Profiles by Brian David-Marshall
Welcome to the voting for the 11th annual Magic Invitational!
Forty cards is the order of day as the hunt for the game’s masters switches from Constructed to Limited. The ballot is rather surprising, with plenty of names appearing on an Invitational ballot for the first time and multiple Limited Powerhouses from ballots past getting bumped by the surging youngbloods.
Winner: Kenji Tsumura (43.6% of votes)
Oh what a difference a year makes! After his 2005 turn as Player of the Year, Kenji Tsumura vowed to improve his Limited game by studying at the feet of Limited powerhouse Richie Hoaen. He studied hard and grew strong…strong to the tune of two Grand Prix victories, another GP Top 8 and back-to-back Top 8 appearances in individual Limited Pro Tours in Kobe and Geneva. At the two Two-Headed Giant Grand Prix this season, Richie and Kenji teamed up and it was the Japanese player calling the shots. This past weekend Kenji rode herd over his friend Yuuta Hirosawa to a fifth-place finish in San Diego…will it be enough for him to emerge as the Limited Master?
Willy Edel (42.2%)
Brazil’s latest export has taken the 40-card world by storm with Top 8 appearances in his last two individual Limited Pro Tours, including a Finals finish in Kobe. Willy Edel first started attending Pro Tours once the Brazilian PTQs attached a plane ticket to the victory, enabling Willy to fly to Kobe for his second-place finish. It also helped propel him to a 10th-place finish in the Player of the Year race, a Level 5 pass to the Players Club, and the will to become a full-time Magic player…but will it get him to Essen for this year’s Invitational?
Shingou Kurihara (0.2%)
Shingou Kurihara has been money when it comes to Limited. Last season he had a quiet 21st-place finish in Kobe but has shed the "relative unknown" euphemistic label with a vengeance this season. His Top 4 finish at Pro Tour–Geneva was fueled by a 3-0 run at his final table and included victories over Guillaume Wafo-Tapa and Paul Cheon. The Japanese Pro followed that up with a seventh place this past weekend in San Diego. Three Limited Pro Tours and three money finishes…can he do as well with only the glory of creating a card on the line?
Takuya Osawa (4.7%
Takuya Osawa dominated the field in Prague with his mastery of BloodGraft. He combined the mechanics of Bloodthirst from Guildpact and Graft from Dissension to make impossibly large monsters en route to winning one of the very first Limited events to include all three sets in the Ravnica block. This year he reached the Finals of Pro Tour–Geneva. If two finals appearances weren’t enough, Osawa globe trotted to a sixth-place finish at Grand Prix–Sydney, a cruel ninth-place miss in Phoenix, and 18th place in Kuala Lumpur. Is Germany next on his horizon?
Sebastian Thaler (9.4%)
It seems like every time you watch Sebastian Thaler play, he is fighting for a Top 8 berth. Only Kenji stood in his way of his first Pro Tour Top 8 appearance in Geneva and just this last weekend Kenji took him down in the final Swiss round of San Diego. In the meantime Sebastian piloted his 40-card skills to a Rookie of the Year title with his win at Grand Prix–Athens followed up with another Top 8 at Grand Prix–Barcelona and a Top 16 at Malmo. Will Sebastian finally get the opportunity to take down his crucial final round win against Kenji at the Invitational?
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