Grand Prix Shizuoka 2013

Armed with only a single bye, Ryo Nakada fought his way through nearly 1800 players to emerge a champion. Playing a tweaked version of the White Weenie deck that put Ben Stark in the Top 4 of Grand Prix Dallas he swept Day 1 with a perfect 9-0 record, and didn't take a loss until Round 12. His opponent? Fellow finalist Shota Takao. Takao had been turning heads all weekend with his Esper Humans deck, and led the field into the Top 8.

Standard looked to be quite healthy as a variety of decks were on display. Mono-Blue Devotion, Mono-Red and Boros devotion decks, Control decks both Esper and Blue-White, and Black-based midrange decks, whether mono-colored or Black-White. That diversity was on display in the Top 8 as well. As the quarterfinals began, eyes were on the two big names, 2011 World Champion Junya Iyanaga and former Player of the Year Shouta Yasooka. Both of them fell to Takao's Esper Humans. Meanwhile on the other side of the bracket, Nakada swept Keisuke Sato's Colossal Gruul deck and scored a thrilling last-second victory against Hajime Nakashima's Mono-Blue Devotion.

It was only fitting that Nakada and Takao's match would go to three games. The hall was oddly quiet as spectators crowded around the feature match area three deep, and more watched rapt at big screens showing the live video coverage. In the decider, Nakada curved out an army, protected from Supreme Verdict by Xathrid Necromancer, and overran Takao.

Congratulations to Ryo Nakada, Grand Prix Shizuoka Champion!

Grand Prix Shizuoka video coverage provided by NicoNico Live.


top 8 bracket

Quaterfinals

(1) Shota Takao

(8) Jun'ya Iyanaga

(4) Kazuaki Fujimura

(5) Shota Yasooka

(2) Hajime Nakashima

(7) Tadaki Tsukagoshi

(3) Ryo Nakada

(6) Keisuke Sato

Semi-finals

Shota Takao, 2-0

Shota Yasooka, 2-1

Hajime Nakashima, 2-0

Ryo Nakada, 2-0

Finals

Shota Takao, 2-0

Ryo Nakada, 2-1

Champion

Ryo Nakada, 2-1




EVENT COVERAGE

INFORMATION

     
1. Ryo Nakada $4,000
2. Shota Takao $2,700
3. Hajime Nakashima $1,500
4. Shota Yasooka $1,500
5. Kazuaki Fujimura $1,000
6. Keisuke Sato $1,000
7. Tadaki Tsukagoshi $1,000
8. Junya Iyanaga $1,000

pairings, results, standings

Pairings

15 14 13 12 11 10

Results

15 14 13 12 11 10

Standings

15 14 13 12 11 10

Green Bracket

Pairings

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Results

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Standings

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Blue Bracket

Pairings

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Results

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Standings

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Sunday, 2:00 p.m. – Deck Tech: Shota Takao's Esper Humans

by Ben Swartz
 

Finishing 4-0 in a Magic Online daily event one week before, Shota Takao decided to bring his Esper Midrange deck here to Shizuoka. It has proved well for him so far, escorting him to a dominating 13-0 record.


Shota Takao

Takao was fascinated by Paul Rietzl's deck from Pro Tour Theros. Xathrid Necromancer paired with other humans formed the start of the deck for the Tokyo player. After losing repeatedly to Pack Rat he thought, "what if I were to add Detention Sphere?" By adding blue he also gained access to Lyev Skyknight.

Lyev Skyknight

Takao explained that adding a third color did not make his mana too much worse. He was able to take advantage of Hallowed Fountain, Watery Grave, and Godless Shrine, along with Temple of Deceit and Temple of Silence. Since he had Detention Sphere, he could easily cut Hero's Downfall--a card that would have only made his mana worse.


Shota Takao explaining his his 3rd color decision.

Takao believes that he has a strong matchup against the three major decks in the format: Mono-blue Devotion, Mono-black Devotion, and blue-white control. In those matchups, he explained that Whip of Erebos and Obzedat, Ghost Council were especially important.

In building the deck, Takao had some interesting choices. For two-drops he was unsure which of Imposing Sovereign, Cartel Aristocrat, or Daring Skyjek was best. He expected some amount of Domestications this weekend, against which Cartel Aristocrat is especially strong.

Similarly, he had a hard time deciding which removal spell would be best, hence the split of one Doom Blade, one Ultimate Price and one Far & Away.


Shota Takao

Takao reiterated the importance of Obzedat, Ghost Council. "While Blood Baron of Vizkopa of Viskopa is by no means weak, Obzedat is on a different level." With Obzedat missing from top tables as of late, Takao hoped that this tournament would spring it back into the minds of players.

Obzedat, Ghost Council

Being a lock for top eight here at Grand Prix Shizuoka, Takao had his eyes on the prize. "I really want to win this event." He hopes to follow up this tournament with a solid finish at Pro Tour Journey into Nyx.

Shota Takao - Esper Humans


Top 8 Player profiles

 
 

 

Shōta Takao

Age: 24

Residence:
Tōkyō

Occupation:
company employee
Notable Magic Achievements: Japan Nationals Top 8, 10th place at Grand Prix Nagoya

Where do you normally play Magic?
Hareru-ya

What deck did you play this weekend?
Esper Mid-range

Why did you choose this deck?
It can just win.
Swiss Record- Byes: 0, Day 1: 9-0, Day 2: 5-1

This year is the 20th anniversary of Magic. Of those, what year stands out most in your memory?
2009—it was a year I did best in tournaments.

