Fujie x Ryuzo
It was recently announced that Ryuzo Fujie, a member of the Rivals League was invited to join Hareruya Pros. He’s won a fierce race for the Mythic points, and we’re sure he’ll do well in the Rivals League.
Maybe that’s because we don’t know too much about Ryuzo, since he’s primarily playing online. All we have is a list of Ryuzo’s successful decks and the fact that he has risen to stardom and earned a Rivals League invitation.
We spoke to Ryuzo Fujie shortly after he was handed his Hareruya Pros team uniform by Saito to find out what kind of player he is.
Ryuzo Fujie x Hareruya
–Thank you for your time today. It’s very rare to see your real name used when playing MTG Arena, isn’t it?
Fujie: “Actually, there’s a reason for this. When I was creating my account, I mistakenly thought the name field for the arena name was the name field on my credit card. I unintentionally ended up registering with my real name (laughs).”
–“Ryuzo” was born as a result of an unexpected registration error.
–So, how did you feel when you were selected for the Rivals League?
With the conclusion of the June 2020 #MythicQualifier, the Mythic Point earning portion of the 2020 Partial Season is at an end.— Magic Esports (@MagicEsports) June 26, 2020
Congratulations to the eight invitees to the 2020-2021 Magic Rivals League!https://t.co/65nYvHbcoz
Fujie: “I was very excited but unsure of being invited for the Rivals League until the official announcement. I had built up the points so far and had my sights set on the goal, but our results in June weren’t great. So seeing the tweet made me relieved. By my calculations, I should have come up short… but to be honest, I didn’t feel alive while I was waiting for the official announcement.”
Fujie: “That’s why I was so happy the moment I was selected for the Rivals League. I am now going to be challenging the world.”
–After that, you were offered sponsorship by Hareruya and decided to join the Hareruya Pros?
Fujie: “I talked with Tomoharu Saito when I appeared in his Youtube video before, and I was attracted to his way of thinking towards Magic and his personality.”
Fujie: “I also don’t know much about the magic community, as I used to play magic mainly online. I decided to join Hareruya Pros because I thought that Hareruya, the biggest Magic retailing company in Japan, would provide me with the information I needed and give me the best chance of success in the Rivals League.”
–Speaking of you, you’ve been active on MTG Arena and entered the competitive scene from online?
Fujie: “Yes. This video was the first time I made a deck for myself. Other decks I made were in elementary school, and sometimes attended drafts where my friends get together once a year, though I hadn’t had a chance to play with the actual cards recently.”
–It would seem that you may participate in tabletop tournaments in the future.
Fujie: “I think it’s difficult to just enter a high-level tabletop tournament. So I think I’ll need to participate in at least ten tabletop tournaments before the major tournament. I’d like to gradually get used to it.”
80% Winrate Against Aggro
–Tell us a lot of things about you that we don’t know about. First of all, what kind of player are you and what do you think your strengths are when playing Magic?
Fujie: “I think I’m more of a data analyst. I haven’t been able to subdivide the data into small groups, but I think it’s important to know data. For example, how the margin of victory changes being on the play or the draw. It’s easy to blindly take on the play in a match, but statistically speaking, on the draw can have a higher win rate in some matchups.”
–Certainly! “There’s even a word for it, ‘loser goes first’, and it’s easy to blindly choose on the play in a match.
Fujie: “It’s important not to get too caught up in preconceptions.”
–I also thought you have a quite forward-thinking in deck construction. I remember the Jeskai Lukka with 《Fire Prophecy》 that you used at the Mythic Qualifier in May.
Fujie: “As a player, I’d like to build a deck from scratch, but time is limited, so it’s not easy to do so. Standard is a fast cycle, so I think it’s a more efficient way to copy ideas form successful decks. I use every deck that has done well in a tournament and choose the ones that are comfortable in my hand.”
Fujie: “I was looking for a card that would allow me to deal with 《Flourishing Fox》 in Boros Cycling when playing on the draw, and I found Jeskai Lukka with 《Fire Prophecy》… I needed to remove 3 toughness on turn 2, and 《Fire Prophecy》 was a great card in terms of tempo that allowed me to remove and route it in one motion.”
–I heard that you’ve adjusted it to win over 80% of your games against aggro decks.
Fujie: “The reason we want a high win rate against fast-attacking decks is because of the number of people who use it in the Mythic Qualifiers. In the Jeskai Lukka, I added 6 cards in the main deck which are 《Deafening Clarion》and《Shatter the Sky》, and also took out 《Elspeth Conquers Death》, which would be a waste depending on the opponent.”
–You’re pretty much put a lot of hate towards the aggro decks. Is the deck itself an exact copy with no changes?
Fujie: “I often tune my deck. It’s a decision I make after I’ve used the original deck for a while, but I’m happy if the cards I choose to lead to victory or surprise my opponent.”
Fujie: “I think I surprised my opponent quite a bit when I cast the 《Fae of Wishes》from 《Fires of Invention》when it wasn’t well known yet. In the past, I’ve also used 《Aspect of Hydra》in MO to gain quite a bit of rating. It’s always nice to find a card that catches your opponent by surprise.”
Competition Scene Looking Ahead
–What is your attraction to the competitive scene?
Fujie: “Being able to compete against strong players. To be honest, I feel bad if I win because of my opponent’s mistakes. We both want to play our best game and do our best to settle the game. So I’m happy to win, but it’s a shame when I find out that my opponent made a mistake. When you play ranked games, even players who are ranked in the Mythic level can make mistakes.”
Fujie: “On the other hand, the Rivals League is supposed to have only really good players. That’s why I’m happy to be able to play against them. The most important thing is for me to win in the end though (laughs).”
