Yuuya Watanabe is one of Japan’s biggest rising Magic: The Gathering players, achieving Rookie of the Year, Player of the Year in 2009 and 2012, has won seven Grand Prix’s, was inducted into Magic’s Hall of Fame in 2016, and has won the World Magic Cup in 2017 with Japan. He attended the second London Mythic Championship to participate for the $500,000 prize as well as loads of War of the Spark Booster Draft cards. However over the weekend, Yuuya was kicked out of the tournament following judges finding markings on the back of some of his cards during a deck check.
Not long after this discovery was found by officials, the games publisher, Wizards of the Coast, released a statement during round 15 saying they noticed there was an issue with his deck where the sleezes of his Urza’s Power Plants were marked in a certain way. Three Urza’s mines and one Urza’s Tower had a different marking, and three Urza’s Towers and one Urza’s Mine too had a different marking. No other cards were like this in the deck. Judges determined the odds of this happening by chance are non-existent and decided to disqualify Yuuya with a further investigation to be made by MPL.
In response, Watanabe tweeted that he didn’t know the cards were altered in any way before it being pointed out to him. He says he replaced his deck sleeves after losing round 12 to Thien Nguyen because of excessive wear and the need to change his mentality, and that he occasionally swaps them for reasons like this, as well as replacement sleeves being provided by staff. He also released some images including the ones below, for transparency.
His cards were checked and returned multiple times without any problems throughout the tournament, however once in the final eight, judges found the alleged marks on several cards, signifying they were tampered with. With certain cards marked, you can play them as quick as possible. He followed up saying the accusations were correct in evidence but he still doesn’t know how they were marked.
Watanabe accepted the judge’s decision, awaits to hear from the Wizards of the Coast on his future within tournaments, and apologised to his fans who may be worried. Regardless, the London Mythic Championship left a black mark that doesn’t make Watanabe look too good right now.