Day 2 Coverage

Posted in Event Coverage on July 14, 2010

By Wizards of the Coast


  • Deck Lists - Day 1 Undefeated Decks
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

Kazuya Mitamura

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Brian Kibler

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Bayani Manansala

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  • Feature Match Round 10 - Bayani Manansala vs Kazuya Mitamura
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

Sometimes a local player manages to shoulder their way into the undefeated players on day one, and most people assume they got lucky. Bayani Manansala however, is no slouch. He was the Philippine National Champion a couple of years ago, so he's just the kind of local favorite the audience are going to want to see putting those Professional Juggernauts to the test. Speaking of Juggernauts, Kazuya Mitamura has been steam-rolling in the wrong direction for a while, going 0-3 drop in the last three GP's. He's finally gotten the tank turned around and is now crushing all in his path again.

Unfortunately, Manansala woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, with a mulligan to five. His first play was a Calcite Snapper, while Mitamura's hand and board were practically overflowing, thanks to a Ranger of Eos. Manansala cast a Jace, and immediately Brainstormed, but Mitamura dispatched it with a Vengevine. The Snapper attacked back, taking down a Wall of Omens, before being joined by another turtle brother. Mitamura summoned another Ranger of Eos, his Vengevine dropping Manansala to 6 life. Manansala summoned a Sedraxis Specter, but it wasn't nearly as effective on defense, especially when the Vengevine had the help of some Noble Hierarchs. He dug further with another Jace, but he was outnumbered on the card count almost two to one. Mitamura removed the Specter with Path to Exile, and used Elspeth to send lethal damage over the top.

Manansala looks almost offended by the number of cards on the other side of the table.

Mitamura 1 – Manansala 0

Manansala started game two with a Terminate on Mitamura's Noble Hierarch, but after some deliberation, Mitamura saved it with a Negate. Manansala followed that up with a Sedraxis Specter that actually looked threatening, until Mitamura exiled it with an Oblivion Ring. He was Deprived a Ranger of Eos, and a Consuming Vapors went to work on his Hierarchs. While Manansala was tapped out for the Vapors, Mitamura sneaked out a Jace, the Mind Sculptor, immediately winding it up to five loyalty to peek at the top of his own library. Manansala shot back with a Blightning, dropping Jace to two and forcing Mitamura to discard a pair of Sea Gate Oracles, keeping a Celestial Purge. Mitamura then summoned a Vengevine, and kept it back, as Manansala had a Lavaclaw Reaches lurking amongst his lands, he pushed Jace back up to four and passed it back. Not seeing a way past the Vengevine with his reaches, Manansala instead activated and sent in a Creeping Tar Pit. Mitamura Brainstormed, leaving a land and an Oblivion Ring on top, and gaining another Vengevine and a Misty Rainforest in hand. He attacked with the Vengevine already in play, and passed it back with Purge mana open. At the end of his turn, Manansala bounced the Oblivion Ring with an Into the Roil, forcing Mitamura's hand, Purging the Specter during Manansala's upkeep. He then finished off the rest of Mitamura's hand, and the Jace, with another Blightning.

Mitamura searches his library.

Mitamura drew and played a land, and attacked with his Vengevine again. Manansala played a Jace, and peeked at the top of Mitamura's library to keep it just out of reach of the Vengevine, but Mitamura still had the Oblivion Ring. Manansala summoned another Specter, and Mitamura begrudgingly removed it with a Path to Exile, giving Manansala a seventh land, especially dangerous in a deck featuring Cruel Ultimatum. Grimacing, Mitamura drew his next card, hoping for a haymaker to get in before the Ultimatum. His face broke into a grin, and he slammed a Ranger of Eos into play. He pulled the second Vengevine in his graveyard out and started searching his library for the random one drop that would trigger it. Manansala saved him the time by offering the hand.

"Did you have the Ultimatum?" Mitamura asked, and Manansala nodded.

Kazuya Mitamura defeats Bayani Manansala 2 – 0 to become the last remaining undefeated player.

