Fujita's Genius Shines Through

Posted in Event Coverage on March 7, 2005

No category demands explanation more than Resident Genius, yet no category eschews such limitations like this one, either. What is a Magic genius? Is it a player who can drive the game into new areas because of his deckbuilding? What about someone who can track every card picked in a Team Rochester draft? Or the player who evolves with the time, staying at the top of his game all the while? It could simply be the player who beats you, no matter what he's playing. This is your decision to make.

(Profiles by Brian David-Marshall)

WINNER: Tsuyoshi Fujita (45.3%)

Tsuyoshi Fujita or Gabriel Nassif? It is the Nicolai-or-Anton argument for Constructed Magic. To add more fuel to the fire, just this last week at Grand Prix-Seattle, the man responsible for Goblin Bidding, Red-Green Goblins, and making Relic Barrier de rigueur in Standard sideboards dropped a mono-red bomb on the Extended format with his Sneak Attack deck (while all of his other countrymen were playing established combo decks) . Not only does he build the decks, but he plays them as well -- and he plays them well. Goblin Bidding won him Grand Prix-Bangkok, Red-Green Goblins was good for a National Championship, and Sneaky Go landed him a Top 8 berth in Seattle.

2003-2004 Pro Points: 32 (t-45th) | Nagoya Pro Standings: 36 (19th)

Kamiel Cornelissen (18.5%)

If you took a poll of Magic players and asked them who they would least like to face in a Pro Tour elimination match, the name that would be uttered most often is Kamiel Cornelissen. Without much fanfare, he is simply one of the most fearsome competitors in all the game -- the epitome of the phrase "silent but deadly." He has made the Top 8 of a Pro Tour five different times and it often seemed like the only thing that could stop him was the finals. Now that he slapped that monkey off his back with Von Dutch’s win in Pro Tour-Seattle . . . how good is Kamiel? En route to their Seattle victory, his teammates simply pushed all the bad cards in his direction since he would not need any of the good ones to win. And that's what he did, defeating Jin Okamoto 2-1 to secure the championship.

2003-2004 Pro Points: 64 (6th) | Nagoya Pro Standings: 55 (5th)

Dave Humpherys (18.9%)

Dave Humpherys is like a dinosaur who became warm blooded and developed opposable thumbs. He has been playing Magic longer than just about anyone in the game, and playing at a high level the entire time. Can you think of any other star player from the early days of the Pro Tour who has continued to find success in the modern game? Finkel? Dougherty? Kastle? Pustilnik? Mowshowitz? The O’Mahoney-Schwartz brothers? Olle Rade? Dave Price? The list goes on and on. Dave not only survived the meteor strike but adapted and continues to thrive. Unlike the others who have “grown up,” Dave is not slowed down by the demands of a full-time job, much the same way he was never slowed down by the pursuit of his Ph.D. earlier in his Magic career.

2003-2004 Pro Points: 32 (t-45th) | Nagoya Pro Standings: 27 (t-45th)

Itaru Ishida (4.9%)

Ishida’s face is an unreadable mask when he sits across from an opponent during Team Rochester. You might see a small smile of satisfaction out of the corner of your eye, but it could be your mind playing tricks on you. How could he have the mental capacity left to generate a smile when he is so busy orchestrating his team’s picks and keeping track of all the decks and possibilities at the table? Simply put, no one runs a Team Rochester Draft like Ishida. Despite the impressive resumes of teammates Jin Okamoto and Tsuyoshi Ikeda, it was Ishida they turned to for draft direction in their team’s finals appearances in Grand Prix-Osaka and Pro Tour-Seattle. His play-calling skills will be on display during Pro Tour-Atlanta, where shop-fireball.com will attempt to top their Seattle performance.

2003-2004 Pro Points: 50 (t-14th) | Nagoya Pro Standings: 41 (t-16th)

Frank Karsten (12.5%)

So you like your Magic players to be able to hit from both sides of the plate? You have to like Frank Karsten’s on-base percentage whether he is playing Constructed or Limited. He changed the Affinity philosophy to Vial Affinity decks with his Top 8 finish at Grand Prix-Zurich, and neither Block or Standard was never quite the same again. More recently he reached the Top 8 of Pro Tour-Nagoya with his comprehensive draft list, which ranked every Champions of Kamigawa card. He assembled the list on his 18-hour flight to Japan and constantly tinkered with it throughout the weekend. His scrawled margin notes, arrows that indicated a shifting perception in a card’s value, and constant tinkering led to a document that -- fittingly -- looked like the work of a mad scientist. For Karsten, it looked like a Sunday morning wake-up call for the first time in his career.

2003-2004 Pro Points: 42 (24th) | Nagoya Pro Standings: 46 (12th)

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