What a difference a weekend makes!
Before this weekend, these were all true: There had never been a Pro Tour Day Three without an American player, Phoenix Foundation had never failed to make Day Two, and no Japanese team had ever made it to the big dance.
Von Dutch (Jeroen Remie, Jelger Wiergesma, and Kamiel Cornelissen) led a horde of Dutch, Japanese, and Canadian teams to freeze out the American magic scene from the first Day Three in the game's history.
Rookie of the Year leader Kazumasa Shiki chose not to attend this event, given the struggles of Japanese teams in the past. In fact, only fifteen Japanese players chose to attend this Pro Tour -- about a third of the usual number. Two of those teams drew in round 10 and again in round 11 to secure not one but two such appearances. One Japanese team -- www.shop-fireball.com2 (Itaru Ishida, Tsuyoshi Ikeda, and Jin Okamoto) -- will face off in the semifinals Sunday against S.A.I (Ichirou Shimura, Masami Ibamoto, and Ryuuichi Arita).
American players must look to their neighbors from the North if they want to root for the home team. Pocket Rockets (Paul Russell, Joseph Derro, and Matthew Wood) came to their first Pro Tour and took the world by storm with their startling run to Day Three. They will have their work cut out for them as they square off against Von Dutch, a team whose players had seven Day-Three appearances before this weekend.