Drafting with Takuya Osawa

Posted in Event Coverage on January 31, 2016

By Chapman Sim

Takuya Osawa might not have been the hottest player in recent memory, but a decade ago, he was. At Pro Tour Prague 2006, he defeated Joe Crosby, Shuhei Nakamura and Aaron Brackman enroute to the Champion trophy.

Takuya Osawa, Pro Tour Prague 2006 Champion

A year later, he made it to the Sunday stage once more, this time at Pro Tour Geneva 2007. Making it through to the finals yet again, he was unable to repeat the feat and lost to eventual Champion Mike Hron. who recently won Team Limited events Grand Prix Kyoto and Grand Prix Beijing.

Active for three seasons around 2004 to 2007, that era saw Osawa play at the highest pinnacle of competitive Magic. Today, he works in the Trading Card Game industry as a playtester and he has proven that he's still got the goods.

Despite having no Byes, he managed to go undefeated with his Black-Red featuring Thought-Knot Seer, Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, Tyrant of Valakut, Oblivion Sower and Reality Smasher! That's a lot of insane cards, and in the hands of a great player, a 9-0 record is unsurprising!

Let's Draft with Takura Osawa!

Pack 1: Oath of the Gatewatch

Ripping open the first Booster, he quickly decided on Mina and Denn, Wildborn as his first pick. It seemed like the perfect card to kickstart a Landfall deck, even if it comes with the liability of being multicolored. He followed that up with Nissa's Judgment, which in his opinion is one of the best cards in the most underdrafted color.

After passing Devour in Flames for the Red-Green Legendary Creature, he was glad to receive a replacement for his third pick. Spatial Contortion might be a great card, but Sylvan Advocate was superior. Not only was it a quality two-drop, it also had late-game applications.

Not that either Red or Green was dying out, but the fifth pick would prove to be the turning point for Osawa's entire draft. He was surprised to see Isolation Zone, which was a strong indication that White was wide open. He decided to pick it, and followed that up with Wall of Resurgence, confirming his initial suspicions.

Pack 2: Oath of the Gatewatch

Boulder Salvo was briefly considered, but now that Osawa had shifted into White-Green, he opted for Relief Captain, passing Scion Summoner and Thought-Knot Seer. Captain's Claws over Saddleback Lagac was reasonable, since it would go greatly with his next pick of Spawnbinder Mage. A second Tranquil Expanse further enhanced his mana base and a sixth pick Spawnbinder Mage joined his deck.

"I just love Spawnbinder Mage. It's such a great card!"

Pack 3: Battle for Zendikar

It's time for the final booster, this time returning to Battle for Zendikar! Oran-Rief Hydra and Snapping Gnarlid were both great cards, but he was quick to decide on the latter. "It is a two-drop, and will play nicely with Saddleback Lagac and Relief Captain."

The Booster passed to him was unimpressive, offering only Grove Rumbler, Outnumber and Tajuru Stalwart as options. Since he would unlikely be splashing Red, he went with the Converge Ally. Desolation Twin reared both their ugly heads, but Makindi Patrol was the more sensible choice, perfect with a pair of Spawnbinder Mages. A second Snapping Gnarlid was received, shipping Kozilek's Channeler, and he also nabbed a 6th pick Angelic Gift.

Looking Back

After constructing his deck, Osawa had some time to shed some light on his card choices. He explains that his deck was sorely lacking fliers and evasion, and that Angelic Gift was great in Green-based decks with a lot of fatties.

His deck offered some pretty nifty combos, and he pointed out that Captain's Claws and Kor Entanglers was particularly devastating combination. Pairing the Equipment with Grovetender Druids isn't too shabby either.

Also passing a pair of Lifespring Druids that could have been used to help him make the Red splash, he shared that it was never part of his plan. "Lifespring Druid is very bad in my deck, I want more low drops to apply pressure, and to maximize my Allies and Support cards. Splashing a color in a deck like mine only dilutes the strategy."

At the time of press, he dropped the first match but will attempt to win the next two. "I think this is a 2-1 deck. I've got quality creatures, but very poor spells. It will take a bit of luck!"

Oh well, at least he has a pair of Desolation Twins if he needs a "transformative" sideboard!

Takuya Osawa's White-Green Allies

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