  • Day Two Metagame Breakdown - Deck Types
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

The basic breakdown of the day two metagame looks like this:
35 Jund
26 White/Blue Control
16 Mythic Bant
11 Naya
10 Next Level Bant
7 Green/X Eldrazi Monument
5 Grixis Control
4 Polymorph
4 Vampires
3 Mono Red
2 Boros Bushwhacker
5 Other

Not surprisingly, Jund is on top, followed by White/Blue Control variants and Mythic Bant. Here's a further breakdown of those archetypes:
32 Jund
3 Eldrazi Monument Jund
15 White/Blue Control
10 White/Blue/Red Planeswalker Control
1 Bant Planeswalker Control
15 Mythic Conscription
1 Finest Hour Mythic
11 Naya
10 Next Level Bant
3 Green/Red Eldrazi Monument
2 Green/Blue Eldrazi Monument
1 Green/Blue/Red Eldrazi Monument
1 Green/White Eldrazi Monument
5 Grixis Control
4 Polymorph
2 Vampires
1 Vampires (splash blue)
1 Vampires (splash red)
2 Mono Red (splash black)
1 Devastating Red
2 Boros Bushwhacker
1 Open the Vaults Combo
1 GW Eldrazi Summoning Trap
1 White Weenie (splashing blue)
1 Naya Allies
1 Turbo Land

  • Feature Match Round 12 - Brian Kibler vs Xue Tong Du
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

It's easy to forget those who finish second, but I remember Xue Tong Du as the finalist from GP Kuala Lumpur earlier this year, as people with two letter last names are really easy to type about. Brian Kibler, of course, has been winning rather a fair amount since returning to Magic just over a year ago.

"Six is not very high," Kibler declared, as he rolled the die, "but 18 is!" Du chose to play first, but took his time deciding to keep his opening hand. His first play was a Sprouting Thrinax, while Kibler nibbled away at the top of his deck with a Sea Gate Oracle. A second Thrinax entered the battlefield, but Du was missing his fourth land. Kibler summoned a defensive Vengevine, while Du found the land he needed to Bloodbraid Elf into an Elvish Visionary. Du sent in the team, the Vengevine traded with the Elf and the Oracle died to a Thrinax. Wall of Omens and Sea Gate Oracle bought (and brought) back the Vengevine, but Du kept up the pressure with another Bloodbraid Elf, revealing Terminate on the Wall. Vengevine again traded with an Elf, and an Oracle again chump blocked a Thrinax, Kibler dropping to 8. Another Wall and Oracle got back the Vengevine, but Kibler was keenly aware that Du had not yet played any Lightning Bolts or Blightnings this game. A third Bloodbraid Elf found another Terminate on the new Wall.

"You're not messing around over there, are you?!" Kibler remarked as he arranged his blockers. On his turn, he summoned a Noble Hierarch and another Vengevine to again return the original one to play, eliciting a "Wow," from Du. "Wow? Are you kidding?!" Kibler exclaimed with a laugh, pointing at the three Bloodbraids in Du's graveyard. Du again attacked in, and dropped Kibler to 1 with a Blightning. "prrretty sure I'm dead," Kibler announced, casting Elspeth and passing back the turn after making a Soldier. Du looked at the board, and turned his guys sideways. "Aw, you saw it," Kibler joked, scooping up his cards.

Du 1 – Kibler 0

While shuffling Kibler's deck, Du noticed a fair amount of wear on them, as they were the ones he was playing in the top 8 last weekend. A judge was called and Kibler had to go in search of new sleeves.

Du passes the turn

"These new sleeves aren't helping," Kibler complained, throwing back his opening hand. Both players started out with their appropriate Shards of Alara tri-color land, but Du had a Raging Ravine turn two, while Kibler had a Birds of Paradise, that powered out a turn three Vengevine. Du could only summon an Elvish Visionary on his third turn. Kibler bolstered his defenses with a Wall of Omens and a Sea Gate Oracle, again sending his Vengevine in to drop Du to 12. Du only played a tapped Dragonskull Summit turn four, throwing his Visionary in front of the Vengevine. Kibler summoned another Oracle, and Du finished off the Vengevine and the Birds of Paradise with a Jund Charm. He then untapped and played a Necrogenesis with mana open to activate it. "Cool card!" Kibler said, as both players eyed up the Vengevine in Kibler's graveyard.

