Tarou "John" Kageyama is better known for his work in a Sideboard Japan shirt than in his competitor's clothes. He cajoled Satoshi Nakamura into an ID to ensure his Day 2, and has been having a rough go of it. Likewise for Akihiro Kashima, who's more used to sixty-card decks. Last weekend at Pro Tour - Venice he hit the Top 8. Now he can't go anywhere without hearing congratulations. Poor guy. Kashima is with a standard red-green deck, Kageyama is with a defensive-minded blue-white that splashes red for Lightning Rift and Flamewave Invoker.
Kashima's start was textbook: Elvish Warrior, Timberwatch Elf and Symbiotic Elf. Kageyama meanwhile spent his third turn cycling Macetail Hystrodon to set up his Daru Stinger, amplified twice. That wasn't enough to stop Kashima's beats, though. He continued to serve for two, adding a morph to the table. Kageyama made an Aven Redeemer and a morph, hoping to slow things to the point where his big spells could take over.
Kashima swung in with Warrior, Symbiotic Elf and morph. Kageyama blocked the morph with his and waited. Kashima pumped his morph before damage. Kageyama shot the Symbiotic Elf. Then he prevented two to himself. Kashima flipped over his morph, a Skirk Marauder, and killed the Redeemer.
Kageyama tried to stabilize with Daru Lancer. Kashima pumped up his Warrior before sending it in. Kageyama bit, and blocked with his Lancer, trying to shoot it down with the Stinger. Kashima showed him the Vitality Charm. Kageyama added a Keeneye Aven and stopped the same gambit from happening with a cycled Choking Tethers. Custody Battle on his Daru Stinger constrained his resources. He added a Gustcloak Harrier and watched as Hundroog hit the other side of the table.
He kept hold of his Stinger long enough to draw a third island for his Arcanis, the Omnipotent. The Stinger chumped the incoming Hundroog, allowing Kageyama to get to seven mana, letting him snag the Timberwatch Elf with Blatant Thievery. Kashima was out of gas, and Kageyama was drawing three cards a turn. Soon his Keeper of the Nine Gales hit the table, and from there it was just a matter of finding his Flamewave Invoker to win the game in a hurry.
Kageyama 1 – Kashima 0
Kashima mulliganed, but his start didn't suffer for it. Skirk Drill Sergeant followed by a morph that turned out to be Skirk Marauder when Kageyama tried a morph. They traded creatures while Kageyama took damage, and soon the board was Kashima's Wirewood Elf, morph and Spitting Gourna versus Kageyama's Gustcloak Harrier.
Kageyama swung with the Harrier in a controlled bluff, netting two damage, then dropped Daru Lancer. Kashima wasted no time sending the morph and Gourna. Kageyama thought and thought, then put the Lancer in front of the morph. Skittish Valesk made for a nasty surprise. Kageyama backpedaled, but the damage had been done. Without his Thievery to stop the Valesk he was simply outgunned, even if he lost the flip each time.
Kageyama 1 – Kashima 1
Kashima had a slow start for the third game, which delighted Kageyama. Wall of Mulch, then morph, then Timberwatch Elf was decidedly manageable. Kageyama sat back on a morph of his own and five mana. Kashima dropped Crown of Fury on his morph and swung. Kageyama had no trouble trading his Daru Lancer for it. It turned out to be Nantuko Vigilante.
And that seemed to be the end of Kashima's offense. Kageyama was free to set up a Dive Bomber, and when Kashima finally did drop Brontotherium, Kageyama was ready with Blatant Thievery. Kashima tried Erratic Explosion for the save, but it proved a little too erratic, hitting only two. Lavamancer's Skill on the Wall finished the job, but Kashima's resources were taxed.
He continued to draw lands while Kageyama hit for two in the air and played morphs. At one point, Kageyama forgot the Skilled Wall, and unmorphed Mistform Seaswift. It didn't matter. Kashima had no gas, and Kageyama found his Invoker, finishing things in one fell swoop.
Final Result: Tarou Kageyama defeats Akihiro Kashima 2-1