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Miyajima Soars to New Heights in Yokohama

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Jyun'ichi Miyajima is the Grand Prix Yokohama Champion!

One of the few players piloting the White-Black Tokens deck in the room this weekend, Miyajima deftly disrupted, attacked and destroyed his way through a crowded field to be the last man standing. And who would have predicted before the weekend started that the finals would pit White-Black Tokens against Mono Blue Faeries for the trophy?

But the weekend will also be remembered for the breakout performance of Naya Pod, which put four local players in the Top 8 despite a dearth of byes between them. It will be remembered as Restoration Angel's coming out party in Modern and for a Top 8 that was showed that rogue could be the way to go if you knew your deck well.

Congratulations to Jyun'ichi Miyajima and all of this weekend's Top 8 players!



Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Satoshi Yamaguchi   Satoshi Yamaguchi, 2-0        
8 Masaki Ushijima   Kei Umehara, 2-1
       
4 Hiroya Miyamoto   Kei Umehara, 2-1   Jyun'ichi Miyajima, 2-0
5 Kei Umehara    
       
2 Jyun'ichi Miyajima   Jyun'ichi Miyajima, 2-1
7 Youichi Nagami   Jyun'ichi Miyajima, 2-1
       
3 Toshiyuki Kadooka   Toshiyuki Kadooka, 2-0
6 Yuki Yotsumoto    









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EVENT COVERAGE TWITTER

INFORMATION
 1.  Miyajima, Jyun'ichi $3,500
 2.  Umehara, Kei $2,300
 3.  Yamaguchi, Satoshi $1,500
 4.  Kadooka, Toshiyuki $1,500
 5.  Miyamoto, Hiroya $1,000
 6.  Yotsumoto, Yuki $1,000
 7.  Nagami, Youichi $1,000
 8.  Ushijima, Masaki $1,000
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Top 8 Decklists

by Event Coverage Staff


Miyamoto, Hiroya
Grandprix Yokohama 2012 Top 8 (modern)

Umehara, Kei
Grandprix Yokohama 2012 Top 8 (modern)




 

Top 8 Profiles

by Event Coverage Staff


Masaki Ushijima

Age: 28
Hometown: Saitama
Occupation:


Profession:
Programmer

Previous Magic Achievements:
Top 32 at Grand Prix Sendai 2010

Where do you usually play Magic?
Famicon-kun #2

What deck did you play, and what were your results?
5-color Pod. I went 13-2-1.

Why did you decide to play this deck?
I was inspired by my friend Nagami.

Match Results

Byes:
0

Day 1:
8-1

Day 2:
5-1-1

What is the worst match-up for your deck?
A deck with lots of counters, or Storm.



Yoichi Nagami

Age: 25
Hometown: Hachioji
Occupation:


Profession:
Company employee

Previous Magic Achievements:
None

Where do you usually play Magic?
Famicon-kun #2

What deck did you play, and what were your results?
A Pod deck with Melira and Kiki-jiki that went 13-2-1.

Why did you decide to play this deck?
It's a lot of fun.

Match Results

Byes:
1

Day 1:
8-1

Day 2:
5-1-1

What is the worst match-up for your deck?
Storm!



Toshiyuki Kadooka

Age: 24
Hometown: Tokyo
Occupation:


Profession:
Kiki-jiki

Previous Magic Achievements:
Finalist, Pro Tour Nagoya 2011

Where do you usually play Magic?
Tomoharu Saito's Hareru-ya or with the Tachikawa crowd, including Ryota Endo.

What deck did you play, and what were your results?
Naya Pod, 13-2-1

Why did you decide to play this deck?
Ryota Endo recommended it to.

Match Results

Byes:
3

Day 1:
5-1

Day 2:
5-1-1

What is the worst match-up for your deck?
Either Tron or Storm.



Junichi Miyajima

Age: 27
Hometown: Niigata
Occupation:


Profession:

Previous Magic Achievements:
None

Where do you usually play Magic?
Ukatsu no Mori in Kashiwazaki.

What deck did you play, and what were your results?
BW token.

Why did you decide to play this deck?
I just felt like it.

Match Results

Byes:
3

Day 1:
8-1

Day 2:
5-0-2

What is the worst match-up for your deck?
Decks with Living Death in them.



Kei Umehara

Age: 22
Hometown: Osaka
Occupation:


Profession:
Company employee

Previous Magic Achievements:
None

Where do you usually play Magic?
Project Core Takatsuki in Abeno.

What deck did you play, and what were your results?
Monoblue Faeries, 13-2-1.

Why did you decide to play this deck?
"Hime" told me to.

Match Results

Byes:
2

Day 1:
8-1

Day 2:
5-1-1

What is the worst match-up for your deck?
Monored or Affinity.



Yuki Yotsumoto

Age:
Hometown: Saitama
Occupation:


Profession:
Company employee

Previous Magic Achievements:
None

Where do you usually play Magic?
Famicon-kun #2, Hobby Station Tokorozawa

What deck did you play, and what were your results?
Nara Pod, 13-2-1.

