Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur 2014 Day 2 Coverage

Posted in Daily Deck on January 25, 2014


1,006 planeswalkers converged in Kuala Lumpur in hopes of hoisting the trophy. After nine rounds of Sealed Deck, only 128 remain. Of these, three players retain untarnished records: Jack Teo, Shouta Yasooka and Yusuka Iwasaki are excellently positioned for a spot in the Top 8. Hot on their heels are Pro Tour Veterans Makihito Mihara, Kelvin Chew and Hironobu Sugaya. Stay tuned to coverage of Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur to watch all the action unfold!











  • Day 1 Undefeated Decklists

    by Pip Foweraker

  • Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur 2014 Day 1 Undefeated – Yusuke Iwasaki

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    Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur 2014 Day 1 Undefeated – Jack Teo

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    Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur 2014 Day 1 Undefeated – Shouta Yasooka

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  • Sunday, 11:03 a.m. – Drafting with Kelvin Chew

    by Noel Neo

  • Kelvin Chew made his mark with a top 8 at Pro Tour Return to Ravnica, but has had a bit of a dry spell since then. Here at Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur, he is sitting on 8-1, very nicely placed for a run at the top 8. How would he fare?

    Kelvin was passed a clear signal UG was open in pack 1. However, this also meant he had to pass some strong blue cards himself. This would come back to haunt him in his second pack.

    Below lists the key cards Kelvin considered in each pack, with his picks depicted as the leftmost card.

    Booster One

    1 Nessian Asp, Nimbus Naiad, Shipwreck Singer, Hammer of Purphoros

    2 Griptide, Thassa's Emissary, Curse of the Swine, Ordeal of Purphoros

    3 Hopeful Eidolon, Purphoros's Emissary

    4 Nimbus Naiad, Vaporkin, Returned Phalanx

    5 Triton Fortune Hunter, Sedge Scorpion, Boon of Erebos

    6 Nessian Courser, Nylea's Disciple, Purphoros's Emissary

    7 Nylea's Emissary, Ill-Tempered Cyclops

    8 Agent of Horizons

    9 Sedge Scorpion

    10 Fade into Antiquity

    11 Akroan Crusader, Mnemonic Wall

    12 Deathbellow Raider

    13 Borderland Minotaur

    14 Wild Celebrants

    By the end of the first booster, Kelvin had solidified his core colour as green, with a few strong blue cards as well as a smattering of red picks. He values Nessian Courser's efficient costing more than Nylea's Disciple life gain.

    In pack 2, blue was less forthcoming and his draft strategy somewhat derailed.

    Booster Two

    1 Sylvan Caryatid, Nemesis of Mortals, Lightning Strike

    2 Nylea's Disciple, Magma Jet, Stymied Hopes, Staunch-Hearted Warrior

    3 Fabled Hero, Staunch-Hearted Warrior

    4 Voyaging Satyr, Prescient Chimera, Gods Willing

    5 Temple of Abandon, Coastline Chimera, Favoured Hoplite

    6 Horizon Scholar, Sedge Scorpion

    7 Traveler's Amulet, Vanquish the Foul

    8 Nylea's Presence, Burnished Hart

    9 Thassa's Bounty

    10 Pharika's Mender

    11 Kragma Warcaller

    12 Spellheart Chimera

    13 Priest of Iroas

    14 Demolish

    Kelvin did pick up a blue game ender in Horizon Scholar and some mana ramp, but the second booster was otherwise unexciting for him.

    He picked Fabled Hero over Staunch-Hearted Warrior because he was still entertaining the possibility of switching secondary colours and he valued ramp over evasive creatures in his fourth pick.

    The trio of colour fixers he picked up in the second booster also meant he was more open to possible splashes in pack 3.

