It's draft time, and we're going to take a look at the picks and packs of 2006 Player of the Year Shouta Yasooka. That's 2006 Player of the Year, and possibly 2011 Player of the Year too, since Shouta is having an excellent year that sees him in sixth place. With ten Pro Points going to the National Champion, plus the chance to generate more at Worlds, this is a big weekend for Shouta, taking his crack at Nationals glory ahead of rivals like Americans Ben Stark, Owen Turtenwald, David Sharfman, and Luis Scott-Vargas, the Czech standout Martin Juza, and Brazil's Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa.
Two white cards confronted Shouta in pack one. He could take Gideon's Lawkeeper, the 1/1 tapper for one, or go with the rare Gideon's Avenger. As the head judge counted down the last three seconds ('San, ni, ichi, drafto!) he took the Lawkeeper, but having avoided the double white in pack one immediately bit the bullet in pack two with Serra Angel. Tormented Soul was the best out of a mediocre third pack, but he was happy to get Garruk's Companion fourth. With Wring Flesh at five, and Llanowar Elves at six, he now had two cards in each of three colors. Child of Night and a late Sorin's Thirst seemed to push him towards black as pack one came to a close.
A second Gideon's Lawkeeper was waiting at the start of pack two, but he spent a long time considering Rune-Scarred Demon, the 6/6 flyer that also acts as a tutor for seven mana. This really was a crossroads in the draft, as the Demon would have definitely left him black, while the Lawkeeper would leave the door open to either white-black or white-green. He finally plumped for the Lawkeeper, and found a green rare in pack two, the 5/7 Arachnus Spinner. He was very quick to pick up Timely Reinforcements, and then the green goodness flowed his way.
Garruk's Companion, Titanic Growth, Jade Mage, Lurking Crocodile, Naturalize...It looked as if he had navigated his way to a rich seam of playables. A highly usable Plummet right before the end of the pack confirmed that he was in a good spot going into the final pack.
Then came trouble. At first, as he flicked through the pack, he was pleased with another Garruk's Companion, a comfortable improvement on the other reasonable pick, an Armored Warhorse. Then he saw the rare - a second Rune-Scarred Demon! The usually restrained Yasooka couldn't hold himself in, the frustration physically evident as he began to picture the black deck he could have had. Still, Garruk's Companion number three was no disaster, and he quickly marshalled his thoughts, taking Oblivion Ring second and Stingerfling Spider third. With double Arachnus Web and an Acidic Slime joining the ranks, plus a second Titanic Growth ready to help the Companions punch through, things had worked out rather nicely. And surely nobody would end up with both Rune-Scarred Demons. Would they?