Final Draft: Packs Skew to Japan

Posted in Event Coverage on December 3, 2005

By Ted Knutson

After facing off in Round 21 of the Team Rochester on Saturday, the United States and Japan had a little knowledge about how the other team might go in the Final Draft. However, since Japan won their previous encounter, the U.S. was left with something to prove.

The opening of the packs seemed to favor the Japanese.

The draft quality seemed to skew a bit in favor of the Japanese players, with Ichiro Shimura (Seat A) ending up with the strongest deck at the table. His green-black monstrosity included a ton of token generators, and pump spells, and is topped off with Vulturous Zombie, one of the best cards in the set. Jon Sonne, Ichiro's opponent, has a decent deck, but probably needs to draw spells in the right combination to have a shot in that matchup.

The two national champions drafted near-mirror Boros decks in Seat B, but Takuma Morifuji has three Viashino Fangtails plus Bathe in Light and a solid combination of men. Antonino De Rosa has spells instead of men for removal and is splashing green for Guardian of Vitu-Ghazi at the top end of his curve, something Team USA felt would be good in the matchup. Opinions on that matchup varied widely, since De Rosa seems to have enough removal to eliminate any Fangtail advantage, but Morifuji's deck could just get out of hand if he can't handle the 'tails.

Finally you have Seat C, where Oiso drafted a solid, but unspectacular Dimir deck, and Reeves continued his trend of picking four-color green. Reeves's deck is extremely strong, containing two Last Gasp, two Farseek, and a host of fat men that could compete at the pending winter sumo basho. Two Siege Wurms, Grave-Shell Scarab, and Ursapine would be very hard for Oiso to handle, as would Trophy Hunter, should it manage to live for a turn or two.

Oiso felt his deck and his draft had turned out reasonably well, but so did Reeves, and the only thing Neil was worried about was the possibility that Oiso would get his counterspells early and quash a boom boom or two while beating down through the air.

Listed below are how the complete picks unfolded.

  Japan A Japan B Japan C USA A USA B USA C
  Ichiro Shimura Takuma Morofuji Masashi Oiso Jonathan Sonne Antonino De Rosa Neil Reeves
1 Carven Caryatid Veteran Armorer Vedalken Dismisser Clinging Darkness Thundersong Trumpeter Grave-Shell Scarab
1 Gather Courage Nightguard Patrol Perplex Flight of Fancy Sparkmage Apprentice Auratouched Mage
2 Greater Mossdog Goblin Spelunkers Drooling Groodion Selesnya Evangel Galvanic Arc Trophy Hunter
2 Woodwraith Corrupter Caregiver Selesnya Sanctuary Roofstalker Wight Stasis Cell Elves of Deep Shadow
3 Civic Wayfinder Boros Signet Gaze of the Gorgon Drift of Phantasms Sandsower Disembowel
3 Selesnya Signet Coalhauler Swine Netherborn Phalanx Drake Familiar Leave No Trace Stone-Seeder Hierophant
4 Mausoleum Turnkey Sell-Sword Brute Tattered Drake Roofstalker Wight Brainspoil Ribbons of Night
4 Nullmage Shepherd Boros Garrison Vinelasher Kudzu Mortipede Guardian of Vitu-Ghazi Golgari Brownscale
5 Siege Wurm Screeching Griffin Sell-Sword Brute Civic Wayfinder Rally the Righteous Moldervine Cloak
5 Sadistic Augermage Torpid Moloch Golgari Rot Farm Root-Kin Ally Elvish Skysweeper Dark Confidant
6 Flame Fusillade Viashino Fangtail Last Gasp Greater Mossdog Courier Hawk Farseek
6 Thoughtpicker Witch Viashino Slasher Stasis Cell Rolling Spoil Guardian of Vitu-Ghazi Overwhelm
7 Selesnya Guildmage Wojek Siren Terraformer Psychic Drain Veteran Armorer Chord of Calling
7 Golgari Germination Barbarian Riftcutter Flight of Fancy Thoughtpicker Witch Selesnya Sanctuary Dogpile
8 Scatter the Seeds Hunted Lammasu Surveilling Sprite Dimir House Guard Divebomber Griffin Siege Wurm
8 Nullmage Shepherd Fiery Conclusion Golgari Brownscale Boros Signet War-Torch Goblin Seed Spark
9 Scatter the Seeds Sparkmage Apprentice Circu, Dimir Lobotomist Snapping Drake Lightning Helix Fists of Ironwood
9 Centaur Safeguard Dimir Signet Tidewater Minion Sadistic Augermage Boros Recruit Twisted Justice
10 Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran Faith's Fetters Belltower Sphinx Putrefy Courier Hawk Transluminant
10 Recollect Rally the Righteous Strands of Undeath Dimir Aqueduct Drift of Phantasms Snapping Drake
11 Vulturous Zombie Goblin Spelunkers Belltower Sphinx Disembowel Auratouched Mage Farseek
11 Woodwraith Strangler Rain of Embers Induce Paranoia Remand Boros Signet Dimir Aqueduct
12 Last Gasp Viashino Fangtail Psychic Drain Tattered Drake Guardian of Vitu-Ghazi Golgari Rotwurm
12 Thoughtpicker Witch Chant of Vitu-Ghazi Strands of Undeath Vigor Mortis Boros Garrison Transluminant
13 Transluminant Viashino Fangtail Last Gasp Dimir House Guard Watchwolf Fists of Ironwood
13 Gather Courage Boros Fury-Shield Svogthos, the Restless Tomb Belltower Sphinx Dimir Infiltrator Vedalken Dismisser
14 Transluminant Sparkmage Apprentice Necroplasm Tidewater Minion Viashino Fangtail Devouring Light
14 Fists of Ironwood Centaur Safeguard Sadistic Augermage Junktroller Selesnya Signet Ivy Dancer
15 Sewerdreg Sell-Sword Brute Ethereal Usher Brainspoil Goblin Spelunkers Siege Wurm
15 Convolute Voyager Staff Stinkweed Imp Telling Time Wojek Siren Dimir Aqueduct
16 Overwhelm Firemane Angel Lurking Informant Strands of Undeath Galvanic Arc Last Gasp
16 Greater Forgeling Bathe in Light Golgari Rot Farm Tattered Drake Terrarion Consult the Necrosages
17 Golgari Rot Farm Faith's Fetters Vedalken Entrancer Dimir House Guard Sandsower Ursapine
17 Fists of Ironwood War-Torch Goblin Netherborn Phalanx Compulsive Research Screeching Griffin Drake Familiar
18 Gather Courage Skyknight Legionnaire Stinkweed Imp Tidewater Minion Conclave Equenaut Elvish Skysweeper
18 Indentured Oaf Boros Fury-Shield Quickchange Golgari Signet Frenzied Goblin Razia's Purification

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