Japanese MTG Player Archetypes and Hobby Store Profiles II

I’m going to focus on two smaller stores today as well as talk a little bit about the different player archetypes I’ve come across in Japan. Hopefully this will be useful in determining HOW to play against which types of people you might meet at a Friday Night Magic or other tournament.

Player archetypes in Japan

So you’re sitting down for your first tournament in Japan, (well you might have some problems if you don’t speak any Japanese, but I will cover useful Japanese words for common Magic terms in a future post) you look across the table from your side, and what do you see?

  • The OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) Guy – this guy’s nerves look all shot to hell. He’s spastic, hyper active, and looks more nervous than a guy holding hands with a girl for the first time. His typical traits are shuffling the cards in his hand constantly and with great force while he thinks of his next move. Sometimes this guy has dandruff everywhere due to his constant head scratching, or his nails are non existent due to his nail biting. This guy plays very cautiously. Bluffs usually work against him once you show him a few nasty counters or spells. He’ll wait till he thinks he has a counter for your card, then will go all out.  My suggestion: Play aggressive 80% of the time. Keep him on his toes, he won’t be able to take the pressure and will make a mistake.
  • The Super Nerd – This guy hasn’t necessarily been playing Magic for a long time, but he’s played some type of cards or another and has a lot of card playing experience. He does everything by the book, LITERALLY (quoting the phases of a turn for example). He usually spends a good amount of money on single cards and has some very good combos in his deck. His cards are not a joke and he’s serious about winning, not playing. He is very proper, rule oriented, and precise. Don’t even think about asking to take something back against this type of guy. My Suggestion: You need to be really good with your timing of spells, think a few moves ahead, and try to throw him off by getting one or two plays clarified by the Judge to make him lose confidence.
  • Casual Guy – this guy is usually playing for fun, but don’t think that he isn’t playing to win. He probably has a good number of good cards in his deck, knows how to play, and will make you suffer if you make a mistake. This type of guy will be the one that tries new things, that doesn’t really adhere to the meta-game or just uses a few ideas together. Be prepared for any type of deck against this person. My Suggestion: Just have fun, but be smart in your plays. Comment on his good combos or cards and let him get a little full of himself. He’ll focus on those cards and take his focus away from elsewhere, which will leave an opening for you to get through and exploit.
  • Richie Rich – I really hate these guys. They are somewhat novice players, but they want to win at any cost so they play with the STRONGEST and MOST EXPENSIVE CARDS. I played somebody with 12 (TWELVE) planeswalkers in their deck the other week. A few Karn’s, Lilianas, Gideon’s, and Garruk’s I believe. He also had some pretty nasty mythics and rares. The deck alone probably cost over 40,000 yen ($514). But he was playing me at 2-2, which means he really doesn’t have an efficient deck for getting them out. My Suggestion: Like I said, I was playing this guy at 2-2, which means his deck isn’t efficient. Pay attention to his record on this. If he’s 4-0, they are dangerous and you need to get rid of those power cards before they hit or right away. If he’s 2-2, that means prevention is you best method of play. Without those cards, his deck has nothing. Exile them, counter them, destroy them however you can.

That’s the extent of the most obvious archetypes you’ll find in card shops around Japan. There are a lot of normal people too you will play against, so just have a good time. If you’re wondering how many people speak English, you’re out of luck. While most magic players will love to try their English with you, and some will know a few keywords or the English name of cards, there are very few that can communicate properly. I’d say only about 10% of MTG players I’ve met can actually communicate well in English. That’s why learning Basic MTG Japanese is important! But I’ll save that for another post.

Store Profiles:

Card Brunch between Higashi Betsuin Station and Kanayama station

Card Brunch:  This store is pretty much my home base for Friday Night Magic. It’s only about 5 minutes away by bike and the tournament prices are good. There are two ways to get here.


The first is to take the JR Tokaido line from Nagoya Station to Kanayama station (going towards Toyohashi usually). It’s about 160 yen from Nagoya.

The second method is taking the Yellow Line (Higashiyama Line) subway from Nagoya to Sakae, transfering to the Meijo line and going counter clockwise to Higashi Betsuin station.

From Kanayama station, take the exit closest to Mr. Doughnuts and Denny’s. If you’re coming from the JR wickets, you’ll be turning left. Once you are outside the station, turn right and walk towards the intersection. You’ll have to cross the street to the side McDonald’s is on. From there, go LEFT (NOT RIGHT) up the street. You’ll pass a Pachinko place, a lot of izakaiyas, a beef bowl place, a Family Mart, a Coco’s Curry and a few other restaurants before you get there. The store is located NEXT to a small Post Office branch which is at the corner of an intersection about 10 minutes up the road from Kanayama station.

From Higashi Betsuin station, take the #1 exit to street level. You’ll see a Book off on the corner of the intersection. That’s the side of the street you want to be on. When you get there, take a left. Walking away from the expressway, keep heading down towards Kanayama station. It will be about a 5-7 minute walk and will be on your left side. If you hit the post office, you went too far.

