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Godo's Gifts Keeps on Giving!

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日本語の取材へ

Gifts Ungiven Keeps on Giving. At the beginning of this Grand Prix, the Japanese pros stated they felt Gifts Ungiven was clearly the best deck in the format and by a large margin. Twenty-two instances of the complex control deck made Day 2 here, with five of them occupying Top 8 slots -- three of which were designed by Katsuhiro Mori (who calls his particular version "Godo's Gifts") including the deck designer himself. Joining Mori in this experienced Top 8 were teammates Kenji Tsumura and Masashi Oiso, as well as Akira Asahara, Ryoma Shiozu, Takuya Oosawa, Suhan Yoon, and amateur Tomohiro Aridome.

Aridome was impressive in making it to the finals, sweeping both Shiozu and Oiso to set up a match against Katsuhiro Mori (who was practically unbeatable all weekend). Mori squeaked past Oosawa in the quarters and mounted a comeback against Asahara in the semis to make it to his first individual premiere event finals in some time. Unfortunately for Aridome his luck had finally run out, and Mori rolled right over him in two quick games, though the amateur tried to battle for as long as possible. Meloku and posse got in the final points of damage to deliver Katsuhiro Mori his first individual Grand Prix title!


Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Akira Asahara   Akira Asahara, 2-1        
8 Suhan Yun   Katsuhiro Mori, 2-1
       
4 Katsuhiro Mori   Katsuhiro Mori, 2-1   Katsuhiro Mori, 2-0
5 Takuya Oosawa    
       
2 Tomohiro Aridome   Tomohiro Aridome, 2-0
7 Ryouma Shiozu   Tomohiro Aridome, 2-0
       
3 Masashi Oiso   Masashi Oiso, 2-0
6 Kenji Tsumura    


EVENT COVERAGE FINAL TOP 8 STANDINGS

  • Blog - 8:05 pm: Finals: Tomohiro Aridome vs. Katsuhiro Mori
    by Ted Knutson
  • Blog - 6:48 pm: Semifinals Roundup
    by Ted Knutson
  • Blog - 4:20 pm: Quarterfinals: Masashi Oiso vs. Kenji Tsumura
    by Ted Knutson
  • Blog - 4:14 pm: The Top 8 Player Profiles
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Decklists: The Top 8 Decks
    by Event Coverage Staff



  • Day 2 Blog Archive: Top Pro Play, Top 8 Preview and Judges, Gifts Decklists, and much more
    by Ted Knutson



  • Decklists: Day 1 Undefeated Decks
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Day 1 Blog Archive: Top Pro Play, Japanese Block Constructed Tech, Gifts Ungiven Choices, and much more
    by Ted Knutson
  • Info: Fact Sheet
    by Event Coverage Staff
 1.  Katsuhiro Mori $2,400
 2.  Tomohiro Aridome $1,700
 3.  Akira Asahara $1,200
 4.  Masashi Oiso $1,000
 5.  Takuya Oosawa $800
 6.  Kenji Tsumura $800
 7.  Ryouma Shiozu $800
 8.  Suhan Yun $800
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BLOG

 
  • Sunday, July 24: 4:14 pm - The Top 8 Player Profiles


  • Katsuhiro Mori

    Katsuhiro Mori

    How old are you, where do you live, and what do you do for a living?
    I'm 22 years old. I live in Tokyo, and I play Magic for a living.

    What have been some of your major playing accomplishments?
    I was the 2001 Rookie of the Year. This is also my 9th Grand Prix Top 8.

    What kind of preparations did you do for this event? Did you playtest with anyone?
    I built my deck together with my friends on "Team Rush"-Masashi Oiso and Kenji Tsumura.

    Tell us about your deck. Anything special?
    It's Gifts control deck, but we added red to the sideboard, which allows it to transform into a Godo deck.

    Out of the decks you saw this weekend, which one impressed you most?
    Katsuhiro Mori's deck.

    What do you think about the Pro Player's Club and next year's Pro Tour schedule?
    Nothing, really.

    Tell us something interesting that happened during the Swiss rounds.
    I won a Gifts mirror match with only 2 minutes left in the round.




