Japan’s Yuuya Watanabe, twice player of the year and a member of Magic’s Hall of Fame, was kicked out of Mythic Championship II in London over the weekend after judges found markings on the back of some of his cards.
Update 7/5/19: Watanabe and his sponsors, Team Cygames, are now disputing the allegations. The original story, which appeared in April 2019, appears below.
Shortly after the discovery was made by officials during round 15 of the tournament, Wizards of the Coast released this statement:
During a deck check in Round 15 at Mythic Championship II, the judge staff noticed an issue with Yuuya Watanabe’s deck where the sleeves of his Urza’s Power Plants were marked in a specific way.
No other cards in the deck nor sideboard had any of these marks. The judge staff determined that the odds of this happening by accident were close to nonexistent, and disqualified Watanabe from the event.
This infraction will be further investigated by the MPL, according to Wizards of the Coast representatives.
The disqualification wasn’t the only time Watanabe made headlines during the tournament, as his match against Andrew Watts featured a blown call by judges that led to a reset board and an unlikely win in sudden death overtime.
In response to the disqualification, Watanabe tweeted that he didn’t realise the cards were in any altered state until judges pointed it out to him, before moving on to accept their decision and apologising to fans for letting them down.
Watanabe won Magic’s World Championship in 2012, was Player of the Year in 2009 and 2012, has seven Grand Prix victories, was inducted into the Hall of Game in 2016 and won the World Magic Cup in 2017 with Japan.