Tomoharu Saito

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Tomoharu Saito
齋藤 友晴
Tomoharu Saito  齋藤 友晴
Born December 14, 1983
Residence Narita, Chiba, Japan
Nationality Japan.png Japanese
Pro Tour debut Pro Tour Chicago 2000
Winnings $248,642 (as of 2016-10-07)
Pro Tour top 8s 5 (1 win)
Grand Prix top 8s 24 (4 wins)
Median Pro Tour Finish 90
Pro Tours Played 45
Lifetime Pro Points 500 (as of 2016-10-22)

Tomoharu Saito (齋藤 友晴) is a Japanese professional player. Alongside teammates Shota Yasooka and Tomohiro Kaji, he won Pro Tour Charleston 2006. He has four more Pro Tour top eights, and was the 2007 Player of the Year.

Professional play[edit | edit source]

Pro Tour debut, disqualfications and DCI suspension[edit | edit source]

Saito debuted at the professional scene in the early 2000s, with a couple of Pro Tour appearances during the 2000–01 season, failing to finish in the money at either event. He reached the top eight of the 2001 Asia Pacific Championship, but was disqualified for bribery. His quarterfinal opponent, Taiwan's Peter Chao, could not attend the final day of competition due to a job interview. The judges found that Chao did not play his quarterfinal match in exchange for $2000 of Saito's prize money. Satoshi Nakamura, who had acted as an interpreter for Saito and Chao, stated that Chao intended to leave regardless, and that Saito had only attempted to give Chao a consolation prize. Both Saito, Chao, and Nakamura were disqualified from the event.[1] Two months later, he was disqualified from Grand Prix Kobe for unsporting conduct. Facing an unwinnable situation, Saito started counting his deck while changing the order of some cards, and then placed the deck in front of his opponent, as if offering it to him to cut. When the opponent did so, Saito called a judge. During the following investigation, Saito admitted to doing it in order to turn the match result in his favor.[2] The DCI suspended Saito from the game for 18 months.

Mid-2000s success[edit | edit source]

Following his suspension, Saito returned to the Pro Tour during the 2003–04 season, and also made his first Grand Prix top eight, at GP Nagoya 2004. The next year, he teamed up with Tomohiro Kaji and Kenji Tsumura at Pro Tour Atlanta, finishing fourth. Saito soon rosed to fame within the world of Magic, both for his play and for his deckbuilding ability. In particular, he was adept at designing aggressive decks; he often dubbed these "Stompy" decks; examples include Sea Stompy and Pizza Stompy.[3][4] In 2006, he won Pro Tour Charleston together with teammates Shota Yasooka and Tomohiro Kaji. Saito, playing Black-Red-White aggro, defeated Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa in the deciding game of the finals to take the trophy, despite having an unfavorable matchup against da Rosa's Orzhov deck. Saito went on to finish in the top eight of an additional three Pro Tours over the next couple of years, and won the 2007 Player of the Year title.

Second DCI suspension[edit | edit source]

After several years of success at Magic's top level, Saito was voted into the Magic Pro Tour Hall of Fame in 2010. However, after a disqualification for stalling at Grand Prix Rimini,[5] two weeks before the induction ceremony, Saito was suspended from the game for 18 months for the second time.[6] His status as a Hall of Fame member-elect was rescinded shortly prior to the 2010 World Championships, where the induction ceremony took place.[7]

Return to the scene[edit | edit source]

Saito made his comeback on the professional circuit shortly after his suspension expired, and at Pro Tour Gatecrash in 2013, despite not being qualified, he made his presence felt by posting decklists publicly on his Twitter account.[8] Saito's first Pro Tour since the suspension was PT Dragon's Maze, where he finished 38th. He has played most Pro Tours since, and been a fixture on the Grand Prix scene, having posted a total of eight since coming back. In the 2015–16 season, he was in contention for the Grand Prix Player of the Year race right until the last Grand Prix of the year,[9] but ultimately this was won by Brian Braun-Duin.[10]

In addition to playing professionally, Saito owns a game store, Hareruya, which has expanded considerably, recruiting several professional players to work at the store and represent the site.[11] Hareruya has hosted several Japanese Grand Prix, with Saito taking the role as organizer rather than playing in the event himself.[12]

Despite having his 2010 entry into the Hall of Fame revoked, Saito remains eligible for Hall of Fame voting. He was closest in 2016, when he received 18.94% of the votes.[13]

Accomplishments[edit | edit source]

