Semifinal Draft: S.S.D. vs. N.G.O.K.

Posted in Event Coverage on May 12, 2002

By Josh Bennett

N.G.O.K.It's an all-out war of the acronyms. At least, that's how it looks. On one side is S.S.D., standing for "Syami Shu D" which can be very loosely interpreted as "Sneaky, Shu(uhei), and the Villain". They are Naoki Kabouchi, Shuuhei Nakamura and Kimio Imai, and are the least-decorated members of the Top 4. They hope to change that with this draft. Their opponents' name, N.G.O.K., stands for N(a)G(a)OK(a), in homage to their third wheel, Takayuki Nagaoka. Masayuki Higashino and Tsuyoshi Fujita have gone through more than their share of thirds, and they hope Nagaoka will be the one to put them over the top.

N.G.O.K. kicked off. Initially, S.S.D. set themselves up loosely. Nakamura would be white, Imai would be blue-black, and Kabouchi would run interferance on the opponents, while taking green cards. Seeing that N.G.O.K. were sticking to their gameplan with Nagaoka green-red, Fujita blue-white and Higashino red-black, they made a shift. Kabouchi started taking blue, and Nakamura went into black. But where would they put the red?

The first bombs came late in the first pack. Nagaoka cracked a pack that would run through his team, and it contained both Savage Firecat and Shower of Coals. They put the Shower with Higashino and the Firecat with Nagaoka. When a second Shower fell into Kabouchi's pile, it seemed like S.S.D. had found a home for their red. An Engulfing Flames confirmed it.

S.S.D.For the second set of packs, things pretty much continued in that vein. Higashino kept his curve low and doubled-up on Dusk Imps. Fujita got started into black for Psychatog and ended up gtting a Patriarch's Desire to go with it. Nagaoka's red-green continue to pile up tricks and monsters.

On the other side of the board, things were not so clear-cut. While remaining dedicated to their colours it seemed that S.S.D. was unable to turn their decks from mere collections of cards into well-oiled killing machines. As the packs wound down, they grew more and more anxious. Fujita couldn't help but to smile and nod at the way things were proceeding.

Torment was not kind to S.S.D. It seemed that the packs were always rich in the wrong color. Nowhere was it more apparent than when Narcissism came one pack too late to end up in Kabouchi's pile. Imai counterdrafted it, but was far from pleased. By contrast, N.G.O.K. cracked Violent Eruption and Crippling Fatigue in Nagaoka's seat, so he could take the burn and pass the Fatigue to Higashino. The disaster was made complete in the final pack when Imai used his sixth pick on Dwell on the Pass. Clearly, S.S.D. were disheartened.

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