Top Moments of Grand Prix Kyoto 2018

Posted in Event Coverage on March 25, 2018

By Chapman Sim

After sixteen rounds of Team Trios Constructed, the field of 757 teams was now down to just a single team! The trio of Ryouichi Yamamoto, Yuusuke Matsubara, and Kazuki Takamura worked their way to the top of the standings and took the honor as the last men standing!

What were the other exciting stories which took place at Kyoto?

Day 2 Metagame Breakdown

Team Trios Constructed tournaments are a great way to get an overview of three formats - Standard, Modern, and Legacy. By taking a look at what decks made it through to Day 2, the collective data can provide glimpses of a format's hottest choices.

With the help of Yuichi Horikawa from Japanese coverage team (I need to brush up on my Japanese skills), we've broken down all the Day 2 decks by format for your perusal!


Archetype Quantity Percentage
Red-Green Monsters 13 14.13%
Grixis Energy 11 11.96%
Blue-Black Control 11 11.96%
Sultai Control 10 10.87%
Blue-Black Midrange 8 8.70%
Black-Red Aggro 7 7.61%
Black-Green Constrictor 7 7.61%
God-Pharaoh's Gift 6 6.52%
Mono-Red 5 5.43%
White-Blue Approach 4 4.35%
White-Black Tokens 1 1.09%
Mardu Vehicles 1 1.09%
Blue-Red Aggro 1 1.09%
Sultai Midrange 1 1.09%
4-Color Improvise 1 1.09%
White-Blue Cycling 1 1.09%
Esper Control 1 1.09%
White-Black Approach 1 1.09%
White-Blue Aggro 1 1.09%
White-Black Aggro 1 1.09%
  92 100.00%

The Standard metagame looked like a healthy spread of archetypes with no particular deck type being extra dominant. Surprisingly, Red-Green Monsters was the most popular Standard deck of Day 2, made famous after it won Grand Prix Memphis 2018 precisely a month ago.

Next up was a slew of The Scarab God decks, taking the second, third, fourth and, the fifth spot. Housed in different homes, all these strategies aimed to utilize the powerful card to its fullest. Whether you wanted to pair The Scarab God with Whirler Virtuoso, Disallow, Champion of Wits, or Winding Constrictor, there was a deck style for everyone.

The popularity of red aggro decks dwindled significantly compared to the last couple of weeks. Collectively, Black-Red Aggro and Mono-Red Aggro occupied only about 12% of the metagame!

The key takeaway from these findings? If you're going to play Standard anytime soon, be sure to have a plan against the Blue-Black God, or you might just get crushed! Thankfully, there are many strategies and cards which can deal with the looming threat.


Archetype Quantity Percentage
Titan Shift 8 8.70%
Burn 8 8.70%
White-Blue Control 7 7.61%
Affinity 7 7.61%
Hollow One 7 7.61%
5-Color Humans 6 6.52%
Mono-Green Tron 6 6.52%
Grixis Shadow 5 5.43%
Living End 5 5.43%
Jund 5 5.43%
Eldrazi 4 4.35%
Green-White Company 4 4.35%
Black-Green Tron 3 3.26%
Bogles 3 3.26%
Krark-Clan Ironworks 2 2.17%
Mono-Blue Tron 2 2.17%
Abzan Company 2 2.17%
Tezzeret 2 2.17%
Dredge 2 2.17%
Blue-Red Gifts Storm 1 1.09%
Ad Nauseam 1 1.09%
Mono-Blue Extra Turns 1 1.09%
Elves 1 1.09%
  92 100.00%

As for Modern, the metagame remained diverse like always, with no deck exceeding 9% of the metagame.

Titan Shift and Burn took the top spots, followed by White-Blue Control, Affinity, and Hollow One. Surprisingly, there were no Bloodbraid Elves in the top five most popular Modern archetypes. Jace, the Mind Sculptor was also less potent than expected, perhaps an indication that both cards were reasonable urbans.