    Booster Three

    1 Fleecemane Lion, Leafcrown Dryad

    2 Time to Feed, Nylea's Disciple, Nessian Courser

    3 Aqueous Form, Sedge Scorpion, Ill-Tempered Cyclops

    4 Aqueous Form, Divine Verdict, Sip of Hemlock

    5 Nessian Courser, Lightning Strike

    6 Vulpine Goliath, Lash of the Whip

    7 Coordinated Assault, Pheres-Band Centaurs

    8 Shredding Winds

    9 Shredding Winds, Ill-Tempered Cyclops

    10 Stymied Hopes

    11 Cutthroat Maneuver, Decorated Griffin,

    12 Tormented Hero

    13 Portent of Betrayal

    14 Peak Eruption

    Reflecting on the draft, Kelvin lamented passing Hammer of Purphoros in his booster one first pick. The draft would have gone very differently if he had – while red is widely viewed as underpowered in Theros draft, this also means players are prejudiced to the colour and it turned out under drafted. Some very strong red cards had tabled, including a pair of Kragma Warcaller that would have been absolutely brutal in a minotaur deck.

    Deckbuilding

    The draft's done and dusted, however, and Kelvin was left with solid green, some powerful blue and white spells, a possible black splash for Pharika's Mender and a smattering of red.

    He chose to build his deck around a UG evasion core enhanced by a pair of powerful white creatures. He runs Temple of Abandon simply for the scry ability and cut Thassa's Bounty as he already has sufficient late game spells.


    For this strategy to work, his opponents need to be unable to close the game quickly so Kelvin's large evasion creatures can take chucks out of their life totals. He is possibly able to race with the help of Hopeful Eidolon.

    Kelvin Chew Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur 2014 - Draft #1

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    Good luck, Kelvin!






  • Sunday, 11:08 a.m. – Drafting With Shouta Yasooka

    by Pip Foweraker

  • One of only 3 undefeated players coming in to the final day of Grand Prix: Kuala Lumpur, Shouta Yasooka is no stranger to the top draft tables. Going into a Theros draft, his natural preference is for more controlling, U/x decks, with a preference for a removal-heavy, evasion-creature-laden U/B deck if he can assemble the necessary pieces.

    Yasooka's draft table held the other two undefeated players, Yuusuke Iwasaki and Jack Teo, as well as his long-time drafting compatriot, Makihito Mihara. With a challenging draft ahead of him, Yasooka cracked open his first pack.

    Pack 1

    Xenagos, The Reveler stared out at him for his first choice, facing off against a Wingsteed Rider and some scattered removal. The Planeswalker was a relatively straightforward first pick, but Yasooka took his time in the second, eventually settling for an Ordeal of Thassa over some mediocre R/G cards.


    Yasooka's third pick was more interesting, having to choose between a Leafcrown Dryad, Magma Jet, and a couple of aggressive Red creatures. The Magma Jet won out, and Yasooka's next picks of Dragon Mantle, a Leafcrown Dryad to replace the one he'd passed, and a Satyr Rambler started to push him down the road of an aggressive Red-based deck.

    Pack 2

    Yasooka opened a second pack that was, on the surface, a little underwhelming. A Thassa's Emissary, a Rageblood Shaman, a Feral invocation and a Nylea's Disciple stared back out at him. Yasooka opted for straight-out power and chose the Emissary, clearly willing to move back into Blue if necessary at this early stage in the draft.


    The next few packs yielded an Ill-Tempered Cyclops, a Wavecrash Triton, and a Pharika's Cure. Then, just as Yasooka's preferred colours seemed to open up, he was forced back to his original R/G build, picking up a bunch of low-cost favourites like Sedge Scorpion, Akroan Crusader, and Two-Headed Cerberus. Yasooka managed to wheel his Feral Invocation, upping the power of his aggressive and heroic smaller drops.

    At the end of the second pack, Yasooka was firmly committed to Red, but looked undecided between a potential Blue splash and a bunch of solid dudes in Green.