Why did you decide to play this deck?
Because I respect Ryota Endo.

Match Results

Byes:
0

Day 1:
8-0-1

Day 2:
5-2

What is the worst match-up for your deck?
Kadooka, Nagami, Tron, Hive Mind, Storm.



Hiroya Miyamoto

Age: 24
Hometown: Chiba
Occupation:


Profession:
Freelancer

Previous Magic Achievements:
LMC Top 8

Where do you usually play Magic?
LCM, Trickster Matsudo, Hareru-ya

What deck did you play, and what were your results?
Affinity

Why did you decide to play this deck?
It can just win.

Match Results

Byes:
3

Day 1:
7-2

Day 2:
6-0-1

What is the worst match-up for your deck?
Monored Twin



Satoshi Yamaguchi

Age: 29
Hometown: Aichi
Occupation:


Profession:
Engineer

Previous Magic Achievements:
I've made Day 2 of the Pro Tour twice.

Where do you usually play Magic?
Team So Cool in Toyota City.

What deck did you play, and what were your results?
Jund.

Why did you decide to play this deck?
It's consistent and can hold its own against most decks, and has a flexible sideboard.

Match Results

Byes:
3

Day 1:
8-1

Day 2:
5-0-2

What is the worst match-up for your deck?






 

Quarterfinals - Toshiyuki Kadooka vs. Yuki Yotsumoto

by Blake Rasmussen


A very cool story has emerged as the Grand Prix Yokohama Top 8 has taken shape. A local play group, most with fewer than three byes coming into the weekend, might just have broken the format.

Youichi Nagami, Yuki Yotsumoto, Masaki Ushijima and Toshiyuki Kadooka are all playing similar Naya Pod decks built to utilize the interaction between Restoration Angel and, well, everything. Between the four of them they had exactly four byes, the bulk of which came from Kadooka's three free passes. Only Nagami had even a single bye.

With so many Naya Pod decks in the Top 8, one mirror match was practically inevitable, and those odds fell on Toshiyuki Kadooka and Yuki Yotsumoto.

Kadooka is the most accomplished of the three, having lost in the finals of Pro Tour Nagoya 2011 to David Sharfman.

But that doesn't mean we should count out Yotsumoto just yet. He had a much harder road to get to the Top 8, starting with no byes and winding his way to the Top 8.

Game 1

The mirror started off as mirrors of this sort do, with both players playing multiple mana creatures. Yotsumoto played a Kitchen Finks, passed the turn and then...conceded?

Yuki Yotsumoto was quick in Game 1 ... Quick to concede to Linvala, Keeper of Silence

Apparently he just can't beat the Linvala, Keeper of Silence and admitted as much as soon as Kadooka cast it.

Still too early to count out Yotsumoto...assuming he had an answer or 10 for Linvala somewhere in his sideboard.

Kadooka 1 – Yotsumoto 0

Game 2

Kadooka came out of the games again, casting a turn three Linvala, only this time Yotsumoto had access to Combust and quickly dispatched the offending legend (one answer). When Kadooka played a second, Totsumoto played his own copy to bury them both (two answers).

Stymied for the time being, Kadooka used a Murderous Redcap to off a Qasali Pridemage. Yotsumoto had spent a number of his resources making sure he didn't die to Linvala, and only managed a Birds of Paradise.

That, too, was short for the world, as Kiki-Jiki copied Murderous Redcap to kill it.

However, that let Yotsumoto Chord of Calling for Eternal Witness, returning Linvala, which now threatened to, finally, effectively keep the silence.

Toshiyuki Kadooka has come within one match of winning a Pro Tour. Will he pick up a trophy this weekend?

Shut down from actually using creature abilities, Kadooka took a new route. With two Exalted creatures, Murderous Redcap and Kitchen Finks could start getting in one at a time.

However, Kadooka found a better plan waiting at the top of his deck. Chord of Calling for Eternal Witness returned Linvala, allowing him to unlock his Kiki-Jiki.

Facing board he couldn't match, Yotsumoto conceded once his Linvala, the only thing holding back Kadooka's hordes, was gone.

Kadooka 2 – Yotsumoto 0




 

Quarterfinals - Youichi Nagami vs. Jyun’ichi Miyajima

by Blake Rasmussen


This wasn't the first time these two players had met this weekend. Way back in Round 14 Jyun'ichi Miyajima took down two games on his way to a Top 8 berth. Turns out it didn't hurt Youichi Nagami too much, as he found a way to get to the quarterfinals as well.

Their decks were a study in contrast. Nagami's Naya Pod deck was probably the deck of the tournament, but used large creatures, tutors and combos for its end game. Miyajima, on the other hand, had to grind out wins with a bevy of tokens and discard spells to keep his advantage.

Game 1

Miyajima took five damage right off the bat to fetch a Godless Shrine and Thoughtseize, revealing Birds of Paradise, Birthing Pod, Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and lands, binning the deck's namesake Birthing Pod.