Usual suspects such as 5-Color Humans, Tron decks, Death's Shadow decks, and Company decks, rounded out the rest of the metagame. A healthy blend of decks will provide for a good showdown in the Top 4, we believe.


Archetype Quantity Percentage
Grixis Delver 19 20.65%
4-Color Leovold 9 10.87%
Sneak and Show 8 8.70%
Mono-Red Stompy 6 6.52%
Death & Taxes 6 6.52%
Miracles 5 5.43%
Blue-Red Delver 5 5.43%
4-Color Delver 5 5.43%
Eldrazi 4 4.35%
ANT Storm 3 3.26%
Black-Red Reanimator 3 3.26%
Aluren 2 1.09%
Dark Depths 2 2.17%
Death's Shadow 2 2.17%
Esper Stoneblade 1 1.09%
Food Chain 1 1.09%
Merfolk 1 1.09%
Lands 1 1.09%
OmniTell 1 1.09%
Show and Tell 1 1.09%
White-Black Stoneblade 1 1.09%
Jeskai Stoneblade 1 1.09%
Blue-Red Twin 1 1.09%
Jund 1 1.09%
Esper Mentor 1 1.09%
Elves 1 1.09%
Aggro Loam 1 1.09%
  92 100.00%

Last but not least, we arrive at Legacy. With 19 Grixis Delver decks, 5 Blue-Red Delver decks, and four 4-Color Delver decks, you should expect to play against Insectile Aberrations approximately one every three matches if you were in Kyoto this weekend.

Moving down were perennial Legacy mainstays, such as 4-Color Leovold (a beautiful trump against the sea of Brainstorm decks out there), Sneak and Show, Death & Taxes, and even more Delver variants. Miracles maintained a decent showing despite the banning of Sensei's Divining Top.

Mono-Red Stompy was also gaining in popularity, and it could be attributed the results at Grand Prix Madrid 2018 which took place a couple of weeks ago. Two out of four of the Top 4 teams there had Dragon Stompy on their roster and the local community took that as a signal to hop on the bandwagon. A first-turn Blood Moon, powered out by Simian Spirit Guide and Ancient Tomb usually spelled doom for most decks in the format.

Overall, there was still a reasonable range of decks, and the Japanese community cherished the opportunity to play Legacy regardless. If you were to pick a favorite deck from each of the formats, what would they be?

Omotenashi: Why Japanese Hospitality Is Top-Notch

The Japanese believe in Omotenashi, local term encapsulating the right way to treat a guest. Loosely translated, it means that "the customer is always right." But in Japan, serious service providers take it to the next level, and even insist that "the customer is god."

That's why you'll always feel like a treasured visitor because this traditional ethic is what guides the service and hospitality industry in Japan.

Service with a smile, always!

Some examples of Omotenashi includes a taxi driver automatically opening and closing the door for his or her passengers. Or, you'd have witnessed train conductors bowing at each car and thanking everyone for their business. You'll almost always get a glass of tea as quickly as you sit down in a restaurant and occasionally you might even get a hot towel.

You'll almost never run into poor service standards in Japan, which is also why it's a revered travel destination for the entire world. Not only is it a safe and secure country, but the locals also take great lengths in welcoming foreigners.

As such, omotenashi is also the cornerstone behind every well-run Japanese Grand Prix. Extra touches here and there provide a holistic and comfortable tournament experience, and it can be confirmed that the Japanese do go the extra mile. Most importantly, omotenashi is given without the expectation of being given anything in reward.

Artistry and dedication brought to the extreme level! Get your cards autographed at the next Grand Prix!

Food trucks with delicious bento sets, traditional Japanese street snacks, as well as beverages and dessert!

It's not surprising that I truly feel at home whenever I return to Japan for a Premier Event. Previously, we've witnessed an unlimited food and drink snack station, as well as massage services.

Today, we've got free charging stations for your dying phone, a dedicated coat check and luggage storage area, premium seating area for lounging around, and even specially-chartered shuttle buses to transport everyone here from the Kyoto Train Station! Yes, you pay a small fee, but it makes your day much more smooth-sailing, and everything just sounds like a breeze!

