After three rounds of Standard and three rounds of Rochester Draft, only one man stands undefeated- Masashiro Kuroda. The Venice Team Masters Champion brought a blue/green/white deck called “Mutsugoro Kingdom” into Standard and went undefeated, and then drafted a red/white deck that he was less than impressed with. In fact, Kuroda said it would be a “miracle” if he got two wins. Luckily he got a little more than a miracle, and didn’t lose a match. He’s going into tomorrow in prime position to make Top 8, and with his past accomplishments and reputation it really shouldn’t surprise anyone if he does it.
Kotarou Ootsuka finished the day in second place, going 5-0-1. He ran a very odd green/blue deck that splashes black for Smother and Zombie Infestation, as well as extra disruption in the sideboard. The deck may seem strange, but it did go undefeated today. Ootsuka made his way to the Top 8 last year, but didn’t make the National team. With a solid performance tomorrow, he’ll be able to get a second chance at representing his country at Worlds come August. Former Rookie of the Year Katsuhiro Mori finished the day at 5-1, while Japan’s other stars are going to need a spectacular day tomorrow to play on Sunday. Itaru Ishida is 4-1-1, while Koichiro Maki, Tsuyoshi Fujita, Jun Nobushita and Masahiko Morita among others are 4-2. Masashi Ooiso, a player who came into today’s tournament with high expectations from many due to his Finals finish at Pro Tour Yokohama, dropped out before the day was over.
Tomorrow will start with three more rounds of Rochester, followed by three rounds of Standard. It will be interesting to see if any of Japan’s well-known players in the 4-2 ranks have a breakout day to make Top 8. Or, perhaps this weekend will see another “relatively unknown” player use Nationals as a launch pad to a successful Magic career. Who will represent Japan at Worlds to end a breakout season for the country? Tomorrow, we’ll get one step further to finding out.