Sealed Deck 1: P.S.2

Posted in Event Coverage on May 11, 2002

By Josh Bennett

No, that's not just copyright infringement. In this case it also stands for "Poor Shark 2". The original Poor Shark were Masashiro Kuroda, Tomomi Ootsuka and Masahiko Morita, and on the strength of their three talents they took Grand Prix - Yokohama by storm last year, losing in the finals to ABU. Ootsuka scored a moral victory there, defeating Dave Williams after he scoffed that his would be the easiest match because he was playing a girl. She took him down a peg.

She couldn't be sure that she'd have this weekend free, however, so Kuroda and Morita needed a third. How about last year's Rookie of the Year? If they were strong before, the presence of Katsuhiro "Lightning" Mori has made them downright dangerous.

As soon as they had their product Mori tori into it, the dreck flying out of his hands and into a haphazard pile at the end of the table. He bemoaned the fact that their three Cabal Rituals could just as easily have been Butchers or Crippling Fatigues. They immediately split the colors: Kuroda with all the black and red, Morita with the blue and white. Mori had the green.

Mori added some of the blue, but it seemed a little clunky. He has two huge bombs: Overrun and Narcissism, which was great. It just seemed like his curve was too high, without tremendous early beatdown to go with a pair of Muscle Bursts. He ripped out the blue for a more traditional red arsenal borrowed from Kuroda. Firebolt, Flame Burst, Reckless Charge and Crackling Club, along with Mad Dog and Lithatog and Demoralize. He considers running triple Petravark, but leaves only two in.

Of course, now Morita had all the blue goodies. His white cards (Embolden, Shelter, Major Teroh, Kirtar's Desire, Patrol Hound and Angelic Wall) were not amazing, and he swapped them for all of Kuroda's black. Kuroda tried to turn his pile into a red-white beatdown, but couldn't make it happen.

Mori surrendered his red in hopes of salvaging Kuroda's deck. He returned to his Standstill, Ghostly Wings, Skywing Aven and Breakthrough, supplementing his deck's aggressive nature. Surprisingly, he had the Compulsion in his deck as well. Asked later why it wasn't hanging with Morita's blue-black, Mori replied simply that "Morita hates Compulsion. He's worried that if he faces a red-green deck it will be too slow."

Morita continued to shuffle around his removal and fliers (Shadowmage Infiltrator, too!), trying to find room for early defenders. He joked that he should run Plagiarize and two Words of Wisdom. Mori moved them to his side of the table so Morita wouldn't be tempted.

Kuroda couldn't get his deck to click, and when he picked up the white he realized that there were about seven cards worth playing, but nothing ridiculous. With that revelation, he put white on the shelf and took what red-black scraps he could find. Rancid Earth went well with the three Petravarks. He tried Sickening Dreams, but his team was short on toughness. He shipped it to Morita. Morita handed it of to Mori, who decided to splash it. Though far from satisfied, Kuroda felt he finally had a workable build.

Meanwhile, the other two decks were being finalized. Their card pools shortcomings were finally clear. In addition to white not even meriting a splash, their black and red were both light on removal. Their strength was green, meaning that Mori could get by with very little. Morita got the lion's share of the removal: Ghastly Demise, Morbid Hunger, Waste Away and Painbringer. Add to that the usual fliers, bounce, and a dash of search.

At the last minute the Sickening Dreams made its way back to Kuroda, this time in the sideboard. Mori was worried about his mana getting awkward, and since his was the powerhouse, he wanted it to run consistently. All in all, they were happy with their decisions and felt like they did good work with a tough pool.

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