    Pack 3

    Another disappointing pack, with a bevy of powerful Black and White cards, but nothing in Yasooka's colours more impressive than a Nessian Courser. The second pick had no R/G cards at all, Yasooka shaking his head and picking up a Vaporkin.


    The next few packs saw him nab a Leafcrown Dryad, another Dragon Mantle, and a Spearpoint Oread. The wheeling packs, again, held no particularly interesting choices, with Yasooka spending his last picks rounding out a solid if low-curved creature base out of boosters that seemed determined to punish his colour choices in Pack 1.

    Building the deck

    It's always hard to measure the thoughts of Japanese Pro's, who tend to combine heroic levels of stoicism with an inscrutability that borders on the Buddha-like. Nevertheless, Yasooka seemed less than pleased with the result of the draft.

    After tossing up whether it could be worth splashing for a third colour, Yasooka instead opted for a tightly focussed, if not particularly powerful, aggressive R/G deck. His strategy would be to try and run out games as quickly as possible with his aggressive low-costing creatures, and then strategically pump them with Dragon Mantles and Feral Invocations to push through the remaining points of damage. Without creatures with natural evasion, it looked like an uphill struggle for the former Player of the Year.

    Shouta Yasooka Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur 2014 - Draft #1

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  • Round 11 Feature Match – Kelvin Chew (UGW) vs Ayato Imai (UB)

    by Noel Neo

  • Both players have clocked up two losses and are now battling to remain in contention for top 8.

    The first game ended quickly as Ayato's crucial Lash of the Whip Hopes were Stymied by Kelvin. This allowed Fleecemane Lion to gain indestructible and hexproof, and the Lion bestowed with Nylea's Emissary ended the game in short order. Ayato also took quite a bit of early damage as his only creature for the first five turns was Vaporkin.

    Kelvin's offensive after Stymieing Lash of the Whip

    Ayato took the early lead in the second game with an air force that included Insatiable Harpy, Blood-Toll Harpy and Vaporkin. At 12 life, Fleecemane Lion again came to Kelvin's rescue with the favour of Nimbus Naiad.

    After Kelvin summoned Vulpine Goliath, Ayato made the lethal error of bestowing Cavern Lampad on Vaporkin. Ayato was holding Lash of Whip in hand, but chose not to first deal with Vulpine Goliath. Neither did he bestow the Lampad on lifelinking Insatiable Harpy for fear of Kelvin having a removal spell.

    This mistake cost Ayato dearly, for Kelvin was then able to bestow Hopeful Eidolon on the Lion for his own 7/7 flying, lifelink, hexproof and indestructible creature and attack with Lion and Fox to turn the race in his favour with life totals at 15-6.

    Ayato trying to find an out against a 7/7 lifelink flying hexproof Lion

    Ayato attempted to remedy his error by bestowing Thassa's Emissary on Insatiable Harpy, but it was too little too late as Kelvin simply bestowed Nylea's Emissary on Fleecemane Lion to seal the game.

    Kelvin Chew wins 2-0 and remains in contention for top 8.






  • Round 11 Feature Match – Shouta Yasooka (R/G) vs Jack Teo (U/W)

    by Pip Foweraker

  • The last two undefeated players of the tournament, Yasooka and Teo, stared each other down across the feature match table. Yasooka led, but Teo had the first action with a Favored Hoplite. Yasooka summoned a Sedge Scorpion on his third turn, threatening shenanigans on his block, but seeming happy to let his creatures trade. Teo followed up with a Triton Shorethief, while Yasooka had a an Arena Athlete. A Leonin Snarecaster tapped down the Athlete for at turn, but when Teo rumbled in to attack Yasooka had a Feral Invocation. The tempo swing from Yasooka's trick and follow-up bestowed Leafcrown Dryad proved too much for Teo's aggressive-but-low-curve deck to keep up with, and both players moved to their sideboards in short order.

    It says something about the blistering pace of the first game that both players had sideboarded, shuffled and presented their decks before 5 minutes had elapsed in the round. Impressive!

