Yuuya Watanabe is one of the top Magic: The Gathering players of all time, being one of only three players to have ever won the Player of the Year award (in 2009 and 2012). Watanabe began playing the game during Invasion block. He won his first Grand Prix in 2007 with a UR Tron deck as a completely unknown player. He would later go to be that year’s Rookie of the Year. Success continued to follow him as he became World Champion in 2012. He was accepted into the game’s Hall of Fame in 2016 and has been considered a fan favorite for many years.
However, Watanabe was recently disqualified from Mythic Championship II in London. During a deck check in Round 15, Watanabe’s Tron deck was found to have marked cards. Eight cards were allegedly marked: 3 Urza’s Mine and 1 Urza’s Tower being marked one way, while the other 1 Urza’s Mine and 3 Urza’s Tower being marked differently. Whether or not these cards were marked purposefully has not been confirmed. It’s possible natural wear from frequently searching the lands caused them to be noticeably different from the rest of the deck.
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Despite this possibility, the judging team at Mythic Championship determined that this being an accident was unlikely. Watanabe was disqualified from the tournament immediately after the deck check. Wizards of the Coast representatives stated that the Magic Pro League will investigate this infraction further. This recent disqualification casts an even greater shadow on the Pro League. Rei Sato’s recent disqualification from Grand Prix Prague for opportunistic cheating and Owen Turtenwald’s quiet dismissal from the league has left many players questioning the future, and legitimacy, of many professional Magic: The Gathering players.
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