Day 1 Coverage

Posted in Event Coverage on July 13, 2010

By Wizards of the Coast


  • Saturday, June 12: 10:13a.m. – Grand Prix Trial Decklists
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

Nobody can deny that there is an element of luck in Magic, and while most can appreciate that the best players know how to minimize the potential for upsets, there's always an outside chance it could all go horribly wrong. That's why even the best players will battle through a Grand Prix Trial to try to earn three byes in the big event, because there's only thing that's a sure thing, and that's a guaranteed win. Six Grand Prix Trials were run here yesterday, and for once, none of the spots were taken by Jund! Here are the winning decks.

  • Quick Question – What is the best card in Standard?
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
Martin Juza: 'Eldrazi Monument.'
Ding Yuan Leong: 'Can I say Searing Blaze? No, Goblin Guide!'
Shuhei Nakamura: 'Jace, the Mind Sculptor, but Path is format Defining.'
Ben Stark: Bloodbraid Elf.
Yuuya Watanabe: 'Jace, the Mind Sculptor.'
Shouta Yasooka: 'Bloodbraid Elf.'

  • Feature Match Round 4: James Porter vs Hao-Shan Huang
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

While it may feel like a life time ago for James Porter, it was only four years ago he emerged from this very tournament holding high the trophy. For Hao-Shan Huang, his victory was more recent, winning the fourth Grand Prix Trial yesterday.

Huang got off to a fast start with his Next Level Bant deck, powering out a quick Vengevine, but Porter, playing the same deck, had an Oblivion Ring to keep him honest. Both players then moved on to their back-up plan, trading blows with Celestial Colonnades, until Porter tutored up a Scute Mob with his Ranger of Eos. Huang requested assistance from Jace, the Mind Sculptor, digging for either an Oblivion Ring or a Path to Exile to deal with the Mob. Instead, he rounded out his turn with an Elspeth, making a Soldier Token to hold off the Insect. Porter sent his Colonnade to kill Jace, and his Scute Mob at Elspeth, Huang sacrificed a Wall of Omens to protect the White Planeswalker, but had to bid adieu to the Blue one. Eying up Porters measly five life, Huang dropped an Oblivion Ring on Porter's remaining untapped creature - a Birds of Paradise - and sent his Solider token to the air with Elspeth. Porter swatted it aside with Path to Exile, only to lose his Scute Mob to a Gideon Jura from Huang. Porter doubled down the Elspeth with one of his own, but couldn't stop the Gideon from trundling across to take game one.

Huang 1 – Porter 0


Game two started out on a much better note for Porter, summoning a turn three Master of the Wild Hunt in the face of Huang's mulligan. Huang wasted no time throwing it through an Oblivion Ring, but Porter merely summoned another. Jace came down for Huang, and bounced the second Master, a Birds of Paradise throwing itself in front of Porter's 1/1 Scute Mob to protect Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Jace dropped to one loyalty to bounce the Master a second time, while Elspeth joined the team. With the help of a Noble Hierarch, Porter again sent the Mob in to tousle with Jace, Huang this time throwing a soldier in front, while Porter yet again summoned his Master. Huang wound his Jace back up to three, while digging for an answer to Porter's men with a Sea Gate Oracle. Porter went for an Oblivion Ring, but Huang Negated it, chump-blocking the incoming Master with yet another Soldier. Huang found a Journey to Nowhere to send away the Master of the Wild Hunt, and started drawing cards with his Jace. Porter was still looking for the fifth land he needed to start businessing his Scute Mob. Huang summoned a Vengevine, but Porter had a Path to Exile for that, and a second one to clear the way for his Wolf to kill Jace, before removing Elspeth with an Oblivion Ring. Huang attacked back with a Stirring Wildwood, while Porter summoned a Sphinx of the Lost Truths, ditching a Ranger of Eos, another Sphinx and a Vengevine, keeping and playing a crucial fifth land. Huang had nothing, and the Scute Mob came over and ate the Oracle. Porter followed up with another Master of the Wild Hunt. Huang tried to attack back in the air with his Celestial Colonnade, but was swiftly out-gunned by Porter's Scute Mob.