With the directions out of the way, let me give you some information about the store. It’s a decent sized store, not the size of some broom closets I’ve been to, but not the biggest either. The major focus isn’t on Magic either. Yugi-Oh and other anime based games are more popular here. But that doesn’t mean people never play magic here. They host both Friday Night Magic and Monday night, for about 300 yen each which is a good deal. The turnout as of late has been anywhere from 7-12 people per tournament. Winners will usually get their choice of pack, and so will 2nd and 3rd place, and after that 2 random winners are chosen. Everybody also gets a random promo for their participation as well (sometimes awesome. I’ve received Mirran Crusaders, Sheoldred, Chandra’s Phoenix, etc in the past).

As far as buying cards, both singles and boosters, don’t. Their booster selection is limited, and their singles are usually over priced. They have an okay selection, but nothing compared to the bigger stores. Their BUY prices for cards are a little underpriced too. Sometimes you’ll find a card you can sell for the same price as another place, but if you’re going to buy a card too, might as well go elsewhere. Card Brunch also participates in Magic Game Days, and release tournaments, and in the past they have had a good turn out (16-20 players), but if you want more players, go to a bigger event. The players are usually pretty nice guys, and here’s where you can find me playing on Friday’s usually.

UPDATE: Selling Cards at Card Brunch

If you want to sell cards at Card Brunch, here’s some information. For the most part they only by cards currently in Standard play. Their most wanted cards will be in their card cases with a price in front of the picture of the card. Some of the prices are pretty low though in my opinion. If the card doesn’t have a price in front of it, it doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t buy it. If you have some power cards, definitely see if they are willing to buy them. I sold a Tezzeret for 2000 yen here while everybody else was “buying” at 1200 yen. It’s easy to spot as soon as you come in. Most of the cards they are buying are rares or mythic rares.  As with any store you sell to, be sure to bring an ID. This can be a foreigner card, a Driver’s License, and even your passport. Even if you’re just visiting the area on vacation from overseas, it wouldn’t hurt to see if you can make some extra cash. You might make a nice profit with the Japanese yen being so strong right now!

Don’t know Japanese? Say this “Card oh ooritai (I want to sell cards). “Card oh Miite kudasai!” (please look at my cards). Good luck selling!

Card Shop Phase in Chikusa

   Phase: Phase is spelled in katakana (which you can see just above the door in the picture.) and is located just outside of Chikusa station. There is both a JR line and a Subway station at Chikusa.


On the subway, take the Yellow line (Higashiyama) to Chikusa station, which is on the way to Fujigaoka (I think) away from Nagoya station, or going east. I believe the fee is about 230 yen. You can also take the JR Chuo line for 190 yen. The exit for the subway is #4, but the JR exit is unknown to me because I always take the subway. If you have trouble, use the subway exit at Chikusa, then go to exit 4.

As soon as you come up the stairs and out the exit, you’ll see a 5-6 floor building (I think) with a restaurant in the bottom left corner, and stores on the first floor. Phase is located on the 3rd floor (same floor as AEON English school), which can be reached by either the stairs or elevator.

The store itself is really tiny. There are a few tables, and only a few types of booster packs to choose from. The prices were a little high. The selection of single cards (especially rares) was rather pitiful at the time I visited, but the store STILL had FNM every week and will probably have the pre-release parties as well. I don’t know the price or how many people would show up for them, but I really wouldn’t recommend this place unless the other places in downtown Nagoya were really too far for you. This isn’t a Magic focused store, it’s more for high school kids and middle school kids to play their other anime based card games at. I can’t really say much more about this place, but if you’re interested I can get more information at a later time. Just be sure to leave me a comment.

UPDATE: Selling Cards at Phase

If you want to sell cards at Phase, here’s some information. They buy both current standard play cards as well as older cards. Their “buy” lists are a little hard to find. I believe they are located on a board that is above a selection of cards. I can’t remember exactly where, but if I go back I’ll clarify the exact location. Even if you find it, it’s going to be difficult to know what they are buying if you don’t read Japanese and know the Japanese cards’ names.  Most of the cards they are buying are rares or mythic rares, but occasionally they will buy commons and uncommons depending on their popularity at the time. Because their selection of Magic cards is more limited than other stores, I think you might be able to get decent prices here. It never hurts to compare prices, especially if you have the time and an all day subway pass! As with any store you sell to, be sure to bring an ID. This can be a foreigner card, a Driver’s License, and even your passport. Even if you’re just visiting the area on vacation from overseas, it wouldn’t hurt to see if you can make some extra cash. You might make a nice profit with the Japanese yen being so strong right now!

Don’t know Japanese? Say this “Card oh ooritai (I want to sell cards). “Card oh Miite kudasai!” (please look at my cards). Good luck selling!

Well, this concludes today’s post. Next time I’d like to touch on useful Japanese words for Magic Players, as well as introduce another store or two for people living in Nagoya. Thanks for reading.