Nagami played the Birds of Paradise the following turn and followed up with a Viscera Seer.

Meanwhile, Miyajima took a page out of pre-banning Innistrad Block Constructed with Intangible Virtue followed by Lingering Souls, plus a flashback the following turn.

Youichi Nagami had battled his way from zero byes to the Top 8. Could he keep it going in the quarterfinals?

But in the end it wasn't enough. Kiki-Jiki came into play and made a copy of Viscera Seer, keeping Chord of Calling safely tucked on the top of Nagami's library from the Tidehollow Sculler that followed.

Nagami simply used the powerful green tutor to search up Restoration Angel and, combined with Kiki Jiki, he was able to attack with as many 3/4 flying Angels as he wanted.

Nagami 1 – Miyajima 0

Game 2

Another turn one Thoughtseize revealed Orzhov Pontiff, Viscera Seer and Melira, Sylvok Outcast, discarding the Pontiff.

Nagami played the Seer and Melira over the next two turns, but unfortunately lost his Chord of Calling to a Tidehollow Sculler. Miyajima soon Dismembered Melira and started to lay down some pressure with Intangible Virtue and Spectral Procession. A few turns of that and a few blank draws from Nagami and we were even at one game apiece.

Nagami 1 – Miyajima 1

Game 3

Unlike their Round 14 feature match, this one had found its way to a Game 3. And what a Game 3 it was. Winner keeps playing with a shot at the trophy, all while earning an invite to the Pro Tour, while the other player got just a memory (well, and a fair bit of money).

Nagami led with Viscera Seer and Birds of Paradise as Miyajima skipped his typical first turn Thoughtseize to play a Windbrisk Heights followed by a Zealous Persecution, whipping away Nagami's start.

Eternal Witness let Nagami reload with the formerly dead Birds of Paradise, but Miyajima had his own deadly three drop with Lingering Souls.

Wall of Roots and Birds of Paradise were next for Nagami, building his mana base but short on action. He was already down to two cards in hand.

Attacking with the two Spirit tokens and Mutavault let Miyajima trigger his Windbrisk Heights, flipping out a key Grafdigger's Cage post combat. The Melira combo wasn't viable as long as the artifact remained in play.

Things got even worse for Nagami the next turn as Honor of the Pure made the Spirit tokens larger, and when Restoration Angel attempted to jump in front of a token, the Black-White player had the Dismember. The tokens started methodically clocking the Naya Pod player for four in the air.

Still, the Restoration Angel had allowed Nagami to blink his Eternal Witness, returning Viscera Seer. He cast it the following turn while also activating Gavony Township to pump his team.

The next turn, he finally got to attacking, moving in with a 3/2 Eternal Witness and 2/2 Viscera Seer.

Miyajima kept hitting back, though, using Path to Exile to clear a, well, path, for his two Spirit Tokens by exiling Birds of Paradise. Four more damage put Nagami in lethal range of the rampaging spirits.

Jyun'ichi Miyajima's Spirit tokens methodically hit for four damage, turn after turn after turn after...

Viscera Seer revealed a Restoration Angel at the top of Nagami's deck, and suddenly it felt as if he might be able to survive the next attack.

Miyajima was forced to block the Witness with Mutavault to stay alive, but was itching to attack back with his lethal spirits. He untapped, immediately moved to attack and watched as Nagami flashed in the Restoration Angel that would save his life...

...except for the Dismember Miyajima had to dispatch the potential guardian angel. Sweeping aside the weekend's premier winged warrior, the two Spirits delivered the final points of damage.

Nagami 1 – Miyajima 2




 

Quarterfinals - Kei Umehara vs. Hiroya Miyamoto

by Chapman Sim


Kei Umehara's deck is rather special. Armed with only Islands, Mutavault and Faerie Conclaves, he was able to navigate past the last sixteen rounds without the need of an additional color. Admittedly, he does play with Vedalken Shackles, which is capable of world domination when backed by countermagic and Spellskites.

Kei Umehara and Hiroya Miyamoto shake hands before the match

His opponent wasn't going to let him be. Aside from the usual robots (we're referring to Steel Overseer and Arcbound Ravager), Hiroya Miyamoto also recruited the help of Master of Etherium, one of the biggest monsters that also pumps his entire army.

Both players were aware how important this quarterfinal game would be. The winner would earn the right to participate in the upcoming Pro Tour in Seattle, while the other would have to be content with "just" a Top 8 appearance.

Game One

Miyamoto was ranked higher in Swiss and had the privilege of starting first.

He opened with merely Mountain, Mox Opal and Memnite, not quite as fast a hand as he desired. All his opponent did was to lay an Island and pass the turn, keeping up mana for the Spell Snare which nabbed Miyamoto's Arcbound Ravager.

Steel Overseer met with Remand but it resolved on the next turn anyway. When Miyamoto tried to add a gigantic droid onto the board (Master of Etherium), Cryptic Command was at the ready. He simply attacked with Memnite and put +1/+1 counters on both his creatures.

