192 competitors came to Nagoya for the first Players Tour, representing no fewer than 20 different locations from around the world. While hosts Japan made up more than half the field, with Australia (18) and China (12) a long way distant, it was a hugely varied starting line-up:
- MPL and Rivals: Representing the Magic Pro League were Ken Yukuhiro, Lee Shi Tian, Rei Sato, and Shota Yasooka, while the new Rivals League showcased Alexander Hayne, No Ah Ma, Luis Salvatto, and Yoshihiko Ikawa.
- Around the APAC Region: Singapore featured Team Series champion Kelvin Chew, plus the experience of Albertus Law, Ernest Lim, and Tay Jun Hao. The old-school double act of Tzu-Ching Kuo and Hao-Shan Huang came from Chinese Taipei. In addition to Lee Shi Tian, Yam Wing Chun also flew in from Hong Kong, Liu Yuchen from mainland China, Malaysia's Joe Soh, and Thailand's Sukhum Kiwanont.
- The Home Team: Of course the stars came out to play for Japan. Hall of Famers included Makihito Mihara, Tsuyoshi Fujita, and Shuhei Nakamura. Modern-day standouts like Kenta Harane, Riku Kumagai, and Kentaro Yamamoto rubbed shoulders with big names from Pro Tours Past, like Akira Asahara, Masashiro Kuroda, and Yuta Takahashi.
- Far, Far Away: And then there were the hardy souls who came from far and away to be part of Players Tour Nagoya. They included MOCS winner Dmitriy Butakov of the Russian Federation, Canada's Pro Tour Champion Alexander Hayne, Hall of Famer Jelger Wiegersma from the Netherlands, Denmark's Simon Nielsen, Petr Sochurek—from the Czech Republic, but living and working here in Japan—and the ultimate grinder, Christian Calcano from the US.
Draft To Start
Theros Beyond Death Booster Draft got the ball rolling, and 24 of the 192 players made a perfect 3-0 start. I'm a big fan of Christian Wijaya's White-Red list:
Pioneer Takes Center Stage
With the Draft done for the day, it was over to Pioneer, the newest, sweetest Constructed format around. Over at Players Tour Brussels, Dimir Inverter of Truth decks were making plenty of noise. Indeed, Inverter decks were the second most played at the European event. Here in Japan, Inverter went further, as it were, topping the charts at a mighty 19% of the field, ahead of expected favorites like Mono-Black Aggro (13%) and Niv to Light (11%).
|Niv to Light||21||10.9%|
|Blue White Control||14||7.3%|
|Blue White Spirits||14||7.3%|
|Lotus Breach Combo||10||5.2%|
|Mono Green Ramp||5||2.6%|
|Mono Red Aggro||3||1.6%|
|Green-White Hardened Scales||1||0.5%|
|Mono Blue Tempo||1||0.5%|
|White-Blaue Heliod Combo||1||0.5%|
Despite the top three decks claiming 40% of the field, the overall shape of the field was incredibly diverse, with 17 players being the lone pilots for their deck of choice, while the deck with the most hype—Ken Yukuhiro's Sram, Master Artificer concoction—certainly started out strong. Check out the complete Players Tour Nagoya Day One Metagame breakdown for more details.
And tomorrow, we'll be delving into all the key archetypes, working out what deserved the hype, and what fell flat on the big stage.
Inverter, Close Up
It's Round 8, so let's take a look at the Dimir Inverter deck in action. If you're Lee Shi Tian, it's quite simple. First, you do this:
That's four mana for
That leaves with a library that's very small, in this case three cards.
Then you cast
And then you win.
If you're Christian Calcano, things are a bit more problematic, especially if you're playing the Inverter mirror match.
Yikes again. Just as you were about to cast
Your Jace keeps on ticking.
Now you have seven cards in hand.
You ultimate Jace.
Then mill away your final cards, with
Personally, I like the Lee Shi Tian route to victory—it's easier on the blood pressure. But, if you want to win the Players Tour on Sunday, my hunch is you'll have to win plenty of games the Calcano way.
Once known as the King of the Faeries—he won tournaments in multiple formats when Faeries was a top archetype—Yuta Takahashi ended day one of Players Tour Nagoya as the last undefeated player when he toppled pacesetter Ken Yukuhiro in Round 8 action. In the last round, Takahashi completed the perfect day one, beating Hideki Yakushi to finish 9-0.
Congratulations to Yuta Takahashi, your overnight leader of Players Tour Nagoya.
Join us tomorrow to see if the King of the Faeries can hold on to his lead and claim the Players Tour Asia-Pacific title.