Coverage of Grand Prix
Taipei 2012 Day 2

Posted in Event Coverage on November 25, 2012

By Wizards of the Coast

EVENT COVERAGE

Sunday, 11:14 a.m. – Quick Question

by Chapman Sim and Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

Which Guild do you prefer to draft in Return to Ravnica?

 
Hao-Shan Huang: Selesnya splash Black, or Golgari splash White.
Jun’ya Iyanaga: Anything Red.
Shi Tian Lee: Boros, Dynacharge Deck Wins!
Ding Leong: Rakdos!
Shuhei Nakamura: Anything Green.
Yuuya Watanabe: Golgari.

Round 10 Feature Match – Derek Tsang vs. Akimasa Yamamoto

by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
 

As day two gets underway, two of the last three undefeated players stare each other down across the battlefield. Kinda like in those historical action movies where two important characters can see each other over a seemingly impossible stretch of open ground in the middle of a fierce battle.

Derek Tsang got started fast with an Azorius Arrester and a pair of Vassal Soul s, but Yamamoto caught up quickly when he sent his Goblin Electromancer on a Pursuit of Flight .

Yamamoto passed back his fourth turn with two Island s, two Mountain s, and his 4/4 Electromancer untapped. Tsang attacked with his army of three, with a Forest and three Plains untapped. Yamamoto pushed his 'Mancer in front of the Arrest er, and Tsang showed him a Giant Growth . Yamamoto cast Thoughtflare in response, before both combatants headed to the graveyard, the Vassal Soul s knocking Yamamoto to 10 life.

Akimasa Yamamoto discards to one of his Thoughtflare s.

Yamamoto summoned a Hypersonic Dragon , but Tsang had an Aerial Predation to drop Yamamoto to 6 life. Yamamoto summoned a Guttersnipe , and took out one of the fliers with an Annihilating Fire . The remaining Soul dropped Yamamoto to 2 life, before a Voidwielder bounced it. Between the Guttersnipe attacking back, and another Thoughtflare , Tsang was now down to 12 life as well.

Tsang resummoned his Vassal Soul , and then cast a Loxodon Smiter . Yamamoto attacked into them with his 'Snipe, the Voidwielder , and a Stealer of Secrets . The Smite r ate the stealer, and the Soul blocked the 'Wielder. Tsang fell to 10, and a post combat Izzet Staticaster finished off the Vassal Soul , before Yamamoto played out the rest of his hand – an Izzet Guildmage and another Electromancer.

Tsang attacked with his Smite r, which was dutifully blocked by the Electromancer. Yamamoto attacked back putting Tsang to 5. Tsang summoned a Keening Apparition , and again attacked with his Smite r. Yamamoto blocked with his Staticaster, and when Tsang went to give it some Swift Justice , he responded with a Street Spasm to kill the Smite r, and get another 2 damage on Tsang with the Guttersnipe . Tsang looked at the table, and realised he was now dead on the board, and scooped.

Derek Tsang doesn't like surprises, but Yamamoto has 'em anyway.

Yamamoto 1 – Tsang 0

Yamamoto began game two with a pair of Electromancers, while Tsang could only play land after land and an Axebane Guardian . Fear ing what Tsang could have in hand, Yamamoto conservatively chose not to attack into whatever awaited him, summoning a Guttersnipe .

Tsang played a fifth land, and summoned a Sunspire Griffin , which was exactly big enough to keep Yamamoto on defense, until Tsang attacked with it. A second Guttersnipe and a Pursuit of Flight on one of them was enough for Tsang to pull the trigger on the Explosive Impact he was holding, so Yamamoto responded with an Annihilating Fire on the Griffin, only to see Tsang save it with a Giant Growth . However, as the Griffin was tapped, Yamamoto's Electromancers got through to knock Tsang down to 10 life.

Tsang detained the Electromancers with an Azorius Justiciar , and again attacked, only to have Yamamoto clear his blockers with a Street Spasm at the end of his turn. Yamamoto untapped, attacked, and dealt the remaining damage with his Guttersnipe , another Annihilating Fire , and another Street Spasm to kill Tsang from what seemed like nowhere.