Vedalken Shackles came to the rescue for Umehara but he had to think twice when Miyamoto tried to resolve Arcbound Ravager. He eventually nodded in approval and tried to snatch Arcbound Ravager as soon as he could, but Miyamoto simply sacrificed it in response.

On his own turn, Umehara wasted no time gaining control of Steel Overseer and it seemed like he was in firm control of the game. The pressure from Miyamoto was gentle, only two damage a turn from Vault Skirge and Blinkmoth Nexus.

Umehara grew Steel Overseer up to a 6/6 and added Vendilion Clique, Scion of Oona and Spellstutter Sprite to the board. Unable to mount a profitable attack, Miyamoto passed the turn, hoping to draw something to change the state of the game.

Kei Umehara takes the first game

His prayers were answered and his deck served up Cranial Plating, which convinced Steel Overseer to stay home. Both players had seven creatures a piece (including Umehara's Faerie Conclave & Mutavaults, and Miyamoto's Blinkmoth Nexi). Now at just six paltry life, Umehara was forced to match the creature count each turn, for an instant-speed Cranial Plating activation would make any unblocked creature lethal. The stalemate was broken when Umehara topdecked another Cryptic Command, tapping down the opposite side for the win.

Kei Umehara 1 – Hiroya Miyamoto 0

Game Two

Miyamoto's threats continued to be systematically handled by Umehara's countermagic-heavy deck. Spell Snare repelled Steel Overseer and Cranial Plating met with Mana Leak, leaving Miyamoto with only Memnite, Vault Skirge and Ornithopter.

When Umehara called forth Spellskite to block, his opponent made use of this window to cast Master of Etherium, the very last card in his hand. At this point, the Vedalken Wizard was contributing ten power to the board (it being 7/7 and granting +1/+1 to three other critters) and giving Umehara a massive brain aneurysm.

Hiroya Miyamoto

After making sure Miyamoto had drawn nothing dangerous, he the freshly summoned Vendilion Clique to trade with Vault Skirge, taking a huge hit going down to six life and then

A second Cryptic Command countered Cranial Plating, returning Master of Etherium to his hand. Refusing to run into Mana Leak, Miyamoto deliberated it was better to resummon it the next turn. When he did, it was countered with Disrupting Shoal but that left him weak to Etched Oracle and Galvanic Blast which finished him off the very next turn.

Kei Umehara 1 – Hiroya Miyamoto 1

Game Three

Miyamoto developed his mana with Mox Opal and Springleaf Drum, but his first creature (Ornithopter) was turned to dust by Spellstutter Sprite.

Pendelhaven entered play next turn and Umehara wasted no time sending in the little faerie for two damage, leaving just enough mana to use Mana Leak on Etched Oracle. Engineered Explosives for zero reduced Miyamoto's board to just Springleaf Drum and Mountain, while he continued to attack with Mutavault and a 2/3 Spellstutter Sprite.


Taking advantage of his opponent's creature-light hand, a second Spellstutter Sprite hit play to flick away Memnite. When Miyamoto drew another Memnite, Umehara flashed in a third copy of the faerie. The audience winced in pain, as though being seared by a hot pan.

Umehara animated both his Mutavaults and went all-in with his triple Spellstutter Sprite. As a last-ditch effort, Miyamoto tried to use Galvanic Blast to stay alive. Umehara revealed the final two cards in his hand (Disrupting Shoal and Spell Snare), ending the match the way Force of Will would also have.

Kei Umehara 2 – Hiroya Miyamoto 1




 

Quarterfinals - Satoshi Yamaguchi vs. Masaki Ushijima

by Chapman Sim


Surviving sixteen rounds is no easy task, and even more so if you weren't able to secure any byes. It is interesting to note that Masaki Ushijima had made it thus far with no byes at all, a rather amazing accomplishment, seeing how he had actually won more played matches than some of his fellow Top 8 competitors.

Satoshi Yamaguchi and Masaki Ushijima prepare to battle

Piloting one of the four Naya Pod decks to break into the Top 8 today, there was no longer any doubt of the archetype's power. In this matchup, he would face Satoshi Yamaguchi, who was the only the only Jund player left in the entire tournament. Despite strong numbers, Jund had only managed to put one player in the Top 8, but Yamaguchi was prepared to dispel the notion that his deck's heyday was over.

Game One

Ushijima was forced to take a mulligan but he kept his next six, and they were off. Yamaguchi led with Inquisition of Kozilek, (causing his opponent to reveal Kitchen Finks, Birds of Paradise, Chord of Calling) and eventually decided to make him ditch Eternal Witness.

Lands are hard to find for Masaki Ushijima in Game One

Dark Confidant made an entrance on turn two, gifting Yamaguchi Raging Ravine the next turn. Tarmogoyf joined the board, while Ushijima could only stare in bewilderment as he was stuck on just two lands, Forest and Gavony Township. Liliana of the Veil joined the fray, and Ushijima decided it was time to move on.