    Masashi Oiso

    Masashi Oiso

    How old are you, where do you live, and what do you do for a living?
    I'm a 21-year-old university student in Hiroshima.

    What have been some of your major playing accomplishments?
    I've made Top 8 at the Pro Tour five times, and this is my sixth Grand Prix Top 8.

    What kind of preparations did you do for this event? Did you playtest with anyone?
    I put my deck together with the help of "Team Rush" (Katsuhiro Mori and Kenji Tsumura). Mori loaned my the deck.

    Tell us about your deck. Anything special?
    It's Gifts control deck, but we added red to the sideboard, which allows it to transform into a Godo deck.

    Out of the decks you saw this weekend, which one impressed you most?
    I'm realized amazed at how Mori was able to tweak this deck.

    What do you think about the Pro Player's Club and next year's Pro Tour schedule?
    I'm glad there will be two Limited Pro Tours. The idea of having the Pro Tour at a resort location might be attractive to people who can take time off for vacation, but it's probably not much of an attraction for people with full-time jobs.

    Tell us something interesting that happened during the Swiss rounds.
    I made a bad play mistake during a feature match that cost me the game. Still, this Top 8 will make me Level 5 in the Player's Club, so I'm very happy.




    Akira Asahara

    Akira Asahara

    How old are you, where do you live, and what do you do for a living?
    I'm 26 years old, and live in Kanagawa. I'm a professional traveler.

    What have been some of your major playing accomplishments?
    This is my fifth Grand Prix Top 8. I won the last GP in Japan (Matsuyama), and also won GP Kyoto 03. I won The Finals back-to-back in 2003 and 2004.

    What kind of preparations did you do for this event? Did you playtest with anyone?
    I worked with Shouta Yasooka.

    Tell us about your deck. Anything special?
    It's a Gifts Ungiven deck, but it has lots of gimmicks.

    Out of the decks you saw this weekend, which one impressed you most?
    Yasooka's mono-blue control deck.

    What do you think about the Pro Player's Club and next year's Pro Tour schedule?
    I think it's great, especially if you're Level 4 or higher.

    Tell us something interesting that happened during the Swiss rounds.
    I wasn't able to get my Yosei combo to work once.




    Tomohiro Aridome

    Tomohiro Aridome

    How old are you, where do you live, and what do you do for a living?
    I live in Fujisawa, and am a 19-year-old student.

    What have been some of your major playing accomplishments?
    None so far.

    What kind of preparations did you do for this event? Did you playtest with anyone?
    I practiced with Asahara and his friends.

    Tell us about your deck. Anything special?
    Shouta Yasooka made it for me.

    Out of the decks you saw this weekend, which one impressed you most?
    Nothing really stands out in my memory.

    What do you think about the Pro Player's Club and next year's Pro Tour schedule?
    I think it's great!

    Tell us something interesting that happened during the Swiss rounds.
    I was able to win a Gifts Ungiven mirror match that started with only 2 minutes left in the round.




    Suhan Yoon

    Suhan Yun

    How old are you, where do you live, and what do you do for a living?
    I'm a 23-year-old student from Tokyo.

    What have been some of your major playing accomplishments?
    I played in PT Kobe.

    What kind of preparations did you do for this event? Did you playtest with anyone?
    I made my deck with Team Umenao, and practiced with Hisaya Tanaka, Shun Kurakami, and Yui Takagi. The deck was polished based on their feedback.

    Tell us about your deck. Anything special?
    People weren't expecting the counters from the sideboard.

    Out of the decks you saw this weekend, which one impressed you most?
    Mizutani's mono-red deck.

    What do you think about the Pro Player's Club and next year's Pro Tour schedule?
    Nothing in particular.

    Tell us something interesting that happened during the Swiss rounds.
    When I was playing Yasooka, I used Hinder to protect Dosan and that's what gave me the win.




    Ryoma Shiozu

    Ryoma Shiozu

    How old are you, where do you live, and what do you do for a living?
    I'm a professional pachinko player in Aichi. I'm 23 years old.

    What have been some of your major playing accomplishments?
    This is my fifth Grand Prix Top 8.