Akimasa Yamamoto defeats Derek Tsang 2 – 0

Round 11 Feature Match – Makihito Mihara vs. Akimasa Yamamoto

by Chapman Sim
 

Good friends, former World Champion Makihito Mihara and Pro Tour Kyoto 2009 semi-finalist Akimasa Yamamoto have converged in the Featured Match Area. It is inevitable though, seeing how they are both at 10-0, the only two players in the field with unblemished records. The victor of this match would advance to 11-0, and would need just one single win to successfully ID into the Top 8.

Game One

Mihara curved out perfectly, building a quick army to Yamamoto who had to mulligan to six. He led with one of his four Golgari Guildgate s, then followed up with Keening Apparition , Vassal Soul , Ogre Jailbreaker and Armory Guard from turns two through five. Yamamoto's Nivix Guildmage , Electromancer and Guttersnipe seemed to be outclassed in terms of size, and was quickly reduced to nothing within seconds.

Mihara 1 – Yamamoto 0

Game Two

Yamamoto once again stumbled on mana, this time being stuck on only two Island s. He was able to Syncopate Mihara's first creature ( Centaur Healer ) but was defenseless against a Sewer Shambler , enhanced by Knightly Valor . The first attack reduced him to sixteen, and then ten. After briefly reviewing his next draw step and his grip of spells he couldn't cast, Yamamoto decided to offer the handshake with a hearty smile, ready to try harder the next round.

Mihara 2 – Yamamoto 0

Sunday, 12:43 p.m. – Day One & Day Two Country Breakdown

by Chapman Sim
 
Day One  
Taiwan 462
Japan 103
Singapore 47
China 29
Hong Kong 24
USA 17
South Korea 16
Philippines 10
Malaysia 5
France 3
Macau 2
Italy 2
South Africa 1
New Zealand 1
Indonesia 1
Germany 1
Czech Republic 1
Canada 1
Bulgaria 1
Total 727
Day Two  
Taiwan 30
Japan 28
Singapore 8
China 6
Hong Kong 7
USA 5
South Korea 8
Philippines 1
Malaysia 1
Total 94

Sunday, 1:16 p.m. – Grand Prix Taipei Draft 1: Makihito Mihara

by Chapman Sim
 

Three-time Pro Tour Top 8 and Worlds Champion Makihito Mihara is looking for his fifth Grand Prix Top 8. Currently at an unblemished record, he would only need to rack up an additional three wins from the next six. However, Mihara humbly admitted that it might be difficult get score anything better than 1-2, unless some luck was on his side.

Booster One

From the beginning, Mihara was quick to decide upon a guild. Loxodon Smiter (a constructed-worthy beater) and Common Bond revealed his early inclinations to join the Selesnya conclave. A sixth-pick Golgari Guildgate provided him an option to splash for some black removal later on, or simply to activate the lifelinking ability on his Stonefare Crocodile . He also seemed to value Keening Apparition , picking up two copies, one of them as early as pick four.

Loxodon Smiter
Not too shabby!
  Mihara's pick Other possible picks
1 Loxodon Smiter Rix Maadi Guildmage, Azorius Arrester, Ultimate Price
2 Common Bond Annihilating Fire, Dead Reveler, Selesnya Guildgate, Eyes in the Sky
3 Stonefare Crocodile Azorius Charm, Azorius Keyrune, Stonefare Crocodile, Selesnya Sentry
4 Keening Apparition Giant Growth, Keening Apparition, Azorius Arrester, Axebane Guardian
5 Armory Guard Rubbleback Rhino, Aerial Predation
6 Golgari Guildgate  
7 Swift Justice Electrickery, Cancel, Dramatic Rescue
8 Stealer of Secrets  
9 Keening Apparition Rubbleback Rhino, Guttersnipe
10 Soul Tithe  
11 Downsize  
12 Hover Barrier  
13 Chemister's Trick  
14 Heroes' Reunion  

Booster Two

Now that he had picked up some decent creatures, he sought ways to attack profitably or some removal spells. However, it was not to be as. Mihara was not happy to see a weak booster, passing Dreadbore and settling on Knightly Valor . Azorius Arrester and a second Common Bond would aid him in the red zone. He rounded off this booster with more quality creatures, including a second Ogre Jailbreaker and two Vassal Soul s. However, premium spells like Stab Wound , Launch Party and Ultimate Price were nowhere to be seen and Mihara was getting worried.

