Yuuki Ichikawa Wins the Innistrad Championship

The first major event of the 2021-2022 Competitive Magic Season has come and gone. The Innistrad Set Championship has wrapped with members of the Magic Pro League, the Rivals League, and other qualified players battling it out in Standard and Historic on Arena. At stake were World Championship Qualifier Points as well as six guaranteed spots in next year’s capstone event.

Going into the tournament that name of the game was Izzet in Standard and a far more open field in Historic. Blue-Red decks have had a leg up in Standard recently thanks in part to Expressive Iteration to filter through cards and Alrund’s Epiphany or Hullbreaker Horror to end games in short order. While these cards also show up in Historic, they have far more to contend with in Arena‘s larger format.

The story of the tournament was a dominant performance by a team of players from Japan. Headlined by current World Champion Yuta Takahashi, the team put on a clinic in Standard with their take on Izzet Epiphany. In Historic it was a similar tale with the team’s take on Golgari Food, featuring The Meathook Massacre, helping to propel several players to the Top 8.

In the end, four members of the Japanese squadron made the Top 8 including Yuta Takahashi (piloting Izzet Phoenix). The other three members all played Golgari Food in Historic (and the Top 8): Toru Saito, Riku Kumagai, and Yuuki Ichikawa. Yo Akaike from Japan also made Top 8, playing Jeskai Creativity. The final three members of the Top 8 were Zachary Kiihne of the United States (Izzet Phoenix) and Christian Hauck and Simon Görtzen of Germany (piloting Selesnya Humans and Izzet Phoenix, respectively).

The Upper Bracket saw Görtzen run the table, finally defeating Riku Kumagai in the Upper Finals in what, on paper, was a bad matchup. In the Lower Bracket Christian Hauck and Yuta Takahashi went out first. As a result, Hauck missed out on a Worlds inivtaiton but picked up extra Qualifier points. Yuta Takahashi technically missed as well, but as the current World Champion he already has a seat.

At the end of the day it was Yuuki Ichikawa who battle through two Food mirrors (Toru Saito and Riku Kumagai) to battle against Görtzen for the title. Görtzen took the first match of the Grand Finals in two quick matches but it was Yuuki Ichikawa who took the middle match in two games. The last match went to three games with Görtzen keeping a land heavy hand that never quite came together while Yuuki Ichikawa had every answer and eventually followed his Trail of Crumbs to victory.

Congratulations to Yuuki Ichikawa, your Innistrad Set Championship winner!

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