    What kind of preparations did you do for this event? Did you playtest with anyone?
    I'm using Yasooka's deck. I practiced for about two weeks.

    Tell us about your deck. Anything special?
    Nothing special. It's the same as Yasooka's deck.

    Out of the decks you saw this weekend, which one impressed you most?
    Yasooka's.

    What do you think about the Pro Player's Club and next year's Pro Tour schedule?
    I wish there was slightly better food in the lounge.

    Tell us something interesting that happened during the Swiss rounds.
    I somehow managed to win four matches in a row against mono-black, which is my worst match-up, but I went 2-3 against Gifts control, which I should have won.




    Kenji Tsumura

    Kenji Tsumura

    How old are you, where do you live, and what do you do for a living?
    I'm an 18-year-old Pro Player from Hiroshima.

    What have been some of your major playing accomplishments?
    I took second place at Pro Tour Philadelphia. I made Top 4 in Pro Tour Atlanta, and was the finalist at 2004 Japan Nationals.

    What kind of preparations did you do for this event? Did you playtest with anyone?
    I worked with Katsuhiro Mori and Masashi Oiso. My deck was made by Katsuhiro Mori.

    Tell us about your deck. Anything special?
    The sideboard switch, when Godo and equipment comes in.

    Out of the decks you saw this weekend, which one impressed you most?
    The deck I'm playing.

    What do you think about the Pro Player's Club and next year's Pro Tour schedule?
    Good ! Good !

    Tell us something interesting that happened during the Swiss rounds.
    I went undefeated, but have 4 draws.




    Takuya Osawa

    Takuya Osawa

    How old are you, where do you live, and what do you do for a living?
    I'm a 20-year-old Pro Player from Kanagawa.

    What have been some of your major playing accomplishments?
    I made Top 8 at Grand Prix Hong Kong.

    What kind of preparations did you do for this event? Did you playtest with anyone?
    I practiced with Itaru Ishida, Akira Asahara, and some of the Nagoya players.

    Tell us about your deck. Anything special?
    It's a Gifts Ungiven deck, but I've tweaked it so that it can beat other mono-blue control decks.

    Out of the decks you saw this weekend, which one impressed you most?
    The ones that use Godo effectively, like Katsuhiro Mori's deck.

    What do you think about the Pro Player's Club and next year's Pro Tour schedule?
    It's too bad that there's one less Pro Tour, but I think the Pro Player's Club is a great innovation.

    Tell us something interesting that happened during the Swiss rounds.
    I made one of the worst mistakes I've ever had in my life…It's so bad, I don't want to talk about it.


     
  • Sunday, July 24: 4:20 pm - Quarterfinals: Masashi Oiso vs. Kenji Tsumura


  • Kenji Tsumura

    Before the tournament began, Keita Mori informed me that Kenji Tsumura and Masashi Oiso had teamed up for at least the summertime while Oiso is on break from his engineering program. I said something pithy at that point like, "Well, it's not as if they can get much better." Of course now they find themselves facing each other in the Top 8 with Tsumura not having lost a match all tournament, though he does sport four draws to his name. The deck matchup for this one is a seventy-five card pure mirror, since the two players are running Katsu Mori's Godo's Gifts design.

    Normally for coverage we would float among all four matches for the quarterfinals here, but it's rare that you get a sanctioned match between two of the consensus top 5 players in the world, particularly not in the Top 8, so we'll keep it locked right here instead to inform you of the happenings.

    Tsumura won the dieroll but seemed dismayed because it forced him to give up his preferred side on the playmat. The first four turns for both players consisted of mana accelerants and nothing else until Oiso played a turn 5 Kokusho, the Evening Star. Tsumura cast one of his own on the next turn and they were off. Oiso followed Koko with Meloku on his next turn and then Cranial Extraction for Tsumura's Gifts, losing Meloku to Sickening Shoal along the way. The game stalled briefly while both players used their Tops and shuffle effects to dig for new salvos to fire in the battle. Oiso was the first to hit paydirt, finding a Gifts Ungiven to search out his Hana Kami and the assorted loop parts (Death Denied, Soulless Revival, and Wear Away as an arcane spell). Tsumura wouldn't go away though, using Death Denied to reload his hand after a Myojin counter wiped it from existence while Oiso did the same making the creature battle Meloku and a Hana Kami vs. Kokusho and an Elder. Oiso again cast Gifts, this time getting Kokusho and Goryo's Vengeance from his deck. Kenji took one more draw phase to search for an answer before admitting he was beaten.

