Event_Coverage

Watanabe Takes the Lead!

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Yuuya Watanabe has taken not only the title of Grand Prix Melbourne champion this weekend, but also the lead in the Player of the Year Race, catapulting past both Shuuhei Nakamura and Luis Scott-Vargas, despite them both making day two this weekend as well. Also overtaking them is Tomoharu Saito, who is now in second place after losing to Watanabe in the finals. Saito took the lead in the match, with his four color Ally deck taking game one, only to succumb to Watanabe’s first pick Sphinx of Jwar Isle and Vampire horde in games two and three. With his fourth Grand Prix top 8 in a row, Watanabe is looking nigh on unbeatable this season. Tune in next weekend for Pro Tour Austin, and we’ll see if he can keep his streak alive!




Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Aplin, Steven   Teo, Marcus 2-1        
8 Teo, Marcus   Watanabe, Yuuya 2-1
       
4 Watanabe, Yuuya   Watanabe, Yuuya 2-1   Watanabe, Yuuya 2-1
5 Zhang, Jacky    
       
2 Saitou, Tomoharu   Saitou, Tomoharu 2-0
7 Hughes, Brett   Saitou, Tomoharu 2-0
       
3 Piotto, Joel   Dalliston, Shane 2-1
6 Dalliston, Shane    

EVENT COVERAGE TWITTER

  • by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
    Sunday, 8:31p.m.:
    Finals: Tomoharu Saito vs Yuuya Watanabe

  • by Russell “Ralphey” Alphey
    Sunday, 8:45p.m.:
    Top 8 decklists

  • by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
    Sunday, 7:45p.m.:
    Top 4: Tomoharu Saito vs Shane Dalliston

  • by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
    Sunday, 6:42p.m.:
    Yuuya Watanabe vs Steven Aplin

  • by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
    Top 8: Player Profiles


  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 2: Event Coverage

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 1: Event Coverage

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Fact Sheet

INFORMATION
 1.  Watanabe, Yuuya $3,500
 2.  Saitou, Tomoharu $2,300
 3.  Teo, Marcus $1,500
 4.  Dalliston, Shane $1,500
 5.  Hughes, Brett $1,000
 6.  Zhang, Jacky $1,000
 7.  Piotto, Joel $1,000
 8.  Aplin, Steven S $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
Final

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10
9

8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
8
7
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5
4
3
2
1

 

  • Top 8 – Player Profiles
    by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
  • Name: Tomoharu Saito
    Hometown: Tokyo, Japan
    Age: 25
    Occupation: Pro Player and Card Shop Owner “Hareruya”
    Day One Record: 8 – 0
    Draft One Record: 3 – 0
    Draft Two Record: 1 – 1 – 1
    How many GP/PT top 8’s have you had? 10 or more GP’s, 5 PT’s
    What card would you most like to open in this top 8 draft? Vampire Nighthawk
    How many hours did you have to travel to get to this event? 15 Hours
    If you could choose any song to be your theme song this tournament, what would it be? “Lotta Love” (Japanese)




    Name: Jacky Zhang
    Hometown: Sydney
    Age: 25
    Occupation: Student
    Day One Record: 6 – 2
    Draft One Record: 3 – 0
    Draft Two Record: 2 – 0 – 1
    How many GP/PT top 8’s have you had? This is my first
    What card would you most like to open in this top 8 draft? The “Crab” (Hedron Crab)
    How many hours did you have to travel to get to this event? 1
    If you could choose any song to be your theme song this tournament, what would it be? “Red Day” by Hacken Lee




    Name: Shane Dalliston
    Hometown: Melbourne
    Age: 27
    Occupation: I.T.
    Day One Record: 7 – 1
    Draft One Record: 3 – 0
    Draft Two Record: 1 – 0 - 2
    How many GP/PT top 8’s have you had? Zero
    What card would you most like to open in this top 8 draft? Sorin Markov
    How many hours did you have to travel to get to this event? A lot, I was in London last week.
    If you could choose any song to be your theme song this tournament, what would it be? Richmond Football Club Theme Song