Satoshi Yamaguchi 1 – Masaki Ushijima 0

Game Two

Yamaguchi was quick to point Lightning Bolt at the opposing Birds of Paradise, and used Thoughtseize to expel Phantasmal Image from his opponent's hand, allowing him to keep Birthing Pod.

The reason was apparent, when Yamaguchi dropped Grafdigger's Cage and Kitchen Finks onto the board soon after. Wall of Roots tried to stave off the 3/2 but when Yamaguchi added another 3/2 to the board (Bloodbraid Elf), a cascaded Terminate ensured that both would attack unimpeded.

Satoshi Yamaguchi deck advances him to the Semifinals

With Grafdigger's Cage effectively neutralizing his entire strategy, it seemed that the game would be over soon enough, but Ushijima did not give up just yet. He summoned Reveillark, and stared at the incoming 9 damage on the board (if you add in an animated Treetop Village), praying for the best.

Yamaguchi sent in all three attackers, proceeded to place two +1/+1 counters Treetop Village, dealing exactly 8 damage to seal the match and advance to the semifinals.

Satoshi Yamaguchi 2 – Masaki Ushijima 0




 

Semifinals - Kei Umehara vs. Satoshi Yamaguchi

by Chapman Sim


Game One

Yamaguchi was first to play and he was able to successfully resolve Tarmogoyf and Liliana of the Veil, putting his opponent under immediate pressure on both his life totals and his precious grip of cards.

Umehara wasted no time summoning Spellstutter Sprite and then Vendilion Clique to finally rid the opposing Planeswalker. He did take 6 damage from the incoming Tarmogoyf and Treetop Village, going down to 13.

Kei and Satoshi are off to an intense first game

Thereafter, Yamagushi attempted to kill the 3/1 flier, by mistakenly pointing Bloodbraid Elf at it, to the amusement of the crowd. He rectified the blunder and put Lightning Bolt into his graveyard instead. When he tried Bloodbraid Elf next turn, he gained Kitchen Finks from the cascade, but Umehara decided to counter it, bouncing Tarmogoyf in the process.

Bloodbraid Elf and Treetop Village crashed into the red zone again, and Vendilion Clique jumped out of Umehara's hand, trading with the manland and going down to five life. Finding no solution to the unfriendly army, Umehara scooped up his cards.

Kei Umehara 0 – Satoshi Yamaguchi 1

Game Two

The game proceeded slowly, almost crawling to a drone. Not that Umehara was complaining, he was glad to not be under any pressure.

The real action only began when Spellskite entered play on turn six. It was then that Yamaguchi decided to recruit Bloodbraid Elf, cascading into a timely Ancient Grudge. Umehara summoned a second Spellskite, and kept it alive with Spell Snare when his opponent tried to shatter it.

Vendilion Clique finally shed some light on why the game had progressed so slowly. Aside from two Terminate and two Bloodbraid Elves, Yamaguchi had drawn ten lands and nothing else. When Yamaguchi finally drew a threat, it was conveniently two-costed and was the ideal candidate to be stolen with Threads of Disloyalty.

Despite having taken the first game, his Yamagushi's deck was unkind to him in the second round

Mistbind Clique robbed Yamaguchi of another turn, as the Tarmogoyf which had betrayed its master took another huge chunk of its owner's life. Umehara revealed Cryptic Command from his hand, explaining amiably that there was no way he could lose this one. Yamaguchi agreed and they were off to the rubber game.

Kei Umehara 1 – Satoshi Yamaguchi 1

Game Three

Thoughtseize from Yamaguchi forced Umehara to discard Mana Leak, leaving his opponent with just Spellstutter Sprite and five land. It seemed like Umehara had made a errant judgment (as anyone watching the match would have to agree), keeping a hand with no action at all.

How wrong could we possibly get?

The Spellstutter Sprite popped out on turn two, and was methodically joined by Vendilion Clique on turn three, followed by Mistbind Clique on turn four, and then Scion of Oona on turn five! Umehara's deck had bestowed upon him the nut draw!

Congratulations to Kei Umehara who advances to the Finals!

Having not drawn any sources of green mana until now, Yamaguchi could only extend his hand and congratulate his opponent graciously. He then quietly snuck his grip of Seal of Primordium, Thrun, the Last Troll and Ancient Grudge back into his deck box, mildly bothered to be denied of his third color at such a crucial juncture of the tournament.

It is written. Kei Umehara was destined to win this match. He proceeds to the finals.

Kei Umehara 2 – Satoshi Yamaguchi 1




 

Semifinals - Jyun’ichi Miyajima vs. Toshiyuki Kadooka

by Blake Rasmussen


If you had asked any number of players what decks would be battling for the right to hoist the trophy this weekend, it seems pretty unlikely three of the four decks now sitting in the quarterfinals would be on anyone's list. Over on one side of the feature match area we have Mono Blue Faeries facing down Jund.

