Eli Kaplan is an American player from Scranton, Pennsylvania who splits his time between there and Japan where he teaches English. He has, in the past, provided coverage for the Sideboard at Asian events when he has not done so well on Day One. He was hoping to not be covering any Rochester Drafts on Sunday morning and he had quite the spicy deck to help him in that regard.
His deck was blue-red with two Spikeshot Goblins and Quicksilver Elemental. He also had the combo of MegAtog and Grab the Reins. If his deck had any weakness it was in splashing green for Creeping Mold. Earlier in the day Eli was scheduled for the internet-writer-round-two-feature-match but his opponent was given a match loss for a deck registration error. He was disappointed to not find himself on the receiving end of a feature match and was very excited to get another shot this round at 4-1. "This is my first time ever playing with the red zone so if I do anything wrong please forgive me."
The language barrier with his Korean opponent was unusual for Kaplan who can muddle through Japanese. When the table judge confirmed that he did not speak Korean he apologized to the wisecracking Kaplan, "I cannot translate your jokes to him but we do have a Korean judge we can put here later."
Kaplan opened with a pair of lands and his opponent did the same but raised him an Alpha Myr. Eli had no turn three play either but after his foe attacked and played a Viridian Joiner he cast Thirst for Knowledge discarding a Tree of Tales. Kaplan untapped and played a Granite Shard and promptly used it to slay the Myr. Lee untapped and played a Tel-Jilad Archers. Eli played a Spikeshot Goblin and passed the turn falling to sixteen when the Archers attacked. When Lee played a Wizard Replica it was Annulled, but Lee was not to be denied and played another. "Pretty impressive," commented Kaplan.
He began to hum Dueling Banjoes when he played his own Wizard Replica. Lee got in for another two and played a Tel-Jilad Exile with enough mana to outmaneuver the Replica. Eli shot his adversary a pair of times and untapped to make a Quicksilver Elemental. Lee had no attacks and Eli pinged him during the EOT, "Not much happening in the red zone."
Kaplan played an Iron Myr and eagerly awaited Lee's next EOT with abundant mana open. When Lee passed the turn with no action, Kaplan was able to do five by copying the Spikeshot's ability with his Elemental. During Eli's EOT his Shard was Shattered and he got in a final point of damage with it before it went away.
Lee untapped and attacked with everyone. Eli seemed jealous, "I have always wanted to go to the red zone." He began to talk through his options and grew concerned instead. "I don't have a lot of guys and I'm not keen on a Predator's Strike so I will block with my Iron Myr."
He shot Lee a bunch of times EOT and dropped him to four. When Eli untapped he confirmed that his opponent was indeed at four and shot him to death with the Spikeshot and the Elemental.
Eli - 1 Lee - 0
"You can describe my failure to sideboard as foolhardiness," announced the confident Kaplan. Lee on the other hand was sideboarding out his green for a suite of white cards. Among the cards he took out was this format's Visara--Molder Slug. His white cards were all sleeved up and ready to go so he may have been making the same swap out for every game two. It is more likely that he was compelled to do so by the pair of Arrests for the Spikeshot Goblin and Elemental that killed him the previous game.
Eli had the first play--a Leonin Scimitar on the draw. "Ummm...You might want to come over here and see this--I think it is noteworthy." Eli was holding a pair of Myr, an artifact land, Grab the Reins, and a MegAtog.
Lee played a Skyhunter Cub and earned, "Not bad!" from his opponent when he played a Vulshok Battlegear on the next turn. On turn four Eli was able to summon a MegAtog with five artifacts in play--two were Tree of Tales. Lee played a Clockwork Vorrac and passed the turn.
Eli attacked and Lee pushed his Vorrac in the way of the Tog. Eli looked at his opponent's mana and liked what he saw, "He is tapped out of white--excellent!" He sat up straight in his chair and began sacrificing his Myr--tapping for mana along the way. He also tapped his Tree of Tales for mana as he sacrificed them and made his MegAtog into a terrifying 18/19 trampling monstrosity. With damage on the stack he flung it at his opponent. Lee quietly began scooping up his cards while Eli could scarcely believe how well his deck came together while under the lights of the feature match table.
"I am immortal now!" He got serious and explained that he was concerned about Awe Strike and knew he was safe once his opponent had no access to white mana.
Eli - 2 Lee – 0
Grand Prix Shizuoka 03 Day 1
Grand Prix Shizuoka 03 Day 1