    Name: Brett Hughes
    Hometown: Melbourne
    Age: 23
    Occupation: I.T.
    Day One Record: 7 – 1
    Draft One Record: 3 – 0
    Draft Two Record: 1 – 0 – 2
    How many GP/PT top 8’s have you had? Zero
    What card would you most like to open in this top 8 draft? Sorin Markov
    How many hours did you have to travel to get to this event? 1
    If you could choose any song to be your theme song this tournament, what would it be? Super Mario Bros. Theme




    Name: Yuuya Watanabe
    Hometown: Kanagawa, Japan
    Age: 20
    Occupation: Pro Player
    Day One Record: 7 – 1
    Draft One Record: 2 – 1
    Draft Two Record: 2 – 0 – 1
    How many GP/PT top 8’s have you had? 5 GP Top 8’s (edit: this is his 4th in a row, by the way)
    What card would you most like to open in this top 8 draft? Sorin Markov
    How many hours did you have to travel to get to this event? 15
    If you could choose any song to be your theme song this tournament, what would it be? Japanese Anime Song




    Name: Marcus Teo
    Hometown: Malaysia
    Age: 21
    Occupation: Student
    Day One Record: 6 – 2
    Draft One Record: 3 – 0
    Draft Two Record: 3 – 0
    How many GP/PT top 8’s have you had? First GP!
    What card would you most like to open in this top 8 draft? Kor Hookmaster
    How many hours did you have to travel to get to this event? 10 Minutes by cab, I study here!
    If you could choose any song to be your theme song this tournament, what would it be? “I gotta feeling” by Black Eyed Peas




    Name: Joel Piotto
    Hometown: Adelaide
    Age: 22
    Occupation: Checkout Operator
    Day One Record: 7 – 1
    Draft One Record: 2 – 1
    Draft Two Record: 2 – 0 – 1
    How many GP/PT top 8’s have you had? Zero
    What card would you most like to open in this top 8 draft? Geopede(s)
    How many hours did you have to travel to get to this event? 45 Minutes on a plane.
    If you could choose any song to be your theme song this tournament, what would it be? “Out of the races and onto the tracks” by The Rapture




    Name: Steven Aplin
    Hometown: Adelaide
    Age: 20
    Occupation: Supervisor
    Day One Record: 6 – 2
    Draft One Record: 3 – 0
    Draft Two Record: 2 – 1
    How many GP/PT top 8’s have you had? 2 GP’s
    What card would you most like to open in this top 8 draft? Emeria Angel
    How many hours did you have to travel to get to this event? 2
    If you could choose any song to be your theme song this tournament, what would it be? “Phoenix” – Rome

     

  • Sunday, October 11: 6:42p.m. –Top 8: Yuuya Watanabe vs Steven Aplin
    by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
  • As the players took to their seats, I heard Brett Hughes behind me asking Tomoharu Saito to “end it quickly!” with a laugh. “Your deck’s no good?” Asked Saito. Hughes had been drafting downwind of Yuuya Watanabe, and his Green/Black deck didn’t look too bad to me, although his moving in on Black in pack two probably hurt Watanabe greatly, as he had been drafting Black very heavily in pack one.

    Over to my right, Joel Piotto and Shane Dalliston agreed to “keep it fair, and both start on 20.” That Good ol’ Australian sense of humor shinning through.

    Facing Watanabe in the quarterfinals was Sydney’s Jacky Zhang, who was also lacking confidence in his deck, but possibly only because he was facing the man who was in his fourth Grand Prix top 8 in a row. Watanabe won the roll and lead with a turn two Welkin Tern after Zhang’s mulligan. Watanabe’s turn four Hagra Crocodile was Cancelled, while his Tern and Reckless Scholar swung in for 4. Zhang padded the ground with a Merfolk Seastalkers, so Watanabe instead dug up a Nimana Sell-Sword and got in for 2 in the air. Zhang’s fifth turn and fifth land turned on his Khalni heart Expedition, and allowed him to both summon a Tern of his own, and tap down the Sell-Sword during Watanabe’s turn. With Zhang’s mana dealt with, Watanabe landed the bomb he first picked, a Sphinx of Jwar Isle. Zhang cracked his Expedition to fill out his land base, before playing a Territorial Baloth with Cancel mana open.