On this side of the bracket we have two rogue-ish strategies. Toshiyuki Kadooka's Naya Pod is probably the deck of the tournament, putting four players in the Top 8, most of them with few byes to pad their stats. Miyajima's WB tokens isn't a terribly explosive or over the top powerful deck, but it plays a strong disruptive game with Tidehollow Sculler and Thoughtseize plus removal, all backed by an army of token creatures.

Game 1

Leading with a Swamp, Miyajima used a Thoughtseize to reveal Village Bell-Ringer, Spellskite, Chord of Calling and lands, with the Chord of Calling hitting the bin.

Raise the Alarm gave Miyajima some offense, even if only one could get past the Spellskite, but a Cunning Sparkmage off the top gave Kadooka a strong took to keep down Miyajima's token horde.

Still, Spectral Procession kept him ahead of the pinger, trying to outpace it with more tokens than it could handle. Little did he know, however, that Kadooka had the combo – Kiki Jikki, Mirror Breaker plus either Restoration Angel or Village Bell-Ringer – in hand.

Toshiyuki Kadooka has taken Naya Pod this far, could he ride Restoration Angel to the finals?

Miyajima kept dutifully attacking, but when he tapped out for Cloudgoat Ranger, all Kadooka had to do was show him the Village Bell-Ringer and Kiki Jiki to take game one.

Kadooka 1 – Miyajima 0

Game 2

Windbrisk Heights tucked away an early card for Miyajima, and he followed it up with Intangible Virtue. There were no tokens yet, but they would certainly be forthcoming.

Even if they weren't, it appeared he would have ample time to find them. Kadooka had kept a one land hand after a mulligan without any mana creatures and missed his second and third land drops, all while Miyajima followed up his Virtue with Spectral Procession.

When he drew for his next turn, Kadooka missed on land yet again, and rather than prolong the massacre, he opted to try his hand (hopefully a better one) in Game 3.

Kadooka 1 – Miyajima 1

Game 3

Kadooka quickly mulliganed again, placing his tournament life on the line for a better six cards.

And he could scarcely have asked for a better hand. Turn one Noble Heirarch opened up the way for either a turn two Kitchen Finks or Cunning Sparkmage, both of which were strong openings against WB Tokens. He even had a Qasali Pridemage to give him multiple angles of attack.

And it looked like he would get his way, at least momentarily, as Miyajima simply played Windbrisk Heights and passed.

With several options open to him, Kadooka took the aggressive one, playing out a Kitchen Finks which, thanks to Kadooka's several Exalted creatures, could potentially attack for as much as five the next turn.

Zealous Persecution, however, killed Noble Hierarch and shrunk the Kitchen Finks temporarily. Kadooka stayed aggressive, casting Wall of Roots and the Pridemage, attacking for three with the Finks. He was way ahead on board, but had just the Cunning Sparkmage left in hand.

Miyajima's response? Just an Auriok Champion. It's Protection from Red was relevant, but it couldn't do much more than watch as Kitchen Finks marched by and dropped Miyajima to 13 life.

Two Spirits from Lingering Souls gained the tokens player two life, but Yasooka's Restoration Angel made them look paltry by comparison, at least until it was sent on a Path to Exile.

Finally, after holding back the Cunning Sparkmage till it found a target, Yasooka released the hasty pinger to dispatch one of the Spirit tokens.

The board was no Miyajima's Champion and single token versus Wall of Roots, Kitchen Finks, Qasali Pridemage and Cunning Sparkmage. It would take a lot of work for the BW player to climb back in the game.

Zealous Persecution was a step in the right direction, offing the Sparkmage, but Kadooka simply cast a second Pridemage and started attacking for chucks of four. But with the Champion repeatedly raising Miyajima's life total, he wasn't getting very far, putting his opponent to 13 once again.

Miyajima used the opportunity to flash back Lingering Souls, netting two more life and allowing him to attack once again. The little Auriok Champion was keeping him very much in this game.

Another attack from Qasali Pridemage dropped Miyajima to 11, but Auriok Champion kept raising the stakes as Wall of Roots entered the battlefield for Yasooka.

That was when Miyajima delivered a haymaker in the form of Hero of Bladehold. Suddenly, Kadooka was in trouble.

But Chord of Calling offered a way out. Probably several ways. That card is really hard to use.

Kadooka chose to use it on Eternal Witness, returning the Chord of Calling, essentially netting a free 2/1.


If I could get inside Kadooka's head, I would have bet the plan was to get Kiki-Jiki, copy Eternal Witness getting back the Chord again, then finding Restoration Angel for the win.

It was a plan, but it would take time, time he might not have if the Windbrisk Heights was something special. He had 13 life, but, as anyone who has played Standard in the past year can attest, Hero of Bladehold can make high life totals look silly in a hurry.

Activating Mutavault, Miyajima attacked with everything except the Auriok Champion, netting two tokens from the Hero. It was 16 damage represented, though Kadooka had plenty of blockers on the ground.

