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Those Crazy Metagame-Shapin' Japanese!
by Ted Knutson

The Japanese are renowned for the ability to build strange, but explosively functional decks. In the past two years alone, they have designed Gob-Vantage, Draco Explosion, Enchantress... And Pro Tour: New Orleans has brought about another new wave of crazy tech.

The top deck so far for among the Japanese players is Tsuyoshi Fujita's newest rendition of the Mind's Desire deck. The deck's engine is based around getting fast artifact mana into play, casting Tinker, and then Twiddling the hell out of the artifact mana to build spell count before casting Mind's Desire and eventually killing his opponent with a lethal Tendrils of Agony.

To give you an idea of how crazy the deck can be, Fujita was playing against Josh Rider and his Tinker deck in Round 5. Rider passed the turn with the seemingly safe play of an early Tangle Wire, but Fujita managed to go off and win the game that very same turn under a fresh Tangle Wire lock. Josh hadn't seen Fujita's deck before the round, so as Fujita started to go off, he looked over at Gabe Walls sitting next to him and asked,"Um, Gabe... what's going on?"

Walls replied,"Oh yeah, I've seen that deck. It's pretty cool."

As Fujita Tinkered his way through Grim Monolith, into Gilded Lotus, Dream's Gripped each of them a couple of times, cast Mind's Desire for seven cards, and eventually laid a Lethal Tendrils of Agony on Josh, all he could do was exclaim"What the hell? I thought I made a safe play in laying a Tangle Wire of all things, and now I'm dead. This makes no sense!"

The second interesting Japanese creation for Pro Tour: New Orleans '03 is the Spellweaver Helix deck piloted by Japanese master Satoshi Nakamura. Long known for his eclectic style of dress and fascinating deck choices, Nakamura has come up with yet another one the week. The deck features Spellweaver Helix, Cabal Therapy, Chatter of the Squirrel, Intuition, Quiet Speculation, and the ultimate trump card... Crush of Wurms!

The idea behind the deck is that you get Crush and Cabal Therapy in the graveyard, and then cast Spellweaver Helix, imprinting both Crush and Therapy on the artifact. Next you cast a Cabal Therapy and flash it back, and voila! You suddenly have five to six 6/6 wurms with which to run over your opponent. It doesn't seem like the best metagame choice on the day (Nakamura was 2-2 with it on the day), but it is great fun to watch, and took down StarCityGames writer Tomi Walamies for his only loss on the day thus far.

The last notable Japanese deck is the latest version of Gobvantage. It sports the updated tech of Chrome Mox and Seething Song to power out earlier Goblin Recruiters and Goblin Ringleaders to either attack your opponent with lethal damage through Goblin Piledriver and friends, or through setting up a lethal chain of Goblins on top of their deck and then aiming Goblin Charbelcher at their dome. At this time it doesn't appear that the deck is faring quite as well as the Tinker/Charbelcher builds, but often all the Japanese decks take is a little tuning before they turn into lethal monstrosities that rule the metagame.