Top 5 Moments

Posted in GRAND PRIX KYOTO 2016 on September 11, 2016

By Ben Swartz

This tournament, like every Grand Prix, was full of memorable stories, of exciting matches, and of interesting decks doing interesting stuff. The following are our Top 5 picks, the five moments that made Grand Prix Kyoto an event to remember.

5. Celebrating the Lunar Eclipse in Kyoto

In preparation for the Penumbral Lunar Eclipse that is happening on the 16th, the tournament organizers set up an altar to the moon here in Kyoto. Cards whose art features moons have been posted on plaques and players have been able to grab pieces of paper and write their wishes to stick next to the images.

In order to make it even more authentic the tournament organizers have added river willows at the head of the exhibit and placed rice cakes as the final touch. Japanese Grand Prix have a history of having exhibits at them. This celebration of the lunar eclipse is one more that has been added to the list.

4. Mitamura's Return to Tournament Magic

After a 5 year break from the game, Kazuya "Chief" Mitamura showed up to his first premier Magic tournament in five years. After many years, Teammate Chikara Nakajima finally convinced "Chief" to come play Magic for the weekend in Kyoto. The two of them joined forces with Shingo Kurihara to play some Team Limited

While their team failed to make day 2, many members of the Japanese Magic community were excited to see Mitamura sling spells. Mitamura wants to get back into the game and play in next year's Pro Tour Kyoto, but he acknowledges it might be tough to qualify: "Next year there's a Pro Tour in Japan, right? Kyoto? I really want to play in that! If everyone goes to that I'll go, but playing is much more difficult. It's much harder to qualify these days since I rarely play." Mitamura explained.

3. Czech's near elimination before the Top 4

Things looked dire for the Czech team consisting of Pavel Matousek, Tom Ristovsky, and (25) Petr Sochůrek. After losing the first round on Saturday, it seemed like they were doomed to a 0-2 start. In the deciding game of their second round, Tom Ristovsky felt like he had a 2% chance of winning. After missing his third land drop, his opponent started to get far ahead on the board.

A number of turns later he had finally been able to find some lands, but things still looked grim; sitting at 2 life and facing a pair of Spirit tokens he had but one draw step to salvage the game. From the top of his deck came Smoldering Werewolf which was able to take out the two fliers, but he wasn't completely out of the woods just yet. Excitedly, his opponent untapped and slammed down Certain Death. Thankfully for Tom, he had drawn Broken Concentration and used it to counter the lethal sorcery. From there he was able to stabilize and his team was able to run the tables entering the top 8 with an 11-1-2 record.

2. Cathar's Shield from Yuuki Ichikawa

The deciding match of the semifinals between Yuuki Ichikawa, Yuki Matsumoto and Kazuyuki Takimura and (25) Petr Sochůrek, Tom Ristovsky, and Pavel Matousek, came down to Yuuki Ichikawa. The Japanese Pro Player drew up his opening hand and looked at it with a smile. Ichikawa cast Ghoulcaller's Apprentice on his second turn, and, on his third turn cast Cathar's Shield and equipped it.

His opponents started laughing, he started laughing, soon everyone at the table was laughing at the measly equipment, albeit for different reasons. Before long Yuuki Ichikawa was able to use the little equipment to get through quite a bit of damage, while keeping himself safe against (25) Petr Sochůrek's creatures. When Ichikawa finally cast an Abundant Maw a few turns later, he had an unkillable threat at his disposal. As Yuuki Ichikawa attacked in for the final points of damage, he gave a little chuckle; He earned a spot in the finals for himself and his teammates, Yuki Matsumoto, and Kazuyuki Takimura

1. Ichikawa/Matsumoto/Takimura Take down Grand Prix Kyoto

Coming into the weekend Japanese players breathed a sigh of relief. Tired of having their team Grand Prix taken down by, Mike Hron, Rich Hoaen, and one more, they looked forward to a weekend without them. Japan's best formed the best teams they could. Among them, one stood out: Yuuki Ichikawa, Kazuyuki Takimura, and Yuki Matsumoto.

After crushing the swiss rounds of the tournament and finishing in first place, the team made short work of Sochůrek/Ristovsky/Matousek. In the finals, they faced off against another Japanese superteam in Yamamoto/Kitahara/Yukuhiro. Everything came down to a deciding game 3 between Yuuki Ichikawa and Hiroaki Kitahara. Not knowing that Kitahara had Murder in his hand but no access to a second black source, Ichikawa made a risky play: Mirrowing Dragon. On the following turn, after Kitahara failed to draw the second swamp he needed, Ichikawa slammed down Otherworldly Outburst, buffing his army and taking the tournament for his team.