Huang 1 – Porter 1


Huang agonized over his hand in game three, eventually electing to keep it and lead with a pair of Celestial Colonnades. Neither player played anything but lands, until Huang broke the peace with a Linvala, Keeper of Silence on turn four. Porter replied by summoning a Vengevine and serving it for four. Huang had an Oblivion Ring for it, and a Noble Hierarch to swing back equally. Gideon Jura came down for Porter, promptly killing Linvala, and Huang finished it off with one of his Colonnades. Porter rallied with a Sphinx of Jwar Isle. Thanks to his Hierarch and a freshly summoned Qasali Pridemage, Huang was able to attack into the Sphinx with his Colonnade, dropping Porter to 13. The Sphinx attacked back, and Huang played a Gideon Jura. Porter recruited Jace to bounce the Pridemage, before using an Oblivion Ring of his own to get back his Vengevine. He sent them both at Gideon. Huang threw his Hierarch in front of the Vengevine, then attacked Porter down to four with Gideon and a Colonnade. Porter bounced Huang's remaining blocker and sent his team in for exactly enough damage. Huang thought he was on one more life, but as they tallied up the life totals, it turned out Huang had failed to note the cost of one of his Misty Rainforest.

James Porter defeats Hao-Shan Huang 2 – 1

  • Quick Question – Is Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa the next Kai Budde/Jon Finkel?
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
Makihito Mihara: 'Probably not, but Player of the year 2010'.
Sam Black: 'I don’t think it’s possible any more, but definitely, definitely a master.'
Brian Kibler: 'I don’t know. He’s great, but he’s got a long way to go before he’s that.'
Tom Raney: 'Possibly, he is a master.'
Shouta Yasooka: 'No.'
Yuuya Watanabe: '…Yeah.' (despite the other Japanese players teasing Watanabe that he was the next Kai/Finkel.)
  • Feature Match: Round 6 – Cheyenne Batnag vs Shouta Yasooka
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

Bear with me on this one. You probably know who Shouta Yasooka is, but Cheyenne Batnag may require a little more explanation. Before this round, I was up at the stage, typing away, surrounded by pro players swapping war stories, when Mat Marr came up and loudly proclaimed he'd seen the coolest deck ever. "This guy is 5-0 with no byes, and his name is like, Cheyenne Bant or something, and he's playing the coolest Black/Red deck! You should totally do a decktech with him." We found his name in the pairings for the round, and verified he wasn't actually named after the antithesis of his deck, and noted his name down as someone to look out for in the pairings for this round, should he get paired with a known player. You know, like Yasooka.

Yasooka won the roll, and kicked things off with a turn three Sprouting Thrinax, but not before cocking an eyebrow at Batnag's turn one Veinfire Borderpost. Gatekeeper of Malakir converted the Thrinax into Saprolings, but Yasooka Lightning Bolted the Gatekeeper, and summoned another Thrinax. Batnag Terminated an incoming Raging Ravine, but a Bloodbraid Elf cascading into Blightning had him well and truly on the back foot. Another Terminate couldn't save him from the growing horde of 1/1s, and he was quickly reaching for his sideboard.

Yasooka 1 – Batnag 0

Yasooka Duresses Batnag.

A Duress from Yasooka denied Batnag a Lightning Bolt, while Batnag summoned a Vampire Hexmage. Yasooka had another Thrinax, and after Summoning a Putrid Leech, discarded a pair of excess lands to a Bloodhusk Ritualist from Batnag. Batnag continued the rogue hits with a Lord of Shatterskull Pass, but it died to a Maelstrom Pulse after Yasooka Duressed away an Earthquake. Yasooka attacked with his Thrinax and Leech, but then found himself faced with a second Vampire Hexmage, and a Tuktuk the Explorer. Seeing Yasooka had halted his attack, Batnag upgraded his Tuktuk by running it headfirst into the Thrinax, before summoning a second Lord of Shatterskull Pass. Yasooka summoned a Siege-Gang Commander, but didn't have anything to stop the Lord leveling up to a 6/6. Batnag then attacked with it. Yasooka pumped his Leech before blockers to bait out any removal spells, and when the coast appeared clear, offered up either the Leech or his Thrinax for the Lord, while a Goblin token blocked the 5/5 Goblin Golem token. Yasooka again attacked with his Thrinax, the Siege-Gang preventing any favorable blocks for Batnag. Another Maelstrom Pulse took out the Goblin Golem while Batnag lost the rest of his hand to a Blightning. The Siege-Gang Commander slowly mopped up the rest of Batnag's board, and Yasooka was soon attacking for the match.

