Shuuhei Nakamura is one of Japan's respected pros. He Top 8'd at Grand Prix - Fukuoka, and took his team S.S.D. to the finals of Grand Prix - Nagoya. His opponent, Rei Hashimoto is somewhat less lettered, but is a force nonetheless. This would be the battle of the disappointed drafters. Nakamura had stuck to his plan a little too closely, being cut off by his right hand neighbor and ending up with a less than optimal set of cards. Hashimoto had been a little too flexible, winding up with a three-color special.
Nakamura led with Festering Goblin and Wirewood Elf. Hashimoto played lands and took damage. He slowed Wirewood Savage with Sandskin, and when Nakamura had no play on his fourth turn he took control with Sage Aven. Nakamura played a face-down creature, and Hashimoto started the beats with Gustcloak Harrier. Another was waiting at the top of his deck.
Nakamura waited. Hashimoto brought out the second Harrier and an Aphetto Grifter. Nakamura cycled a Krosan Tusker at the end of Hashimoto's turn, then swung in with his Goblin and his face-down creature. Hashimoto blocked the Goblin and lost his Grifter. Nakamura tapped out to turn over Towering Baloth, leaving Hashimoto at six. Hashimoto swung back and sat on his eight mana. Nakamura knew what was coming, but had to force his opponent's hand, since the fliers were doing him in quickly. Cruel Revival took out the Sage Aven and prepared a lethal attack. Down came the Starstorm to wipe the board.
Though that kept Hashimoto alive, it also meant the only threat he had left was Battlefield Medic. Nakamura had been preparing for this. He had Anurid Murkdiver and Wellwisher in reserve. Pacifism off the top improved things, but Spined Basher and Cruel Revival meant things were soon over.
Nakamura 1 - Hashimoto 0
Both players cycled with their early turns, trying to find the right mana. Nakamura started with a morph, and Hashimoto answered with a late Glory Seeker. Nakamura swung, got through for two, but had no other play. Hashimoto returned fire and Solar Blasted the creature, which turned out to be Spined Basher.
However, Nakamura was just readying the big guns. He started with Gigapede, forcing Hashimoto to Sandskin his own Glory Seeker. Then came Aphetto Vulture. Hashimoto made a Daru Lancer and a Mistform Shrieker. He thought he had the time to race. Cruel Revival on his lone blocked cleared a path for Gigapede that brought him to just six life. Anurid Murkdiver further reduced his options. He stood his ground with Riptide Biologist and Pacifism on the Vulture.
Nakamura made a face-down creature. Hashimoto swung in the air for three. This was just the opportunity that Nakamura needed. He revealed his Spined Basher, untapped, and attacked with all his guys. Hashimoto jumped the gun, aiming a Pinpoint Avalanche at the Basher. He then blocked The Murkdiver with the Biologist and the Gigapede with the Lancer. The Wellwisher he let through. Nakamura showed him Tribal Unity for the win.
Shuuhei Nakamura defeats Rei Hashimoto 2-0