That Time Magic Removed a Hall of Famer from the Magic Hall of Fame for Super Obvious Cheating

Yuuya Watanabe. (WOTC)

Meet Yuuya Watanabe, the Lance Armstrong of MTG

Since 2005, and as of March 2022, there have been 48 Magic players inducted into Magic: The Gathering's Hall of Fame. Getting in is a big deal and an honor. You're a legend, pure and simple.

The HOF is also rather representative of Magic players from all over the world. While there are 21 inductees from the U.S.A., there are a bunch from all over the Americas, Europe, and Asia as well.

The thing is, though, that should have been 49 players in the Hall rather than 48 with eight of them hailing from Japan rather than seven. So what happened?

Meet Yuuya Watanabe, the Lance Armstrong of MTG. He got his start playing professional Magic at the 2007 Kyoto Grand Prix, which he won. First timers on the tour usually don't win the whole thing, and in the next few years proved that it wasn't a fluke.

Playing in tournaments all over the world, Yuuya consistently stayed in the top 8 in Grand Prix, Nationals, and Pro Tour events. After a 2009 win, he went another few years without another tournament win. But then came the 2011 and 2012 seasons. 

He managed to win the 2011 Grand Prix Standard event in Shanghai that August. Less than a week later, he was in Pittsburgh at the Grand Prix there suffering from jet lag. No problem as he won there too. After a quiet few months, Yuuya proceeded to get two more Grand Prix wins in the first half of 2012, followed by a Player's Championship win in Seattle. Over the course of the following eight years, Yuuya still won a lot, but also when he didn't, he was still somewhere in the event's top 8. All of this success led Wizards of the Coast to give him a coveted Hall of Fame spot  in 2016. Just like that, he was a legend.

Just a few years later, however, it all came tumbling down.

You see, in 2019 Yuuya was in London competing at Magic's Mythic Championship II. During the event, judges decided to do a quick card check and found that he had been marking his cards. Specifically, the marks on his sleeves meant that he was able to know exactly which cards were where in his deck -- a big "no no" for the game.

Punishment was swift.

He was banned for 30 months, was removed from the Magic Pro League and (as you probably expected by now) was removed from Magic: The Gathering's Hall of Fame.

And just like, one act of cheating pretty much destroyed everything for Yuuya. After that, Magic began looking harder for cheaters.

The lesson here? It's kind of awesome to be in the Hall of Fame. Oh, and DON'T CHEAT.

Evan Symon

Evan Symon is a graduate of The University of Akron and has been a working journalist ever since with works published by Cracked, GeekNifty, the Pasadena Independent, California Globe, and, of course, Magic Untapped.