DRAFTING WITH SHUHEI NAKAMURA

Posted in GRAND PRIX SHANGHAI 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on October 5, 2014

By Chapman Sim

"Who is the draft master in the room? You?" I asked.

"I don't know how to draft. It's everyone's first time," Shuhei Nakamura professes.

The Hall-of-Famer jokingly proclaimed that he is a semi-retired player, referring to his lackluster season that ended with him achieving "only" Gold Level. Of course, we know that he isn't slowing down at all, since he did well enough yesterday to wind up in Pod 1. Today, we will take a peek at how he approaches the all-new draft format.

Shuhei Nakamura


Booster One

Nakamura almost instantly decided upon Hooded Hydra as his very first pick, and agonized over his second. He eventually decided on Ainok Bond-Kin over Alabaster Kirin, clearly valuing two-drops highly in the format. He stuck to his colors, picking Alabaster Kirin and Timely Hordemate next, before deviating momentarily by grabbing a couple of blue cards. A pair of late Jungle Hollows ensued, and it looked like he was poised to move into Abzan despite only having Rite of the Serpent as his only black card.

A great start to a great draft!

Nakamura's pick

Other possible picks

1

Hooded Hydra

War-name Aspirant, Bellowing Saddleback

2

Ainok Bond-Kin

Alabaster Kirin, Bear's Companion, Debilitating Injury

3

Alabaster Kirin

Dragonscale Boon, Secret Plans

4

Timely Hordemate

Dead Drop, Disowned Ancestor

5

Riverwheel Aerialists

Sage-Eye Harrier

6

Force Away

Savage Punch, Swarm of Bloodflies, Rugged Highlands

7

Jungle Hollow

Monastery Flock, Shambling Attendants

8

Rite of the Serpent

Dragonscale Boon

9

Jungle Hollow

10

Dazzling Ramparts

Thornwood Falls

11

Sultai Banner

Stubborn Denial

12

Ainok Tracker

Cancel

13

Naturalize

14

Sultai Banner

Booster Two

When Armament Corps stared at him in the second booster, Nakamura confirmed his Abzan inclinations and never looked back. His second booster was not impressive but he did pick up a second copy of Timely Hordemate, a card that he values highly due to the card and tempo advantage it offered. His deck looked devoid of any spells at all, and was looking to fill the void in the next booster.

One of the best uncommons the Abzan player could hope for.

Nakamura's pick

Other possible picks

1

Armament Corps

Rakshasa Vizier

2

Timely Hordemate

Throttle, Dragonscale Boon

3

Seeker of the Way

Smite the Monstrous

4

Kheru Bloodsucker

5

Salt Road Patrol

6

Alabaster Kirin

Temur Charm

7

Chief of the Edge

Kill Shot, Mardu Hateblade, Alabaster Kirin

8

Jeskai Student

9

War Behemoth

Windstorm, Rotting Mastodon

10

Molting Snakeskin

11

Sidisi's Pet

12

Dutiful Return

13

Abzan Banner

14

Defiant Strike

Booster Three

What more could the Abzan player ask for other than Siege Rhino? Not many others apparently, and Nakamura was glad to rip open this bomb. Sandsteppe Citadel was his second pick, confirming our suspicions that tri-colored lands are indeed that high of a pick. He was fortunate enough to snap up double Smite the Monstrous, Debilitating Injury and Throttle to complete his deck. Since he needed spells in the final booster, it was no surprise to see him ship Abzan Guide in favor of Smite the Monstrous. A duo of Mardu Skullhunters would work very well alongside the two copies of Timely Hordemate that he had already drafted.

Siege Rhino adds another sparkle to an awesome deck.

Nakamura's pick

Other possible picks

1

Siege Rhino

Disowned Ancestor, Archers' Parapet

2

Sandsteppe Citadel

Feat of Resistance, Throttle

3

Debilitating Injury

Watcher of the Roost

4

Smite the Monstrous

Abzan Guide

5

Mardu Skullhunter

Throttle

6

Rite of the Serpent

Despise, Sage of the Inward Eye

7

Throttle

Blossoming Sands, Smoke Teller

8

Smite the Monstrous

Krumar Bond-Kin, Burn Away

9

Swarm of Bloodflies

Rakshasa's Secret

10

Mardu Skullhunter

11

Trumpet Blast

12

Bitter Revelation

13

Firehoof Calvary

14

Swift Kick

Shuhei Nakamura-Grand Prix Shanghai 2014 – Booster Draft 1

Download Arena Decklist

Naughty Nakamura pretends to be camera-shy...


Nakamura seemed to be rather pleased with his deck and said that his draft had turned out rather well. He feels that the first few picks of the draft could be "sacrificed" and players should stay open until a clear signal can be read. This strategy turned out great for him and it wasn't until Pack Two that he settled on a three-color clan.

At the time of press, Nakamura had just won his first two rounds. This bumps him up to 10-1 and will soon face one of the three undefeated players from yesterday's Sealed Deck portion. Will China's National Champion Han Bing be able to withstand the power of the Abzan Houses?

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