Closing the Books on Standard

Posted in The Week That Was on September 2, 2004

By Brian David-Marshall

Brian David-Marshall is a New York–based game designer who has been involved with Magic since 1994, when he started organizing tournaments and ran a Manhattan game store. Since then, he has been a judge, a player, and one of the longest-tenured columnists on, as he enters his second decade writing for the site. He is also the Pro Tour Historian and one of the commentators for the Pro Tour.

Grand Prix Nagoya marked the last significant Standard event before the 2004 World Championships. After this weekend Standard will become the domain of Friday Night Magic until the introduction of Champions of Kamigawa and the much-anticipated State Championships.

Grand Prix Nagoya's Pro Tour Invitations fed into Pro Tour Columbus but unlike every other PTQ held around the World it was run using the Standard format--the same format as Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur. Last year at the similarly Standard Grand Prix Bangkok, Tsuyoshi Fujita dropped a goblin bomb on the format with his Goblin Bidding deck.

There were no significant surprises in the Top 8 although Masami Ibamoto's Deathcloud deck arched a few eyebrows. Although four Affinity decks made the Top 8 it was green-red Goblins that earned Tatsunori Yishi a $2,400 payday and an invite to Pro Tour Columbus. The finals mirrored the finals of Japanese Nationals when Tsuyoshi Fujita first called attention to the deck and won his National Championship.

The real surprise came in the final standings. Tsuyoshi Fujita, Osamu Fujita, and Itaru Ishida seemingly make the cut to the Top 8 of Asian Grand Prix at will but this time they all finished well outside the money. This seemed especially crushing since they were all playing the decks that they expected to bring to the Standard portion of Worlds.

Pro Tour winner Mashashiro Kuroda battled with illness--likely brought on by the stress of a newborn baby not ten days old--and although he rode a roller coaster on day two from the top of the standings down to the middle of the pack and then back up to tenth with wins in the closing rounds. Although he finished strong he felt too terrible after the weekend to justify the trip to Worlds and elected to stay home with his new baby girl.

Coming into Worlds the deck that seemed to attract the most attention from the rest of the world was Tomohauru Saitou's blue-white control deck that was sporting main deck Relic Barriers. A number of players including Brian Kibler, Jon Finkel, and Seth Burn were playing decks based off of Saitous's build at World's this week--sans the Decree of Silence.

Itaru Ishida

A deck that was notably absent from the Top 8 was the mono-green Tooth and Nail deck the Japanese Magic community refers to as Tron. There were a dozen such decks on Day Two--fifteen Tooth decks made Day Two overall--and not a one reached the elimination rounds. With their confidence in the Tron deck deeply shaken, players such as Itaru Ishida were forced to look to Goblins as the plan for Worlds instead.

Masami Ibamoto followed his Sunday appearance as a member of S.A.I. from Seattle with another Top 4 this past weekend. He cobbled together a last minute Death Cloud deck when he had to build decks for his friend and his girlfriend for the tournament. He gave his best deck--goblins--to his friend Hirotaka Hata. Hata finished in twenty-first place and won $250. He gave his Mycosynth Golem combo deck to his girlfriend--no word on where she finished.

Ibamoto stayed with the hot hand for Worlds and played another Death Cloud deck. He felt that he could have won the event with a little time to think about his deck. He would have included both Relic Barriers and Infests in his sideboard. After having the time to think for Worlds he abandoned blue and switched to red for Siege-Gang Commander!!!

On the Other Hand…

While there was nothing startling in the main event there was something of a stir in the Junior open when thirteen year old Ryosuke Yagi managed to defeat a field of close to fifty players with his Krark-Clan Ironworks deck. It was Ryusuke's first actual sanctioned tournament and he picked up the deck cold when he borrowed it from an older friend.

Ryosuke Yagi

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PTQ Results

The PTQ season is winding down. Pretty soon we will be looking ahead to State Championships and Sealed Deck Qualifiers for Pro Tour Nagoya with Champions of Kamigawa. There are only a handful of events in late September and the spots for Columbus are drying up fast. Here are the lucky ducks that made the Top 8 of their PTQs and GP Trials this past weekend.

