Draft Strategy: Car Acrobatic Taem vs. Panzer Hunter

Posted in Event Coverage

By Adrian Sullivan

Panzer Hunter

The strategies of these two teams for the Masters Team Rochester Draft are almost as different as the teams themselves. Car Acrobatic Team (Aaron Forsythe, Andrew Johnson, Andrew Cuneo) is comprised of several veterans from The New CMU from Pittsburgh, and though only one of the players is actually playing in this Pro Tour. Their opponents, local heroes Panzer Hunter (Momose Kazayuki, Itaru Ishida, and Reiji Ando) are anchored by Ishida (13th place in Los Angeles 1998, and three Grand Prix Top 8's), and though Kazauki and Ando are fairly inexperienced as individuals, it was their Team Limited rating that brought them here to this event.

Both teams employed pre-selected colors, though with some very different reasons. Car Acrobatic Team selected a few flexible seats, but in general wanted to have some rigid selections that would cover all of the gold cards. Johnson would be playing Green/White, Cuneo Black/Blue/White, and Forsythe Red/Black. Cuneo and Johnson were to be the flexible seats - Cuneo would lean into White or Black depending on his opponent's card choices, and Johnson would start as Green/White, but would splash in any number of colors (typically Red) all the way up to a Five-Color Green deck if necessary.

Panzer Hunter's draft was also designed to be flexible, but rather than have such a specific arrangement of colors, they purposely chose the colors vaguely. Kazayuki was to play Black and Ando was to play Red. The rest of the draft would choose the colors for each member of the team. Itaru Ishida would chose his colors based on the flow of the draft, as well as dictating his teammates color changes. Kazayuki and Ando both preferred Black and Red, and had much experience drafting color combinations with their respective colors. Ultimately, Ishida would play "senior advisor" to the team - while each teammate would give forth their opinion on the correct draft choice, Ishida would have the final say.

Contrast this to Car Acrobatic Team's decision to give each individual in the draft ultimate power over their own cards.

"We all value most of the cards very similarly. When we draft, I might want a card or Aaron might want the same card, but we'll figure out together who should get it very quickly."

Both teams had a similar opinion on "hate-drafting." "We want to basically be very flexible," said Ishida. "If the strong cards are there for our deck we'll take them, but sometimes we will counter. We will try to be flexible to do both. We don't want to waste packs and not get something for our team out of a pack."

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Forsythe concurred. "Sometimes you can look at a pack and see that the other team really needs cards, so you cut those. Other times, you just take it for your team. There are too many situations when you can go one way or another to really lean any one way."

Aaron Forsythe is the only player between Car Acrobatic Team and Panzer Hunters to actually be playing in the Pro Tour. This puts a lot more at stake mentally for all of the other players.

"The Pro Tour looks boring. The decks don't seem very exciting, and I'm glad to be drafting," said Andrew Cuneo. "My focus is all on this."

Panzer Hunter was similarly focused.

"We really want to win! We're just going to do our best, but we think we can do it, and we're really hoping it happens," smiled Panzer captain Ishida.

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