Rochester Draft Coverage: Focus on Kouichirou Maki

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Much has been made this weekend of the Japanese Magic community's tendency toward nicknames. Yesterday when a typo referred to the Japanese Sideboard Editor-in-Chief as "Mike", Kouichirou Maki was immediately dubbed "Mikey K".

Maki found himself sitting at Table One this morning for the draft. He was also going to be opening first. The pick order going right to left for the first pack was as follows:

Kouichirou Maki
Katsuhiro Mori
Kazuki Katou
Royce Chai
Shuuzou Iwano
Kei Ikeda
Satoshi Harada
Hiroyuki Nagayama

Maki opened up a Bonesplitter in his pack and his first pick was obvious. Mori was quite happy to get a second pick Viridian Shaman. Leonin Skypatrol, Myr Enforcer and Tel-Jilad Exile were the next picks. Nagayama wheeled an Auriok Transfixer and a Regress trying to stake out blue-white to Maki's right.

The second pack put a Grab the Reins on the top of Mori's pile. Banshee's Blade and a Myr went next leaving a fourth pick Deconstruct for a very happy Iwano. Ikeda was equally pleased with a Terror. Now it was time for Maki and Nagayama to start jostling for position on white and blue. Nagayama took Raise the Alarm but Maki took a defiant Ancient Den and a Serum Tank on the wheel. It was obvious from his manner that he was going to push for white.

Katou's pack gave him a Gauntlets over a Lightning Greaves that Royce happily snapped up. Iwano took another Deconstruct and Ikeda got another Terror. When the pack came around to Maki he took a Goblin War Wagon.

Royce took a Cobalt Golem with his first pick from pack four and Iwano's deck was shaping up nicely when he took a second pick Fangren Hunter. When the pack swung around to Maki he took an Ogre Leadfoot to experiment in red. On the next pack it seemed that Nagayama was willing to forgo white when he took a Grab the Reins that Maki had his eyes on. Maki took a Cathodion with his fifth pick. In addition to Maki both Harada and Katou were white within a couple of seats of Maki.

As the draft progressed he picked up a Skyhunter Cub and ended up with a pair of Den-Guards. He had a rough go of it with Arrests, Soul Novas, and Cubs going to his table mates to the left and right of him. He did open well with another Bonesplitter awaiting him in the third pack.

There were three Grab the Reins opened at the table but Maki could not get his mitts on any of them with two of them going to his right in Nagayama's deck. He did manage to pick up some modest red with an Electrostatic Bolt and an Ogre Leadfoot.

Maki also ended up with three Cathodions, something he was very happy about, "I am a very slow player so I wanted to draft a very fast deck. I need to give myself less to think about besides attacking."

Maki had some qualms about his deck, feeling he needed to pu this opponents on a clock, "I have good equipment and very fast creatures but I don't have any artifact destruction so I have to win fast."

His deck's mana requirements were pretty light and he toyed with the idea of playing sixteen or even fifteen lands to squeeze all the spells he wanted to see into the deck, "My casting cost is low but I have no Myrs... I was thinking about sixteen but I don't know." He ended up playing a very traditional mix of twenty three cards and seventeen lands.

Maki was very happy with his deck but was hoping to dodge Shuzo Iwano. After picking up a pair of Deconstructs early he was virtually unchallenged for red-green and ended up with three Deconstructs, a pair of Shatters, and a third pick Molder Slug that had everyone at the table shaking their head as it unfolded.

Maki would doge that bullet for round 9 but he was heading toward a showdown with Hiroyuki Nagayama. The two players had tussled over white early and then both fought for red cards late. Nagayama had two Grab the Reins and a Goblin Charbelcher in his blue-red deck.

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