Translated by Ron Foster
• "I Just Got Lucky"
That's what Mihara kept repeating during this interview: "I just got lucky. I'm just an amateur." Still, it takes more than luck to make Top 8 of any event, least of all a National Championship, and Mihara definitely has skill. This is his second year at Nationals, and he recently qualified for the Pro Tour, attending Venice. Regardless of what he may think of himself, he can hardly be called a casual player. Still, claiming he was lucky may be more than just humilty.
• "I Should Have Practiced More"
According to Mihara, he practiced less for this year's Nationals than any other premier event he's attended so far. The reason for that, he says, is that the store he usually played at in his home of Ooita recently went out of business, and now the only time he can play is on the weekends at friends' houses. On top of that, none of the people he plays we with are interested in playing in QTs or big events, meaning it's difficult to convince them to draft, and they're more interested in having fun than analyzing their picks.
In such a situation, Mihara turned to the Internet to gather information about the formats used at this year's Nationals. For Standard, he chose to play a Psychatog deck he found online and tweaked. As for the draft, he says he owes his success to the rares he pulled, in particular Decree of Pain and Insurrection. "They're both really expensive, but I knew that if I lived long enough to play either, I would win."
Still, it takes more than luck to win Japan Nationals. When asked what he thinks his play style is, he unhesitatingly responded "analytical", and from what this reporter has seen, that's an accurate appraisal. Mihara plays carefully, and is not given to rash decisions. His ability to accurately analyze the board, combined with a little bit of luck, is what has led him this far. We'll see if it can take him to the next level.
2003 Japan Nationals Standard deck