You couldn't pick a better finals than this one to top off Grand Prix Kyoto. The two most dominant teams of the tournament sat down to play against each other after completing their final booster draft of the tournament.
On one side of the table sat Kentaro Yamamoto, Hiroaki Kitahara, and Ken Yukuhiro. After running the tables on day 1, they easily made their way into top 4. In the semifinals, the Japanese pros quickly dispatched Kenta Harane, Tomonori Hirami, and Fumiya Matsumoto. For the finals Yamamoto brought a pretty standard white red deck, Yukuhiro brought an evasion heavy blue green deck, and Kitahara brought a removal heavy black green deck.
Facing off against them was one of the Japanese super teams of the event: Yuki Matsumoto, Yuuki Ichikawa, and Kazuyuki Takimura. While they finished day 1 with a single loss, they ran the tables on day 2 and finished the swiss atop the standings. In the semifinals they quickly removed Czech hopefuls, (25) Petr Sochůrek, Tom Ristovsky, and Pavel Matousek. In their final draft of the weekend, Takimura brought a standard blue black deck, Matsumoto brought a stock white green deck, and Ichikawa brought a very aggressive white red deck.
Kazuyuki Takimura (Blue Black) vs. Kentaro Yamamoto (White Red)
While his Cathar perished, he replaced it with a Cathar's Companion. By this point Takimura was able to stall out the board with a number of creatures.
From there Takimura was able to move in with his army and take the first game from Yamamoto.
Yamamoto 0-1 Takimura
After trading creatures back and forth, Yamamoto got stuck on 4 lands. Before long, he was at 12 life, but he found his 5th land and started to battle back with Incorrigible Youths.
Takimura had a removal spell for Yamamoto's 4/3 and started to stall out the board with a Silent Observer. From there Takimura chipped away at Yamamoto's life total and transformed a Thraben Gargoyle to get through the last few points of damage.
Kazuyuki Takimura defeats Kentaro Yamamoto 2-0
Yuki Matsumoto (White Green) vs. Ken Yukuhiro (Blue Green)
From there, Yukuhiro was able to amass a small army of blue and green creatures, but Matsumoto used Collective Effort to remove the enchantment and clear the way for his own army.
That time gave Yukuhiro the opening to flash Pack Guardian into play and eat some of Matsumoto's creatures during combat. From there Yukuhiro was able to take the first game of the match.
Yukuhiro 1 - 0 Matsumoto
Game two started with a pair of Primal Druids for Matsumoto. The 0/3's stemmed the bleeding for a little while, but Yukuhiro found a Nebelgast Hearld and quickly dropped Matsumoto to 9.
From there the Legendary Creature took over the game. While Yukuhiro put up his best fight, he perished to Ulrich transforming back and forth several turns later.
Yukuhiro 1 - 1 Matsumoto
Without answers to the fliers and facing down 8 damage on the 5th turn Yukuhiro closed out his match sending the finals to a third and decisive match between Yuuki Ichikawa and Hiroaki Kitahara
Ken Yukuhiro defeats Yuki Matsumoto 2-1
Yuuki Ichikawa (White Red) vs. Hiroaki Kitahara (Black Green)
Play started back and forth in the first game of the deciding match. Kitahara started things off with a Mournwillow and Ichikawa countered it with a Galvanic Bombardment. When Ichikawa cast a Dawn Gryff, Kitahara removed it with a Sinister Concotion.
Things continued to go back and forth, with Spirit tokens from Ichikawa looking like they were going to go the distance. Kitahara had a different plan, however, and used Prey Upon to remove Ichikawa's only blocker and attack for lethal to take the first game
Kitahara 1 - 0 Ichikawa
Looking to reverse how things went in the previous game, Ichikawa began game 2 with a pair of Dawn Gryffs. From there he was able to drop Kitahara to 13.
Right when Kitahara looked like he could mount a defense, Ichikawa used Alchemist's Greeting to remove the lone blocker and sent the match to a third game.
Kitahara 1 - 1 Ichikawa
Ichikawa slammed down Mirrorwing Dragon on his next turn. He followed it up by attacking with all of his creatures. After considering for some time, Kitahara came up with some mediocre blocks to prevent him from immediately pershing.
Congratulations to your GP Kyoto 2016 Champions: Yuki Matsumoto, Yuuki Ichikawa, and Kazuyuki Takimura!