Westside. Kansai represent.
This is the first time in the history of Japanese Magic that the National Championships were held outside of Tokyo. This year, the tournament came to Osaka, and appropriately enough, players from Western Japan dominated the Top 8. Out of all the players competing tomorrow, only Tomohiro Yokosuka is not from Kansai. The rest owned the tournament in their own region, and a rivalry may be brewing.
Shuuhei Nakamura finished yesterday undefeated and didn't give an inch today, finishing as the first seed. The veteran player ran Affinity, and his teammates Yoshitaka Nakano and Tsuyoshi Fujita came in second and third seed respectively with red-green Goblins. With results like that, it's fair to say that the team was extremely successful this weekend.
Even though the current Standard environment has been classified as stagnant and boring, the Top 8 of this tournament tells a different story. Only two Affinity decks are present, played by Nakamura and Kenji Tsumura. Nakano and Fujita played red-green Goblin decks metagamed to beat Affinity, and Makihito Mihara played Goblin Bidding. Mihara's performance gives him back-to-back Top 8 finishes at Japanese Nationals, and no doubt he'll be looking to make the team this time around. Shunsuke Kamei defied convention and made Top 8 with an old-school style blue-white control deck, and Teruya Kakumae ran Big Red. Pro Tour Top 8 finisher Tomohiro Yokosuka ran the most surprising and original deck of the tournament, one that he put together on Friday morning. Its utility control theme is centered around beating Affinity, but it has enough elements to put up a fight against other strategies.
After tomorrow's rounds, we'll find out who will represent Japan at Worlds in San Francisco. Tsuyoshi Fujita is looking to thrust himself back into the international spotlight, and Tomohiro Yokosuka is sure to raise some eyebrows with his "26 Crazy Cards". Will these new creations carry their owners to victory, or will Affinity and Goblins dominate once more? Check our coverage tomorrow to find out!