So, when are you coming to Japan? There's Grand Prix Chiba (July 20-22, 2018), Eternal Weekend (August 18-19, 2018), Grand Prix Nagoya (October 12-14, 2018), as well as Grand Prix Shizuoka (November 29 - December 2, 2018) on our calendar! Mark down those dates and come experience the "Omotenashi" all throughout Japan!

A Photo Essay of Grand Prix Kyoto 2018

A picture is worth a thousand words. So, here's ten thousand!

If you weren't in attendance at Grand Prix Kyoto, here's what you missed out on! With the assistance of the Japanese coverage team, we've gathered the top sights of the weekend!

Entering the main hall of Pulse Plaza, the shiny trophy reminds all attendees of their ultimate prize.

Team events are great for the whole family! Father and son sighted in Day 1 of the main event.

8-0 team Sakuta/Matsumoto/Kawabata (front row), surrounded by friends and teammates cheering them on for Day 2!

At 757 teams or 2262 players gathered in Kyoto for the first Team Trios Constructed Grand Prix in Japan, making it a moment to remember.

Dezani - Lee - Saito were one of many multi-national teams at Kyoto, joining forces against the local populace.

And even if you're not in the main event, there are plenty of public events as well, such as this quiz session and game show!

Which angel is Hall of Famer Tsuyoshi Fujita trying to illustrate? Hint: Anchor = Ikari in Japanese = Anger! Oh, spoiler alert! The answer is also lurking somewhere in the picture.

Pro Tour Champion Masashi Kuroda and his team under the bright lights of the Feature Match area.

Pit yourself against rk Post, one of the most tenured artists in our world. Can you draw better than him?

A raised platform surrounding the Feature Match area for viewing the matches you care about the most!

Amateurs Seize The Day!

As the most influential teams fell by the wayside, relative-amateurs charge ahead. For example, the trios of Watanabe - Kakumae - Yasooka and Dezani - Lee - Saito (among other prolific teams) failed to advance, despite their star-studded roster. Then, when the superstar team of Kentaro Yamamoto, Ken Yukuhiro, and Yuuki Ishikawa ended Round 12 as the lone 11-1, they found themselves losing two in a row to get knocked out.

"It's ok, buddy! We'll get there the next time!"

As a result, four teams with little Pro Tour experience rose to the top, proving that they could perform even at the such high levels of premier Magic! Since there were no qualified players (such as Gold, Platinum, and Hall of Fame players) in the Top 4, we were met with a rare situation where we handed out twelve Pro Tour invites at a single go!

That was great news for these aspirants, and a couple of them even shared with us that it was "their ultimate dream to play in the Pro Tour."

12 players in the Top 4, 12 Pro Tour invitations awarded!

After sixteen rounds of intense competition, we were down just three esteemed individuals, Ryouichi Yamamoto - Yuusuke Matsubara - Kazuki Takamura! With that victory, they each claimed a Grand Prix title for themselves.

Before we say sayonara to everyone, we'd like to congratulate Ryouichi Yamamoto, Yuusuke Matsubara, and Kazuki Takamura once again, for winning Grand Prix Kyoto 2018! What a fantastic run! Sugoooooii!

Latest Event Coverage Articles

December 4, 2021

Innistrad Championship Top 8 Decklists by, Adam Styborski

The Innistrad Championship has its Top 8 players! Congratulations to Christian Hauck, Toru Saito, Yuuki Ichikawa, Zachary Kiihne, Simon Görtzen, Yuta Takahashi, Riku Kumagai, and Yo Akaik...

Learn More

November 29, 2021

Historic at the Innistrad Championship by, Mani Davoudi

Throughout the last competitive season, we watched as Standard and Historic took the spotlight, being featured throughout the League Weekends and Championships. The formats evolved with e...

Learn More



Event Coverage Archive

Consult the archives for more articles!

See All