Posted in GRAND PRIX SHIZUOKA 2015 on January 11, 2015

By Frank Karsten

Drafting with No. 23 Yuuki Ichikawa

By Frank Karsten


No. 23 Yuuki Ichikawa is one of Japan's rising stars, having made the Top 8 of both Pro Tour Journey into Nyx and Pro Tour Magic 2015 last season. Yesterday, he went 8-1 in the sealed portion; now, it was time for booster draft. Before we started, he mentioned that he likes to draft control decks with defensive cards like Monastery Floch. Let's get to his picks and see what he got!


Pack 1


Pick Ichikawa's choice Other notable options
1 Master the Way Jeskai Ascendancy, Jeskai Windscout, Mardu Warshrieker
2 Thornwood Falls Bellowing Saddlebrute, Grim Haruspex, Blossoming Sands
3 Debilitating Injury Alabaster Kirin, Leaping Master
4 Meandering Towershell Ainok Bond-Kin, Sultai Flayer
5 Monastery Flock Mardu Charm, Abzan Guide
6 Master the Way Tranquil Cove, Crippling Chill
7 Scoured Barrens Mardu Warshrieker
8 Tormenting Voice War Behemoth
9 Efreet Weaponmaster Jeskai Student
10 Weave Fate  
11 Set Adrift  
12 Tormenting Voice  
13 Sage-Eye Harrier  
14 Tomb of the Spirit Dragon  


After first-picking Master the Way, Ichikawa's next three boosters didn't contain much in the way of red and blue, so he branched out to different colors. However, a 6th-pick Master the Way provided an incentive to return to red and blue.


At the end of the first booster, I peeked at Ichikawa's neighbors and saw that the player to his left was drafting Jeskai while the player to his right was drafting Temur. This was not a big surprise because Ichikawa had passed strong Jeskai cards and hadn't received many strong Temur cards late in the first pack. But would Ichikawa be able to stay out of the fight? After all, if he would stay in Blue/Red, then his neighbors would be snagging up the best cards in those colors first.


Pack 2


Pick Ichikawa's choice Other notable options
1 Ankle Shanker Ride Down, Hordeling Outburst, Bring Low
2 Duneblast Debilitating Injury, Nomad Outpost, Abomination of Gudul
3 Blossoming Sands Bloodfire Mentor, Canyon Lurkers
4 Mystic of the Hidden Way Abomination of Gudul, Awaken the Bear
5 Rugged Highlands Armament Corps, Woolly Loxodon
6 Stubborn Denial Throttle, Highland Game
7 Bloodfell Caves Mardu Warshrieker
8 Abzan Banner Hooting Mandrills
9 Rakshasa's Secret  
10 Cancel  
11 Windstorm  
12 Rotting Mastodon  
13 Bitter Revelation  
14 Lens of Clarity  


Well, that was an interesting pack. Duneblast is neither red nor blue, but it can win the game by itself, especially if you attack with Meandering Towershell first. Accordingly, Ichikawa snagged it up and proceeded to value mana fixers very highly.


At the end of the second pack, he was looking to assemble a nice Jeskai control deck splashing for Duneblast and Meandering Towershell. While sorting through his cards, he left out Ankle Shanker because he was so creature-light. He had card draw, mana fixers, and amazing spells---the only thing he was lacking was creatures.


Pack 3


Pick Ichikawa's choice Other notable options
1 Bear's Companion Mardu Warshrieker, Watcher of the Roost, Tranquil Cove
2 Jungle Hollow Anafenza, the Foremost; Monastery Flock; Sultai Soothsayers
3 Flooded Strand Jungle Hollow, Jeskai Student
4 Smite the Monstrous Efreet Weaponmaster, Jeskai Charm
5 Mystic of the Hidden Way Jeskai Windscout, Mardu Warshrieker
6 Mystic of the Hidden Way Mardu Warshrieker, Arrow Storm
7 Barrage of Boulders Bring Low, Mardu Hateblade
8 Warden of the Eye Ponyback Brigade, Wetland Sambar
9 Hooting Mandrills Mardu Warshrieker
10 Tusked Colossodon  
11 Barrage of Boulders  
12 Set Adrift  
13 Jeskai Banner  
14 Sultai Banner  


With the third pack, Ichikawa rounded out his mana base and creature count. And then we were off to the deck construction table.


No. 23 Yuuki Ichikawa building the mana base his 5-color draft deck.


In the end, Ichikawa built the following deck:


Yuuki Ichikawa – 5-color draft deck, Grand Prix Shizuoka 2015

Download Arena Decklist


All five colors are represented, but with seven non-basic lands, a Banner, and a lot of card draw, the mana can work out. Ichikawa has already won his first round of the draft, putting him in a good position to make a run for the Top 8.