  Mihara's pick Other possible picks
1 Knightly Valor Dreadbore,, Armory Guard
2 Azorius Arrester Keening Apparition, Explosive Impact
3 Common Bond  
4 Knightly Valor  
5 Golgari Guildgate Axebane Defender, Swift Justice
6 Ogre Jailbreaker Sewer Shambler, Sluiceway Scorpion
7 Vassal Soul  
8 Vassal Soul Aerial Predation
9 Golgari Guildgate Armory Guard
10 Rubbleback Rhino Mind Rot
11 Inaction Injunction  
12 Deviant Glee  
13 Urban Burgeoning  
14 Oak Street Innkeeper  

Booster Three

Mihara's third booster was also unexciting, and provided little value to his existing pool. His only "removal" spells were two copies of Soul Tithe and aimed to play a game of tempo. "I think my deck needs a couple of removal spells. Otherwise, it is only average at best." Good luck!

  Mihara's pick Other possible picks
1 Precinct Captain Trostani's Judgment, Armory Guard,
2 Centaur Healer Temple Garden, Giant Growth, Trostani's Judgment
3 Sewer Shambler Seller of Songbirds, Sewer Shambler, Gatecreeper Vine
4 Golgari Guildgate Grisly Salvage, Golgari Guildgate
5 Azorius Justicar Stonefare Crocodile, Axebane Guardian
6 Ogre Jailbreaker  
7 Vassal Soul Annihilating Fire, Tower Drake
8 Azorius Keyrune  
9 Armory Guard  
10 Archweaver  
11 Paralyzing Grasp  
12 Soul Tithe  
13 Trained Caracal  
14 Shrieking Affliction  

Makihito Mihara

Round 12 Feature Match – Shuhei Nakamura vs. Cynic Kim

by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
 

Having already won two Grand Prix's this year, including the last one in this format, Hall of Famer Shuhei Nakamura was surely hoping to make Taipei his third. In his way was Korean veteran, Cynic Kim.

Nakamura made his plans clear when he summoned a Centaur's Herald on turn one, cashing it in a few turns later, and attacking. He appeared to lack any further plays outside of that, while Kim was getting fancy across the table, searching out lands with a Gatecreeper Vine , bouncing it with a Faerie Imposter and doing it again, before eventually summoning a Palisade Giant .

Nakamura finally made his second play, summoning a Sunspire Griffin , but the Giant was now allowing Kim to attack with impunity. If Nakamura was concerned, he wasn't showing it, passing back his turn with 7 mana open, and his Griffin and Centaur on defense. Kim detained Nakamura's blockers with an Azorius Justiciar , and attacked. Nakamura practically had " Trostani's Judgment " written all over his face, and sure enough, he pointed one at the Giant. However, Kim was ready with the Syncopate , and they were off to game two.

Kim 1 – Nakamura 0

Nakamura again had his Herald on turn one, and this time was the one with the Gatecreeper Vine , fetching himself a Swamp to access his splash color. Kim cast Call of the Conclave to get his own Centaur army started, while Nakamura summoned a Centaur Healer .

Cynic Kim tries to ride his Palisade Giant to victory.

Kim attacked with his token, and Nakamura promptly let it through. Kim cast an Azorius Keyrune and passed back the turn. Nakamura attacked right back with his Heal er. When Kim attacked with his Token again, it just bounced off of Nakamura's Herald, whose job was done now, that the Centaur in question had arrived. Kim finished his turn with a Phantom General .

Nakamura cast Knightly Valor on his Heal er and attacked Kim down to 9 life. Nakamura had the Trostani's Judgment to Exile Kim's Centaur token, but Kim used a Rootborn Defenses to at least populate it before it left. Nakamura then summoned an 8/8 Risen Sanctuary . Kim rallied behind his Palisade Giant and a Towering Indrik .

Nakamura attacked in with his two Centaur Tokens and his 2/2 Knight Token, losing all three of them, but at least toppling the Giant. Nakamura was left with his 8/8 Sanctuary, and 5/5 Centaur Healer , and a now somewhat superfluous Gatecreeper Vine , while Kim had his Phantom General , Towering Indrik , 4/4 Centaur Token, and an Azorius Keyrune .