    Masashi Oiso

    Oiso 1 - Tsumura 0

    Game 2 was more of the same in the early turns, but Tsumura managed to accelerate directly to a channeled Ghost-Lit Stalker, taking a huge early lead. Sadly for all involved, Oiso snagged a Stalker of his own off the top of his deck and it was back to square one for both players. Myojin of Night's Reach for Oiso immediately died to a Sickening Shoal as the crowd began to wonder who might have a man survive long enough to win game 2. The answer looked to be Oiso, who again used Death Denied to great effect while Kenji struggled once more to overcome Masashi's card advantage. It once again proved to be too much, as Oiso got a Sakura-Tribe Elder with Umezawa's Jitte in play and began beating down, casting Gifts Ungiven to lock up the victory and delivering Tsumura his first loss of the weekend.

    Oiso 2 - Tsumura 0



     
  • Sunday, July 24: 6:48 pm - Semifinals Roundup


  • Tomohiro Aridome

    Masashi Oiso (Godo's Gifts) vs. Tomihiro Aridome (Mono-Blue Control)
    Game 1 of this match finished about the time the other match started, as Mori took forever to finally send a very scrappy Takuya Oosawa home. Aridome managed to resolve an early Pithing Needle on Kagemaro and then buried Oiso under an avalanche of Azami-powered card advantage. By the end of the game Aridome had more counters in his hand than Oiso had spells in his hand and graveyard combined and eventually Meloku and his illusionary posse swung in for lethal damage.


    Masashi Oiso

    It took Oiso nearly an hour to lose what for the longest time looked like an unloseable game. Early on Aridome had no pressure and few counters in hand and Oiso's disruption picked him apart, but Masashi had no pressure of his own to push damage through and got Aridome to three life before the youngster made a complete recovery, eventually winning with no lands and only five cards left in his library. Oiso's loss squashes any thoughts of an Asahara vs. Oiso finals rematch from Matsuyama under the boot of inconvenient reality.

    Katsuhiro Mori (Godo's Gifts) vs. Akira Asahara (4-Color Gifts)

    Katsuhiro Mori
    Asahara won his quarterfinal quickly, but Mori took an hour and a half to win his, meaning Asahara had time to take a nap while waiting for Katsu to finish. Asahara chose to stay awake during that time making certain jetlagged coverage reporters and visiting artists rather jealous. Anyway, Asahara took down game 1 as quickly as a Gifts deck can during the mirror match, taking advantage of Cranial Extraction, and unanswered Gifts, and some poor draws from Mori to notch and early lead in this match of contrasting styles. Mori is known as one of the fastest players on the Pro Tour and can sometimes be quite rude while hurrying his opponents along. Asahara is generally a very deliberate player in the style of a slightly faster Dave Humpherys - he'll eventually find the right play if he thinks about it long enough.

    Katzuhiro had the upper hand in game 2 though, as Asahara found Godo's Gifts a bit too difficult to overcome, especially when he shows up to the party twice.


    Akira Asahara

    Mori proved that Godo is not strictly necessary for victory in game 3, but his Gifts can prove to be a beating, even if they are on a creature as small as a Sakura-Tribe Elder. After Mori used Myojin of Night's Reach to obliterate Asahara's hand, he equipped his Elder with a Jitte and then the Dragon's Fang, sending Asahara's life total spiraling from 20 to zero in three swift swings.

    Mori will now face Aridome for the championship.