Kadooka did a lot of blocking, but Windbrisk Heights revealed pretty much his worst-case scenario: Zealous Persecution.

In response, he cast Chord of Calling for Kiki-Jiki and, predictably (hey, I predicted it) copied Eternal Witness.

Jyun'ichi Miyajima was on the cusp of the finals, but had to sweat a tense judge call.

Then, a ray of hope. Kadooka drew Kiki-Jiki Mirror breaker off the top! By casting it and copying a Wall of Roots, he had enough mana to Chord of Calling for Restoration Angel and the combo. Salvation!

Well, maybe...

After Miyajima had started scooping up his cards, a judge stepped in to point out that one of the Wall of Roots should have died during the previous attack. The Wall of Roots was a 0/5 with a -0/-1 counter on it. The Zealous Persecution made it -1/3, meaning it should have died to an attacking Soldier who was, thanks to the Persecution and Battlecry.

The judges went about consulting with coverage, both Japanese and English, as well as other judges watching the match and, in a bit of fortune, a photographer who happened to capture the exact state of the board during combat.

Even with all of that information, it took a lengthy judge conference and help from the players to reconstruct the game state exactly as it was when the Wall of Roots should have died. We'll get to the technical explanation in a moment.

Now, with the board set back to the way it should have been, without the Wall of Roots and the two mana it provides, Kadooka was hard pressed to find the mana necessary to live through the next attack or combo off.

He did the math, fidgeted a bit and, eventually and with a smile, conceded to Miyajima, but moments after he had thought he was on to the finals.

After the match I spoke with both Head Judge Jeff Morrow and Judge Riccardo Tessitori, and both said that, despite the unusual nature of the situation, they were comfortable with the call.

Morrow said the technical ruling was a game rule violation game state backup. He said that, even though the game had progressed, the unusual amount of information at his fingertips let him recreate a game state that otherwise might have advanced too far.

Morrow explained that it was only possible to back up the game to the correct point because of the amount of information he had at his disposal. The photograph of the game state was key, but so was the recollections of coverage and judge staff who were all watching and whose accounts matched up.

Morrow said if it were a match with no one watching and not one closely watched by multiple people with ample evidence to recreate the game state, he would likely not have been able to back it up.

"I felt it was just barely enough information to back it up," he said. "I'm comfortable with the decision."

Tessitori, who was also present in the feature match area, said he concurred with Morrow's decision, but said it was one of the most difficult a judge has to make since two player's tournaments were at stake.

However, both he and Morrow said, it was important that, at this point in the tournament, matches are determined by games of Magic and not technicalities or rule mistakes. In the end, the player who would have won the match if the Wall of Roots had died, as it should have, did win the match.

Miyajima 2 – Kadooka 1




 

Finals - Kei Umehara vs. Jyun'ichi Miyajima

by Chapman Sim


On Friday, I secretly told myself that either Splinter Twin or Affinity was going to take down the whole event. How wrong I was. In my defense, probably nobody expected this matchup to make the final tables this weekend, nor had they detected it on their radars.

Kei Umehara's Mono Blue Faeries now faces Jyun'ichi Miyajima's creation, Black White Tokens in the very last round of the largest tournament of Japanese history. It was undeniable that the pair of budding stars were well-prepared to beat metagame.

Jyun'ichi Miyajima and Kei Umehara shake hands to get the finals underway.

Without the game unraveling, it was hard to decide who had an edge. Zealous Persecution, Spectral Procession and Lingering Souls are supremely "faerie-unfriendly", as are hand-disruption spells like Tidehollow Sculler and Thoughtseize.

However, Faeries (being Faeries) had the potential for the unbeatable nut draw. The full set of Cryptic Commands gave the flying men a chance to race. And with Engineered Explosives in Umehara's sideboard, it's hard to predict who will have the last laugh.

Game One

Miyajima completed the Swiss rounds in the second seed and naturally opts to play first. Lingering Souls met with Remand, before being sent to the bottom of the library with Vendilion Clique. Miyajima shrugged and calmly resolved Spectral Procession before laying down Windbrisk Heights, as if mocking the 3/1 faerie. The hidden card was ominous, but there was nothing Umehara could do about it.

When the three spirits attacked, two more ensued, as Miyajima flipped over Lingering Souls from under the hideaway land. He declined to flash it back, possibly representing Zealous Persecution.

Kei falls behind in game one.

Desperately requiring answers, Umehara flashed in his second Vendilion Clique targeting himself. Miyajima was undeterred, and simply animated Mutavault and attacked with his four Spirits, reducing his opponent to 12.

Umehara was hanging by a thread and almost out of gas. Holding only double Mana Leak and facing a swarm of tokens, he tried to race by launching a counterattack. Miyajima activated Mutavault once more and swung with his team (Spellstutter Sprite had stayed back to block). This brought Umehara down to 7 life but in so doing, Miyajima had put both Lingering Souls and Path to Exile within Mana Leak range, which Umehara didn't hesitate to use.