Event CityEvent DateEvent TOAttendance
Atlanta (PT Qualifier)8/28/2004Anthony Edwards124
Finish: 1. Drew Lichtenstein; 2. Jonathan Grubbs Jr.; 3. Clint Hays; 4. Andrew Wolf; 5. Derrick Sheets; 6. Matthew Long; 7. Jesse Kilgore; 8. William Randall
Los Angeles (PT Qualifier)8/28/2004Dan Gray149
Finish: 1. Eugene Levin; 2. Blake Kyles; 3. Brandon Estrada; 4. Nam Tran; 5. Sam Stein; 6. Paul Herr; 7. Cody Anziano; 8. Andy Custer
Louisville, Ky (PT Qualifier)8/28/2004Brennan Moody 77
Finish: 1. Gregory Vincent; 2. Victor Puente; 3. Rye Harper; 4. Darryl Taylor; 5. Jake Meiser; 6. Daniel Neeley; 7. Gary Richie; 8. Jacob Beal
New York City (PT Qualifier)8/28/2004Glen Friedman149
Finish: 1. Artem Dushkevitch; 2. Mike Eisenhauer; 3. Robert Peacock; 4. Gleb Gorkhover; 5. Elias Vaisberg; 6. Kevin An; 7. Ethen Martin; 8. Mathew Saypoff
Montreal (PT Qualifier)8/28/2004Maro Bongiovani83
Finish: 1. Karim Saliba; 2. Martin-Eric Gauthier; 3. Gregory Kelly; 4. Vincent Boulanger; 5. Christian Potvin; 6. Guillaume Cardin; 7. Steeve Bisson; 8. Tobias Rosman-Simionescu
Richmond, Va (PT Qualifier)8/28/2004Pete Hoefling97
Finish: 1. Luke Smith; 2. Steven Spotts; 3. Alex Majlaton; 4. Ian Bennett; 5. Chris Vasold; 6. Lawrence Creech; 7. Lance Shrader; 8. Michael Rooks
San Antonio, Texas (PT Qualifier)8/28/2004Tim Weissman 59
Finish: 1. William Moreno; 2. Chance Whitaker; 3. Kyle Sanchez; 4. Andrew Gray; 5. Daryl Schmitt; 6. Jeremy Watkins; 7. Bob McClellan; 8. Roy Baran
Hartford, CT (PT Qualifier)8/28/2004Tom Shea99
Finish: 1. Melissa DeTora; 2. Daniel Connelly; 3. John Putrino; 4. Joseph Schmidt; 5. James Searles; 6. Brian Shiels; 7. Adam Chambers; 8. Michael Pise
Ames, Iowa (GP Trial)8/28/2004Brian Woerth41
Finish: 1. Dave Lyon; 2. Michael Liu; 3. Louis Yang; 4. Robb Boros; 5. Matt Hansen; 6. Jack Ewing; 7. Nick Hamilton; 8. Kristin Clemens
Los Angeles (GP Trial)8/28/2004Dan Gray15
Finish: 1. Mike Voskuhl; 2. Howard Chen; 3. Ryan Scott; 4. Tony Lee; 5. Adam Mancuso; 6. Brian Dennert; 7. Frank Gilson; 8. Brent Olson
San Antonio, Texas (GP Trial)8/28/2004Tim Weissman 17
Finish: 1. Jeffrey Meyerson; 2. Ha Tran; 3. John Ligon; 4. Robert Hutchins; 5. Mark Molaro; 6. Aaron Tobley; 7. Robert Hendon; 8. Michael

The Week that Is…

Go watch!

Things are a little light for today's column--apologies. I just got back from Japan and went straight to Worlds in San Francisco. Plus, my Dictaphone with an Itaru Ishida interview seems to have eaten the tape and has not regurgitated anything remotely useable. Live Worlds Coverage kicked off yesterday and will be ongoing all week. I will be following a player around all day today during the draft portion. Perhaps two-time Limited Pro Tour winner Nicolai Herzog would be a good candidate? Nicolai and Gabriel Nassif are in a heated battle to unseat Kai Budde as the player of the year. Kai is not to be discounted though as a second place finish here would likely earn him another year of free trips and cushy hotel rooms.

So don't worry about The Week That Was, go check out the Week That Is all weekend long at the Tournament Center.

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