Top 8 Profile:Koutarou Ootsuka

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A relative unknown, Ootsuka first showed up on everyone's radar in April when he won the 300-person Big Cup, a tournament sponsored by the Big magic chain of stores, taking home 400,000 yen. Qualified for Nationals on rating, he's shown his recent win wasn't a fluke by fighting his way past some of Japan's biggest names to make Top 8. Still, readers with good memories might remember that while he may have only recently stepped into the spotlight, Ootsuka has been around for a while. He took 9th place at the 2000 Finals, and placed 17th in last year's Finals.

Ootsuka chose to play a UGR deck he's dubbed "Touch KTO", adding powerful threshold cards like Nimble Mongoose and Krosan Beast to a standard UG build with Wild Mongrel and Merfolk Looter. The deck performed reasonably well on Friday, posting a 4-1-1 finish. Picking RG in both drafts, Ootsuka positioned himself with a solid 5-1 performance. He attributes his success in the draft to shutting off red from the start. Normally the forgotten color in Odyssey block draft, "red is pretty strong if you manage to get all of it", he says. Somewhere, Zvi Mowshowitz is smiling.

Kotaro Ootsuka
"Touch KTO" Japan National 6th after Swiss

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