At the end of day one there are multiple storylines coming to a close: who will end the day undefeated? What pro players make it to the second day? Who will narrowly miss day 2? I took a look at the 4 feature matches of round 9 to close out the day.
Shuhei Nakamura (Esper Dragons) vs. Ryosuke Masuno (5 Color Aggro) - playing to be 9-0
Shuhei Nakamura (left) and Ryosuke Masuno (right)
In the first game, Shuhei quickly fell to 9 life but started powering out heavy hitters such as Dragonlord Ojutai and Ob Nixilis Reignited. When Ryosuke tried to cast Skyrider Elf for 5, Shuhei was forced to let it resolve. While Shuhei didn't have an initial answer, he used a pair of Dig Through Times to find a Silkwrap for the elf. Ryosuke was out of gas and Shuhei took a commanding lead, finally closing the game out with Dragonlord Silumgar.
The second game went exact way Shuhei drew it up. Shuhei was able to remove and counter all of Ryosuke's major threats before landing an Ob Nixilis Reignited. From there Shuhei had complete control of the game, ending it with a Dragonlord Ojutai and ending day 1 undefeated.
Makihito Mihara (Abzan) vs. Takaaki Kitaoka (U/B Aristocrats) - playing for 8-1
Makihito Mihara (left) and Takaaki Kitaoka (right)
Game 1 started off with a quick transformed Liliana, Defiant Necromancer from Kitaoka. Mihara could not find an answer to Liliana and it quickly began taking over the game. When Mihara did finally find an answer to the planeswalker, Kitaoka's army lead him to victory.
The second game began with an early start of Nantuko Husk and Hangarback Walker from Kitaoka. Mihara was able to get some threats of his own in the form of Siege Rhino and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, but instead of attempting to remove Mihara's planeswalker Kitaoka went for Mihara's throat. This ended up working out for him; with Mihara on 5 life, Kitaoka used Self-Inflicted Wound and Sidisi's Faithful to remove Mihara's two blockers and attack for the win, ending the day at 8-1.
Yuuki Ichikawa (Esper Tokens) vs. Takehiro Fujimoto (Atarka Red) - playing for 8-1
Takehiro Fujimoto (left) and Yuuki Ichikawa (right)
Game 1 was over in a flash: Fujimoto began with a super aggressive start dropping Ichikawa down to 12 by the third turn. From there Ichikawa could not grab a foothold on the game and perished a few turns later.
Game 2 looked better for Ichikawa. He had early removal for Fujimoto's creatures and creatures of his own to keep his life total healthy. It looked as if Ichikawa would be able to stabilize, but Fujimoto never ran out of gas; with no answers to Fujimoto's threats, Fujimoto took the match and ended the day at 8-1.
Yuta Takahashi (Dark Jeskai) vs. Hiroki Endo (Atarka Red) - playing for Day 2
Yuta Takahashi (left) and Hiroki Endo (right)
Takahashi was able to stabilize against the Atarka Red deck game 1 quickly with Mantis Rider and a Tasigur. The game stalled out from there, but Endo was able to use the combination of Become Immense and Temur Battle Rage to force Takahashi to block with all of his creatures to stay alive. Takahashi stabilized for a second time, but again Endo forced him to block with everything and used Temur Battle Rage again to wipe the board. Takashi stabilized for the third time in the game and Endo was finally out of gas; Takahashi was finally able to close out the first game.
Game 2 was a much slower affair. The players traded spells back and forth and Endo ended with just a Nissa, Vastwood Seer in play. Due to Endo's slow start, Takahashi was able to keep his life total high with a pair of Soulfire Grand Masters. The Grand Masters eventually got removed and Endo was able to land a Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker. Takahashi clawed his way back into the game with an Ojutai's Command and a third copy of Soulfire Grand Master.
Endo was able to clear the board, but at 29 life and with a Mantis Rider left standing, Takahashi was able to take the match and make it to the second day of GP Kobe.