Nakamura attacked with his two Monsters, but between his Keyrune, and a Chorus of Might , Kim took them both down, leaving himself with the Indrik. Nakamura rebuilt with a Sunspire Griffin and a Korozda Guildmage , while Kim summoned an Axebane Guardian .

Nakamura turned his Gatecreeper Vine into a pair of Saproling s before summoning another one, which only fetched a Forest , before also turning into 1/1's. He then summoned a Golgari Longlegs , which Kim Syncopate d. As Black was Nakamura's splash color, he couldn't truly abuse the Guildmage, but he could use it to sneak his Griffin past Kim's Towering Indrik .

Kim cast Eyes on the Skies, pumping one of them with a Selesnya Charm to try and take down the Griffin, but Nakamura had some Swift Justice for the pair of them, keeping his Griffin clock ticking.

Isperia's Skywatch came down for Kim, detaining the Guildmage for a turn, before Kim attacked his Justiciar into a pair of Saproling s. Nakamura just Justiciar'd right back, detaining the Skywatch and the Indrik, letting him again attack through, dropping Kim to just 6 life. Kim drew his next card and passed, scooping when Nakamura attacked.

Kim 1 – Nakamura 1

Before game three, Nakamura wandered off to find a second Swamp for his deck to see if he couldn't further utilize his Guildmage, while Kim mulliganed his first hand.

Stalling on two lands while Nakamura attacked him with a Selesnya Keyrune and a Towering Indrik , Kim was forced to discard an Aerial Predation during his end phase. Once he finally drew a couple of lands, he summoned a Seller of Songbirds and a Phantom General . Meanwhile, Nakamura had added a Centaur Token to his team, populating it with a Trostani's Judgment on the General, and attacking Kim down to 5 life.

Shuhei Nakamura can see (and remove) all obstacles in his way.

A Justiciar brought Kim a turn, but Nakamura just threw away one of his Tokens to Launch Party through even more damage. Kim drew his next card and shook his head.

Shuhei Nakamura defeats Cynic Kim 2 – 1

Sunday, 11:14 a.m. – Quick Question

by Chapman Sim and Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
 

What would you first-pick from this Booster?

 
Yong Han Choo: Slime Molding
Shuhei Nakamura: Giant Growth
Tomoharu Saito: Annihilating Fire
Tung-Yi "Terry" Cheng: Auger Spree
Makihito Mihara: Slime Molding
Yuuya Watanabe: Annihilating Fire

Round 12 Feature Match – Ken Yukuhiro vs. Leong Ding Yuan

by Chapman Sim
 

Both players have resumes of similar proportions, and are currently at 9-2 records. Leong was part of the star-studded Top 8 at the World Championships 2005, where Katsuhiro Mori took home the champion trophy. Leong Ding Yuan also has two Grand Prix titles (in addition to a Top 8 appearance at GP Singapore 2001) to his name, both in Kuala Lumpur in 2002 and 2010.

Ken Yukuhiro's success was more recent, coming in 4th at Pro Tour Avacyn Restored. With this finish, he was able to attain the Platinum Level this season, which is a pretty nifty achievement!Both players knew how important this game would be, since a loss here would practically eliminate them from Top 8 contention.

Game One

Tavern Swindler

Being the Rakdos player at heart, Leong led with Rakdos Shred-Freak and Yukuhiro replied with Tavern Swindler . When they met in the red zone, Yukuhiro proceeded to boost his minion with Giant Growth . Auger Spree tried to fizzle the advantage, but Yukuhiro had a second copy of the same pump spell.

After recruiting Lobber Crew , Leong amassed a board of creatures. Gore-House Chainwalker , Ogre Jailbreaker and Tenement Crush er crashed into the red zone but Yukuhiro was happy to block with Centaur's Herald , then killing the biggest creature with Launch Party , preserving his precious life total.

When the dust settled, Leong's board was in shambles, with just a lonely 3/2 that couldn't block. Yukuhiro followed that up with Zanikev Locust , Sewer Shambler and Drudge Beetle , (coincidentally three creatures with the Golgari signature mechanic), ensuring that victory was inevitable.

Yukuhiro 1 - Leong 0

Game Two

Leong's early assault involving Gore-House Chainwalker and Rakdos Shred-freak was nullified by twin Drudge Beetle s. Unfortunately, Leong was also stuck on four mountains and red mana is generally not not useful for casting black spells.

