After three rounds of Standard and four rounds of draft, Shuuhei Nakamura and Kazumasa Shiki are undefeated with perfect 7-0 records. Nakamura is a veteran of the Japanese Grand Prix circuit and has won the traditional Japanese end of year tournament before, but he has yet to make a major impact in international competition. If he keeps this pace the next two days, he'll be headed to Worlds. Meanwhile, Kazumasa Shiki continues to impress. He made Top 16 at Pro Tour New Orleans, won Grand Prix Okayama, and came in ninth at Pro Tour Kobe, missing Top 8 on tiebreakers. With all these top finishes he currently has the lead in the Rookie of the Year race. Even though Japan Nationals won't add any Pro Tour points to help him clinch the title, it's performances like this that add to reputations and make good players into stars.
A handful of players finished the day with 6-1 records, including veterans Ken'ichi Fujita, and Tsuyoshi Fujita. Ken'ichi came in ninth on tiebreakers at this very event last year, and now has an opportunity to play on Sunday. Tsuyoshi Fujita was the first Japanese player to make a Pro Tour Top 8, and while he has been solid on the Grand Prix circuit since then, he has yet to have a finish that matched his Pro Tour Tokyo finalist title. With one loss headed into tomorrow, he may be able to make the world pay attention once more.
The white hot Masashi Oiso finished the day at 5-2, along with Akira Asahara and Kouichirou Maki. Oiso has had more success than practically any Japanese Magic player, and done so within less than two seasons. Despite all this, many feel that he has trouble doing well at domestic tournaments, and that he would suffer the same fate this weekend. While 5-2 isn't exciting, it's good enough to give him a chance to go on a run tomorrow.
Tomorrow will start with another draft and three rounds, then four more rounds of Standard. Check our coverage tomorrow, when we will have decklists, a metagame breakdown, and will narrow down the field to the Top 8.