Just one point short of becoming the Japanese National Champion, you might think that Yuuki Ichikawa has had a disappointing season. Far from it. Making back-to-back Pro Tour Top 8s last season, he came dangerously close of robbing Yuuya Watanabe of the coveted spot in the World Magic Cup. Despite that little heartbreak, he wound up Platinum last season and finds himself paired against one of South Korea's best, Park Jun Young.
While not having equally dominating Pro Tour results, Park has proven that he is no slouch when it comes to the Grand Prix Circuit. After placing Top 8 at Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur 2014, he moved on to win Grand Prix Minneapolis 2014, before making Top 8 at Grand Prix Sydney 2014 again. That's three Grand Prix Top 8s in a calendar year. Wow. Today, he has put together a five-color deck, with as much removal and bombs as he could fit in.
Park won the die roll and elected to play first.
Both players spent the first two turns getting their mana problems out of the way, putting into play a variety of tapped dual lands. Ichikawa was the first to act, Scouting the Borders to fetch a Swamp, before exiling his whole graveyard on turn 4 to summon Shambling Attendants. Park produced Jeskai Windscout and used Suspension Field to rid himself of the zombie.
Ichikawa's next play was Dazzling Ramparts and the game started slowing to a crawl.
Park produced Debilitating Injury, the perfect solution to a potentially problematic Rakshasa Deathdealer. Ichikawa had a same copy of the removal spell, killing Park's second Jeskai Windscout that he couldn't tap down. Once again exiling his entire graveyard, he cheaply cast Murderous Cut to destroy Park's Alabaster Kirin. When Ichikawa added Abomination of Gudul and Pine Walker to the board, Park replied with double Burn Away.
Park's five-color control deck does Magic.
Both players had laden their decks with so much removal, nobody seemed to be able to keep a useful creature alive. The board was empty and quiet. You could almost hear a pin dropping.
Finally, Ichikawa had drawn the card he was waiting for.
Park was forced to point Kill Shot at it, and nine Snakes sprung onto the battlefield. Three of them were soon enhanced by Incremental Growth, a card Ichikawa was sandbagging for the longest time. Park used Smite the Monstrous to kill the 4/4 token, and Arc Lightning to kill three small ones.
Oh well, back to square one? The board was gummed up again.
Eventually, Park summoned Butcher of the Horde, quickly putting an end to the dreary game, with each player having less than 7 cards in their decks.
Yuuki Ichikawa 0 – Park Jun Young 1
Ichikawa chose to play first and opted to cast Watcher of the Roost from his hand directly, representing that he had no white cards in his hand. Or was that an elaborate bluff at the price of 2 life?
He used Turn 4 to play a facedown Morph. If Park were to eliminate the possibility of it being a white creature, it could result in a serious miscalculation. Park didn't have to wonder about that for too long though, since Ichikawa invested his fifth turn to flip it face up.
Ichikawa used Roar of Challenge on it, forcing Park to block with his entire team of Alabaster Kirin, Jeskai Windscout and Mardu Hateblade. Park had Sultai Charm to prevent the blowout, but Ichikawa had the final say when he shielded Pine Walker with Feat of Resistance.
With his board decimated to a point of no return, Park scooped up his cards and moved on to the rubber game, with less than 15 minutes on the clock.
Ichikawa sets up a series of plays, eventually leading to a lethal blowout.
Yuuki Ichikawa 1 – Park Jun Young 1
Park missed his third land drop and was quickly on the receiving end of swift hits from Watcher of the Roost. Thankfully, Ichikawa's deck wasn't blistering fast and was unable to punish him further, only able to summon Dazzling Ramparts next.
Ichikawa presented Highland Game to block, and Park used the opportunity to cast Arc Lightning. He directed one damage to Watcher of the Roost, one to Highland Game and one to Ichikawa's dome. Feat of Resistance saved (and enhanced) Watcher of the Roost, even if he did have to lose the Elk.
Exiling five cards to put Hooting Mandrills into play for just a single mana, Ichikawa once against used Roar of Challenge to clear the path. Park was forced to chump, falling to 6 life. Siege Rhino further reduced that to 3.
Eventually Ichikawa tapped down two of Park's creatures, one during the end turn and one during his own. Briber's Purse prevented another from blocking and Ichikawa break through with Savage Punch on Siege Rhino, trampling over for the win.
Yuuki Ichikawa 2 – Park Jun Young 1
Yuuki Ichikawa defeats Park Jun Young and is now at 4-0.