Season Event type Location Format Date Rank
2003–04 Grand Prix Nagoya Standard 28–29 August 2004 8
2005 Grand Prix Osaka Team Limited 8–9 January 2005 4
2005 Pro Tour Atlanta Team Limited 11–13 March 2005 4
2005 Grand Prix Matsuyama Limited 14–15 May 2005 7
2005 Grand Prix Beijing Extended 26–27 November 2005 6
2006 Pro Tour Charleston Team Constructed 16–18 June 2006 1
2006 Nationals Ōta Standard and Booster Draft 25–27 August 2006 8
2006 Grand Prix Sydney Limited 7–8 October 2006 3
2006 Pro Tour Kobe Limited 20–22 October 2006 7
2007 Grand Prix Singapore Extended 3–4 March 2007 8
2007 Pro Tour Yokohama Block Constructed 20–22 April 2007 4
2007 Grand Prix Strasbourg Block Constructed 19–20 May 2007 1
2008 Grand Prix Vienna Extended 15–16 March 2008 4
2008 Grand Prix Copenhagen Standard 23–24 August 2008 2
2008 Pro Tour Berlin Extended 31 October–2 November 2008 3
2008 Grand Prix Atlanta Limited 15–16 November 2008 6
2009 Grand Prix Singapore Extended 21–22 March 2009 1
2009 Grand Prix Kobe Extended 18–19 April 2009 1
2009 Grand Prix Melbourne Limited 10–11 October 2009 2
2010 Grand Prix Oakland Extended 13–14 February 2010 8
2010 Grand Prix Madrid Legacy 27–28 February 2010 4
2010 Grand Prix Columbus Legacy 31 July–1 August 2010 1
2012–13 Grand Prix Sydney Limited 19–20 January 2013 3
2013–14 Grand Prix Kyoto Team Limited 23–24 November 2013 4
2013–14 Grand Prix Atlanta Limited 24–25 May 2014 2
2014–15 Grand Prix Sydney Limited 23–24 August 2014 6
2015–16 Grand Prix Santiago Limited 29–30 August 2015 2
2015–16 Grand Prix Lyon Limited 31 October–1 November 2015 3
2015–16 Grand Prix Mexico City Limited 30–31 January 2016 2
2016–17 Grand Prix Rotterdam Team Limited 12–13 November 2016 3

-->Source: Wizards.com

Pro Tour results[edit | edit source]

Pro Tour Results
Season Pro Tour Format Finish Winnings
2000–01 Chicago Standard 83
2000–01 Barcelona Booster Draft 41 $850
2003–04 Amsterdam Rochester Draft 93
2003–04 Worlds (San Francisco) Special 101
2005 Colombus Extended 65
2005 Nagoya Rochester Draft 63 $510
2005 Atlanta Team Limited 4 $5,400
2005 Philadelphia Block Constructed 111 $350
2005 London Booster Draft 128
2005 Los Angeles Extended 115
2005 Worlds (Yokohama) Special 109
2006 Honolulu Standard 56 $590
2006 Prague Booster Draft 275
2006 Charleston Team Constructed 1 $25,000
2006 Kobe Booster Draft 7 $10,500
2006 Worlds (Paris) Special 90
2007 Geneva Booster Draft 17 $3,500
2007 Yokohama Block Constructed 4 $14,000
2007 San Diego Two-Headed Giant Booster Draft 10 $3,500
2007 Valencia Extended 189
2007 Worlds (New York) Special 37 $950
2008 Kuala Lumpur Booster Draft 193
2008 Hollywood Standard 328
2008 Berlin Extended 3 $15,000
2008 Worlds (Memphis) Special 316
2009 Kyoto Standard and Booster Draft 25 $1,900
2009 Honolulu Block Constructed and Booster Draft 25 $1,900
2009 Austin Extended and Booster Draft 110
2009 Worlds (Rome) Special 17 $3,500
2010 San Diego Standard and Booster Draft 82
2010 San Juan Block Constructed and Booster Draft 71
2010 Amsterdam Extended and Booster Draft 103
2012–13 Dragon's Maze in San Diego Block Constructed and Booster Draft 38 $1,500
2013–14 Theros in Dublin Standard and Booster Draft 221
2013–14 Born of the Gods in Valencia Modern and Booster Draft 164
2013–14 Magic 2015 in Portland Standard and Booster Draft 70 $1,000
2014–15 Khans of Tarkir in Honolulu Standard and Booster Draft 145
2014–15 Fate Reforged in Washington, D.C. Modern and Booster Draft 295
2014–15 Magic Origins in Vancouver Standard and Booster Draft 62 $1,000
2015–16 Battle for Zendikar in Milwaukee Standard and Booster Draft 162
2015–16 Oath of the Gatewatch in Atlanta Modern and Booster Draft 199
2015–16 Shadows over Innistrad in Madrid Standard and Booster Draft 163
2015–16 Eldritch Moon in Sydney Standard and Booster Draft 44 $1,500
2016–17 Kaladesh in Honolulu Standard and Booster Draft 91
2016–17 Aether Revolt in Dublin Standard and Booster Draft 103

-->Source: Wizards.com

External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Bennett, Josh. Three Players Disqualified. Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Statement Regarding the Disqualification of Tomoharu Saitou. Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Sea Stompy, by Saito Tomoharu. StarCityGames (2006-08-27).
  4. Pizza Stompy by Tomoharu Saito. DeckCheck (2007-04-21).
  5. Sutcliffe, David (2010-11-28). Player Disqualified Without Prize. Wizards of the Coast.
  6. TOMOHARU SAITO SUSPENDED 18 MONTHS BY DCI. Wizards of the Coast (2010-12-01).
  7. SAITO REMOVED FROM HALL OF FAME SELECTION. Wizards of the Coast (2010-12-08).
  8. Bowtie Flash and Special Invites: 9th at Pro Tour Gatecrash. TCGPlayer (2013-03-04).
  9. Talbot, Neale (2016-07-30). A PHOTO FINISH FOR THE RACE FOR GP MASTER. Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Calderaro, Marc (2016-08-06). BRIAN BRAUN-DUIN: FROM THE COUCH TO GRAND PRIX MASTER. Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Watanabe, Kazuki (2016-08-12). Breaking! 4 European Pro Players Join Hareruya Pros!. HareruyaMTG.
  12. Sim, Chapman (2016-11-26). BUILDING THE JAPANESE COMMUNITY WITH HARERUYA. Wizards of the Coast.
  13. VOTING RESULTS. Wizards of the Coast.