Kibler summoned a Sphinx of Lost Truths, discarding a Noble Hierarch and a pair of lands, and attacked Du down to 9 with his Oracles. At the end of turn, Du exiled the Vengevine to get his Saproling army started. He untapped and entered the think tank. His hand was Bloodbraid Elf, Elvish Visionary, Garruk Wildspeaker, Consuming Vapors and Master of the Wild Hunt, but he only had five lands to work with. After some prompting from the judge, Consuming Vapors ate an Oracle. Kibler attacked Du back down to 8 with his remaining Oracle and the Sphinx, and summoned Elspeth, Knight Errant to the table, making a soldier to feed to the rebounded Vapors. Du went for the Bloodbraid Elf, finding a Terminate for the Sphinx and passing the turn back. However, Kibler had six land in play, and one of them was a Celestial Colonnade. He activated it, beefed it up with Elspeth and dropped Du to 2. Du tried for another Bloodbraid Elf, revealing Lightning Bolt. Kibler pointed at his Colonnade and said "I'm gonna attack you next turn." Du ignored him and sent the team at Elspeth anyway. Kibler blocked, untapped and activated the Colonnade. "Told ya," Kibler laughed as Du scooped up his cards.

Kibler is not exactly thrilled to see Necrogenesis

Du 1 – Kibler 1

Both players kept for the decider, Du leading with a Raging Ravine and a Lavaclaw Reaches, Bolting Kibler's turn one Hierarch. Another tapped land had Du summoning an Elvish Visionary, while Kibler paved the way with his trusty Borderland Ranger. A Goblin Ruinblaster pounced on a Seaside Citadel, but thanks to the Ranger, Kibler was still able to summon a Sea Gate Oracle on his following turn. Consuming Vapors ate the Ranger, but the Oracle held the Ruinblaster and Visionary at bay for now. Kibler summoned a Vengevine to replace the Oracle that could see a rebounded Consuming Vapors with its name on it. Du played a sixth land, and pondered his turn. He had both a Raging Ravine and a Lavaclaw Reaches at his disposal, but probably didn't want to trade either of them for the Vengevine. After another reminder from the judge about pace of play, he finally decided on a Necrogenesis with four mana open to use it.

Kibler played a fifth land and summoned a Sphinx of Lost Truths, discarding a Birds of Paradise, a Gideon Jura (he had no second white source) and a Forest. At the end of turn, Du exiled the Birds and an Oracle to double up his team. He activated his Reaches and attacked with it on its own. Kibler accepted the trade with his Vengevine, Du pumping for one and having just enough mana left over to nab the Vengevine should Kibler try to return it. Kibler simply summoned another Vengevine, and passed the turn back, his first Vengevine joining the Birds and Oracle in exile. Du activated his Raging Ravine, and sent it in, Kibler again happy to trade away his Vengevine. Kibler then summoned a Wall of Omens and a Sea Gate Oracle, but before the second Vengevine could return, the Necrogenesis took it out the back and beat it with a sock full of coins.

Du Maelstrom Pulse'd the Sphinx and turned his team sideways as time was called, dropping Kibler to 11. Kibler summoned Elspeth and made a soldier. Du tried to summon an Elvish Visionary, but Kibler Deprived it, then lost his recently acquired second White source to a Goblin Ruinblaster, team Du dropping Kibler to 7. Kibler summoned another Wall and an Oracle, which was enough to prevent Du from getting through for the damage he needed to finish the match.

Final result: Draw

  • Sunday, June 13: 12:33p.m. – Feature: Play the Game, See the World.
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

Earlier in the week, I posted a note on facebook (tagging anyone I knew in the Philippines) about my wanting to do a touch of sightseeing before the main event. Naturally, there were a few people who wanted to know why I didn't want to do it after the event, so they wouldn't have to miss the GP Trials. The Filipino people are nothing if not extraordinarily helpful and accommodating hosts, so finally it was agreed on that I would be up early to sightsee, so the players could then get on with their grinding.