What is your favorite card in Standard?
Obzedat, Ghost Council

 

 

Hajime Nakashima

Age: 24

Residence:
Tōkyō

Occupation:
student
Notable Magic Achievements: Top 16, Grand Prix Nagoya 2012; Top 64, Grand Prix Yokohama 2013

Where do you normally play Magic?
Kateru-ya, Hareru-ya, PWC

What deck did you play this weekend?
Mono-blue

Why did you choose this deck?
Because it's easy to play.
Swiss Record- Byes: 2, Day 1: 8-1, Day 2: 5-0-1

This year is the 20th anniversary of Magic. Of those, what year stands out most in your memory?
Around the time of Masques and Invasion—that was my first Standard environment.

What is your favorite card in Standard?
Thassa!

 

 

Ryō Nakada

Age: 23

Residence:
Kanagawa- ken

Occupation:
student
Notable Magic Achievements: Going 3-0 at FNM

Where do you normally play Magic?
Tim Hakuraku-ten, PWC, QBK, Nagasaki-in

What deck did you play this weekend?
Wb Humans

Why did you choose this deck?
It's a good metagame choice against blue decks.
Swiss Record- Byes: 1, Day 1: 9-0, Day 2: 4-1-1

This year is the 20th anniversary of Magic. Of those, what year stands out most in your memory?
Lorwyn. That was the first time I went 3-0 in FNM.

What is your favorite card in Standard?
Boros Elite.

 

 

Kazuaki Fujimura

Age: 23

Residence:
Ōsaka

Occupation:
freelancer
Notable Magic Achievements: NEXT Protour Champion

Where do you normally play Magic?
Home

What deck did you play this weekend?
Mono-blue

Why did you choose this deck?
It the best deck in the format after UW.
Swiss Record- Byes: 3, Day 1: 8-1, Day 2: 5-1

This year is the 20th anniversary of Magic. Of those, what year stands out most in your memory?
Next year, when I win the Pro Tour.

What is your favorite card in Standard?
My favorite card of all time is Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

 

 

Shōta Yasooka

Age: 29

Residence:
Tōkyō

Occupation:
Pro Magic player
Notable Magic Achievements: Top 4, Grand Prix Kyōto 2013

Where do you normally play Magic?
Nowhere

What deck did you play this weekend?
Mono-blue

Why did you choose this deck?
I don't need a reason.
Swiss Record- Byes: 3, Day 1: 5-1, Day 2: 5-1

This year is the 20th anniversary of Magic. Of those, what year stands out most in your memory?
2006, the year I was Pro Player of the Year, and the one I traveled around the world.

What is your favorite card in Standard?
Mutavault

 

 

Keisuke Satō

Age: 24

Residence:
Niigata-ken

Occupation:
student
Notable Magic Achievements: None

Where do you normally play Magic?
Cards of Paradise in Niigata, Game-an Beat, Top Boy, Duel Gard

What deck did you play this weekend?
Gruul Mid-range

Why did you choose this deck?
I've been using it since it was first playable in the environment, and I like RG.
Swiss Record- Byes: 2, Day 1: 6-1, Day 2: 5-1

This year is the 20th anniversary of Magic. Of those, what year stands out most in your memory?
Around Masques/Invasion. That was a fun environment. I loved playing with Fires of Yavimaya.

What is your favorite card in Standard?
Either Stormbreath Dragon or Ghor-Clan Rampager.

 

 

Tadaki Tsukagoshi

Age: 28

Residence:
Shiga-ken

Occupation:
company employee
Notable Magic Achievements: Top 64, Grand Prix Kōbe 2009

Where do you normally play Magic?
Game Plaza Genki

What deck did you play this weekend?
UWr control

Why did you choose this deck?
I like playing those colors, and I know how to use the deck.
Swiss Record- Byes: 2, Day 1: 7-2, Day 2: 6-0

This year is the 20th anniversary of Magic. Of those, what year stands out most in your memory?
2009, the year I first became a pro player.

What is your favorite card in Standard?
Sphinx's Revelation—if you can get it off, it always gives you something you can use.

 

 

Jun'ya Iyanaga

Age: 26

Residence:
Tōkyō

Occupation:
Notable Magic Achievements: World Champion 2011

Where do you normally play Magic?
Nowhere

What deck did you play this weekend?
Esper

Why did you choose this deck?
I was planning on use the Kateru-ya mono-black deck, but I wasn't able to find enough Mutavaults to put it together.
Swiss Record- Byes: 1, Day 1: 6-2, Day 2: 6-0

This year is the 20th anniversary of Magic. Of those, what year stands out most in your memory?
2005. That was the year when there were lots of tournaments and tournament players in Japan, and the year I played the most.

What is your favorite card in Standard?
Notion Thief


Top 16 Decklists

by Josh Bennett
 

Date, Tsutomu

Shimono, Tetsuro

Mori, Katsuhiro

Murata, Toshiaki

Mutou, Kazuki

Cho, Bu-hong

Yamada, Yousuke

Ichikawa, Yuuki


Top 8 Decklists

by Josh Bennett
 

Takao, Shota

Nakashima, Hajime

Nakada, Ryo

Fujimura, Kazuaki

Yasooka, Shota

Sato, Keisuke