This is it. Eighteen rounds. Three formats. Weeks of preparation. Everything crystallized into this one match. Best of five games, winner take all.
It'll be a doozy, too. The dreaded Wake mirror. A war of attrition of card-drawing and mana. Both these two know their way around it. Daniel Zink bested Jeroen Remie in the quarters, and Okamoto got the better of Nieminen in the semis. It's been a tough haul. Never mind that these two players have been working their hardest mental game all weekend, and have spent the day under the hot stage lights, they've got to dig deep and come up with the concentration to pull out just one more win.
Both have their strong resumes. Zink is a former German National Champion with a Top 4 at Euros under his belt. Okamoto is a former Asia-Pacific Champion. Both are enjoying their first Tour Top 8, something all the sweeter for Okamoto after his heartbreaking near misses at 2001 Worlds and 2002 Los Angeles.
With all cameras poised on them, they got down to business.
Zink kept a hand with Compulsion and Deep Analysis, but no blue source. He had three lands, and had to rely on the top of his deck. Okamoto led with Verge while Zink's deck served up uncastable blue spells. Before things could get dire, though, Zink found an island and busted out Deep Analysis. Okamoto Mana Leaked it. He made no play on his turn, and let Zink untap. Zink flashed back his Analysis. Okamoto cracked his Verge. He tried an Analysis of his own, but Zink was ready with a Leak. Okamoto returned the favor when Zink hard-cast another Analysis.
Both players flashed their spells back. Zink was choking on a hand full of gas. He had only six land to work with. He had to discard one of his excess Compulsions. Both players cycled Renewed Faiths. Finally, Zink broke the monotony with a Compulsion. Okamoto played a Mirari's Wake on his turn, and Zink played a Mana Leak to tighten his mana. Then he played Cunning Wish, which got him a Ray of Revelation to keep the Wake off the board. He played one of his own, tapping out but for an island.
Okamoto untapped and played Deep Analysis. His two cards only served to deepen the furrow in his brow. He flashed the Analysis back. Still nothing. He played a Verge and was done. Zink was delighted to get to untap. He kept his mana free for the turn. Okamoto did the same, and just nodded when Zink made thirteen tokens with a cycled Decree of Justice. He stalled their attack with the discarded Peace, and Zink was fine with that.
Okamoto worked his Compulsion, and then tried a Wrath of God. Zink dug two cards down, then let it happen. Holding another Decree in hand, he wasn't worried. He made eleven men at the end of Okamoto's turn. It could be over if Okamoto didn't have the Peace. Of course, you don't get this far without a little bit of luck. Okamoto had another Peace. He untapped and played a second Wrath. Zink Compulsioned twice and dropped Cunning Wish. Okamoto showed him Circular Logic. Zink dug a little more, then abandoned it in favor of shooting down Okamoto's Compulsion. Okamoto drew a card off it, and the board cleared. With both Decrees managed, Zink would have to bank all his hopes on his Hunting Pack. Okamoto played Deep Analysis, tapping out and giving Zink free reign.
His pace quickened noticeably. He started with a second Wake. Then a third. He tore through his deck with Compulsion. He stopped with five lands open. Okamoto untapped and played a Wake of his own. Zink Compulsioned four times. He was holding Cunning Wish, but waiting on it. Then he went through another four. Still more useless lands and Wraths. His library was growing slim. The Wake resolved. Next came Cunning Wish, for Ray of Revelation. Two of Zink's Wakes hit the bin. Okamoto flashed back his Analysis.
Zink shook his head at the size of his library, and kept digging. He finally found Mirari, and played it with five mana open. Okamoto put his head in his hands and started thinking. Only seven cards remained in Zink's library. Okamoto Logiced. Zink stared at the Mana Leak in his hand. He activated Compulsion. Circular Logic came off the top! It practically leapt onto the board, and Okamoto accepted it after some thought. Zink's Mirari resolved. All Okamoto could do was cycle a Decree of Justice for four men.
He untapped and played a third Wake. Zink's life total was fifteen, still not enough. He cycled a pair of Renewed Faiths and then smashed in. Zink happily fell to three. Between Wake, Mirari and the Cunning Wish in his hand he could start doing some ridiculous things. He gave it back to Okamoto, who played Compulsion and started digging. He found a Cunning Wish and played it. Zink responded with one of his own, copied through the Mirari. Okamoto Compulsioned twice and then played a second Cunning Wish. Zink let it resolve. It got Ray of Distortion, which in turn shot down the Mirari. It was flashed back to axe the Wake. Zink got in his Moment's Peace while the getting was good. He cycled with Compulsion, leaving four cards left in his library, and nine mana in his pool. He put the Wake in the graveyard. Okamoto Mana Leaked the Wish Copy. Zink paid. He played the last card in his hand, another Lead. Zink paid again, leaving a green, a blue, and a white in his pool.
Finally, someone got to resolve Cunning Wish. Zink's copy got a real Wish. His first Wish got Circular Logic, countering Okamoto's Wish. Zink Compulsioned. Then he untapped. He paused during his upkeep to Wish for Krosan Reclamation, and Reclaimed Mirari and Cunning Wish. He drew Mirari, and passed it back to Okamoto. He fogged the attack and then put two Wakes back into his deck. He drew one of them. He tapped all but four lands for Wake and Mirari. Okamoto cycled a Decree of Justice, making far too many soldiers. It didn't matter. He didn't have anything left in his deck that could stop Zink. He cycled to the last card, then extended the hand. The exhausted spectators erupted into applause. The marathon game had taken over an hour.
