MTG bans Yuuya Watanabe from the MPL, removes him from the MTG Hall of Fame

Watanabe was deemed guilty and the punishment is severe.

Yuyya Watanabe disqualified in MTG Mythic Championship II
Image via Wizards of the Coast Magic: The Gathering

Upon completing an investigation into the disqualification of Yuuya Watanabe during MTG Mythic Championship II, the Magic Pro League (MPL) has banned Watanabe.

Accused of marking card sleeves of important lands in his Modern Constructed deck on day two of MTG Mythic Championship II in London, Watanabe insisted he was innocent and suggested possible framing by Magic: The Gathering judges.

The MPL, however, has been conducting their own investigation since the tournament and announced today Watanabe is officially banned from all DCI-sanctioned events. He’s also been removed from the MPL and from the Magic: The Gathering Hall of Fame.

“We reviewed recordings of matches from Mythic Championship II, as well as past tournaments,” the MPL said. “The result of that investigation is that, effectively immediately, Watanabe is banned.”  

Watanabe’s sponsor, Team Cygames, also conducted an internal investigation and it claims that Watanabe is innocent. Cygames blamed tournament officials for being inconsistent in their deck checks and even insinuated Watanabe may have been framed by a disgruntled judge.

It didn’t take long for the MPL to respond, declaring Watanabe cheated at the second Mythic Championship while also suggesting it’s been done in previous tournaments as well.

Watanabe was two-time player of the year and former Hall of Famer, but many pro tournament players and other MPL pros were calling for strict punishment. Cheating at such a high-level is intolerable, not just by the MPL, but the players in the league too.

While Watanabe may show he’s changed in the next 30 months, it’s unlikely Magic: The Gathering players and fans will accept him back into the community anyway.