Lord of Vermilion II is a hybrid card/video game that features Magic characters. Although it's normally a coin-operated arcade game, there's free play going on all weekend to fascinate and befuddle onlookers who can't read the instructions and don't really know what they're doing.
There is, of course, a great deal of high-level Magic being played.
Brian Kibler started the weekend by being inducted into the Pro Tour Hall of Fame, and then backed up his induction by starting the tournament 9-0.
When not on video, Rich Hagon has been around the hall recording podcasts. Here, he interviews David Williams on his results so far.
People in Japan don't get many chances to meet members of Magic R&D, let alone play against them. In the Champion Challenge, Mark Globus and Mike Turian employ the international language of friendship: Magic!
The Magic Online World Championship is going on this weekend as well, and it involves drafting Masters Edition IV. That's not what's going on here, but it's still interesting!
Crack coverage reporter Tim Willoughby decided to see what he'd look like as a Jace the Mind Sculptor.
Mr. Willoughby also wanted to see what he'd look like if he were Chandra Ablaze.
The promo card for attendees of this event is a Japanese alternate-art Ajani Goldmane. Kitty!
Because players have traveled far from their homes, some of them start to miss their precious Internet. Wizards of the Coast has therefore provided computers for people to jack into cyberspace. Our apologies for the old-timey cyberlingo, but it's our only opportunity to mention that we're in Chiba, the setting for much of William Gibson's seminal cyberpunk novel Neuromancer.
Tim Willoughby and Rich Hagon exhange secret coverage plans.
Anthony Eason and Conrad Kolos exchange secret US National Team plans.
Justin Hovdenes, the winner of a judge article contest, is very excited to be here! Actually, he looks a little overwhelmed, but we're pretty sure he calmed down after the picture was taken.
Behold! Flags of all nations!
The World Championships (and the Magic Online World Championships) were not the only Magic being played here at Makuhari Messe. Drafts and constructed events ranging from eight-person pickup games to enormous Pro Tour Qualifiers ran for all four days.
The gentleman on the left is smiling because he's just gotten all those cards signed. The gentleman on the right is smiling because even though he's the last person in a long line for a Legacy tournament, he's about to give that sign to someone else, and then that person will be last in line.
When queuing up to get your cards signed, it makes sense to bring a long some cards for playing.
Seriously, any time the artists weren't signing, there was a line of people waiting for the time they'd start again.
Some of the Magic Online players may have been thrown, since not everyone is used to playing on big, awesome screens like these.
The Japanese team!
Show manager Witney Williams says hello!
Manga Jace and Manga Chandra! Signed!
It's a drafter's paradise!
A huge crowd surrounds the battle between Switzerland and the United States. Be honest, if someone said Switzerland and the United States were fighting, wouldn't you want to know what was going on?
So much Magic!
RE Dalrymple has himself some Black Death. But he looks pretty happy about it, doesn't he?
So. Much. Magic.
Judges doing judgy things.
So! Much! Magic!
Head Judge Riccardo Tessitori personally observes a match. What an honor!
You know those awesome 3-D cards made by Seshiero Ookubo that we mention every time we're in Japan? He's applied that technique to shadowboxes!
This is a judge test in progress. The person taking the test (on the left) could be forgiven for thinking that the person administrating the test is leaning forward somewhat ominously.
It's a tiny little Jace! Look at it! Eeeeee!
The Bolivian team and the Guatemalan team wanted to pose together in a gesture of South American solidarity. Or maybe they're just all friends.
The coverage team prepares to cover the first draft. From left to right: Brian David-Marshall, Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw, Bill Stark, Rashad Miller, Tim Willoughby, Kelly Digges, and Monty Ashley. Not shown: Rich Hagon and coverage honcho Greg Collins. And Craig Gibson, who was busy taking the picture.
That was only the English coverage staff. There's a whole Japanese team, too. It's run by Keita Mori, shown here with his family.
Yuuya Watanabe predicts victory!
Magic R&D member Masami Ibamoto returns to Japan as a Chapion to be Challenged.
Mark Rosewater, everybody. Hi, Mark!