    Shouta Yasooka 1 - Jack Teo 0


    The second game started out with both players matching small creatures, until Teo began to pull ahead with a Daxos of Meletis. He was able to negotiate his way around Yasooka's growing ground army with some assistance from an Ephera's Warden. After a few turns of careful growth on both sides and attacks from Teo, Yasooka found and summoned a Stoneshock Giant, threatening to blow out Teo's hard-won advantage with a massive attack.

    Both players stalled out, Yasooka hunting for his final land to activate the Giant's monstrous ability, and Teo for some more ways to punch through damage before it was too late. Both players grew their armies, but Teo pulled ahead with a Triton Tactics on a pair of Battlewise Hoplites on a full-team strike. Yasooka still couldn't find his final land and was unable to race back effectively before Teo took the second game.

    Jack Teo 1 - Shouta Yasooka 1


    Game 3

    Teo started things off with a Vaporkin and an Ordeal of Thassa, signaling his aggressive intent from the get-go. Yasooka had a satyr Rambler and a Nessian Courser, and, facing down an increasingly huge Vaporkin, decided to suit up his Satyr with a Leafcrown Druid and attacking, turning the final game into a straight-out race.

    Yasooka decided to make things more challenging for Teo by summoning Xenagos, the Reveler, who promptly helped him to clog the board. Teo, however, found an Ordeal of Heliod for his Vaporkin, instantly trading in the enchantment for a +1/+1 counter and a valuable life buffer. Yasooka, unable to deal with the Vaporkin, was unable to get through for the damage he needed and scooped up his cards.

    Jack Teo advances to Round 12 as the only undefeated player left at Grand Prix: Kuala Lumpur!

    Jack Teo 2 - Shouta Yasooka 1






  • Round 12 Feature Match – Hironobu Sugaya vs Shamsul Bahrin Zainuddin

    by Pip Foweraker

  • Zainuddin looked extraordinarily hesitant about his decision to keep his opening hand. In the end, he knocked thrice on his library and kept, and was presumably rewarded with a land when he breathed a hge sigh of relief, and summoned Vaporkin, and followed it with an Ordeal of Nylea. Sugaya had a Phalanx Leader and a Crackling Triton to keep pace.


    Sugaya, under pressure from the increasingly enormous flier, cast a Cavalry Pegasus and used a Voyage's End on the Vaporkin to both stem the beatings and stop Zainuddin from getting too far ahead on lands. Zainuddin had a Nylea's Disciple to clog the ground, then bestowed a Nimbus Naiad on it and attacked. Sugaya took the damage for a turn before casting a Gift of Immortality on his Pegasus, drawing a wry look from Zainuddin as he pondered how to get past the now-recursive blocker.

    Zainuddin re-cast his Vaporkin and found a pair of Fleetfeather Sandals, while Sugaya summoned a Wingsteed Rider, Silent Artisan and a Traveling Philosopher. Both players were slowed to a crawl by relatively weak offences and relatively strong defence on both sides of the board. An Aqueous Form for Zainuddin resolved the stalemate and let him take the first game in short order.

    Shamsul Bahrin Zainuddin 1 - Hironobu Sugaya 0

    Both players summoned out cheap creatures but couldn't find any profitable attacks, Zainuddin with a Vaporkin and a Nessian Courser, Sugaya with a Cavalry Pegasus, Lagonna-Band Elder and a Wingsteed Pegasus. Zainuddin bestowed a Leafcrown Dryad on his Vaporkin, making an imposing flier and crashing it in at Sugaya.


    Sugaya visibly considered attacking back with his team, prompting Zainuddin to throw his hands up in the air to try and dissuade him. Sugaya, smiling, reconsidered and just sent his fliers over, leaing his Elder back to slow down the Courser if necessary. Sugaya summoned a Soldier of the Pantheon, while Zainuddin went for a Prophet of Kruphix, which was promptly Voyage's Ended.

