Posted in GRAND PRIX SHIZUOKA 2015 on January 11, 2015

By Frank Karsten

This Semifinal threw together Yuuki Ichikawa, playing an aggressive blue-green deck with a small black splash, and Akito Shinoda, playing a five-color deck with powerful gold cards like Flying Crane Technique alongside defensive creatures like Archers’ Parapet.

Akito Shinoda (left) vs No. 23 Yuuki Ichikawa (right)

At first glance, Ichikawa had the edge in the early game, but if the game would go long, then Shinoda’s powerful gold cards would give him the advantage. The players shuffled up their weapons and got down to the bloody business at hand. Two men enter, one man leaves.

Game 1

Ichikawa curved out nicely with a turn-2 Icefeather Aven, turn-3 morph, and turn-4 Scion of Glaciers. Shinoda, however, was able to play a few blockers to contain the onslaught and subsequently took over with Sage of the Inward Eye and Abzan Ascendancy.

No. 23 Yuuki Ichikawa

These two cards form a “combo” that you don’t see very often--they are rares in completely different colors after all--but they worked excellently together: the end result was a huge team of creatures with lifelink, which swung the damage race completely in Akito’s favor. It didn’t take long for Akito to set up a lethal attack.

Yuuki Ichikawa 0 - Akito Shinoda 1

Game 2

Ichikawa once again had Icefeather Aven on turn 2, but he lacked a follow-up creature this time around. Meanwhile, Shinoda played dual-lands on his first and second turns, which ensured that he would be able to cast his powerful gold spells.

Akito Shinoda

Surprisingly enough, however, he didn’t even need to cast any of his gold cards in order to win the game. Shinoda made a few morphs, turned over Hooded Hydra, and kept on attacking until Ichikawa scooped up his cards. As it turned out, Ichikawa had kept Icefeather Aven, Disdainful Stroke, Become Immense, and four lands as his opening seven and had proceeded to draw 6 cards in a row! Luck was not on Ichikawa’s side this game, but he took it in stride and was able to laugh about his misfortune.

Yuuki Ichikawa 0 - Akito Shinoda 2

In blazingly fast fashion, Akito Shinoda has made it to the finals.