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Live Coverage of 2004 Grand Prix Okayama

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日本語の取材へ

401 Magic players came to Okayama this weekend, not quite sure what to expect from the new Extended environment. This was the first major tournament to feature the format after the new bannings went into effect, making the power level a little less steep. After two days of competition, it was Kazumasa Shiki who came out on top with Goblin Bidding, beating Itaru Ishida in an exciting final match where he managed to overcome a second turn Phantom Nishoba. Shiki has emerged as a major force as of late, coming in the Top 8 of Japanese Nationals, and missing Top 8 of Pro Tour New Orleans by one match. New Orleans was also an Extended event, so Shiki's talent in the format should be noted. Following New Orleans, he said that his aim was to win Rookie of the Year, and with the six Pro Tour Points that this championship has provided, he's well on his way to reaching his goal. If he's successful, he will follow in the footsteps of past Japanese rookie sensations Katsuhiro Mori and Masashi Oiso.

Ishida's performance this weekend should not be overlooked, as he absolutely owned the tournament until the final match. He played his blue-black Reanimator deck to a perfect 8-0 record on day one, and cruised through Sunday before losing the third game in the finals. Despite not coming home with the championship trophy, Ishida has to be happy with yet another great performance that adds even more acclaim to his long, accomplished career.

Top 8 Final Standing

 1.  Kazuya Shiki (Japan) $2,400
 2.  Itaru Ishida (Japan) $1,700
 3.  Akira Asahara (Japan) $1,200
 4.  SangRyeol Lee (South Korea) $1,000
 5.  Shinsuke Hayashi (Japan) $800
 6.  Asuka Doi (Japan) $800
 7.  Chikara Nakajima (Japan) $800
 8.  Kazuya Hirabayashi (Japan) $800

(Click here for complete final standings)

So how did the Extended format shape up after the new bannings? There were a generous amount of complaints that the format was still too fast, but it was the control oriented Psychatog that placed more players into day two than any other deck. There was also plenty of room for the creativity we've come to expect from the Japanese in Constructed events. Satoshi Nakamura spent the weekend making tons of Wurm tokens off Spellweaver Helix, and Kiyoshi Sasanuma defied convention by playing White-Green beatdown. Yet, when it comes to creative decks at this tournament, the most attention has to be paid to Masami Ibamoto's Loop Junktion infinite life deck. Ibamoto's polished design that had power, consistency, resiliency and the right mix of silver bullets to shoot down opposing strategies placed three of its four players into day two, and went to the Semifinals in the capable hands of Akira Asahara. It remains to be seen if the archetype will become a mainstay now that the cat is out of the bag, but we'll find out when the next group of Extended tournaments comes around.

With another Japanese Grand Prix in the books, the focus now turns to Kobe, and next month's Pro Tour. This event has shown that the strength of Japanese Magic continues to grow, and it's only a matter of time before the country has its own Pro Tour victory. What better place to finally accomplish that than Kobe? As long as Japan keeps producing new, talented players like Kazumasa Shiki, it will happen sooner than later.


Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Itaru Ishida   Itaru Ishida, 2-0        
8 Kazuya Hirabayashi   Itaru Ishida, 2-0
       
4 Akira Asahara   Akira Asahara, 2-1   Kazumasa Shiki, 2-1
5 Chikara Nakajima    
       
2 Shinsuke Hayashi   Kazumasa Shiki, 2-0
7 Kazumasa Shiki   Kazumasa Shiki, 2-1
       
3 Asuka Doi   SangRyeol Lee, 2-1
6 SangRyeol Lee    

EVENT COVERAGE INFORMATION
  • Final: Kazumasa Shiki vs. Itaru Ishida
    by Toby Wachter
  • Semi-Finals: Akira Asahara vs. Itaru Ishida
    by Toby Wachter
  • Quarterfinals: Itaru Ishida vs. Kazuya Hirabayashi
    by Toby Wachter
  • Decks: The Top 8 Decks
    by Sideboard Staff
  • Feature: Interview With Loop Junktion Creator Masami Ibamoto
    by Toby Wachter
  • Top 8: Intro
    by Sideboard Staff

  • Round Fourteen: Kazuya Hirabayashi vs. SangRyeol Lee
    by Toby Wachter
  • Round Thirteen: Tsuyoshi Ikeda vs. Asuka Doi
    by Toby Wachter
  • Round Twelve: Masahiro Nishiwaki vs. Tsuyoshi Fujita
    by Toby Wachter
  • Round Eleven: Makihito Mihara vs. Masami Ibamoto
    by Toby Wachter
  • Decks: The Rogue Decks of Day Two
    by Sideboard Staff
  • Round Nine: Itaru Ishida vs. Osamu Fujita
    by Toby Wachter
  • Feature: Top 64 Field Breakdown
    by Toby Wachter
  • Decks: Day Two Complete Decklist
    by Sideboard Staff
  • Day Two: Intro
    by Sideboard Staff

  • Day One: Wrap-Up
    by Sideboard Staff
  • Decks: Day One Undefeated Decks
    by Sideboard Staff
  • Round Eight: Shuhei Nakamura vs. Jin Okamoto
    by Toby Wachter
  • Feature: Who Will Be The Japanese Champion?
    by Toby Wachter
  • Feature: Extended Thoughts
    by Toby Wachter
  • Round Seven: Osamu Fujita vs. Satoshi Nakamura
    by Toby Wachter
  • Round Six: Itaru Ishida vs. Kazaya Hirabayashi
    by Toby Wachter
  • Round Five: Masashi Oiso vs. Katsuhiro Mori
    by Toby Wachter
  • Round Three: Kenshiro Ito vs. Motokiyo Azuma
    by Toby Wachter
  • Info: Player List
    by Sideboard Staff
  • Decks: Trial 3 Bye-awarded Decklists
    by Sideboard Staff
  • Feature: A Quick Chat With Artist Arnie Swekel
    by Toby Wachter
  • Day One: Intro
    by Sideboard Staff
  • Info: Fact Sheet
    by Sideboard Staff
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