Shouta Yasooka defeats Cheyenne Batnag 2 – 0

  • Saturday, 5:45 p.m. – Video: Kibler and Black talk Twitter
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

  • Quick Question – What is the best deck in Standard?
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
Shuhei Nakamura: 'It’s Rock/Paper/Scissors. Next Level Bant last week, this week… we’ll see.'
Jan Reuss: 'I don’t know. I don’t think there is a best deck.'
Makihito Mihara: 'Mythic and Next Level Bant.'
Brian Kibler: 'Next Level Bant!'
Sam Black: 'Jund, and I hope I’m right.'
Ding Leong: 'Next Level Bant.'
  • Feature Match: Round 8 - Sam Black vs Ding Leong
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

"There's no way I'm winning this," Sam Black laughed as they shuffled their decks. "You can often tell the people who play red, because they always do." I ventured that maybe Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur 2010 Champion Ding Leong wasn't playing the Red deck he used to defeat three straight Jund decks in that top 8. "Well, we were also sitting a few tables away from each other earlier today too, so…"

"I probably shouldn't be doing this, but I'll keep him around," Black admitted, as he saved his Putrid Leech from a Searing Blaze. Sure enough, on the following turn, a Ball Lightning dropped him to single figures. Black summoned a Sprouting Thrinax, but Leong already had enough burn to finish him, and they were on to game two in less time than they spent pre-match.

Ding Leong 1 – Crispy-fried Sam Black 0

Leong and Black spent more time between games than in one.

Black started game two with a Savage Lands, while Leong rushed in with a Goblin Guide, revealing a Duress. Black fetched out a Forest with a Verdant Catacombs, falling to 17, and summoned a Putrid Leech. Leong again pointed a Searing Blaze at the Leech, and again Black saved it, going to 12. Leong then offer to trade his guide for the Leech, and Black accepted, before summoning another one and playing a Lavaclaw reaches. The second Leech could only watch as a Hell's Thunder sailed over its head, dropping Black to 8. Black went fishing with his Duress, seeing Goblin Guide, Goblin Ruinblaster, Lavaclaw Reaches and Mountain, then Blightning'd away the Reaches and the Guide. Leong kicked the Ruinblaster, and Black traded his Leech for it, not wanting to pay any more life than he had to. He then untapped, played another land and summoned a Sprouting Thrinax. Leong could only summon yet another Goblin Guide and pass the turn back without a fifth land. Black summoned Bloodbraid Elf, hitting Blightning, and drawing out a Lightning Bolt to drop him to 5. Black attacked with his Elf, which traded with the Guide. A second Bloodbraid Elf found another Blightning, luring a Staggershock out of Leong's hand and dropping Leong to 9. The Staggershock rebounded and put Black on 1. "Come ooon creature," Black joked, as either an untapped land or one of many spells would be the end of him, but Leong flipped over a Lightning Bolt to finish the match.

Ding Leong incinerated Sam Black 2 – 0

  • Quick Question – Will you be doing any sightseeing while you’re here in Manila?
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
Tom Raney: 'I did a tour of Intramuros on Wednesday.'
Antonino de Rosa: 'I live here now, but I’ve still done quite a bit'.
Jan Reuss: 'I’ve already done some. I got here on Wednesday, and I’ve walked around the city a lot, to see how people actually live here.'
Shuhei Nakamura: 'No, it’s too warm!'
Brian Kibler: 'Unfortunately, we were going to go see a volcano, but it was erupting, so we couldn’t!'
Sam Black: 'Yeah. We’re staying with a local player: Konrad Tayao, and he’s been great. He’s given as a guided tour, and taken us to hotels and clubs, it’s been fantastic.'
  • Feature Match: Round 9 - Brian Kibler vs Shouta Yasooka
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

Both Brian Kibler and Shouta Yasooka have been on a bit of a tear lately, and are no strangers to the spotlight. Last week in Sendai they played each other at 8-0 to see who would go undefeated on day one, and then again in the semifinals. In both matches, Kibler emerged the victor, would Yasooka finally take his revenge?