Yukuhiro proceeded to summon Stonefare Crocodile and Tavern Swindler , and that was all he needed to defeat a severely flooded opponent. Leong could only extend his hand graciously as he revealed his hand, containing even more Mountain s. The mana gods were not on his side.

Yukuhiro 2 - Leong 0

Sunday, 3:25 p.m. – Draft Breakdown: First Draft

by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
 

After blitzing the field on day one, Makihito Mihara continued his run through the first draft of day two with this Selesnya monstrosity, splashing Black. From the looks of things, his draft didn't quite go as smoothly as he would have liked, but it certainly performed well enough to put him to 12-0 going into the second draft.

Makihito Mihara

 

Weng Heng Soh from Singapore went 3-0 in the second draft pod with the following deck, which looks much more like how you want your draft to go. Multiple rares to blow open the late game, a bunch of sweet fliers for the mid game, some walls to hold the fort, and even some artifact mana for acceleration. Looking to improve on this deck would be kinda greedy.

Weng Heng Soh

 

The third draft pod was aced by Taiwan's Ji Yi Hong, who was no doubt over the moon to have picked up not only 3 Centaur Healer , and 3 Towering Indrik , which are crucial for holding off aggressive Azorius and Rakdos decks, but also 3 Stab Wound . The Wounds are not only excellent against those decks, but greatly effective against more controlling decks as well. Topping that collection of commons off with a Collective Blessing was just the icing on the cake.

Ji Yi Hong

 

Shuhei Nakamura ran the tables in the fourth draft pod, in an effort to repeat his run in Philadelphia a few weeks with this deck, where he's pretty much all-in on the 5-drops.

Shuhei Nakamura

 

Without overloading you with more draft decklists, the next four pods were 3-0'd by Motoki Abe playing Izzet, featuring a pair of Pursuit of Flight s and a Cyclonic Rift , and Yuk Lam Lee playing Azorius with a Red splash, backed by a Supreme Verdict and a Archon of the Triumvirate . Lastly, both Gerald Camangon and Yuuya Watanabe 3-0'd their pods with Golgari decks splashing White for a pair of Selesnya Guildmage s.

Round 13 Feature Match – Mark Brezinski vs. Lee Shi Tian

by Chapman Sim
 

Lee Shi Tian, member of newly formed Team MTG Mint Card, is no stranger to the Asian Grand Prix Circuit. After coming in fourth at Pro Tour Return to Ravnica, he is looking for another trophy to accompany the one he received from Grand Prix Birmingham in 2008.

Mark Brezinski on the other hand is new to this neck of the woods. I was curious to find out what he was doing in Taiwan.

"Oh, my wife told me there was a Grand Prix in the region, and since we were here on business, we stopped by for the Grand Prix."

"Your wife told you. That's interesting!" I replied, momentarily wondering how often that happens.

"Yeah, Jackie Lee's my wife," Mark replied. That explains so much.

Both players were at 10-2, and would need to rattle off two wins in a row, in order to ID into the Top 8. After a quick exchange of pleasantries, they shuffled up and proceeded to their match.

Game One

Lee opened with double Brushstrider . The first one, together with Giant Growth , consumed the opposing Tavern Swindler . The next turn, two unimpeded 3/1s knocked Brezinski down to fourteen. Dead Reveler appeared to take down one of the Brushstrider s so Lee simply refilled with Dryad Militant and Golgari Longlegs

Inaction Injunction restrained the 5/4 Insect temporarily, but Brezinski had no way to survive Lee's pressurizing onslaught and

"Did you cast a blue spell ( Tavern Swindler ) and then a blue spell ( Inaction Injunction )?", murmured Lee after the lightning-fast game was over, perplexed over what Brezinski's deck was all about. His opponent nodded, and smiled, reaffirming the statement, but not revealing that he was actually color-screwed and was actually also playing with Mountain s.

Brezinski 0 - Lee 1

Game Two

Both players started with three-powered creatures, Lee's Brushstrider against Brezinski's Gore-House Chainwalker . Azorius Arrester locked it down, while Korozda Monitor emerged on turn four.

Once again, his deck did not seem to be cooperating with him, and served him only three Mountain s and a Transguild Promenade , which effectively forced him to skip his entire fourth turn in order to pay its toll. When he summoned Ogre Jailbreaker next turn, both players already knew that he was dead on the board.

