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Kenta Harane Wins Champions Cup Final Nagoya

May 28, 2024
Riley Knight

251 players from across the Japan and Korea region came together at the Aichi Sky Expo, south of the Japanese city of Nagoya, to compete in this weekend's Champions Cup Final. Playing Standard, competitors were facing off to stake their claim on the tens of thousands of dollars in prizes, as well as secure invitations to the World Championship and Pro Tour. After two days of fierce competition, it was Kenta Harane who would take down the tournament and add another terrific finish to his already very impressive resume!

Congratulations to Kenta Harane!

Kenta Harane brought Esper Midrange to the tournament, the only player in the Top 8 to have done so. His finals opponent, Rei Hirayama, was instead on Azorius Control - but Harane was able to fight through the disruption and interaction the control deck relies upon to claim victory across three games. Esper Midrange is still a very powerful deck, it seems, especially in the hands of a player as skilled as Harane.

After 12 rounds of Swiss, the field was cut to just eight players. Two of these players - Rei Hirayama and Ryohei Kobayashi - were on Azorius Control, while two others - Kazune Kosaka and Kouta Ehara - chose Temur Analyst. The other four decks were Golgari Midrange with Rei Sakano, Dimir Control with Kenta Masukado, a spicy Azorius Mentor list with Soohan Yoon, and of course Esper Midrange in the hands of the eventual champion, Kenta Harane. Standard is still a place where a wide range of archetypes really are viable!

Players in the Champions Cup Top 8

The Champions Cup bracket

Quite aside from winning the entire tournament, Esper Midrange was also the most-played deck and did reasonably well across the Top 16. Boros Convoke and Domain Ramp, the second- and third-most played decks, didn't seem quite as well-positioned, not very well represented amongst the winning players. Instead, it was lists like Temur Analyst that really shone - this deck in particular might have a larger role to play in Standard moving forward as more people discover its power and flexibility.

The metagame from the Champions Cup

Aichi Sky Expo was filled not just with players who had come to do battle in the Champions Cup final, but Magic players of all kinds who turned up to play all sorts of formats, both competitive and casual, and enjoy the fun of a major Magic event like this. If you'd like to get involved and come along to an event like this, you could earn your place in a regional championship tournament by finding the next qualifier near you!

Hundreds of players assemble for the Champions Cup

A Japanese-language broadcast of the event was streamed live

People got into the spirit of Outlaws of Thunder Junction

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