Zink 1 – Okamoto 0
+2 Circular Logic
-2 Renewed Faith
-3 Moment's Peace
+1 Circular Logic
+2 Exalted Angel
+2 Ray of Revelation
+3 Anurid Brushhopper
-2 Vengeful Dreams
-2 Wrath of God
-1 Moment's Peace
-3 Renewed Faith
"I promise the games go faster after sideboarding." – Daniel Zink
One of Zink's sideboarded Brushhoppers got into play on the third turn and started beating. Both players played Deep Analysis, and Okamoto's Wake was busted up by Ray of Revelation. Okamoto played another Analysis from hand. Zink did the same, bashing while he did so. Okamoto, at ten, resolved a Compulsion. Zink brought him to seven, then matched his enchantment. It looked like his prophecy would come true, to the delight of the local fans.
Okamoto played a Wrath, and then Stifled the Brushhopper's activation. It was a reprieve. He flashed back a Deep Analysis to go to four. Zink played a morphed Angel, but he only had one Mana Leak, not enough to stop Okamoto's Wrath of God. Zink made no move on his turn. Okamoto flashed back his Deep Analysis, falling to three. Zink cycled a Decree of Justice, nervously licking his lips while Okamoto dug with Compulsion for a Stifle. When none came, Okamoto simply picked up his cards.
Zink 2 – Okamoto 0
Both player matched Verges on the first turn, and then matched Compulsions. They played their third lands and stared at each other. Okamoto declined to pop his Verge, fronting a possible Stifle in hand. Zink needed that Verge to go off, as he was without white mana. He put that problem on the back burner, and played Deep Analysis. No white source came. Okamoto sacrificed his Verge.
On his turn he had six mana, and got ready to punish. Cunning Wish got Ray of Revelation and destroyed Zink's Compulsion. A lone island screamed Stifle. Zink ripped a Flooded Strand off the top, getting the white mana he needed for the Wake and two Rays in his hand. He blew up Okamoto's Compulsion and passed it back. Both players visibly settled in for a long game.
Okamoto had nothing to do but cycle a Renewed Faith on his turn. Zink Analyzed again. But then, a backbreaker from Okamoto! Catching Zink with just two mana untapped, he was able to resolve Mirari. Better still, Zink had no Cunning Wish in hand to fetch Ray of Distortion. He untapped and thought, finally dropping Mirari's Wake in defiance of Okamoto's Ray in the graveyard. He flashed back an Analysis and moved to discard. Okamoto of course got rid of his Wake.
So now Okamoto had a turn with Zink nearly tapped out. He copied a Cunning Wish, getting Cunning Wish and Ray of Revelation. He had nothing further. Zink made an Anurid Brushhopper, and still Okamoto made no move. Zink Analyzed. At the end of his turn Okamoto copied a Cunning Wish. Zink played one of his own, getting Ray of Distortion. Okamoto got Cunning Wish, and then Flash of Insight.
He made no play on his turn. Zink swung in, and then considered his options. He made no play. Okamoto played a Flash of Insight and Mirari'd it, tapping out. Zink played Ray of Distortion on the Mirari, let the copy resolve, and then Mana Leaked the original. Okamoto untapped and played Wrath. Zink's hand was so good that he just let his Brushhopper die. He soon replaced it with a morph, no prizes for guessing which one. Okamoto had another Wrath, but Zink had Circular Logic, and succeeded in keeping his monster alive. Okamoto played Deep Analysis and was done. Zink flipped up his Angel and started to serve.
He tried to speed things up with a cycled Decree of Justice, but Okamoto had the Stifle. Okamoto tried to Chastise the Angel via Cunning Wish, but Zink had the Circular Logic. Okamoto fell to eight. He played a Decree of Justice for two Angels. He went down to four flashing back a Deep Analysis. Zink Leaked it. He untapped and morphed a second Angel, readying the killing blow.
Okamoto flashed back his Flash of Insight, then untapped and played an Analysis from hand. He flashed it back, going to one. Zink tried to end the game then and there with Decree of Justice, but it was Stifled. He played and replayed a Deep Analysis, then thought hard about his situation. He attacked with a single Angel, trading it for one of Okamoto's. Okamoto played a Wake, but Zink had the Ray of Revelation.
He hit again, with the remaining Angel. Okamoto chumped. He Wrathed on his turn. Zink tried a Cunning Wish, but it was Logic'd. He untapped and made Compulsion. Okamoto dropped a Ray at end of turn. Okamoto wouldn't go quietly. He rose to seven with a Renewed Faith on his turn, and then flashed back the remaining Analysis.
Zink was ready to end it. He tapped three for Anurid Brushhopper. Okamoto dusted it with Circular Logic. Zink tapped five for Mirari, leaving eight remaining. Okamoto Leaked. Zink paid. He Leaked again. Zink paid. As Okamoto tapped all but one lands to Mana Leak a third time, a murmur went through the crowd. Before it could take hold, Zink snapped down a Leak of his own, tapping his last two mana. The murmurs became applause, and then cheers.
Okamoto tapped all but one land in a last-ditch gambit, making five angels with Decree of Justice. Zink untapped and showed him Wrath of God. He copied a Cunning Wish, getting a Wish and then Hunting Pack, going for the throat. He gave it back to Okamoto with seven mana up. Okamoto looked at his two cards and shook his head. He ended his turn. Zink copied another Wish, getting a Wish and Krosan Reclamation. Okamoto played a Wish of his own, for Ray of Distortion, shutting down the Mirari. Soon he dropped the Pack, and Okamoto had no answer. The crowd, on the edge of their seat since the Mirari resolved, blew the roof off the house with their applause. Daniel Zink was the 2003 World Champion!
Final Result: Daniel Zink defeats Jin Okamoto 3-0