    Over on another table, Dalliston was already up a game when Piotto stumbled on mana and was crushed under Dalliston’s aggressive Red/Black draw. Behind me, Steven Aplin was down a game to Marcus Teo, when Teo equipped an Armament Master and Aplin could do nothing about it.

    Watanabe cleaned out Zhang’s grip with a Mind Sludge and began swinging in with his Sphinx. Unperturbed, Zhang swung back, his Baloth looming large thanks to a landfall. The Scholar took one for the team to buy Watanabe a turn, and his fliers finished Zhang off.

    Behind me, Hughes also cleared out Saito’s hand with a Mind Sludge of his own, before sending his army into the red zone. However, Saito blocked correctly and swung back, having already had enough in play to take Game 1.

    Saito 1 – Hughes 0
    Watanabe 1 – Zhang 0
    Dalliston 1 – Piotto 0
    Teo 1 – Aplin 0

    The top 8 get their battle on.

    Zhang got off to a better start in Game 2, with an Oran-Rief Survivalist picking up an Explorer’s Scope and swinging past Watanabe’s Blood Seeker. Zhang also summoned a Mold Shambler and a Frontier Guide, the Blood Seeker stinging him repeatedly, as Watanabe held the fort with a Crypt Creeper. A Reckless Scholar resolved, but an Into the Roil with kicker cleared the way for Zhang to get in again, before summoning a Sphinx of his own, this time Sphinx of Lost Truths, with kicker and thanks to the Explorer’s Scope.

    Meanwhile, Piotto had evened up his match at one game apiece with a sideboarded Spell Pierce on an Inferno Trap, allowing his fliers to go the distance.

    Watanabe was behind on the battlefield, so he summoned a second Blood Seeker, allowing him to kill the Sphinx with a Feast of Blood. Zhang continued to attack, dropping Watanabe to 5 to his 15, before summoning a Territorial Baloth and a River Boa. Watanabe lapsed into thought, trying to find a way out of this hole.

    Behind me, the first result was in, Marcus Teo’s fast Red/White deck defeated Steven Aplin’s more controlling Blue/Black one 2 – 0. Within seconds, Dalliston had finished Piotto off 2 – 1 as well, after he’d stumbled on mana again.

    Watanabe finally decided on a Crypt Ripper with two Black mana up. Zhang equipped the Scope to his River Boa and played a land. The Baloth and the Boa steamrolled into the red zone, the Scope finding an Island to make the Baloth even more menacing. Naturally, a Blood Seeker was crushed in the melee, before Zhang summoned a second Baloth. Watanabe summoned a Reckless Scholar, and passed it back. Zhang thought for a moment, before sending all of his men in for the overkill.

    Yuuya Watanabe gives Jackie Zhang a chance to respond.

    While Watanabe and Zhang shuffled for Game 3, I noticed Saito had not two, not three, but four different basic land types in play, and looked to have the upper hand in the second game against Hughes.

    Shane Dalliston defeats Joel Piotto 2 – 1
    Marcus Teo defeats Steven Aplin 2 – 0
    Watanabe 1 –Zhang 1
    Saito 1 – Brett 0

    Zhang started Game 3 with a mulligan, while Watanabe started it with a Guul Draz Vampire and a Blood Seeker. Half way down the room, a group of players from Brisbane started a ruckus that earned them a rebuke from one of the judges. Zhang summoned a Frontier Guide and tooled it up with his trusty Explorer’s Scope, finding a third land that his draw step had not. Watanabe swung back and summoned a Windrider Eel. Zhang pondered his play, before attacking in again with his Guide, finding yet another land. Watanabe let it run through, not exposing his Flier to any pump spells before Zhang again summoned a River Boa. Watanabe cleared out Zhang’s team with an unkicked Marsh Casualties, before playing a land and attacking for 6, dropping Zhang to 6 life. Zhang passed back his turn with five mana open, bouncing the Eel and Vampire when Watanabe swung in with a Whiplash Trap, but had nothing to stave off death on the following turn, offering Watanabe his hand and a smile. Behind me, Brett Hughes was doing the same, as he couldn’t hold back Saito’s army any longer.