Ceasar Asahan and Raffy Sarto (Top 8 GP Kuala Lumpur earlier this year) were waiting for me in the hotel lobby at 8am, which wasn't dreadfully early for me – Australian time being 10am. We bundled into a taxi and headed for Rizal Park. I made promises to pay for the cab fare, but once they spied my wad of 500 Peso notes, they laughed and said there was no way I could pay with that. You see, I hadn't really paid much attention to what the exchange rate was. Why bother, right? I knew I needed some Philippine Pesos, so I just forked over $200 at Sydney airport and took what they gave me, which was around $6500pp. The arrival documentation, like most countries, asked you to declare if you're bringing in the equivalent of $10,000.00 US Dollars, which I clearly wasn't, but it also had a tick box for if you were bringing in $10,000.00 Philippine Pesos, which I was closing in on doing so. I guess that should have been my first warning.

While the trip to Rizal Park wasn't exactly far, it came in at under 100 Pesos, which was roughly $3 Australian. As soon as we alighted from the taxi, people were trying to sell us bottles of water, which Ceasar and Raffy automatically waved away. I asked if it was the kind of water you should avoid buying, but they replied it was fine, just I should probably not bother because they would have been charging around 10 Pesos, and probably wouldn't have change for one of my 500s.

Ceasar and Raffy overlooking the Moat Golf Course

Rizal Park was much more colorful than I expected, with stalls selling odds and ends here and there, and various memorials and displays to Jose Rizal. I had no idea who he was, so the guys entertained me with the tale of a man in the late 19th Century, who desired equality in a time of oppression and was executed for his writings, which allegedly incited rebellion. Other than the usual statues up on high, there was a larger than life diorama of a row of Spanish soldiers shooting Jose Rizal in the back at the very spot he was executed. The 8 foot tall figure of Rizal taking Spanish gunfire between the shoulder blades was facing a semi-circle of stone blocks arranged as if an amphitheatre to his execution. I assume there wasn't an audience for this, or Rizal probably wouldn't have been the only one shot that on day.

Monument to Jose Rizal

It was at this point where I discovered that the new lens I had bought for lower lightning situations and was trying out, forces me to stand quite far back from the subject to try and fit it in. I should have brought my old lens with me as well, but foresight had eluded me that morning, so once again, I was not happy with how my pictures turned out.

Inside the Walls of Intramuros (that's a pun, because Intramuros is 'Inside the Walls' in Spanish. Ha ha)

From there we headed on foot into Intramuros. Ceasar asked if I had seen any pictures of the area, which made me realize I had not. The representation I carried around in my head of the oldest part of Manila was entirely from the writings of Neal Stephenson. The walls certainly did not disappoint, being as old and magnificent as described. The old moat that surrounds the district had been an abandoned belt of green turf when Stephenson had written about it, but was now a golf course. Ceasar seemed a little embarrassed about how corny this seemed, but I thought it was a reasonable and practical use of the space. It looked tidier than a random stretch of grass, and could generate revenue for the area.

The streets and buildings had apparently been decimated during World War II, so I didn't really know what to expect. Stephenson described barren stretches of scrub and rubbish, but either I missed that, or they've built over it in the last ten years. We made our way through Intramuros to Fort Santiago, where I tried to make up for not paying the cab fare by paying the entry fee for the guys. I'm pretty sure I still owe them lunch as well, but it seems like that will have to wait until after the event, at this rate. Inside, I successfully emulated one of the main characters of Cryptonomicon by repeatedly turning down horse-drawn taxis. The gardens were tropical and picturesque, and the overhanging palm fronds afforded me the shade I required to not pass out from heat-related exhaustion and thirst.

After we'd walked around the Fort and checked out the old prison cells that are cut into the stone below the tide-line (yes, apparently long term prisoner retention was not an issue in those days) I realized I might be risking serious sunburn if I stayed outside any longer, so we checked out the Jose Rizal displays inside the Fort before calling it a day.

And to think, if it weren't for Magic, Intramuros and Rizal Park would still be something I could only imagine.

  • Sunday, June 13: 12:33p.m. – Snapshot: Martin Juza vs. Shuuhei Nakamura
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

If you noticed a solitary Turbo Land deck at the bottom of the metagame breakdown earlier, it wasn’t just anybody, it was Czech pro Martin Juza, who in round 13, resoundingly crushed Shuuhei Nakamura’s Planeswalker Control deck in two straight games.

Juza is now 10-3 with his Turbo Land build.