    Sugaya tried a Gift of Immortality on his Wingsteed Rider, building it to a 4/4 before attacking with his Rider, Pegasus and Soldier of the Pantheon. Zainuddin flashed in a bestowed Nimbus Naiad, creating a tremendous blocker for both the Soldier and the Pegasus. Sugaya shook his head in frustration and flashed a God's Willing that he had been holding in anticipation of, well, anything but a surprise 5/5 flying blocker. Regardless of his choices, Sugaya could get Zainuddin to 1 - not enough to stop him from swinging back for lethal the next turn.

    Shamsul Bahrin Zainuddin 2 - Hironobu Sugaya 0






  • Sunday, 2:50 p.m. – Drafting with Shamsul Bahrin Zainuddin

    by Noel Neo

  • Shamsul is one of just 6 players sitting on 11-1, having gone 3-0 in his first pod. Is this a fluke of chance or does Shamsul have some secret sauce? Read on to find out.

    Shamsul quickly solidified himself in UG, with an initial four picks of Nimbus Naiad, Voyage's End, Leafcrown Dryad and Feral Invocation. He stuck to his guns through the three packs and ended up with a strong evasive rush deck.

    A number of less conventional picks include Nylea's Disciple over Horizon Scholar – Shamsul tends to err on the side of speed over power; Bronze Sable over counter drafting Underworld Cerberus; and not picking up a late Warrior's Lesson. A late pick of Benthic Giant over Horizon Scholar was made because he has a number of ways of granting his creatures evasion and so contextually values hexproof over flying.

    Booster One

    1 Nimbus Naiad, Horizon Chimera

    2 Voyage's End, Thassa's Emissary, Gods Willing

    3 Leafcrown Dryad, Nessian Courser

    4 Feral Invocation, Horizon Scholar

    5 Vulpine Goliath, Nylea's Presence

    6 Aqueous Form

    7 Fate Foretold, Mnemonic Wall

    8 Centaur Battlemaster

    9 Unknown Shores

    10 Lagonna-Band Elder

    11 Shredding Winds

    12 Anvilwrought Raptor

    13 Pheres-Band Centaurs

    14 Viper's Kiss

    Booster Two

    1 Feral Invocation, Nylea's Disciple, Savage Surge

    2 Prescient Chimera, Time to Feed, Horizon Chimera

    3 Nylea's Disciple, Horizon Scholar

    4 Vaporkin

    5 Crackling Triton, Traveler's Amulet

    6 Fleetfeather Sandals, Vulpine Goliath

    7 Annul, Sip of Hemlock, Shredding Winds

    8 Ordeal of Erebos, Thassa's Bounty

    9 Savage Surge

    10 Pharika's Mender

    11 Benthic Giant, Horizon Scholar

    12 Coastline Chimera

    13 Unknown Shores

    14 Demolish

    Booster Three

    1 Nessian Courser, Daxos of Meletis, Prowler's Helm

    2 Agent of Horizons, Prescient Chimera

    3 Loathsome Catoblepas, Gainsay, Guardians of Meletis

    4 Nimbus Naiad, Agent of Horizons

    5 Aqueous Form

    6 Griptide

    7 Bronze Sable, Underworld Cerberus, Mnemonic Wall

    8 Agent of Horizons

    9 Burnished Hart

    10 Evangel of Heliod

    11 Two-Headed Cerberus

    12 Lost in a Labyrinth

    13 Triton Shorethief, Warriors' Lesson

    14 Commune with the Gods

    Deckbuilding

    Having drafting a pool of solid UG, Shamsul then made another unconventional decision in deciding to splash black for the singleton – Pharika's Mender. "The ability to return Aqueous Form is very powerful", he explained.

    To enable the splash, Shamsul is running two copies of Unknown Shores. Would his plan work?


    Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur Draft #2 Shamsul Bahrin Zainuddin

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