Attack of the Pod People! (and playing in the rain, off the beaten path)

Originally, my friend and I had planned on meeting up for some play testing over at my apartment today on my day off. However, I had some errands to run and one of my friends heard about a Tuesday tournament at a card shop off the beaten path that I had not been to yet (keep reading below for info on the store). We decided to meet up at Nagoya station and were planning to walk to this place (about a 12 minute walk or so). BAD IDEA. It had rained in the morning when I was heading off to Immigration, and the wind was starting to really pick up by the time I got to the Ozone store Mishimaya (, but by the time I got to Nagoya station to meet my friend, it had turned into a full blown Typhoon. But when we decided to walk there, the only drawback were gale force winds of about 60 mph. Lots of fun to walk in . . . and about half way there the rain started. Torrents of it. We were soaked in less than a minute when it was coupled with the 70+ mph winds. Umbrellas were little help. We hurried the rest of the way to the new store, soaked from the waist down. Luckily I was sure to protect my cards and keep them close to the umbrella, and upon opening my bag they cards were fine. My friend wasn’t so lucky . . .

Never keep your cards in your backpack in a Typhoon . . . or this will happen. Poor Elesh Norn . . .

While 85% of his WG Birthing Pod deck was untouched, his sideboard was pretty much entirely soaked (2 surgical extractions being the big loss), and the rares he had kept near the front of his deck from a recent sorting were pretty much screwed. He wasn’t so crushed about it as I was. So sad to see his cards malformed, especially after pulling the Elesh Norn just two days earlier on Sunday from a lucky booster pack! We ended up spending most of the time before the Tuesday tournament letting his cards dry and putting those that had dried in new sleeves (the others were still moist inside the plastic), and then stacking heavy objects on top of them to get them as close to possible to playing condition. By the time 7pm rolled around, we were good to go. Although due to it being the first day of a new weekly event, we were the only two to show up. The typhoon probably kept many people away. The staff was really cool about it and two of them joined us so we didn’t come all the way out there in vain.

I decided to use my UR Wrath of the Titans deck ( , and I was glad I did. We ended up playing 2 rounds, and aside from me, everybody else was playing a Birthing Pod variation. There were the mainstays of Tangleroot Geist, Birds of Paradise, and Vorapede in each of these, but one person was using a Bitterheart Witch/Curse of Death’s Hold along with a Grave Titan, while another person used more of a white deck with Blade Splicer and Elesh Norn (and although I didn’t play against him, my friend was also running a WG Birthing Pod deck. His variation uses 4 Fiend hunters, which are probably the most dangerous cards in the deck. 4 Gavony Townships can also be deadly once he gets his creatures out). Having a lot of experience against these types of decks, and some awesome card draws, I dominated both games. Burning their creatures before they could get ramped up, or countering their Birthing pods which were really the heart of their decks. The Mimic Vat really worked overtime in one game, sucking up a Strangle Root, a Vorapede, and after a Slagstorm/Incinerate/Galvanic Blast combo, I had an Elesh Norn copy under it. The Grafdigger’s Cage also shut one of the players down in another game, and before you knew it i was 2-0 and won 1200 yen worth of single cards plus some Not for Sale specialized deck sleeves (ending up buying a Koth and Thraben Doomsayer with the voucher). I would definitely recommend my U/R Deck against Pod types. If you have the cards, play test and see how it does against a Pod deck!

Another branch of Hobby Station sits near the JR Aonami line.

Before I finish today’s post I’ll give you some information on the latest Card Shop I’ve visited. It’s the third Hobby Station branch in the Nagoya area. This one however isn’t close to major shopping areas. In fact, it’s kinda of out of the way.


The easiest way to get to Sasashima Hobby Station is to go to Nagoya station and take the JR Aonami Line (the line that goes to Nagoya Port). Sasashima Live (ささしまライブ) is the closest station to this shop. Once you arrive at the station from Nagoya, look to the left of the station and you should see a large building with a movie theater and, a 7-11 convenience store, and next to that is Zepp Nagoya (a concert hall where music acts usually come and play. Crazily enough I learned that The Offspring were playing here as I left and walked past Zepp). The shop is right next to these places, so if you can locate one of these landmarks you’ll be in good shape. Since I walked from Nagoya station (about a 15 minute walk following the Tokaido line then turning right under a bridge once the different lines branch away), I can’t say how long it is from JR Aonami Sasashima Station, but if I had to guess I’d say it’s about a 5 minute walk. There are a lot of wide open spaces between the station and this movie theater/entertainment building, so it’s kinda hard to miss once you get to the station.


Cases of cards at Hobby Station Sasashima

So what’s different about this Hobby Station compared to the one in Osu and the one near Meitestu Eki? Inventory wise they have the same things. You’ll find the boosters you want, accessories, etc, but their selection of singles seems to be less than the Mei Eki and Osu stores. They didn’t have signs or prices of cards they were willing to buy, so it could be that the other branches ship them here. The store is brand spanking new compared to the other branches however. Very clean, very bright, and there is a lot of space between each table in the play area (maybe room for 36-40 players?. The play area seems bigger than the Meitetsu Eki store, but smaller than the Osu Hobby Station (which sometimes has tournaments of 40+ people just for Magic, but actually has seating for about 60).  So why come out here? Why make the trip? Well, if you really want to play on a Tuesday, this if your place to go.

Supposedly the manager decided to make Tuesday their casual MTG day, with Friday Night Magic still happening too of course. Since I usually have Tuesday evenings off and play test with friends anyways, this seems like a good place to do it. You might find me here occasionally. There is also a pretty awesome arcade located directly behind the shop inside the large building, and a movie theater with IMAX too. So why not see a movie, play some matches with friends, then game it up before heading home? Maybe not something to do every weekend, but if you want to switch things up once in a while try to make your way out there.

You can now play Magic almost every day of the week in Nagoya. Even somebody who has crazy hours like me can find a time to play at least once during the week.

  • MondayCard Brunch Kanayama: 6:30pm (between Higashi Betsuin and Kanayama station)
  • TuesdayHobby Station Sasashima: 6:30 pm (recently changed on 3/12/2013 due to rounds running late.)
  • WednesdayHobby Station Mei Eki and Hobby Station Yagoto: 6pm 
  • Friday – Friday Night Magic in various locations, starting around 6pm usually
  • SaturdayHobby Station Osu/Hobby Station Mei Eki/ Amenity Dream (occasionally): Call ahead for match times. The Hobby Station matches usually start around 2pm or so and go 4-5 rounds. They also usually alternate the location. AD has one extra Standard Match a month, check store for details.
  • SundayBig Magic: 11am, usually 4-5 rounds. Average turnouts are 24 people+

Well, that will be a wrap for this article. Thanks for continuing to read and good luck in any future tournaments you play in! Birthing Pod decks are definitely gaining steam, and I bet you will find a lot of people running either Pod or Wolf Run decks this weekend in Nagoya.


  1. R/G Wolf Run/Birthing Pod
  2. U/W – W/G Humans
  3. Birthing Pod variants