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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. 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. 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. 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, two weeks before the induction ceremony, Saito was suspended from the game for 18 months for the second time. His status as a Hall of Fame member-elect was rescinded shortly prior to the 2010 World Championships, where the induction ceremony took place.
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. 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 nine top eights 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, but ultimately this was won by Brian Braun-Duin.
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. Hareruya has hosted several Japanese Grand Prix, with Saito taking the role as organizer rather than playing in the event himself.
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.
Accomplishments[edit | edit source]
|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|
|2016–17||Grand Prix||Beijing||Limited||6–7 May 2017||3|
Pro Tour results[edit | edit source]
|List of the Pro Tour results and winnings of Tomoharu Saito|
[edit | edit source]
- Top 200 All-Time Money Leaders
- Lifetime Pro Tour Top 8s
- Lifetime Grand Prix Top 8s
- List of players by lifetime Pro Points (requires Planeswalker Points login)
References[edit | edit source]
- Bennett, Josh. Three Players Disqualified. Wizards of the Coast.
- Statement Regarding the Disqualification of Tomoharu Saitou. Wizards of the Coast.
- Sea Stompy, by Saito Tomoharu. StarCityGames (2006-08-27).
- Pizza Stompy by Tomoharu Saito. DeckCheck (2007-04-21).
- Sutcliffe, David (2010-11-28). Player Disqualified Without Prize. Wizards of the Coast.
- TOMOHARU SAITO SUSPENDED 18 MONTHS BY DCI. Wizards of the Coast (2010-12-01).
- SAITO REMOVED FROM HALL OF FAME SELECTION. Wizards of the Coast (2010-12-08).
- Bowtie Flash and Special Invites: 9th at Pro Tour Gatecrash. TCGPlayer (2013-03-04).
- Talbot, Neale (2016-07-30). A PHOTO FINISH FOR THE RACE FOR GP MASTER. Wizards of the Coast.
- Calderaro, Marc (2016-08-06). BRIAN BRAUN-DUIN: FROM THE COUCH TO GRAND PRIX MASTER. Wizards of the Coast.
- Watanabe, Kazuki (2016-08-12). Breaking! 4 European Pro Players Join Hareruya Pros!. HareruyaMTG.
- Sim, Chapman (2016-11-26). BUILDING THE JAPANESE COMMUNITY WITH HARERUYA. Wizards of the Coast.
- VOTING RESULTS. Wizards of the Coast.