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Players Tour Nagoya Day One Highlights

February 01, 2020
Rich Hagon

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.
Location Players
Japan 104
Australia 18
China 12
Philippines 8
Singapore 8
Chinese Taipei 7
Hong Kong 5
South Korea 4
Malaysia 4
Russian Federation 4
New Zealand 3
Argentina 2
Canada 2
Indonesia 2
Netherlands 2
Thailand 2
Czech Republic 1
Denmark 1
France 1
Total 192

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:

Taranika, Akroan Veteran can be powerful, and Heliod's Intervention, against the right opposing board, can be game over. But Archon of Sun's Grace is a great card, essentially unbeatable over time. Here, Wijaya had ten Constellation triggers waiting to spit out 2/2s with lifelink, and many of those helped to get opposing creatures out of the way. A fine deck, and a fine start for the Indonesian.

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%).

Archetype Count % Field
Dimir Inverter 37 19.3%
Mono-Black Aggro 25 13.0%
Niv to Light 21 10.9%
Blue White Control 14 7.3%
Blue White Spirits 14 7.3%
Izzet Ensoul 13 6.8%
Big Red 11 5.7%
Lotus Breach Combo 10 5.2%
Mono-White Devotion 9 4.7%
Black-Green Stompy 7 3.6%
Mono Green Ramp 5 2.6%
Mono Red Aggro 3 1.6%
Izzet Phoenix 2 1.0%
Sram Auras 2 1.0%
Blue-Black Control 2 1.0%
Four-Color Rally 1 0.5%
Aura Hexproof 1 0.5%
Black-White Vampires 1 0.5%
Dredgeless Dredge 1 0.5%
Gruul Aggro 1 0.5%
Green-White Hardened Scales 1 0.5%
Green-White Ramp 1 0.5%
Humans 1 0.5%
Jeskai Fires 1 0.5%
Jund Sacrifice 1 0.5%
Kethis Combo 1 0.5%
Mono Blue Tempo 1 0.5%
Mono-Black Vampires 1 0.5%
Red-Green Stompy 1 0.5%
Simic Ramp 1 0.5%
White-Black Discard 1 0.5%
White-Blaue Heliod Combo 1 0.5%
Total 192 100%

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 Inverter of Truth.

That leaves with a library that's very small, in this case three cards.

Then you cast Thassa's Oracle.

And then you win.

If you're Christian Calcano, things are a bit more problematic, especially if you're playing the Inverter mirror match.

You cast Jace, Wielder of Mysteries.

Yikes. That's Unmoored Ego taking away all your Inverters.

Yikes again. Just as you were about to cast Coax from the Blind Eternities, that gets stolen by Thoughtseize.

Your Jace keeps on ticking.

Treasure Map turns into Treasure Cove.

Now you have seven cards in hand.

You ultimate Jace.

Then mill away your final cards, with Thassa's Oracle claiming victory.


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.

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