Tomoharu Saito Suspended 18 Months by DCI

Tomoharu Saito Suspended 18 Months by DCI
As we brought you the news of Tomoharu Saito’s disqualification for Stalling at Grand Prix Florence 2010 earlier this week, we also bring you the news that Tomoharu Saito has been suspended by the DCI for 18 months. After what appears to be an extremely quick investigation and decision on the DCI’s part the following appeared sometime late Tuesday night on the DCI’s Suspended Memberships page:
Tomoharu Saito Banned for 18 Months

Tomoharu Saito has been banned from sanctioned play as of 11-30-2010 through 05-30-2012. Check out our full analysis after the jump!

Saito Busted at GP Florence and What It Means

Saito Busted at GP Florence at What it Means
Pro Tour regular and Japanese Magic player extraordinaire Tomoharu Saito has been disqualified without prize from Grand Prix Florence 2010 this weekend for Cheating (Stalling). According to GP Coverage writer David Sutcliffe we have this gem from Saturday November 27:

We are never pleased to have to pass on bad news, so we are sad that we have to announce that Japan’s Tomoharu Saitou has been disqualified without prize from Grand Prix Florence following his sixth round match.

Head Judge, Level-4 Nick Sephton, explained why the disqualification occurred:
“We disqualified this player for Stalling, after it was observed that his play speed seemed to change based on his observation of the clock. It was observed by a high-level judge that twice in the round he appeared to change his play speed based on considerations that were outside the game. Consulting among the senior judges we decided that, on the basis of what we had observed, we had no choice but to disqualify the player.”

Nick [the Head Judge] continued with advice for players wanting to avoid falling foul of this rule themselves:
“Players should be able to play at a reasonable pace throughout a round. Judges recognize that a player’s speed of play can change during a game – Magic is a complicated game and produces difficult situations for players – but it’s important that players are still able to play at a speed that allows games to be completed. It’s a valid play skill to be able to make difficult decisions quickly.”

So what does this all mean? Well for one it means that the legendary Saito may be looking at a suspension and may see his pending Magic Hall of Fame induction take a hit. We break it all down after the jump!

In the Lab – Brainstorming Legacy Affinity

In the Lab - Brainstorming Legacy Affinity

Since the printing of Mirrodin and Darksteel enterprising mages have been brainstorming the best ways to break the Affinity mechanic. Effects that multiply anything (see: Berserk, Fork, the Storm mechanic) have traditionally been very powerful, and the DCI has treaded very carefully with those effects. The Affinity strategy proved sound enough to thoroughly dominate Standard and get all of the good cards banned in Extended, but hasn’t had the kind of strength or staying power in Legacy to keep it in Tier 1 or Tier 2 status.

The recent printings of more powerful and useful artifacts in Shards of Alara, M11, and Scars of Mirrodin have given the Affinity archetype even more toys, and with the remaining portion of the new Mirrodin block on the horizon there are potentially even more goodies that can be added to the pool of playable options. So let’s jump in and take a long hard look at most of the relevant cards to Affinity and Legacy as it stands in 20104Q, in our latest In the Lab article. (check it out after the jump!)

Instant Analysis – SCG Charlotte $5K Legacy

Instant Analysis Charlotte

As the leaves turn warm shades of yellow, orange, and red, and the temperature cools this early fall, the Legacy scene continues to burn brightly. The StarCityGames Charlotte Legacy $5K tournament was held this weekend, and 147 competitors with decks in hands traveled to Charlotte (North Carolina, USA) to compete for $5,000 in prizes and to earn more SCG Open Series points towards the huge tournament later this year.

Relative SCG circuit newcomer Nicholas Spagnolo fought through 8 rounds of Swiss and then an action packed Top 8 to win the title of SCG Charlotte champion. He did it by piloting an innovative UG Vengevine Survival deck, tricked-out with 4 Trinket Mage and a small package of utility cards that the Mage could fetch. While we are seeing Survival decks continue to mutate and blossom, what else did we learn from this tournament that we can apply in the next couple of months? Find out after the jump!

StarCityGames Charlotte Legacy $5K – Top 16 Decklists

StarCityGames Charlotte Legacy $5K Top 8

The StarCityGames Charlotte Legacy $5K event has come and gone this weekend, and Nicholas Spagnolo is your SCG Charlotte champion! 147 players came out to compete in the Legacy portion, and in a field packed with Survival of the Fittest another 5 players made Top 8 with the enchantment, and 7 out of the Top 16 were Survival-based decks. These included UG Survival, WG Survival, and Necrotic Ooze Survival. Check out the entire Top 16 decklists after the jump!

Focus on Legacy – Combating Survival

Combating Survival of the Fittest

During the recent coverage of StarCityGames Nashville Legacy $5K event SCG writer called for the banning of Survival of the Fittest. OOOOOOH GOD, a deck has taken the SCG circuit by storm! We had better take immediate corrective action and ban something! Now I think we can all recognize that Survival is a fantastic card, but is it really ban-worthy? Let’s take a look at this, and various ways to combat Survival after the jump.

Instant Analysis – SCG Denver & Minneapolis $5K Legacy

The past two weekends have brought some of the biggest crowds for Legacy in the USA this summer, with 170 players in the SCG Minneapolis $5K Legacy this past weekend, and 125 players in the SCG Denver $5K Legacy tournament the weekend prior. As the post-Mystical Tutor world of Legacy develops we have seen Reanimator and Ad Nauseam combo neutered, but not completely dead, and plenty of other decks have sprung up to take their places in recent tournaments.

Second Place With Belcher at GenCon Indy 2010 Legacy Champs

Matt Hazard of Team Serious recently finished second at the Legacy Champs event at GenCon. In the final game of the tournament he activated Goblin Charbelcher targeting his opponent to win the 2010 Legacy Championship, only to have his [CENSORED] Taiga revealed 5 cards down! Check out his decklist(s), thoughts, and full tournament report of how he got there after the jump!

[Video] Xtreme Games 08-15-2010 Finals Game 1 – Jerome Yanchick vs Jimmy McCarthy

Xtreme Games held a Vintage tournament for a Time Walk and other nice prizes on 08-15-2010. After the 5 rounds of Swiss, then Quarterfinals, and then Semifinals, Jerome Yanchick (Team Empire) was left to battle Jimmy McCarthy (Team Serious, Team Meandeck) for a Time Walk. Jerome is pictured on the left piloting 5C ‘Empire’ Stax, and Jimmy is on the right piloting ‘Serious’ Bomberman. Check out the video of Game 1 after the jump!

Xtreme Games 08-15-2010 Top 8 Decklists & Coverage

Xtreme Games of Lindenhurst, IL (USA) hosted their monthly Vintage tournament this weekend (unsanctioned, like most in the USA). 20 people showed up to battle it out for the following prizes:
1st Place – Time Walk (Unlimited)
2nd Place – Mana Drain
3rd Place – $25
4th Place – $25

Jimmy McCarthy of Team Serious and Team MeanDeck went undefeated with Blue-White Bomberman to win the tournament, and to claim the Time Walk.

Once again the owners of Xtreme Games (Eric and Shannon) put on another smooth and well run event with nice prize support, so our compliments to them. We have Top 8 decklists, a full metagame breakdown, pictures, and more. There are a lot of interesting choices in the Top 8 decklists (specifically Jimmy McCarthy’s Bomberman list, Mike Hadjuk’s ‘Empire Blue’ list, and Mike Solymossy’s Doomsday lists). Check it out after the jump!