Drafting with Yuta Takahashi

Posted in GRAND PRIX HONG KONG 2015 on August 9, 2015

By Chapman Sim

Most people remember Jacob Van Lunen and Chris Lachmann as the "Sliver Kids" who won the Two-Headed Giant Pro Tour. But how many of you actually know that the finalists were Yuuta Takahashi and Kentaro Yamamoto?


Pro Tour San Diego 2007 Finalists, Kentaro Yamamoto and Yuta Takahashi

At that time, they had no achievements whatsoever, with nary a single Grand Prix Top 8. It's been 7 years and it is apparent that both Japanese players have come a long way.

Kentaro Yamamoto most recently made his third Pro Tour Top 8 at Pro Tour Magic Origins. He has elected to stay home to prepare for the upcoming World Championship, which he qualified for at the eleventh hour by virtue of his excellent run in Vancouver. Takahashi also did excellently, finishing in the Top 16.

Anyway, Takahashi has 9 Grand Prix Top 8s (including 3 victories) and currently sits at 10-2. He would likely need a 2-0-1 result if he wanted his 10th. Takahashi made Top 8 at Grand Prix Hong Kong 2013, and intends to do it again!

Pack 1

Takahashi's booster presented him with War Oracle, Wild Instincts, Sigiled Starfish and he went with the white card. Ghirapur Gearcrafter was the most solid card next pick and Blazing Hellhound was too tempting to pass up. Enthralling Victor would go nicely with it, and it seemed like white might be shafted in favor for the Black Red sacrifice deck.

Pack 1 Picks

  1. War Oracle
  2. Ghirapur Gearcrafter
  3. Blazing Hellhound
  4. Iroas's Champion
  5. Enthralling Victor
  6. Guardian Automaton
  7. Bonded Construct
  8. Read the Bones
  9. Returned Centaur
  10. Undead Servant
  11. Enlightened Ascetic
  12. Returned Centaur
  13. Rabid Bloodsucker
  14. Demolish

Pack 2

Takahashi was forced to take Subterranean Scout as his first pick from a weak booster, but was glad to pick up a second Enthralling Victor. If only more Nantuko Husks came along and if the Act of Treasons could table.

Thopter Spy Network and Separatist Voidmage came by 5th, but Takahashi stuck to his guns and went with Prickleboar. However, the Black and Red cards started to dry up and it looked like Takahashi's deck was in a dire state.

Pack 2 Picks

  1. Subterranean Scout
  2. Enthralling Victor
  3. Unholy Hunger
  4. Eyeblight Massacre
  5. Prickleboar
  6. Necromantic Summons
  7. Undead Servant
  8. Sylvan Messenger
  9. Alchemist's Vial
  10. Smash to Smithereens
  11. Volcanic Rambler
  12. Macabre Waltz
  13. Negate
  14. Bellows Lizard

Pack 3

Takahashi was once again disappointed with the booster he opened, and was forced to hate draft Suppression Bonds out of a booster with nothing. Thankfully, a pair of Deadbridge Shaman and Nantuko Husk rolled around, improving his deck significantly.

Pack 3 Picks

  1. Suppression Bonds
  2. Deadbridge Shaman
  3. Bonded Construct
  4. Deadbridge Shaman
  5. Nantuko Husk
  6. Enthralling Victor
  7. Nantuko Husk
  8. Necromantic Summons
  9. Bone to Ash
  10. Dark Petition
  11. Rabid Bloodsucker
  12. Cobblebrute
  13. Aven Battle Priest
  14. Dreadwaters

Yuta Takahashi's Day 2 Draft 2 (Black Red)

"My deck is so bad. Super bad," Takahashi embarrassingly admits.

Indeed, there were many reasons to for Takahashi to be unhappy about, even though it is perfectly capable of winning with the sweet combo of Nantuko Husk and Enthralling Victor.

Not only did his deck lack two drops, it was also devoid of cheap removal spells such as Fiery Impulse or Reave Soul. The curve of the deck is incredibly high, resulting in a clunky final product.

I count six 4-mana cards, six 5-mana cards and one 6-mana card, meaning that more than half of the 23 non-land cards in his deck cannot be deployed before turn 4.


Yuta Takahashi playing in Round 13, while Yuuya Watanabe watches worriedly.

"Because the deck is so bad, maybe I need to build my deck in a different way. I call it the 'Lucky Win Deck'."

He proceeded to cut four cards (Macabre Waltz, Dark Petition, Eyeblight Massacre and Read the Bones) to fit in an 18th land, Cobblebrute and 2 Rabid Bloodsuckers. So that is what he meant by the "Lucky Win Deck", trying to steal wins with some of the worst cards in the format. Hmm...

Anyway, he is fighting for his life as we speak. Will his Black Red deck deliver or crash and burn? Takahashi doesn't fancy his chances, and honestly nor do I.

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