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ProTour Kyoto

Since I am a casual player through-and-through, it is rare that I take in the Pro-Tour coverage. This weekend was an exception however and am I ever glad to have caught the webcast. There was an interesting (unexpected) blend of fresh faces and old veterans in the top eight. The unstoppable Luis Scott-Vargas and the experienced vetran Gabriel Nassif were heavily favoured to win the 2009 Pro-Tour Kyoto.

Of the top eight, I would select the most interesting deck as that belonging to Brian Robinson. Brian, although new to the Pro-Tour had built a 'Four-Colour Doran' or 'Dark Bant' deck. Others at the tournament nick-named this new / fun deck 'Doran of the Many'.

Although the final match-up between LSV and Nassif was very good to watch, it was somewhat anticlimatic especially when compared to some of the earlier quarter-final matchs. LSV played at a blistering-hot speed with some games over in less than 3 minutes with his Black-White token deck.

By far, the best game was the match-up between Matteo Orsini Jones and Gabriel Nassif. This pair had 2 games a piece and were facing their final fifth game to determine who would go on. I think it best to borrow the coverage from the very eloquent Nate Price who covered this most epic of games.

Nassif was at 8 and taking 4 a turn. Before Orsini Jones dropped Nassif to 4, he Thoughtseized him, revealing a Reflecting Pool. Orsini Jones was one turn away from advancing to the Semifinals, and Nassif only had one draw to find something to stop him. Nassif put his top card in front of him, face down, and then went about arranging his lands. “I’m preparing my Cruel Ultimatum mana.” He slowly peeled the card back before snapping it into his hand and hiding it behind his Reflecting Pool, all without looking at it. He then dropped the Reflecting Pool, tapped seven mana, and blindly dropped his card onto the table. The roar from the spectator packed observation area threatened to level the Arena with a wall of sound. Nassif had topdecked the Cruel Ultimatum he had set up the mana for. The stupid grin that seems to be the human body’s natural reaction to BEING ABSOLUTELY AMAZING still had yet to fade from his face. Barely audible under the still raucous crowd in the next room, Nassif simply managed to utter, “Ridiculous.” After resolving the superfluously cruel Ultimatum, Orsini Jones and Nassif exchanged fortunes, and within one more turn, and under the crushing wings of a pair of Dragons, Orsini Jones finally fell in one of the most epic finishes to a match I’ve ever witnessed. Gabriel Nassif defeats Matteo Orsini Jones 3-2 and advances to the Semifinals!

Here is a video of this most amazing 'called shot'.

I actually feel somewhat sorry for Matteo who essentially had lost to a top-decked card, but hey - it's the luck aspect of the game.

Of the 381 players in the tournament, only 6 fellow Canadians were in attendance. Unfortunately, none had made it into the Top 8. Speaking of the final standings, here they are.

1. Nassif, Gabriel
2. Scott-Vargas, Luis
3. Yamamoto, Akimasa
4. Robinson, Brian
5. Phillips, Cedric
6. Ruess, Jan
7. Orsini Jones, Matteo
8. Tanahashi, Masayasu

Be sure to check out the Top 8 Decklists and the dossiers of the Top 8 Players.

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