Two giants of Japanese Magic faced each other early today, but it was inevitable. Tsuyoshi Fujita was also in their pod, so there was bound to be some fireworks. At Pro Tour - Boston they played together as www.shop-fireball.com and finished eighth, but today it was every man for himself. The vacant grin of Jun Nobushita, their third wheel, could be seen circling the Feature Match area. He didn't care who won, he just wanted to watch and laugh.
Okamoto started things right, with a turn-two Wretched Anurid threatening tremendous pain on both sides. Ikeda came back with a face-down creature, and the state of Okamoto's draw was revealed when he was forced to play out a second Anurid and not a third land. Ikeda made another 2/2 and held his ground.
Okamoto failed to find another land and swung. He traded one of his 3/3's for the newer morph. It turned out to be Daru Healer. Ikeda answered with Grassland Crusader. A forest from Okamoto convinced him to let the Anurid through for three more. Nantuko Husk joined Okamoto's team. Ikeda swung for two and added Sparksmith. It was going to be a close race.
Okamoto tapped out for Symbiotic Elf. The negative interactions of his cards were abundantly clear, but they combination was as powerful as it was painful. He swung in with Anurid and Husk. Ikeda put the Sparksmith in front of the Anurid and the Crusader opposite the Husk. Okamoto took a bunch of pain to kill the Crusader, leaving himself just one insect to block. Ikeda brought him from four to one with Chain of Plasma.
Ikeda forced the chump blocker and then tapped all his white for Aurification. Okamoto was running out of time. He untapped, played a second forest, and then Crown of Vigor and Vitality Charm, coming across for exactly lethal damage.
Okamoto 1 - Ikeda 0
Game two started the same way. Okamoto led with Wretched Anurid, and Ikeda answered with a morph. This time, though, Okamoto had a third land, and after hitting for three he made a Nantuko Husk. Again, the Anurid forced it into a race. Ikeda swung back and made Dive Bomber. Okamoto hit back and made a morph. Ikeda returned the favor and made Sparksmith.
Okamoto wouldn't be slowed down. He Swatted the blocker and came through for seven more, leaving Ikeda at just five life. He thought hard at the end of turn, and eventually unmorphed his Gravel Slinger. His draw made him regret his decision, but he was still in a great way. The Slinger and Bomber jumped Okamoto, helped out by Piety Charm. Okamoto was left at four life. Ikeda tried a morphed creature.
Okamoto sensed the Chain of Plasma in his hand. It's a shame Ikeda didn't have all the pieces of the puzzle in his hand at the end of the turn, or else he could have won it right there. Okamoto wisely chose to sacrifice the Anurid. He drew, and couldn't help but cringe. If he had drawn a land, he would have been able to Swat the blocker, summon Shepherd of Rot and swing for the win. As it was he held his ground. Ikeda tried to get in with Dive Bomber, but it was Swatted.
Still on the knife edge of defeat, Okamoto started to work towards victory. He made Shepherd of Rot and traded it for Ikeda's morph thanks to an incoming Nantuko Husk. Wirewood Savage also joined his team. Ikeda tried another morph. Okamoto had everything he needed. He swung all out. Ikeda put the Slinger in front of Okamoto's morph, and put his morph in front of the Husk. He turned over a big one: Daru Lancer. Okamoto was undaunted. He showed Fallen Cleric, then ate his Savage, and when Ikeda tried to kill it with the Slinger he was ready with Vitality Charm. Staring down two monsters with no forces of his own, Ikeda was forced to spend his Chain of Plasma on the Fallen Cleric. Okamoto let it die. The last card in Ikeda's hand was Words of War. Okamoto busted him for two and showed him Krosan Tusker. Ikeda drew, and scooped.
Jin Okamoto defeats Tsuyoshi Ikeda 2-0