–Fair enough. So who is the most interesting member of the Magic Pro League (MPL) or Rivals League?
Fujie: “Shota Yasooka. I’ve checked Yatsuoka’s MO rating in the past and it was over 2000!
Fujie: “I had a chance to meet him in person the other day, and when I asked him how his MO rating could be so high, he told me, ‘If you win a tournament with a high value, you can get it right away. I couldn’t think of a number that I would be able to do that well, so I was overwhelmed. That’s why I’ll be keeping an eye on Yasuoka.”
–Are there any other players you’re keeping an eye on?
Fujie: “It’s not a member of both leagues, but it’s crokeyz. I’ve been paying a lot of attention to his ideas for decks. I copy the decks he posts on Twitter and uses them myself. I use all the decks I think are good, not just his, but all the ones I like, so I’m naturally drawn to players who can create their decks.”
–I see. So, now that you’ve become a member of the Rivals League and Hareruya Pros. What do you hope to show the fans?
Fujie: “My number one priority is to show that I can win, but I don’t know if I can win because my opponents are all strong players. So I’m hoping to give them a high-level matchup. More than anything else, I’m looking forward to facing them.”
With the Help of my Family
–I heard you’ve been getting practice time after your children have gone to bed and in the morning playing MTG. Have you made any changes to prepare for the Mythic Invitational?
Fujie: “I told my family that it’s a global tournament this time, and my family permitted me to increase my practice time. There are days when I can go home early, so I spend more time practicing on those days. But it hurts my eyes to do so much (laughs).”
Fujie: “Right now, I try to rest my eyes as much as possible outside from playing MTG Arena so I can concentrate. I also try not to use my phone unless I have to. I started to physically train to build up my strength and to get in shape.”
–You are truly an athlete. Do you have other ways of doing things besides time?
Fujie “If you’re going to be playing for a long time, I think the most important thing is to make sure you have the right environment. A large monitor is a must. I also chose a gaming chair when I received an invite to the Rivals League. I used to play on a laptop at first, but I hurt my back, so I think the environment is more important than anything else if you’re going to be playing for a long time.”
Fujie: “The day of the Mythic Invitational starts at midnight, so it will be a long battle. I plan to sleep and rest for a while before participating.”
–What is your family’s reaction?
Fujie: “I explained that it was a one-day event and that we would be working day and night, and they agreed. They were surprised that the tournament was going to be that long. I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep up with the performance as this is my first time participating in this event.”
Fujie: “However, if it had been a tabletop tournament, it would have been difficult to participate due to family and work commitments. That’s why online competitions are so helpful.”
Digital and Analog Coexisting
–I hear it’s easier to participate in online competitions, are there any other advantages?
Fujie: “This is in comparison to MO, but the best thing about MTG Arena is that you have a fixed amount of time per turn. It’s also much easier to play. When I first started, the time limit would soon come up and there would be times when I wouldn’t be able to play in time, but now, as long as it’s not too complicated, I can play the game with plenty of time to spare.”
Fujie: “However, in an arena, you don’t want to listen to the sound of the time limit. You can make mistakes when you are rushed.”
–I understand! I don’t want to have the fuse line passing in front of me!
Fujie: “It’s supposed to be a useful feature, but on the other hand, it’s rushed and triggers mistakes… To be clear, if you’re like me and can’t concentrate by listening to this sound, I recommend you turn off the sound.”
–What other tricks do you have in mind for playing?
Fujie: “I put sticky notes on the monitor.”
Fujie: “For example, when 《Narset, Parter of Veils》 appears in the opponent’s field, or there is a card that cancels out an effect, like 《Grafdigger’s Cage》 and Escape, and they are about to conflict. in that case, I put a sticky note on the monitor.”
Fujie: “Sometimes I was so eager to play so quickly that I forgot about the permanent abilities of 《Narset, Parter of Veils》 and 《Ashiok, Dream Render》 and it was a disaster. I still think it’s better to make it visible and clear.”
Fujie said, “When it comes to the current season of Historic, I would put “Be Careful” on 《Grafdigger’s Cage》.”
Fujie x Magic
–What is the importance of magic to you, Fujie?
Fujie: “It’s a hobby, a hobby I can enjoy to the fullest… and,”
Fujie: “It’s a place where you can have real competition, something I’ve long since forgotten as an adult.”
–Is this a real fight?
Fujie: “When you are grown, there is a sense of restraint. It’s nice to know that magic doesn’t have that kind of restraint. As I said before, you do your best, play a good match, don’t make any mistakes, and then you win. When your opponents are all top-notch, it’s a great feeling.”
–Last but not least, what is your enthusiasm for the Mythic Invitational?
Fujie: “This will be my first time participating in a global tournament, so this will be my first time doing the manual matching. I’m looking forward to competing against famous players. Since I’m taking part, I’m looking forward to fighting for the first place.”
–That’s a strong statement! We are rooting for you to win.
Fujie: “Statistically, I know it’s tough. The deck itself can be overturned between the ladder matchup and the participants in the Mythic Invitational. I believe that the players who do well are the ones who do it best.”
Fujie said, “But that’s why I think it’s important to aim for first place. Thank you for your support.”
–Fujie took on the challenge of the 2020 Mythic Invitational, his first global tournament with Sultai Midrange.
(“1-4 on day one😣”)
It was a tough reality for him, and he lost on day 1.
However, this was just the start of Fujie’s challenge in the competitive scene. The worlds best are still to come, including the Zendikar Rising Championship and “League Weekend”.
We hope you will keep an eye on Hareruya Pros and Fujie’s performance.