    Yuuya Watanabe defeats Jacky Zhang 2 – 1
    Tomoharu Saito defeats Brett Hughes 2 – 0

    Hughes and Saito battle it out in the last quarterfinal to finish even if only by around a minute.
     

  • Sunday, October 11: 7:45p.m. –Top 4: Tomoharu Saito vs Shane Dalliston
    by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
  • Melbourne local Shane Dalliston, fresh off a top 16 finish recently at GP Prague, won the roll and chose to play, however it was Tomoharu Saito who had the first play with a turn three Stonework Puma. “Damn artifacts,” Dalliston chuckled as he summoned a Bladetusk Boar, and then a Geyser Glider without attacking. Saito had found an Island to compliment his Swamps and Forests, summoning a Sea Gate Loremaster to go with his Nimana Sell-Sword. Dalliston dropped his head on to the table in mock frustration, before powering up his Glider and summoning a Crypt Ripper, attacking for 8. Saito took it happily, before drawing three cards with his Loremaster, and killing off the Boar and Crypt Ripper with a kicked Marsh Casualties. Dalliston could only shake his head and smile. Dalliston attacked again with the Glider, and could not stop Saito drawing another three cards. It wasn’t long before Dalliston was scooping up his cards and reaching for his sideboard.

    Saito 1 – Dalliston 0

    Behind me, it appeared that Marcus Teo’s Red/White agro deck had struck again, as he was up a game against Yuuya Watanabe.

    Dalliston got in early in Game 2 with a Goblin Bushwhacker, before Saito again summoned a Stonework Puma. Sighing, Dalliston had the turn four Bladetusk Boar to match it, shaking his head with a laugh as he Disfigured the Puma to allow his Boar to get in. Not that it was making much headway, Saito had also summoned a Grazing Gladehart and was keeping his health full with four different basic land types.

    The top 4 fight for the finals.

    Behind me, Watanabe had evened up his match with Teo, taking Game 2.

    Saito summoned a threatening Bog Tatters, but elected to trade it with Dalliston’s incoming Tuktuk Grunts before again summoning his Sea Gate Loremaster. “I’ve seen him before,” Dalliston muttered, pointing an Inferno Trap at the Ally before it could get out of control. Dalliston attacked back, but then lost his team to a kicked Marsh Casualties. Dalliston brought the Gladehart to a Hideous End, only to see Saito untap and summon Kalitas, Bloodchief of Ghet. Kalitas got in once before Dalliston destroyed it with a Heartstabber Mosquito. Saito continued with his Ally theme, first with a Hagra Diabolist and then a Nimana Sell-Sword, dropping Dalliston to 6. A Burst Lightning cleared out the Mosquito and all Dalliston was quickly offering the hand shake and a sincere “well played,” and a respectful nod.

    Tomoharu Saito defeats Shane Dalliston 2 – 0

    Meanwhile behind me, Watanabe and Teo were going at it tooth and nail in their third game, with creatures trading left and right. Finally, Watanabe came out on top to seal the all Japanese final in Watanabe’s fourth consecutive Grand Prix Top 8.

     

  • Sunday, October 11: 8:45p.m. –Top 8 decklists
    by Russell “Ralphey” Alphey







  •  

  • Sunday, October 11: 8:31p.m. –Finals: Tomoharu Saito vs Yuuya Watanabe
    by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
  • Yuuya Watanabe is on a bit of a roll. Starting with Grand Prix Bangkok, and then Niigata, he had back to back top 8’s, then followed it with a second place finish in Prague, and what do you know, he’s in the finals again this weekend in Melbourne. We’ve asked around, and we’re pretty sure that makes Watanabe the first player ever to top 8 four consecutive Grand Prix’s. And of course, Tomoharu Saito’s no slouch either, winning Grand Prix Singapore earlier this year, and has had plenty of other great finishes to boot.