     
  • Sunday, July 24: 8:05 pm - Finals: Tomohiro Aridome vs. Katsuhiro Mori


  • Tomohiro Aridome

    After placing three of his own decks in the Top 8, Katsuhiro is the only one left surviving. He squeaked by a very game Takuya Oosawa in the quarterfinals, and then defeated Asahara in the semis and now faces a shocking non-Gifts Ungiven deck in the finals. Amateur Tomohiro Aridome may be an unknown, but he's a member of team Asahara Union and playtests with some of the best players in Japan. This weekend that testing has really shown through, as Aridome piloted his Mono-Blue control deck through a very strong Top 8, first defeating Ryoma Shiozu in a mirror match and then roughing up Masashi Oiso in two excruciatingly long games before landing here in the finals. Regardless of the outcome, Aridome will take home a very healthy check from this event, as he will get finalist money and the top amateur prize as well.

    Mori led off the game with a turn 1 Sensei's Divining Top followed by Kodama's Reach on turn 3, while Aridome played a turn 2 Jushi Apprentice and prepared to sit on his countermagic. Turn 4 gave Mori a tough decision - he had just grabbed Gifts Ungiven off the top of his deck to go along with a Cranial Extraction and Kodama's Reach in hand, but he also had Wear Away and Sakura-Tribe Elder on the top of his deck that would get shuffled away if he cast the Reach. What do you play? Mori chose the obvious route and went for the Reach so that he could get more lands into play and start doubling up on spells cast each turn in order to get through Aridome's countermagic. He also used Sickening Shoal at the end of the next turn to get rid of the Jushi Apprentice, but Aridome just cast a second one on the next turn leaving Hinder mana up. Mori simply shrugged himself and Shoaled the second one to boot.

    Aridome drew and cast his third Apprentice of this game, prompting Mori to try and cast Gifts Ungiven at the end of the turn, but Aridome Hindered it to the bottom of the deck. Mori smiled as he was going to win that battle either way, casting Cranial Extractioin for Aridome's remaining Hinders. This forced Aridome into action on the next turn, playing Azami to go along with his Apprentice so that he could start drawing back into action spells. Myojin of Night's Reach complicated that plan, leaving Aridome's entire hand vulnerable to the whim of whenever Mori decided he wanted to remove the counter. He did it during the next upkeep, earning five cards for his trouble for the measly counter.

    Kagemaro then wiped the board clean, but Aridome earned a laugh from the crowd as he threw down his fourth and final Apprentice, keeping at least part of his card drawing engine alive. At this point Mori's deck decided it had had enough pussyfooting around and gave him another Gifts Ungiven to help put the game away. Mori went for the creature loop at this point, getting Hana Kami and Meloku in his hand and Death Denied plus Soulless Revival in the graveyard.

    The Champ and his homies

    Aridome countered Meloku with Minamo's Meddling and then countered Death Denied with an alt cast Disrupting Shoal, pitching a useless Threads of Disloyalty. Mori had more gas on the next turn, flipping Ink-Eyes directly into play off the top of his deck, casting Ghost-Lit Stalker and then using Sickening Shoal plus the Stalker's ability on the next turn to get rid of Aridome's blocker and hand, attacking with Ink-Eyes for the concession.

    Mori 1 - Aridome 0

    Mori stared down a hand of black cards and Swamps for game 2 and eventually decided to throw it back. Gifts needs a little kick start to get rolling in the early game and black cards ain't it. Hand number two was deemed an improvement until Mori whiffed on his second land drop, preventing him from casting the Sakura-Tribe Elder in his hand. That was fixed a turn later, and Aridome's tap out to use Journeyer's Kite on Mori's next turn left him open to a free Gifts Ungiven from the kinetic former Rookie of the Year. Aridome gave Mori Meloku and Kodama's Reach for his hand, shipping Sickening Shoal and a Top to the grumper. Minamo's Meddling countered Meloku on the next turn. The boys once again played draw, go for a few turns until Mori blew up Aridome's Kite with Rending Vines at the end of turn and then tried to sneak through Gifts Ungiven only to see it Hindered. Four turns later Mori channeled Ghost-Lit Stalker, smashing Aridome's remaining hand and dreams of a comeback, opening the door for Meloku and giving Mori the victory and the match three swings later when Aridome's outs left him hanging.

    Katsuhiro Mori is the 2005 Grand Prix: Niigata champion!

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