Tokoname played host to the Champions Cup last weekend, with 198 of Japan and Korea's most talented Magic fans gathering in search of fame and fortune. With 18 Pro Tour invites and two seats at Magic World Championship XXIX up for grabs, players fought through two days of fierce Pioneer competition before a winner was crowned: Rei Hirayama, with Rakdos Midrange!
The championship match was a Rakdos mirror, with runner-up Kyosuke Kyogoku also piloting what was, quite comfortably, the most popular deck at the tournament. The mirror broke the way of Hirayama, however, who dispatched Kyogoku 2-0 in the final and claimed the Champions Cup as his own. Kyogoku didn't go home empty-handed, however - both finalists received an invitation to the next World Championship.
The Top 8 was dominated by Rakdos midrange, with six players making it through with the black-red deck. Mono-Green and Azorius Control made brief appearances in the Top 8, but the story of the weekend was definitely the dominance of Rakdos.
As for the players in the Top 8, some huge names from the region stepped up and secured their slots at the next Pro Tour, including two Hall of Famers: both Shuhei Nakamuras and Shota Yasooka proved they've still got it, ending up first and third, respectively, after the Swiss rounds.
While Rakdos was immensely popular (and immensely successful) in Tokoname, plenty of other decks were widely represented at the tournament. Interestingly, Azorius Control was the third-most-played deck at the Champions Cup, outstripping even Izzet Phoenix and putting two copies into the top 12.
Aside from the Regional Championship tournament itself, the event also saw hundreds of people take part in side events of all kinds. From brand-new ways to play Magic, such as Jumpstart, to the oldest cards in the game doing battle in Vintage, the Champions Cup was a celebration of in-person play, a wonderful example of the gathering we've all missed so much. If you'd like to take part in the next Regional Championship near you, have a look for the nearest qualifier to you!