    Saito rolled a 19, but Watanabe trumped it with a 20. “Cheats!” Saito declared, jokingly, as both players wished each other good luck. Watanabe’s turn one Vampire Lacerator met with a Disfigure, but his Guul Draz Vampire got in for 1, as did a Piranha Marsh. Saito smoothed out his mana with an Expedition Map while Watanabe continued to get aggressive with a Hagra Crocodile. Saito summoned a Nimana Sell-Sword, and traded it for Watanabe’s Croc, only to see him summon another. Saito traded another Sell-Sword for the second Croc as Watanabe summoned a Reckless Scholar. It was Saito’s turn to command the board, summoning a Vastwood Gorger. Watanabe dug for answers with his Scholar, ditching a worthless Mind Sludge, as he had but one Swamp on the battlefield, and passed the turn back without play. Saito summoned a Guul Draz Specter, and fed his Gorger a Slice of Watanabe pie. Watanabe again dug for something, anything, discarding an Ior Ruin Expedition before playing an unkicked Heartstabber Mosquito. “Kicker,” Saito announced, leveling Watanabe’s team with a Marsh Casualties. Watanabe found the land he was looking for on top of his deck, and finally summoned his Sphinx of Jwar Isle. Saito attacked with the Gorger, dropping Watanabe to 2, before finishing him off with a Hagra Diabolist.

    Saito takes the early lead.

    Saito 1 – Watanabe 0

    Watanabe’s first play of Game 2 was his trusty Reckless Scholar. Naturally, Saito had the Disfigure again, so Watanabe replaced it with a Nimana Sell-Sword. Stuck on three lands, Saito could only summon an Oran-Rief Recluse, which could at least hold off Watanabe’s Guul Draz Vampire, that is until the Sell-Sword would eventually drop him to 10 life. Upping the pace, Watanabe also summoned a Windrider Eel. Saito went into the tank, but in the end it was only over which card to discard at the end of his turn, ditching a Hagra Diabolist. Watanabe had another land, and swung in for a heap. Saito finally found a fourth land and summoned a Sell-Sword of his own, this one capable of trading with the now live Guul Draz Vampire. Watanabe played a land and sent in the team anyway, the Recluse a speed bump for the Eel, and the Sell-Swords trading. Watanabe then took out most of Saito’s hand with a Mind Sludge, and it was only a matter of moments before they were off to Game 3.

    Watanabe draws into the Good Stuff.

    Saito 1 – Watanabe 1

    After much thought, Saito finally kept his seven card hand, leading with an Expedition Map and a Kazandu Refuge. Watanabe got to work on Saito’s life total with a Guul Draz Vampire as soon as possible, while also getting started on an Ior Ruin Expedition. Saito’s Map found him a Forest, and he then summoned a Nimana Sell-Sword to hold back the Vampire. Watanabe doubled up with a Hagra Crocodile while Saito attacked with his Sell-Sword and summoned a Mold Shambler. The Croc swam in a 5/3, prompting the trade from Saito, before a Mind Sludge for four left him with only one card in hand. Saito summoned the Stonework Puma he’d sandbagged, and sent his Sell-Sword in for 4. Watanabe’s rejoinder was stunning, his Sphinx of Jwar Isle. Saito could no longer attack, but then neither could Watanabe, the Sphinx holding off the 4/4 Sell-Sword. That is until Watanabe found his seventh land (something he obviously knew was coming, thanks to the Sphinx) powering out a Heartstabber Mosquito to take down the Sell-Sword and letting the Sphinx get started on Saito. Watanabe happily traded the rest of his critters for Saito’s as he tried to keep up with the Sphinx, eventually finding himself facing the Sphinx and a pair of Blood Seekers with nothing on his side of the battlefield. “Hrmm,” Saito pondered, before smiling and extending the hand of congratulations.

    Yuuya Watanabe defeats Tomoharu Saito 2 – 1

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