July 9-11, 2004: Von Dutch Takes Pro Tour–Seattle
The mega-team from the Netherlands arrived with seven Pro Tour top 8s to their name, but no final day victories. That is no longer the case, as they qualified for the top 4 with a round to spare, then brushed aside Pocket Rockets (Paul Russell, Joseph Derro, Matthew Wood), a team of Canadian amateurs, in the Top 4 on their way to the finals.
The two Japanese teams sitting on the other half of the bracket comprised another of this weekend's stories. Many Japanese teams stayed home, fearing that their country's poor results in past Team Pro Tours would make the trip nothing more than an expensive vacation. That just set the stage for fully 40 percent of the participating Japanese teams to qualify for the final day. In a matchup of old versus new, veterans www.shop-fireBall.com2 (Itaru Ishida, Tsuyoshi Ikeda, Jin Okamoto) conquered newcomers S.A.I. (Ichirou Shimura, Masami Ibamoto, Ryuuichi Arita) in the semifinals, setting the stage for a blockbuster final.
The final draft saw Von Dutch open a series of bombs, while www.shop-fireBall.com2 drafted around the bombs and attempted to build stronger decks. Interestingly, both teams came into their matches feeling confident about their decks and their chances. Jelger Wiegersma quickly swept Tsuyoshi Ikeda in his match, as Ikeda's deck failed to show up in game 2. Then Itaru Ishida dominated Jeroen Remie in his match, and it all came down to the Battle of the Bridesmaids in Seat C.
Going into the tournament, Kamiel Cornelissen had two second-place Pro Tour finishes to his name, while Jin Okamoto was runner-up at Worlds 2003. The winner of their match would take home a first Pro Tour victory for themselves and their teammates. In a highly technical final match that featured huge swings of power on both sides, Okamoto took home game 1 with a Tornado Elemental, while Cornelissen used some outstanding topdecking skills to weather Okamoto's swarm in game 2. In game 3, both players got out to a solid start, but the raw power of the Dutch deck could not be denied, and Kamiel won with a hand full of gas to spare.