Grand Prix-Sendai Day 1

Posted in Event Coverage on June 4, 2010

By Wizards of the Coast


Photo Essay – Faces in the Crowd

by Nate Price
Artist Karl Kopinski hard at work signing cards for his fans. Let’s check out some of his work… Blood Tyrant, Archdruid, the Beastbreaker… I like what I’m seeing.
Sweet, Jace is here! Wait a minute… And here I thought I was seeing things. This Jace is 3D! How cool is that?!
Ookubo-san, the man behind this impressive table of three-dimensional cards, is a staple at Japanese tournaments. All you have to do is bring him the cards and watch the Magic happen. How sick would it be if you got one of these for your EDH general! Shuhei Nakamura and Masashiro Kuroda hard at work getting some last minute testing in.
Kibler, Sam Black, Martin Juza, Ben Stark… This is quite the power-packed table of travelers! Even Viking Pikachu made the trip to Grand Prix-Sendai! I have to admit, though, that is one Pokemon I never caught.
I managed to catch a brief glimpse of Germany’s Jan Ruess before he faded back into the crowd. Garruk and his original planeswalker Rat Pack are all lending their support as well.
Speaking of Garruk, check out this obscenely cool stylized planeswalker symbol. Saito! Never one to shy away from travelling the world for a Grand Prix, this Grand Prix was considerably closer to his hometown of Tokyo.
He’s so small that I almost didn’t see him! Kenji Tsumura, one of the all-time greatest players in Magic history, let alone just Japanese Magic, has been making a gradual return to playing at the Pro Tour now that he has been accepted to the Kansai Foreign Language University. American brothers Ben and Noah Swartz are in attendance as well. You may recognize Ben’s mop from the webcasts he cohosts. Noah, meanwhile, has made quite the big splash recently, finishing in the Top 8 of Pro Tour-San Juan

Trial and Error – Last Chance Grand Prix Trial Winners

by Nate Price

As the Magic season drags on, players are on a constant quest for whatever small scraps of information they can use to give them an edge. With Grand Prix-Washington DC just barely in the books, the players preparing for Grand Prix-Sendai haven't had much time to adjust things based on the information they gleaned from the results in the States. However, within the meager two weeks, the ripples from DC have grown and affected the format in some interesting ways.

Amidst the decks that have become staples of the most recent incarnation of the format ( Vengevine Naya, Mythic Conscription, Jund, UW Tapout, and UWR Planeswalkers), a few less well-known decks have surfaced here in Sendai. The first that caught my eye as I scanned the winning lists was an Allies deck piloted by Takuya Maekawa. It's a hyper-aggressive red/white/green deck relying on the cheap allies of those colors to beat opponents into submission. In addition to the efficient beaters, Kabira Evangel provides a path through blockers, while Harabaz Druid provides some mana acceleration and fixing. Outside the Ally shell, Ranger of Eos can be used to refill his hand or provide him access to the copies of Goblin Bushwhacker to enhance his team further. Lastly, since virtually every creature in his deck has an effect upon entering the battlefield, Bloodbraid Elf is always a hit, especially if it snags a Naya Charm to clear the way for attackers.

Another deck that caught my eye was an updated version of the graveyard decks that were mostly experimented with at the beginning of the season. Youichi Nagami relied on the power of Hedron Crab , Merfolk Looter , and the new Enclave Cryptologist to sift through his deck, while relying on creatures that return from the graveyard to provide the muscle. Just in case things get dicey, an Eldrazi Monument can lift the team to the air or provide an impenetrable wall of creatures for defense. Cards like Bloodghast and Vengevine pull double duty here, acting as sources of damage, excellent discard to the various looters in the deck, and recursive sacrifices to the Monument. If things need to be cleared out of the way, Sedraxis Alchemist can push it out of the way, which is a great way to deal with an Eldrazi Conscription or maybe even the one doing the conscripting- Emrakul, the Aeons Torn .

Here are all of the Grand Prix Trial Winning decklists for your perusal.

Hisaya Tanaka

Takuya Maekawa

Shin'ichi Akimoto

Youichi Takahashi

Keita Tonouchi

Koutarou Semba

Tatsushi Tsukamoto

Ryo Tamura

Yuuki Matsumoto

Daisuke Muramatsu

Shiou Obata

Youichi Nagami

Yasushi Yamada

Masahiro Hiraga