Feature: Top 8 Profiles

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Cedric Phillips

Age: 22
Hometown: Strongsville, Ohio
Occupation: Student / Professional spellslinger

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: Six

How did you qualify for Pro Tour–Kyoto? Won PTQ in Detroit, Michigan

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: One GP Top 8 (GP–Columbus 2004)

Other previous Magic accomplishments: A few PTQ wins and writing for various websites. I’m proud of my loyal following as well.

What was your record by format?
Standard: 7-0-1
Booster Draft: 4-2

How did you prepare for Pro Tour–Kyoto? Who did you prepare with? Prepared with Zack Wolff, Chris Andersen, Ty Law, Gerry Thompson & Charles Gindy. Talked daily with Joe Gagliardi.

What deck are you playing and why? White-Red Kithkin. Attacking for 2 is sick nasty and this deck does it very well.

What deck did you think was going to be the most played archetype in Kyoto? Red-White Lark, Five-Color, Fae. Was dead on.

What is the worst matchup for your deck? Black-White Tokens (Dodge LSV one time!)

What was your draft strategy? Hope to be Esper but keep an open mind and read/send clear signals.



Masayasu Tanahashi


Age: 25
Hometown: Niigata
Occupation: Company Employee

Number of Times Playing on the Pro Tour: First

How did you qualify for Pro Tour–Kyoto? PTQ

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 1 (2008 GP Kobe)

Other previous Magic accomplishments: None

What was your record by format?
Standard: 6-2
Booster Draft: 5-1

How did you prepare for Pro Tour–Kyoto? Who did you prepare with? Draft with Card of Paradise members (local card shop).

What deck are you playing and why? Blue-Black Faeries. I have a good feel for it.

What deck did you think was going to be the most-played archetype in Kyoto? White-Red Reveillark

What is the worst matchup for your deck? Kithkin

What was your draft strategy? I felt my way through it.



Brian Robinson


Age: 32
Hometown: Quincy, MA
Occupation: Bank Manager
Number of times playing on the Pro Tour: 1

How did you qualify for Pro Tour–Kyoto?: PTQ

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 0

Other previous Magic accomplishments: Winning some GP Trials, grinding into Nationals, winning one PTQ

What was your record by format?
Standard: 7-1
Limited: 4-2

How did you prepare for Pro Tour–Kyoto? Who did you prepare with? Played a lot in the hotel while we were here. Big thanks to Dave Nolan for practicing with me, and Jerry Freedman for giving me the idea.

What deck are you playing and why? Four-Color Doran [Dark Bant]. The deck can get such an explosive start and it is pretty entertaining.

What deck did you think was going to be the most played archetype in Kyoto? Red-White Reveillark, which I luckily avoided the whole time. Also, Faeries, which is pretty good for me.

What is the worst matchup for your deck? The red-white decks, or basically any deck with tokens.

What was your draft strategy? Try to be as aggressive as I could. It didn’t really work out that way but a little luck never hurt anyone.



Matteo Orsini Jones


Age: 18
Hometown: Coventry, England (not Britain)
Occupation: Student

Number of times playing on the Pro Tour: 4

How did you qualify for Pro Tour–Kyoto?: PTQ

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 0/0

Other previous Magic accomplishments: Only player to beat the LSV machine in the Swiss.

What was your record by format?
Standard: 5-2-2 (IDs)
Limited: 6-0

How did you prepare for Pro Tour–Kyoto? Who did you prepare with? Did Shards / Shards / Conflux draft at the Prerelease.

What deck are you playing and why? Black-White Tokens; had a good dream about it.

What deck did you think was going to be the most played archetype in Kyoto? Mono-Blue Mill.

What is the worst matchup for your deck? Mono-Blue Mill (was feeling lucky).

What was your draft strategy? Draft Mono-Blue Mill (didn’t get passed enough Cathartic Adept and Ranger of Eos for it to work). (Splash white is fine).



Luis Scott-Vargas


Age: 26
Hometown: Oakland, CA
Occupation: Editor for ChannelFireball.com

Number of times playing on the Pro Tour: 12 or 13

How did you qualify for Pro Tour–Kyoto?: Pro Points

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 2 PT/4 GP

Other previous Magic accomplishments: Won U.S. Nats ‘07, 3rd U.S. Nats 06

What was your record by format?
Standard: 6-1-1
Limited: 6-0

How did you prepare for Pro Tour–Kyoto? Who did you prepare with? Playtested with David Ochoa and Josh Utter-Leyton at Superstars in San Jose a bunch of times, got yelled at on AIM by Gerry T[hompson].

What deck are you playing and why? Black-White Tokens because it coin-flips versus Faeries and beats Red-White.

What deck did you think was going to be the most played archetype in Kyoto? Red-White Reveillark (“Boat Brew”).

What is the worst matchup for your deck? Five-Color Control.

What was your draft strategy? Five-Color Esper Control.



Akimasa Yamamoto


Age: 24
Hometown: Wakayama ken Iwadeshi Kisendai, Japan
Occupation: Freelance

Number of times playing on the Pro Tour: 1

How did you qualify for Pro Tour–Kyoto? Grand Prix–Okayama Top 8

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 1 GP

Other previous Magic accomplishments: Grand Prix–Yokohama Top 8

What was your record by format?
Standard: 7-0-1
Limited: 4-2

How did you prepare for Pro Tour–Kyoto? Who did you prepare with? Taro Babasaki, Masaki Yokol

What deck are you playing and why? White-Red Reveillark; deck power is high.

What deck did you think was going to be the most played archetype in Kyoto? White-Red Reveillark, Kithkin

What is the worst matchup for your deck? Swan Assault

What was your draft strategy? Feeling atmosphere.



Jan Ruess


Age: 29
Hometown: Hamburg, Germany
Occupation: Chemistry PhD student

Number of times playing on Pro Tour: 13

How did you Qualify for Pro Tour–Kyoto: Pro Players club

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 0/2

Other previous Magic accomplishments: 2nd place, PT–Hollywood

What was your record by format:
Standard: 6-2
Draft: 5-1

How did you prepare for Pro Tour–Kyoto? Who did you prepare with? Standard: two days of testing Standard with local qualified players in Hamburg. Draft: GP–Rotterdam and some drafts in Hamburg.

What deck are you playing and why? Red-White Reveillark. It has all the best cards and has proven that is can perform solidly and has a good matchup against red and red-black aggro.

What deck did you think was going to be the most-played archetype in Kyoto? Red-White Reveillark

What is the worst matchup for your deck? Faeries, I think. Maybe Swans, too.

What was your Draft strategy? Stay flexible with the first few picks, then draft what is open.



Gabriel Nassif


Age: 25
Hometown: Paris, France
Occupation: Poker player

Number of times playing on the Pro Tour: Around 50.

How did you qualify for Pro Tour–Kyoto: PT Points

Number of GP/PT Top 8s: 5 or 6 GP/9 PT

Other previous Magic accomplishments: Player of the Year 2004 ....

What was your record by format:
Standard: 7-1
Draft: 4-2

How did you prepare for Pro Tour–Kyoto? Who did you prepare with? Live playtesting in Michigan with Chapin, Bucher, M. Jacobs, and Mark Herberholz. Exchanging decklists with Wafo-Tapa and the Ruels.

What deck are you playing and why? Wafo-Tapa’s Five-Color build. I liked the deck and thought it was the best deck.

What is the worst matchup for your deck? Probably Faeries.

What was your draft strategy? Just go with what I opened, avoid Jund.

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