Feature

Feature: The Top 8 Player Profiles

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Takahiro Suzuki

Please tell us about yourself (age, where you live, what you do).
I'm 18 years old. I live in Cyberspace, and I'm a member of the Ghost Council of Orzhova.

Please tell us about some of your previous Magic accomplishments.
I was 8th at PT Charleston, and 3rd at Grand Prix Hiroshima 2006.

How did you qualify for this year's Nationals?
On rating.

How did you do in each block in the tournament, and what color did you use in the drafts?
I went 2-1 in the first Standard block, and 3-0-1 in the second. For the Ravnica draft, I used all five colors and went 4-0. In the Coldsnap draft, I picked a red-green land destruction deck and went 3-0.

What deck did you play in Standard, and who designed it?
I played a blue-white Yaso Control deck.

How did you prepare for this event?
I practiced a lot with my local and online friends. I'm grateful to all of them-without their help, I wouldn't be here.

Tell us about something interesting that happened to you this weekend.
Tomoharu Saitou generously conceded to get me into the Top 8.

Katsuhiro Mori

Please tell us about yourself.
I'm 23-years-old, and I live in Tokyo.

Please tell us about some of your previous Magic accomplishments.
2001 Rookie of the Year, 2003 Venice Masters Champion, 2005 World Champion.

How did you qualify for this year's Nationals?
Pro Player Club.

How did you do in each block in the tournament, and what color did you use in the drafts?
In the first Standard block, I went 3-0, and then 4-0 in the second. For the Ravnica draft, I went 3-1. I didn't do as well in the Coldsnap draft, posting a 1-2 record.

What deck did you play in Standard, and who designed it?
Tomohiro Kaji designed the blue-white-black Counterbalance control deck I'm using this weekend.

How did you prepare for this event?
I practiced with Kaji and some other local players.

Naoki Shimizu

Please tell us about yourself.
I'm a 20-year-old student from Kanagawa.

Please tell us about some of your previous Magic accomplishments.
I won an amateur prize and Grand Prix Hiroshima 2006.

How did you qualify for this year's Nationals?
In the second Tokyo Regionals.

How did you do in each block in the tournament, and what color did you use in the drafts?
In the first Standard set, I went 3-0, and followed up with 0-2-2 in the second. I won both drafts with a perfect record (4-0, 3-0).

What deck did you play in Standard, and who designed it?
Solar Flare-what else?

How did you prepare for this event?
I practiced at the Ogre card shop in Ikebukuro, on Magic Online, and with my friends at college.

Tell us about something interesting that happened to you this weekend.
I was able to talk with Brian David-Marshall in English.

Shingou Kurihara

Please tell us about yourself.
I'm 23, and I live in Tokyo. I'm the "most powerful full-blooded, non-mystically enhanced human" playing Magic, although I can't beat Saiyans like Mori and Tsumura.

Please tell us about some of your previous Magic accomplishments.
I was 8th at Pro Tour Charleston.

How did you qualify for this year's Nationals?
Pro Player Club.

How did you do in each block in the tournament, and what color did you use in the drafts?
I went 1-2 in the first Standard block, and did a little better in the second with a 2-1-1 record. For Ravnica, I drafted a red-white-blue deck that went 4-0. I went 3-0 in the Coldsnap draft with a red-white deck.

What deck did you play in Standard, and who designed it?
I'm using the Erayo Ninja deck from German Nationals.

How did you prepare for this event?
I practiced with Tomoharu Saitou and Ichirou Shimura.

Hidenori Katayama

Please tell us about yourself.
I'm a student living in Osaka. I'm 24.

Please tell us about some of your previous Magic accomplishments.
I played at PT Nagoya 2005, PT London 2005, and at PT Prague 2006.

How did you qualify for this year's Nationals?
In the second Kinki Regionals.

How did you do in each block in the tournament, and what color did you use in the drafts?
I didn't lose a game in Standard, going 3-0 and then 3-0-1. I split the Ravnica draft 2-2 with a white-black deck that splashed red. In Coldsnap, I picked a red-green deck that went 2-1.

What deck did you play in Standard, and who designed it?
I'm playing a Rakdos burn deck, designed by katayamaA@Ace Brand.

How did you prepare for this event?
I played with Taniguchi, Tashiro, Okamura, and other friends of mine from the Mikuni-ga-oka Pal shop where we regularly play.

Tell us about something interesting that happened to you this weekend.
I completely messed up in the Ravnica draft, but I somehow managed to eke out two wins.

Ken Ishimaru

Please tell us about yourself.
I'm a 33-year-old company worker from Kumamoto.

Please tell us about some of your previous Magic accomplishments.
None. I've played on the Pro Tour about four times.

How did you qualify for this year's Nationals?
In the Kyuushuu Regionals.

How did you do in each block in the tournament, and what color did you use in the drafts?
I had a 3-0 record in the first Standard block, then went 3-1 in the second. For Ravnica, I picked a green-white-black deck that had Tolsimir Wolfblood, Crime/Punishment, and Crown of Convergence and went 3-1. Coldsnap was not as good for me. I made a mistake in picking my colors and went 1-1-1 with a red-black deck.

What deck did you play in Standard, and who designed it?
A green-black-red deck with 8 Hippies that I designed myself.

How did you prepare for this event?
I didn't really practice. I played some 4-man drafts at my local card shop to get a feel for the sets.

Tell us about something interesting that happened to you this weekend.
I forgot to put counters on my Jitte, and lost because of it. I won't forget to do that again!

Tomoharu Saitou

Please tell us about yourself.
I'm 22 years old, and a professional card gamer from Tokyo.

Please tell us about some of your previous Magic accomplishments.
I won PT Charleston 2006, and was in the Top 4 at PT Atlanta. I've also made the Top 8 of a Grand Prix four times.

How did you qualify for this year's Nationals?
Pro Player Club.

How did you do in each block in the tournament, and what color did you use in the drafts?
I swept the first Standard block 3-0, and went 2-1-1 in the second. I had one loss each in both draft formats.

What deck did you play in Standard, and who designed it?
My very own design, Sea Stompy!

How did you prepare for this event?
I played with Shingou Kurihara, Ichirou Shimura, and Tomohiro Shimura. I also played a lot of Magic Online.

Tell us about something interesting that happened to you this weekend.
I conceded to get someone in the Top 8, and by doing so hoped to get a favorable matchup in the playoffs. However, doing so actually paired me up with Katsuhiro Mori, who I was hoping to be on the National Team with.

Shouhei Yamamoto

Please tell us about yourself.
I'm a 23-year-old student from Hiroshima.

Please tell us about some of your previous Magic accomplishments.
None so far.

How did you qualify for this year's Nationals?
Through the Chuugoku Regionals.

How did you do in each block in the tournament, and what color did you use in the drafts?
I went 2-1 in the first Standard block and 2-2 in the second. I drafted a white-black-blue deck in Ravnica that went 2-1, and I followed it up with a 3-0 red-green deck in the Coldsnap draft.

What deck did you play in Standard, and who designed it?
A green-red-blue land destruction deck.

How did you prepare for this event?
I practiced with Satoshi Yamaguchi, who was also qualified.

Tell us about something interesting that happened to you this weekend.
I made a lot of play errors that I only recovered from by top-decking what I needed. I feel bad for my opponents, but like Zak Dolan said, sometimes it's better to be lucky than good!

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