negated Ooiso's damage.

Tanaka was content to run the long game, dropping Symbiotic Elf and handing it to Ooiso. Ooiso made a face-up Wingbeat Warrior and grimaced at how behind he was. Tanaka took the offensive with his Symbiote, and added a morph to the table. Ooiso slowed him down by unmorphing Daru Healer, Pacifying the morph and dropping Whipcorder.

Having done all that, Ooiso was in reasonable shape if not for the Wellwisher. He thought and thought, then decided to put Improvised Armor on his Wingbeat Warrior and swing for four. Tanaka hit for one and shut down the Whipcorder with Pinpoint Avalanche. Ooiso came right back with Aven Soulgazer. Now he had a clock of seven in the air. Treespring Lorian from Tanaka was Pacified, and suddenly Ooiso was in control.

All that went out the window when Tanaka tapped all his mana on the following turn. Mythic Proportions hit the Elf. Making matters worse was that Ooiso forgot the Goblin Sledder, so when he let the Elf by he died right away, rather than a turn later.

Tanaka 1 – Ooiso 0

Game 2

Game 2 opened in a very similar vein. Tanaka had Goblin Sledder and Wellwisher, then the two made morphs. Oosio was happy to take to the air with Dive Bomber, but Tanaka's next play was Timberwatch Elf, sending Ooiso back into his chair. His deck was short on ways to handle the green Sparksmith. He played his fifth land and thought. He decided on Improvised Armor for his Dive Bomber. Tanaka tapped his five for something much more impressive: Menacing Ogre. He won the bid five to zero and swung in for seven. Daru Healer made it six.

Ooiso once again took a defensive position. Even Tanaka forgetting to activate Wellwisher wasn't giving him enough of an edge to race. Pacifism shut down the Ogre, and he played a Shared Triumph for Soldiers. Tanaka made a Wirewood Herald, and when Oosio played Grassland Crusader, finally remembered to use his Wellwisher.

He untapped and played a second Timberwatch Elf. Ooiso played his last card: Goblin Dynamo. Now Tanaka was ready to swing. His morph turned sideways. Oosio blocked with his 4/7 Bomber. Tanaka uncovered Charging Slateback, and turned it into a 12/11. Ooiso needed time for the Dynamo to get the Timberwatches down to a manageable level. He drew Gempalm Avenger.

Unfortunately, the Sledder was ready to give Tanaka one more turn at full power. The Slateback devoured the Avenger, and then Tanaka showed Ooiso Pinpoint Avalanche for the Dynamo. From the gallery, Takao Higaki took the liberty of throwing in the towel for the rookie.

Final Result: Hayashi Tanaka defeats Masashi Ooiso 2-0

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