Brezinski 0 - Lee 2

Sunday, 3:32 a.m. – Quick Question

by Chapman Sim and Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
 

Which Guild are you most excited to play in Gatecrash?

 
Cynic Kim: Boros.
Yong Han Choo: Simic.
Shi Tian Lee: Orzhov.
Shouta Yasooka: Dimir.
Tomoharu Saito: Gruul.
Makihito Mihara: Orzhov.

Sunday, 4:01 p.m. – Grand Prix Taipei Draft 2: Shuhei Nakamura

by Chapman Sim
 

Shuhei Nakamura is known to come back from the brink of elimination to take down the entire tournament. Most recently, he "stormed back from 0-2" to take home Philadelphia. Also, during Grand Prix Hiroshima 2006, he sneaked into Day 2 exactly at 64th place, then proceeded to rattle off nine wins on Day 2 to capture the title against all odds.

Today, he was looking to do the same. After 3-0-ing his first Draft Pod and arriving at 10-2, he was looking to at least win the next two to ID into the playoffs.

Booster One

Nakamura was presented with Deathrite Shaman , a card dominating in the Modern and Standard arena. It certainly is very good in Limited too, so he went with that. He followed up with a pair of Sunspire Griffin s, Keening Apparition and Trostani's Judgment , and his plans to draft Golgari pretty much evaporated. He did pick up a couple of populate cards, so let us see if he chooses to delve into Selesnya, or perhaps Azorius, the other befitting color combination in the format.

Deathrite Shaman
Great in Modern and Standard, and also pretty good in limited!
  Nakamura's pick Other possible picks
1 Deathrite Shaman  
2 Sunspire Griffin Splatter Thug, Fencing Ace, Faerie Impostor, Frostburn Weird
3 Golgari Guildgate  
4 Sunspire Griffin Blustersquall, Brushstrider
5 Keening Apparition Izzet Charm, Vassal Soul
6 Trostani's Judgment Dead Reveler
7 Rootborn Defenses Tower Drake, Rootborn Defenses
8 Downsize  
9 Hussar Patrol  
10 Rites of Reaping  
11 Tenement Crusher  
12 Slaughter Games  
13 Crosstown Courier  
14 Racecourse Fury  

Booster Two

Eyes in the Sky was his first pick, and he must sure have been glad to table the Trostani's Judgment later in pick nine. A third Sunspire Griffin joined his card pool, as well as Voidwielder , Lyev Skyknight and Phantom General . Counterdrafting Aerial Predation s as early as pick seven, it was clear that he wished to keep his Azorius team alive and eventually solidified in Azorius.

  Nakamura's pick Other possible picks
1 Eyes in the Sky Trostani's Judgment, Dramatic Rescue
2 Security Blockade Common Bond, Security Blockade, Drudge Beetle, Rootborn Defenses
3 Sunspire Griffin Eyes in the Sky, Sunspire Griffin
4 Voidwielder Izzet Charm
5 Lyev Skyknight  
6 Phantom General  
7 Aerial Predation Stealer of Secrets, Aerial Predation
8 Rootborn Defenses  
9 Trostani's Judgment  
10 Rootborn Defenses  
11 Aerial Predation  
12 Paralyzing Grasp  
13 Chemister's Trick  
14 Terrus Wurm  

Booster Two

He sighed as he opened Mercurial Chemister and begrudgingly picked it, apparently hoping for something better. At this point, I was unsure if he simply didn't want to pass a powerful card, or whether he was looking to splash it by picking up some Izzet Guildgate s. He reinforced upon his beatdown strategy with New Prahv Guildmage and a pair of Azorius Arrester s, hoping to push some early damage while finishing off his opponents with his remaining fliers, while clearing the way with bounce effects like Dramatic Rescue . Eighth pick Faerie Impostor was a gift, as it allowed him to re-utilize his "detain" guys and even Voidwielder which he picked up in the previous booster. Things are looking pretty good for Shuhei and we wish him all the best!

