Coming off of his top eight at Pro Tour Magic 2015 a few weeks ago, Yuuki Ichikawa has come within striking distance of a top eight here at Grand Prix Kobe. Looking at the standings, a win this round would likely put him into top eight, while a loss will keep him on the sidelines. So far this weekend his Blue-Red Splinter Twin deck treated him very well.
His opponent, Tokyo area player Hirato Ougi, sat down to the feature match area with his White-Blue-Red midrange deck. Having had success with it so far this Pro Tour Qualifier Season, he hoped to ride his Lightning Angels and Vendilion Cliques past the two-time Pro Tour top eight competitor and into his first Grand Prix top eight.
The first game was a short affair with Ougi only seeing single land over in his first 6 turns. Thus, Ichikawa had more than enough time to find his combo. By the time Ougi found his second land, it was too late. Ichikawa used Deceiver Exarch to lock down one of Ougi's lands, untapped and cast Splinter Twin to take the first game.
Ichikawa 1-0 Ougi
Armed with lands in the second game, Ougi began with a Vendilion Clique at the end of Ichikawa's third turn. The Clique revealed a hand with three Spell Snares, a Pestermite, an Electrolyze and a Deceiver Exarch.
Ichikawa removed the Clique with an Electrolyze on his turn and fell to 9 when Ougi's Angel attacked on his following turn.
Pestermite came down for Ichikawa and prevented an attack from Lightning Angel for a turn, but Ichikawa, still with a hand full of Spell Snares was unable to find a Splinter Twin to combo off. On Ougi's following turn, Ichikawa traded his Pestermite and an Electrolyze for the Lightning Angel.
Ougi, unphased, fired up his Celestial Colonnade on the following turn, dropping Ichikawa to 4. Facing down another attack from the land on the following turn and with no answer to it, Ichikawa scooped up his cards and went to the third and final game.
Ichikawa 1-1 Ougi
In response to the enter the battlefield trigger, Ougi decided to use his Electrolyze to take out the newly minted Clique. When the dust settled, Ougi revealed his hand which included: a pair of Lightning Angels, a pair of Mana leaks, a Turn & Burn and a Spell Snare.
Even though Ichikawa had his combo in hand--a Pestermite and a Splinter Twin--he played things slowly. He waited for Ougi to recast his Lightning Angel and cast Pestermite at the end of Ougi's turn tapping down Ougi's only remaining untapped blue source. Ougi slammed down a Path to Exile on the Faerie, preventing Ichikawa from immediately comboing off.
With Ougi tapped out, Ichkawa resolved Sower of Temptation and stole the Lightning Angel. Ougi shrugged it off and played his second copy. When Ichikawa attacked Angel into Angel, he used a Lightning Bolt to finish off Ougi's.
Ichikawa used Splinter Twin on Sower of Temptation, temporarily stealing Ougi's newly minted Vendilion Clique, dropping Ougi to 4. When Ougi tried using Turn // Burn on the following turn to destroy the enchanted Faerie, Ichikawa revealed a Dispel. Seeing that he was dead to lethal damage, Ougi extended his hand and wished Ichikawa good luck in the top eight.
Yuuki Ichikawa defeats Hirato Ougi 2-1