Thursday evening, Wizards of the Coast announced that it had suspended Yuuya Watanabe for 30 months, removed him from the Magic Pro League, and rescinded his membership in the Hall of Fame. This came nearly two weeks after Watanabe was disqualified from Mythic Championship II London for marked cards.

In their statement, Wizards said that “the sleeves in question were examined multiple times by multiple judges and tournament officials,” who determined that the cards were marked. “[We] reviewed recordings of matches from Mythic Championship II as well as past tournaments,” Wizards continued, “and we considered statements from Watanabe as well as Mythic Championship II judges and tournament officials” in coming to their decision.

Wizards also said that Watanabe’s replacement in the Magic Pro League will be announced next week.

Watanabe’s disqualification from Mythic Championship II London came after the conclusion of Round 16 when he appeared to have locked a spot in the Top 8. But as the Top 8 announcement was being prepared, host Rich Hagon read a statement on stream saying that Watanabe had been disqualified from the event for marked cards.

A few days later, his sponsor, Cygames, released images of Watanabe’s sleeves from the last few rounds of the Mythic Championship. They show clear markings on the sleeves of the Watanabe’s Tron lands.

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Watanabe also released a statement, saying that he had “never cheated over ten plus years of [his] career in playing professional Magic.” He also claimed that he didn’t “have any explanations as to what happened” and that he “never made those marks on [his] sleeves.”

Watanabe is one of Magic’s most decorated players. He won the 2012 Players Championship and the 2017 World Magic Cup with the Japanese national team, and has been the Player of the Year twice (2009 and 2012). He has five career Pro Tour/Mythic Championship Top 8s, as well as seven Grand Prix wins, which is tied for first all-time with Kai Budde and Shuhei Nakamura. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016.

The Second MPL Member Removed in as Many Weeks

Watanabe joins Owen Turtenwald as the second player removed from the inaugural season of the Magic Pro League.

Turtenwald was removed from the Magic Pro League roster two weeks ago after being disinvited from the Mythic InvitationalKotaku reported that he had been accused of allegedly “exhibit[ing] a pattern of predatory behavior toward female Magic players that spans several years.” Like Watanabe, Turtenwald is a decorated Magic player, with five Pro Tour/Mythic Championship Top 8s and winning the 2015–16 Player of the Year title. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2016, along with Watanabe.

The 2016 Hall of Fame class.

Watanabe is the only member to be removed from the Hall of Fame after his induction. Tomoharu Saito was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2010, but his election was rescinded after he was disqualified from Grand Prix Florence for stalling.

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