Frankly, this was the semifinal everyone was expecting. Itaru Ishida and Masahiko Morita are two of Japan's best pro players, and it just seemed a foregone conclusion that they would both advance past their quarterfinal opponents. Morita is running Blue-Green Speculation, complete with Catalyst Stones and Grizzly Fates. Ishida is playing Team Punisher's Worlds deck, a white weenie deck that touches blue for Speculation and other goodies.
Ishida, playing first, mulliganed a one-land hand. His second was acceptable, and they were off. He got things going with a turn-two Patrol Hound. Morita answered with Werebear. Ishida pulled up a third mana and played Divine Sacrament, swinging for three. Morita made a Mongrel and gave it back. Ishida topdecked Skycloud Expanse, enabling Breakthrough for three. He pitched Glory, Deep Analysis and a land, keeping two more and a Tribe in hand.
Morita's Mongrel hit for two. Careful Study got rid of two lands and he developed his board with Catalyst Stone and a second Mongrel. Ishida flashed back the Analysis and cast the Tribe. Morita had no play. Ishida found another Analysis, and added Patrol Hound. He was starting to look quite dangerous, indeed. Morita, meanwhile, had nothign to contribute.
Ishida Analyzed again, this time pulling a pair of Spurnmage Advocates. Again Morita drew a blank. He Enveloped Ishida's Quiet Speculation. Ishida decided it was time to start hitting. His twin Hounds dove in, with six mana threatening a little double Glory action. Morita would have to spend a lot of cards to take them down. He decided to block one with a Mongrel, switching it to white. Ishida protected with Glory. Morita pitched again. Ishida let it die. He added a Tribe and another Hound to his board, safe behind his Advocates. Morita stood at fourteen.
Morita drew, and handed it over. Ishida pulled Battle Screech. Morita had no counter. His four birds would start killing on the following turn. Morita Noted into a Wurm. He cast it. Ishida swung in the air. Morita Noted, found nothing helpful, and took eight.
He had Moment's Peace the following turn, as he built his army up. It just didn't matter. Ishida Gloried up his troops and swung with the Hounds and Tribes, holding the air force back in case of Wonder. Soon, Morita was out of Peace, and the first game was Ishida's.
Ishida 1 - Morita 0
Ishida's board for Game 2:
-4 Divine Sacrament
-3 Patrol Hound
-2 Deep Analysis
+2 Prismatic Strands
+2 Kirtar's Wrath
Morita's board for Game 2:
-1 Mental Note
+2 Moment's Peace
+1 Howling Gale
+3 Aether Burst
Now it was Morita's turn to mulligan. He started with double werebears opposite Ishida's pair of Tribes. Ishida made no play on his third turn. He simply swung for one and handed it back. Morita Studied away more lands, then Speculated for Analysis, Howling Gale and Roar of the Wurm. That convieniently put him at threshold, and he bashed in. Ishida blocked a Werebear and pitched Glory, falling to sixteen.
Commander Eesha showed up to help out Ishida. Morita came back with Grizzly Fate. Ishida played Beloved Chaplain with enough mana back to turn on his Glory. Morita played Catalyst Stone and Analyzed. Then he Roared. Ishida was in danger of being swarmed. He did nothing on his turn. Morita Noted into another Fate and cast it. Ishida played Battle Screech to hold off the incoming horde.
Morita Studied away land and Catalyst Stone, then brawled in. Ishida blocked as expected, Gloried, and took ten. Morita ended ihis turn. Ishida dropped Beloved Chaplain and gave it back. Morita played the Gale at end of turn. Ishida couldn't activate his Glory and still have three mana left for Morita's turn. He conceded.
Ishida 1 - Morita 1
Ishida led Game 3 with Spurnamage Advocate. Morita answered with Note and then Wild Mongrel. Ishida Speculated for Deep Analysis and two Prismatic Strands. Morita dropped another Mongrel. Ishida started working the air with a twice-cast Battle Screech. Morita hit for five, pitching a Wurm and then casting it. Ishida made a Chaplain and attacked for four in the air.
Morita returned the favor. The Chaplain held off the Roar token, and Ishida gave Morita back his Mental Note and Upheaval to kill a Mongrel, leaving Envelop in the graveyard. Morita got busy, Noting into Wonder and Studying away a Roar. His attempt at Quiet Speculation fell to Envelop.
Ishida attacked for another five, playing out Tireless Tribe and holding Kirtar's Wrath, Glory, and Envelop number two. Morita tried Grizzly Fate. Ishida Enveloped. Morita was forced to hold back. This time Ishida pulled Commander Eesha. He hit with the Chaplain and turned it over. Morita flasehd back the Fate.
Ishida knew things were getting dire. He pitched Glory, protected his men and swung for seven. Only Morita's Mongrel prevented it form being a lethal attack. He had two mana remaining. He Speculated for the third Strands and two Screeches. Still, he knew what was coming.
Morita swung, forcing a Strands, then Upheavaled and played island, Mongrel. With Wonder in the graveyard, there was nothing Ishida could do to stop it.
Final Resut: Masahiko Morita defeats Itaru Ishida 2-1
Punisher - White