Magic Player Yuuya Watanabe Removed from Hall of Fame Over Cheating Scandal

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Magic Player Yuuya Watanabe Removed from Hall of Fame Over Cheating Scandal

May 10, 2019

By: Robert Grosso


Yuuya Watanabe, a famous Magic: The Gathering Player from Japan, has been banned from the Magic Pro League.

Watanabe has also been suspended from official DCI-sanctioned events for 30 months (two and a half years), and was removed from the Magic Hall of Fame (which he entered in 2016) according to an official statement from the Magic Pro League.

The issue comes from a controversy surrounding Watanabe came from his disqualification at the Mythic Championship II, where judges found several of his card sleeves marked in a specific way.

"No other cards in the deck nor sideboard had any of these marks," according to a brief statement during the event. "The judge staff determined that the odds of this happening by accident were close to nonexistent, and disqualified Watanabe from the event."


The ban and removal from the hall of fame have occurred after Watanabe's sponsor, Team Cygames, released a statement and expressed their support that Watanabe is "strongly innocent of any wrongdoing" prior to the announcement by the Magic Pro League.

mtg tower 2 yuuya watanabe cheating scandal
The front section of Urza's Tower...

Team Cygames has a blog post showcasing both Yuuya Watanabe's statement on twitter, along with photographs of the marked cards in question. The cards, the powerful combination of Urza's MineUrza's Tower and Urza's Power Plant, are prominently featured with marks along their card sleeves at the fringes.

mtg tower yuuya watanabe cheating scandal
The back of the Urza Tower sleeves.

The following points are made by the blog"

-Of the decks used by Watanabe, the four “Urza's Power Plant” sleeves had the top left of the sleeves distinguished from the other sleeves in the following manner when facing backwards It had become.

-Among the decks used by Watanabe, one “Urza's Mine” and three “Urza's Tower” sleeves had the sleeves facing in the other direction as shown below. It was designed to be distinguished from the sleeves.

-Of the decks used by Watanabe, the three “Urza's Mine” and one “Urza's Tower” sleeve had the bottom left of the sleeve when facing backwards, It was designed to distinguish it from other sleeves.

-Watanabe lost the match to Tien Nwenn who drove the Titan shift in Round 12, the first round of the Modern Round, and then changed the sleeve to bear the fortune.

The decisive decision to ban Watanabe, as well as removing his Hall of Fame status, has effectively seen the Japanese Magic Pro blacklisted from Magic: The Gathering at this time, which will be a blow to blue control representation at the highest levels as Watanabe was famous for opting to play that style of deck. Yuuya Watanabe's removal from the Hall of Fame would appear to follow the decision not to admit another highly talented Magic: The Gathering player who was known to cheat in Mike Long.

What are your thoughts on all of this? Leave your comments below. 

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Staff Writer

A game playing, college teaching scholar who happens to write some articles every so often. Enjoys penning long-form articles that few probably read. Love the art of gaming, preservation, collecting and RPGs. Have worked as a journalist, critic, educator and blogger for over ten years now, with articles published (as user editorials) on Game Revolution and Giant Bomb as well as a contributor for the websites Angry Bananas and Blistered Thumbs. Now making TechRaptor my home.