Kibler carefully manages his resources.

Yasooka won the roll, and played a pair of Raging Ravines to Kibler's Birds of Paradise and a Sea Gate Oracle. He then summoned a Sprouting Thrinax, but Kibler sent it packing with his trusty Bant Charm. Next up was Bloodbraid Elf, and the first two cards revealed were more Bloodbraid Elves, causing the audience to laugh appreciatively, eventually finding a Putrid Leech. Kibler cast Elspeth, and made a token solider. Yasooka woke up one of his Ravines and sent the team at Elspeth, but Kibler kept her alive with a Path to Exile on the land, and his Oracle and Soldier tag-teaming the Bloodbraid. Kibler summoned a few more mana creatures, and made another soldier to hold off the Leech, before losing his hand (including a Sphinx of Lost Truths he would have been able to summon the next turn) and the Elspeth to a Blightning. Yasooka summoned another Leech, and Kibler knocked on the top of his deck, calling for a replacement Sphinx. Instead he found a Wall of Omens, which drew him into a Gideon, killing the tapped Leech. Yasooka animated his second Ravine and sent that alongside the Leech at Gideon. Kibler pushed a Birds and the Wall in front, but Yasooka had a Maelstrom Pulse anyway. Kibler again called for a Sphinx, "or a Colonnade, that'll do" the latter of which he found. The Colonnade flew in, and due to the incremental damage Kibler had been sneaking in throughout the game, Yasooka had a small window with which he could try and kill Kibler, but his many mana minions leapt valiantly in the way, and Kibler's Celestial Colonnade took game one.

Kibler 1 – Yasooka 0

"I drew Sphinx THAT turn, but then all I had to do was kill you," Kibler joked as they sideboarded. "Anything new for me since last week?" he asked, but Yasooka only replied with a smile.

Yasooka checks the life totals.

Yasooka again started out with a Ravine, while this time Kibler had a Noble Hierarch. Yasooka spent a Lightning Bolt on that, but had nothing on turn three, while Kibler smoothed out his mana with a Borderland Ranger, or "land number 25" as he likes to call it. A Goblin Ruinblaster set Kibler back, trading with both the Ranger and a Colonnade. Kibler continued to cantrip with a Sea Gate Oracle that took one for the team from the Ravine, and then a Wall of Omens into a Scute Mob. Another Ruinblaster kept the Mob away from meeting its potential, while Kibler summoned a Ranger of Eos, collecting a pair of Hierarchs for his trouble. "I'm really glad I drew my Borderland Ranger this game," Kibler quipped as he barely managed to stay afloat. A fifth land for Kibler forced Yasooka to pull the trigger on a Bituminous Blast, dispatching the Scute Mob before it could grow up to be a real boy. Kibler finally went on the offensive, sending in his Ranger of Eos, with cheerleader support from the Hierarchs. He then kicked a Sphinx of Lost Truths. Yasooka attacked back, trying to bury Kibler before his stream of cards overwhelmed him in turn, but it wasn't to be. A Vengevine from Kibler had Yasooka playing defense, and a Deprive protected the Sphinx from a cascaded Doom Blade. Yasooka looked for any way to get the rest of his damage through, but found nothing, and once again, the players finish day one as they did last week in Sendai.

Brian Kibler defeats Shouta Yasooka 2 – 0

  • Quick Question – Are you Team Ulamog, or Team Emrakul?
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
Ding Leong: 'Team Emrakul, it wins the game!'
Sam Black: 'Team Ulamog. 15 is way too much, I like ‘em cheap!'
Antonino de Rosa: 'Team Emrakul. Bigger is always better.'
Ben Stark: 'Team Emrakul all the way, I’ve cast him so many times in limited, he’s awesome.'
Brian Kibler: 'Team Emrakul, obviously! Although, Ulamog kills Emrakul.'
Martin Juza: 'No way, Kozilek is the best

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