The Japan Hobbyist: 2013 – A Year in Review

We always say it, but I can’t believe how fast 2013 has passed us by. We’re one year older, we have one more year of experiences, and at The Japan Hobbyist I have a years worth of articles to reflect upon. A lot has happened in 2013, and I’d like to use this last article of the year to recap what I’ve done on this website and what I’d like to do in 2014. First off, I’d like to talk about the major events of 2013.

  • Grand Prix Yokohama – Grand Prix Yokohama was and still is the biggest Grand Prix ever in Japan. The format was limited, and it was the first time I had ever done a limited event at the Grand Prix level. I had taken an overnight bus from Nagoya to Yokohama and slept only 4 hours prior to the event thanks to an uncomfortable seat and people talking behind me all night. I learned a lot about playing sealed in this event and have since improved my limited play considerably.
  • Grand Prix Kitakyushu – For Grand Prix Kitakyushu, I flew down to Fukuoka with my girlfriend (who went sightseeing when I played). The format was standard and I had been switching my deck around for the weeks leading up to the event. I wasn’t using a real deck yet, but something I had brewed myself. It was after this event that I really started to think about improving my game to start winning. My first step would be to start playing real decks.
  • Grand Prix Kyoto Grand Prix Kyoto was the culmination of weeks of limited practice with the newly released Theros set. The GP was Team Sealed, and I did a lot of practice with friends leading up to the event. Sadly, my teammates didn’t have as many opportunities to practice as I did. I finished 8-1 on the day though, which proved to myself that I had become a MUCH better limited/sealed player than I was at GP Yokohama.
  • Grand Prix ShizuokaGrand Prix Shizuoka was the first standard GP that I had ever played a real deck at. Sadly, it wasn’t the RIGHT real deck, which lead to results similar to that of GP Kitakyushu and GP Nagoya. I did really well in the Super Sunday Series though with a different deck, and that gave me a lot of hope as a standard player for 2014. I think the article I wrote about it is also one of my best tournament reports to date.

Keep on Fighting

Aside from the Grand Prix in Japan, there was also the Magic Market Open in Nagoya, the World Magic Cup Qualifiers, and some Pro Tour Qualifiers. I lost a lot more than I would have liked to in 2013, but I think this year is the turning point for me. I hit a number of milestones that I had set for myself in 2012, and it doesn’t seem like all is lost. My biggest achievement of the year has to be an 11th place finish at a Pro Tour Qualifier. I used a deck that I was comfortable with that just happened to be well positioned for that tournament. I actually could have made it to the top 8, but I didn’t intentionally draw in round 6 and lost instead, which didn’t bode well for me in a final round that was win and in. However, that event did a lot for my confidence as a Magic player. I also won a Grand Prix Trial and made top 8 in two other ones. Other smaller victories include making it to the top 8 of 2 Game Days as well. Coupled with my first finish at number 1 at Big Magic this summer, I feel like I have momentum on my side and that 2014 will be my break out year.

Goals for 2014

With more than 2 years experience as a competitive Magic player under my belt now, I’m looking forward to big things in 2014. I put up some pretty good numbers in 2013 here in Nagoya during the last planeswalker points season and I think I should be able to maintain them for the foreseeable future.

  • 879 total planeswalker points (season ending 12/1/13)
  • Ranked 6th in PWP in Aichi-prefecture (season ending 12/1/13)
  • Ranked 161 in all Japan (season ending 12/1/13)

Not bad, but there is definitely room for improvement. Here’s what I think I can accomplish in 2014.

