Draft Report with Shota Yasooka: Sushi Time

Posted in GRAND PRIX CHIBA 2015 on May 31, 2015

By Chapman Sim

[*Editors Note: Fact or Fiction? You decide!]

The epic Modern Masters Weekend is about to become even more epic.

Grand Prix Las Vegas was split into two separate Grand Prix events owing to it's sheer size. However, did you know that it is also a double Grand Prix weekend here in Chiba?

The One-And-Only Sushi Hero

Team MTG Mint Card's Shota Yasooka is no stranger to the spotlight. After winning Pro Tour Charleston back in 2006, he went on claim the Player of the Year title in the very same season and came back with a vengeance with a finalist finish at Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir.

He was also the first player to be crowned the Magic Online Player of the Year and let's not forget that he has also 19 whopping Grand Prix Top 8s to his name.


Shota Yasooka, the Sushi Hero

Today, Yasooka has broke into the Top 8 at Grand Prix Sushi Time and will be playing for yet another accolade. The title of being the "Sushi Time Champion" was at stake.

Since he is one of the greatest minds of all time, I decided to catalogue his picks in possibly the "most important" Top 8 Booster Draft of his career.


Grand Prix Sushi Time Top 8 Players

Top 8 Draft Report


Shota Yasooka's Booster Pack in the Top 8 Draft

Yasooka opened his sushi booster and contemplated hard about his first pick. He poked around the fifteen pieces of sushi presented to him and went through all of them one by one, flipping some of them over carefully with his pair of chopsticks for inspection.

He was spoilt for choice and had the option of Flatfish, Mackerel, Smelt and two pieces of Roe. Of course, he could also attempt to force green by picking either Alfalfa or the "super-value" Cucumber roll, which was five times the size of any other pick.

According to Nate Price, "Tuna is clearly the obvious easy first pick and I can see the Squid tabling. It's entirely possible."

Yasooka had a different opinion, however, and promptly settled for the Mackerel. By picking a silver fish and keeping his options open, he would be able to read the signals before jumping to conclusions.

The second pick saw him deviate slightly, but not by much. Yasooka followed up his first pick "colorless fish" with yet another type of "colorless fish", this time a piece of Smelt.

The Smelt is a type of small fish commonly found in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and would complement his Mackerel greatly. His meal, oops, I mean deck, was off to a good start.


Shota Yasooka agonizes over his next pick.

A piece of highly nutritious Tobiko Flying Fish Roe was staring back at him in the third sushi booster and it was a tempting offer. However, Yasooka never looked back and continued to stay disciplined in the most important Top 8 Booster Draft of his life. Rather than switching over, he picked up a second piece of Mackerel.

By the fourth and fifth pick, it was obvious that Yasooka had made the wise choice and the "colorless fishes" were wide open. He snagged yet another pair of Mackerel and he would be rewarded for his choice.

After all, if you're piloting a colorless deck, you did not need to devote any picks to smoothen your mana base and that was probably the strategy Yasooka was going for.

Unbeknownst to him, his opponent sitting on the opposite side of the table was in Mono-Red, and had already picked up four pieces of "Fish Roe" in his first five picks.

"That's not 4 picks in a row, but 4 roes in a pick! Fish decks in Legacy have traditionally been bad against Burn Spells, and I'm really worried about Yasooka's chances in his quarterfinals," Rich Hagon mentioned with a grim look on his face.


Commentators Rich Hagon and Nate Price are worried about Shota Yasooka's picks.

Despite our opinions, Yasooka continued netting the fish before deciding to dip into his first color. It was a good choice too, because all the Mackerel had started to dry up anyway and he was forced to move into other options.

"I have always liked Blue decks, and I was really happy to see the two Eggplant sushi table back. They look blue enough to me and it is a good splash for my deck," Yasooka was clearly happy about his chances.

Eventually, he rounded off his draft by receiving a vegetable sushi and a pickle sushi last. This was solid proof that green was the underdrafted color in this format and perhaps the only green drafter at the table would be handsomely rewarded.

"The Octopus I was hoping for did not table back. I was hoping to splash some Octopus," Yasooka said with slight disappointment.

After the Head Judge announced that they had 45 seconds to review their picks without eating them, players headed for the stations to pick up the required amount of wasabi and soy sauce as they needed.


Shota Yasooka's Grand Prix Sushi Time Top 8 Decklist.

So what did he think about his deck?

"It's very good! I think it should be an easy win!"

Shota Yasooka's Sushi Draft – Grand Prix Sushi Time (Top 8)

Download Arena Decklist
Other (14)
6 Mackerel 4  Smelt 2 Eggplant 1 Some Soy Sauce 1 Some Wasabi
14 Cards
Sideboard (3)
1  Smelt 1 Vegetable 1 Pickle


Some of Yasooka's opponent's appetizing decklists.

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