1 Eiji Nomura
2 Ken Kiyota
3 Rei Hashimoto
4 Fumiki Nakano
5 Masashi Oiso
6 Shuuhei Nakamura
7 Akahiro Takakuwa
8 Masanori Kobayashi
Shuuhei Nakamura is part of the new Japanese pro vangaurd. With two recent GP Top 8's to his name (including driving his team to the finals of GP Nagoya) he has established himself as one of the new greats, and earned the esteem of his contemporarires. This is the top table, and isn't as tightly packed with names as some of the others. Nakamura hopes to pick up a quick win and secure his place in the Top 8.
The first pack was pretty deep with bad red and black cards, but Nakamura was happy to see Wellwisher and Voice of the Woods make it all the way to him, a good sign that his preference for green would go unchallenged. He took the Wellwisher and shipped the Voice, which did not make a return trip. Masanori Kobayashi was happy to take it in eighth seat. To Nakamura's left, Oiso signaled for red, and to the left Takakuwa took black and white cards.
The next pack was thin in green, but not even a very late Mistform Mask and Mistform Mutant on the way back could sway Nakamura. He didn't care much for blue cards. His resolve was tested when Oiso decided to pair his red with green, stealing a Snarling Undorak and leaving just Wirewood Elf. Nakamura took it, ignoring Fleeting Aven. Oiso let a Krosan Tusker go by only because he could scoop Slate of Ancestry. Behind Nakamura, Takakuwa also decided he wanted some of the red, cutting off Battering Craghorm.
Oiso busted Rorix Bladewing and was delighted. Stuck behind a green drafter, Nakamura dove into black for Cruel Revival. Takakuwa was happy to continue his red shift with Pinpoint Avalanche. Nakamura opened his pack and was disappointed. He took Wirewood Savage with a frown. Takakuwa snagged Erratic Explosion. The first set of packs finished with a pair of mediocre black cards. Seemingly green-black, Nakamura was fenced in by two red drafters. Oiso was stealing his green, but he'd get a reprieve while the packs went the opposite direction. Then he'd just need to score enough black in the third group.
Things didn't go exactly as planned. He started with Dirge of Dread and Tribal Unity, both great spells, but after a Towering Baloth things went downhill. He got a mediocre Feeding Frenzy, then Birchlore Rangers. The black drafters ahead of him were snagging things like Prowling Pangolin and Cruel Revival. The last straw came when Takakuwa decided that he didn't want to be red-white, but rather red-black, and started to dig in from that side. A Spitting Gourna closed the second set.
For all that trouble, the third set did its best to make it up to Nakamura. He started with Aphetto Vulture and Severed Legion, and though Oiso was again stealing his Undoraks, the black cards were flowing like Wine. Nantuko Husk and Cruel Revival wound up in his pile, and then he opened Gigapede. Certainly a good sign. Takakuwa showed just how eager he was to shelve his white cards by shipping Akroma's Vengeance. Anurid Murkdiver wrapped it up for Nakamura.
Piling out his deck, Nakamura could only shake his head. He had a plan going into the draft: Draft green, and then either black or red. That plan was shanghaied by Oiso's decision to preempt him, and then Takakuwa hitting from the other side. If not for that gem of a third group of packs, he would have been sunk. Again and again he looked to the cards he'd cut, looking for a better build, but the fact of the matter was that he had done the best with what he'd been given. He just needed 1-1 before he could draw in. He put away doubt and decided to run it.