QUARTERFINAL ROUNDUP

Posted in GRAND PRIX SHIZUOKA 2015 on January 11, 2015

By Josh Bennett

Here’s a bite-sized look at all of the Quarterfinal matches. The odds-on favorite was clearly 23rd- Ranked Yuuki Ichikawa, but it seemed like every player had their own cheering section.

Yuki Matsumoto vs. Yuuki Ichikawa

This was set to be a match of tricky creature combat, with morphs and tricks on both sides.

Ichikawa mulliganed in the first game and was briefly stuck on two mana. However he had both Heir of the Wilds and Wetland Sambar to get on the board, and then a parade of morphs. Matsumoto was a bit behind and took damage as he traded off creatures. Matsumoto found Snowhorn Rider, but a Clever Impersonator for Ichikawa kept the pressure on, and Matsumoto was soon shuffling up his cards.

Ichikawa 1 – Matsumoto 0

The second game quickly became a creature standoff with Disowned Ancestor and two morphs for Matsumoto staring down Wetland Sambar, morph and Scion of Glaciers. Matsumoto caught the Scion with Winterflame when it tried to hit for big damage, and it looked like it would give him the breather he needed, but then Ichikawa supersized his team with Incremental Growth. Soon he took the match.

Ichikawa 2- Matsumoto 0

Akito Shinoda vs. Satoshi Yamaguchi

Yamaguchi drafted a hyper-aggressive red-green deck with Valley Dashers leading the charge. That put Shinoda’s Five-Color Goodstuff deck in the control role, and it seemed suited to it.

In game one Yamaguchi mulliganed and saw his aggro start blunted by Archer’s Parapet and Longshot Squad. With no tricks in hand his Valley Dasher got devoured, and the card disadvantage let Shinoda cruise to victory.

Shinoda 1 – Yamaguchi 0

Yamaguchi’s deck fired on all cylinders in game two, however. Valley Dasher for early damage, then after trading morphs his Bloodfire Expert won combat with the help of Dragonscale Boon. Shinoda tried to stabilize but was too far on the back foot.

Shinoda 1 – Yamaguchi 1

Again Yamaguchi mulliganed and this time he had nothing but lands to play for his first three turns, hardly good news for an aggro deck. Shinoda got on the board with a pair of morphs, then pushed damage past Summit Prowler and Longshot Squad with a pair of Crippling Chills. Become Immense a turn later had Yamaguchi down to just three life, and dead to the Jeskai Charm Shinoda had in hand.

Shinoda 2 – Yamaguchi 1

Bo Sun vs. Shinji Nakano

Two different takes on the Mardu Philosophy here. Bo’s deck is heavy on answers and has eyes on the late game, while Nakano looks to turn aggression into victory.

In the first game, Bo spent turns on both Rakshasa’s Secret (catching two spells) and Bitter Revelation. Nakano was able to drop him to seven, but watch his army get buried under a tide of removal. When they were all gone, Mardu Ascendancy showed up to mock him. Bo found his fliers and took the game.

Bo 1 – Nakano 0

Nakano’s Mardu Ascendancy came out early in the second game, but he had only a single Ruthless Ripper that could profitably attack, and the tokens it generated were eaten by Alabaster Kirin. Bellowing Saddlebrute looked like it would turn things around, but Crackling Doom dispatched it immediately. Bo matched each threat with an answer and then Rakshasa’s Secret took away Nakano’s Venerable Lammasu and Abzan Charm. Sultai Scavengers again played clean-up detail.

Bo 2 – Nakano 0

Junichi Yabuta vs. Chihiro Kawada

Yabuta’s deck was a Temur base packed with morphs and tricks. Kawada’s was a streamlined Abzan Warriors affair.

Yabuta mulliganed in game one, and was soon on the wrong side of Kawada’s army. He tried to set up a morph-based defense, but was quickly overrun.

Kawada 1 – Yabuta 0

Game two was even more brutal, as Kawada set up a creature stall and then broke it wide open two turns later with a massive Rush of Battle.

Kawada 2 – Yabuta 0