  Nakamura's pick Other possible picks
1 Mercurial Chemister  
2 New Prahv Guildmage New Prahv Guildmage, Keening Apparition
3 Azorius Arrester Seller of Songbirds, Soulsworn Spirit, Izzet Guildgate
4 Fencing Ace Eyes in the Sky, Azorius Guildgate
5 Azorius Arrester Azorius Arrester, Isperia's Skywatch,
6 Hussar Patrol  
7 Dramatic Rescue Dramatic Rescue, Inaction Injunction, Concordia Pegasus
8 Faerie Impostor  
9 Doorkeeper Armory Guard
10 Dispel Skyline Predator
11 Mizzium Skin  
12 Chorus of Might Paralyzing Grasp
13 Dynacharge  
14 Pyroconvergence  

Shuhei Nakamura

Round 14 Feature Match – Yong Han Choo vs. Shi Tian Lee

by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
 

In years gone by, players from other parts of the Magic World may have scoffed about the skill level of the players in the Asia-Pacific region, but after the Chinese Taipei victory in the Team World Championships earlier this year, as well as Shi Tian Lee's Top 4 at Pro Tour Return to Ravnica, and Yong Han Choo's Top 4 at Pro Tour Hollywood in 2008, people are beginning to take the region a little more seriously.

Speaking of Lee and Choo, both players are looking for a win in round 14 to try and lock up a Top 8 position this weekend, and naturally, they must face each other.

Lee's Selesnya deck got off to a fast start with a Sunspire Griffin and a Selesnya Sentry backed by a Grove of the Guardian . Choo fought back with a Stealer of Secrets and a Lyev Skyknight to squeeze a little extra value out of the Stealer. Lee gummed up the table with a Gatecreeper Vine and a Seller of Songbirds , so Choo gave his Stealer some Ethereal Armor and sent it in again. Lee happily threw his Gatecreeper Vine in front of it.

With the Stealer threatening to steal his secrets, Lee found himself unable to attack without letting Choo draw cards, so he went for Plan B, a great big 8/8 Elemental Token. However, Choo had the Trostani's Judgment to send that plan crashing into the ground.

Yong Han Choo carefully manages his resources.

Back on Plan A, Lee attacked again with his Griffin and Bird Token, and trampled over the Skyknight with a Chorus of Might . When Choo attacked back with his Stealer, a Savage Surge helped the Sentry take it down.

Choo may have been on less life than Lee, but his six-drops were now coming online, summoning an Isperia's Skywatch , and a Skyline Predator . An Avenging Arrow took down the Skyknight, and a Trostani's Judgment took out the Predator, but Choo managed to sneak his Hussar Patrol through a Rogue's Passage to equalize the life totals.

Lee looked like he was out of gas, and passed back the turn, only to see Choo have a Sphinx's Revelation for 6. Choo continued to play out fliers and it wasn't long before Lee was scooping up his cards with a chuckle.

Choo 1 – Lee 0

Lee was even more aggressive in game two, and this time Choo could only hide behind an Armory Guard as Lee crashed in around it with 3/3's and fliers. Choo summoned an Isperia's Skyknight, but Lee just came back over the top with an Azorius Justiciar , practically throwing his cards at Choo. Sphinx's Revelation and Dramatic Rescue couldn't save Choo, and they were off to game three.

Choo 1 – Lee 1

Lee's start in game three was much less impressive, especially considering he was on the draw. His first play was a Seller of Songbirds , which could only watch as Choo curved out with Sunspire Griffin , Hussar Patrol , and Lyev Skyknight . An Azorius Justiciar slowed Choo's attack long enough for Lee to get Grove of the Guardian online, but Choo still had 9 power in the air, thanks to an Ethereal Armor on his Skyknight, and an Isperia's Skywatch .

Shi Tian Lee hopes to survive Choo's airforce.

On 11 life, Lee attacked Choo down to 8, summoned a Dryad Militant , and crossed his fingers with a grimace. Choo drew his card for the turn, and started counting under his breath, and pointing at various cards on the table. Whatever he had drawn was obviously not enough to seal the deal. Choo attacked with just his Skyknight and Skywatch, and Lee smashed the Armor with a Sundering Growth , populating the 8/8 Elemental Token. Choo signed, and detained one of the 8/8's with a Azorius Arrester , and braced for the return swing. Lee slammed an Azorius Justiciar onto the table, and crushed Choo under the weight of his army.

Shi Tian Lee defeats Yong Han Choo 2 – 1

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