In retrospect, it didn't really matter as Miyajima simply flipped over a second Path to Exile and yet another Lingering Souls, prompting Umehara to pack up his cards.

Kei Umehara 0 – Jyun'ichi Miyajima 1

Game Two

Keeping a hand containing Annul and Engineered Explosives, Umehara was probably safe for the first few turns, but he needed a fast clock if he wished to achieve victory before things got out of hand.

Miyajima was quick to Raise the Alarm, but his next play of Thoughtseize was averted by Spellstutter Sprite. Afterward, Umehara decided to drop Engineered Explosives to safeguard against any future hand-disruption. A second copy of the discard spell resolved, and Vedalken Shackles hit the bin.

A crowd on onlookers examine the game state

Umehara needed a creature to defend, and a freshly-drawn Mutavault would suffice, if only momentarily. Unable to attack with Soldiers anymore, Miyajima took to the skies with two tokens from Lingering Souls. This was enough to force his opponent to crack Engineered Explosives,but he simply flashed Lingering Souls back from the yard, before casting a second copy from his hand, replacing all the lost tokens just like that. Miyajima knew about the Annul, but ran Intangible Virtue (from under Windbrisk Heights) into it anyway, clearing the way for future artifacts or enchantments.

Things took a slight turn when Umehara found a second copy of Vedalken Shackles. He could effectively steal a token and block with it, killing two tokens with every activation. Thankfully, Miyajima had Honor of the Pure to halve the casualty count, before casting yet another Lingering Souls.

Jyun'ichi Miyajima bursts through 2 rounds to become the GP Yokohama Champion

Umehara knew his dreams of becoming the champion today had been dashed, but he passed the turn anyway, bracing himself for the impending attack. Spellstutter Sprite hopped out to chump but Miyajima wasn't going to allow that. Path to Exile sent it away and Umehara wasted no further time in offering a gracious handshake.

Kei Umehara 0 – Jyun'ichi Miyajima 2

Congratulations Jyun'ichi Miyajima. You've just won Grand Prix Yokohama 2012, Japan's largest Grand Prix to date!




 

Top 5 Cards

by Blake Rasmussen




5. Lingering Souls

Why not? It was good enough to get banned in block constructed, good enough to put multiple people in the Top 8 at Pro Tour Dark Ascension and good enough to help Tom Martell hoist a Grand Prix trophy. Why not Modern too? Lingering Souls was one of the key additions to Yokohama champion Jyun'ichi Miyajima's Black White Tokens deck, and it was the card that almost single handedly won him his finals match against Kei Umehara. Four 1/1s from one card more often than not turns into four 2/2s or 3/3s, and just as often results in a dead opponent. With every other format besides Vintage mastered, what more could Lingering Souls possibly do?





4. Cranial Plating

Really, Cranial Plating is a stand in for everything in Affinity. Cranial Plating is one of the best reasons to play a deck full of artifacts in a format with Ancient Grudge and Hurkyl's Recall. The speed the deck offers rivals even Splinter Twin's best draws, and the all artifact deck proved to be popular on the weekend. The archetype had the best conversion rate from Day 1 to Day 2, giving 18 percent of its players a 7-2 record or better. Modern players would do well to pack more artifact hate from here on out.








3. Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker

Mr. Mirror Breaker broke out a bit this weekend. Always a card players used as additional, if more expensive, Splinter Twin, Kiki-Jiki stepped out of the enchantment's shadow in Yokohama by headlining not only the Blue-Red combo deck, but also the Naya Pod deck that put four players in the Top 8. Restoration Angel, a far more useful and resilient creature than Deceiver Exarch and Pestermite, put Kiki-Jiki over the top and cemented its position as one of the best creatures in Modern.








2. Kitchen Finks

Best ouphe ever, no contest (take that, Pyknite!). Kitchen Finks is an "auto-inclusion" for almost every deck containing Forest or Plains, and for good reason. For just three mana, it typically provides two bodies, while granting the caster four precious life in format that is so damage-oriented. Combined with Birthing Pod or Restoration Angel or both, the advantage is beyond tremendous. Not to mention the combo with Melira, Sylvok Outcast and Viscera Seer. Of course, it also mercilessly attacks for three damage, or stays back to defend when necessary, making it one of the most versatile creatures in the format and one of the most commonly played cards this weekend.





1. Restoration Angel

Definitely the biggest gem to come out from Avacyn Restored, this flashy angel formed the cornerstone of various strategies and found its way into many of the best decks in the format. She's good on her own, but becomes fantastic when used alongside cards which are already great. She was witnessed blinking Kitchen Finks, Snapcaster Mage, Eternal Witness and even Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker all weekend, to devastating effect.

The breadth of decks using her and the surprising uses she found in Modern are what made Restoration Angel the top card of the weekend. Naya Pod, UWx Snapcaster decks, and virtually any list that could pack white cast the 3/4 at some point this weekend. The top tables were lousy with Restoration Angel, and it might be the card that shifts the Modern metagame for years to come.




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