  1. Win a Game Day event – you have to start small, and I think this is the perfect way to get the ball rolling in 2014. There will be 4 new sets in 2014, and I will have the chance to play in 4-8 Game Day events, so I think there is definitely a chance at my current level of play.
  2. Win a new set pre-release – My limited skills have really come far since my first pre-release for M12. Again, we have 4 new sets being released in 2014 including the core set, so I should have more than 10 chances (including midnight pre-releases) to win one.
  3. Win more tournaments at Big Magic in Nagoya – Big Magic is the toughest place to play in Nagoya, and the best of the best in the city go there. It’s a great way to hone your skills and if you can prove yourself there then you should do well at any other Magic event you go to. I’ve only won there once in 2 years, but I’d like to see if I can win a dozen Sunday tournaments in 2014.
  4. Get more than 1000 planeswalker points in a season – If I keep winning and do well in the tournaments I play in, I definitely think this is attainable. 
  5. Become one of the top 100 players in Japan – This goes hand in hand with the PWP. If I get over 1000, I think I should make it into the top 100 players list as well. 
  6. Make the Top 8 of a Pro Tour Qualifier – I’ve been to a few, both limited and standard, and little by little I’ve improved my results from each one. I went from going 2-5 in my first PTQ in 2012 to finishing 5-2 in 2013. I don’t know if I have what it takes to win a PTQ yet, but I think I should definitely be able to squeak into the top 8 of one sometime in 2014. I’ll be fighting against Japanese pros and semi pros alike, so it won’t be an easy task.
  7. Finish in the top 16 of the World Magic Cup Qualifiers – Since there won’t be many GPs in 2014 in Japan, I plan on focusing in making it to the various WMC qualifiers as well PTQs around the country. I’ll be playing against the best of the best in Japan, and again I hold no allusions to making it on the 4 person championship team, but if I can finish in the top 16 or the top 8, I would be extremely happy.
  8. Make Day 2 of a Grand Prix – This is by far the hardest challenge of them all. With only Grand Prix Nagoya (limited) and GP Kobe (Modern) left before the next year of Grand Prix, I’ll really only have one chance at GP Nagoya since I don’t play modern (at least not yet). I might travel overseas for one if there is one not too far from Japan, but most likely I’ll just be focusing on Nagoya in April.

What to Expect from The Japan Hobbyist

My website will also undergo some changes in 2014. I’ve written about 99% of the articles on this website myself, and with a full time job on top of that, I haven’t really been able to put as much content on the website I would like to. With that being said, I’d like to thank all of my readers that continue to check back every few days for new material as well as those people who leave comments on my articles. I hope you’ve found a lot of good information and that it’s helped you to improve your Magic playing experience.

In 2014, I’d like to expand outside of Nagoya into other parts of Japan. I plan on approaching other MTG bloggers in Japan to create a network of websites, and I would also like to have more freelance writers make articles for my website as well in 2014. Another plan I have for the website is to interview more professional and semi-professional Japanese players in order to create more buzz for them in the English speaking Magic world. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you might have remembered me interviewing Tomoharu Saito or Sunao Nakai (who made it on Team Japan for the World Cup for 2012). I have my sights set on a few major MTG players in 2014, namely Yuuta Takahashi (2 time GP Winner) and Makito Mihara (creator of Mihara Gruul, aka Colossal Gruul, aka GR monsters). If there are other players you’d like to know more about, please be sure to leave comments below and I’ll put them on the list as well.

While it will largely depend on free time and equipment, I’d also like to start a podcast or take some videos of MTG events here in Japan in 2014. If you have ideas for topic or content, please leave a comment down below.

 

By The Numbers

 

For those of you interested, The Japan Hobbyist has had a record breaking year. Well, it’s not hard to do considering how much content I’ve added this year compared to last year. While the day with the highest views is still April 28th, 2012 (1,369) thanks to the popularity of Avacyn Restored (and great timing on my part), I have broke the record for views in a year in 2013. I currently have 50,500 views (and counting) in 2013, and improved my numbers in 7 out of the 12 months this year. I’ve also improved my overall average views to 140/day, up from 110/day in 2012. 

I’m currently sitting at about 90,850 views, and with your continued patronage, I should break 100,000 views before the end of January. I know it might seem like a lot, but I’d like to aim for 200,000 total views for the Japan Hobbyist in 2014. If there is an article you really like or find useful, share it and tweet it to your friends! If you are interested in linking your blog to mine, and letting me link it to yours, that would be great too! I’m really excited about the future of TJH as well as my future as a Magic player in Japan. I can’t thank you readers enough for taking the time to read through my thoughts and to become part of the community here on my website. I hope to see you around a lot more in 2014! As always, thanks for reading and Happy New Years ^_^ – see you again in 2014!

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