  • Feature Match Round 14 - Yuuta Takahashi vs Yuuya Watanabe
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

There was no way I could pass this feature match up, featuring two veritable Japanese Superstars. Not only that, both also have similar first names! Yuuya Watanabe was all over the GP scene late last year, as players simply could not keep him out of four straight GP Top 8's. In 2008, Yuuta Takahashi won two Japanese GP's with Faeries, in both Standard and Block constructed. Naturally, he's playing Jund this weekend.

After a deck-check to give me time to catch up on my work. Err, I mean make sure they players weren't up to no good (yes, yesss, that's why they were picked, honest), we got down to business. Watanabe kept his hand, leading with a Scute Mob and a Noble Hierarch, the latter of which earning a Terminate from Takahashi. Watanabe attacked again, but this time for 1, before replacing the Hierarch with a Birds of Paradise. Takahashi summoned a Sprouting Thrinax and sat back to see what Watanabe could do.

A Sunpetal Grove came down untapped for Watanabe, giving him access to five mana. He had a Misty Rainforest in hand, meaning he could get his Scute Mob online on time, an Elspeth, Knight Errant, and a Gideon Jura. Finally, he decided on the Elspeth and an accompanying Soldier. Takahashi sent his Thrinax at Elspeth, but the Soldier got in the way, A Blightning cleared out the rest of Watanabe's hand and dropped Elspeth to 2, Takahashi then played a not insignificant Raging Ravine. Watanabe drew an Oblivion Ring, taking the Thrinax, and again attacked for one, Elspeth spitting out another Soldier. Takahashi killed the Scute Mob with a Bituminous Blast, scoring a free Thrinax. Watanabe drew a fifth land, which allowed him to activate and attack with his Celestial Colonnade. He made another Soldier and passed it back to Takahashi, who again attacked Elspeth with his Thrinax, only to be foiled by a pesky Soldier. After combat, Takahashi Summoned Sarkhan the Mad to his side, and upgraded his Thrinax to a pop band; Dragon Token and the Saprolings. Watanabe again sent in his Colonnade, this time with the help of Elspeth and pointed at Sarkhan. The Dragon Token decided he didn't like the bands new direction anyway, and valiantly saved their manager.

Watanabe reads the writing on the wall

Takahashi attacked back with his Saps (as the three-piece were now called) and a Lavaclaw Reaches, finally getting some damage in on Watanabe. Sarkhan made another Dragon, and a Maelstrom Pulse on Elspeth made sure the Colonnade wouldn't couldn't do the same trick twice. When his next draw step didn't yield and answer to either the Dragon or its master, Watanabe packed it in.

Takahashi 1 – Watanabe 0

Watanabe had Forest, Birds, go in game two, and a Wall of Omens and a Seaside Citadel on turn two. Takahashi stunted further development with a Bolt on the Birds, but Watanabe had another one and another Citadel. Clearly an Avian-hater, Takahashi destroyed the second Birds with a Maelstrom Pulse, and followed that up with a Master of the Wild Hunt. Watanabe dug up a Journey to Nowhere with a Sea Gate Oracle, but Takahashi had another Pulse for that as well. Watanabe summoned a Sphinx of Lost Truths, discarding two lands and a Vengevine. Takahashi cascaded past a good twelve or thirteen cards before he found a Sprouting Thrinax with his Bloodbraid Elf. The Elf trucked in, and along with a hurled Wolf, traded with the Sphinx. Jace, the Mind Sculptor bounced the Master, but another Bloodbraid Elf found a Lightning Bolt to deal with that. A third Bloodbraid found a Pithing Needle for Watanabe's recently summoned Elspeth, and Watanabe was suddenly in a great deal of trouble. He summoned another Jace a tried to dig up an answer. Takahashi summoned his fourth Bloodbraid Elf, and Watanabe could only laugh as it revealed a Lightning Bolt on Jace, the attack leaving him on 4 life.

Takahashi closes in for the kill.

On the ropes, Watanabe summoned a Ranger of Eos and the pair of Hierarchs it rode in with. Takahashi activated his Lavaclaw Reaches, and attacked with that, his two remaining Bloodbraids and the Thrinax. When his next draw step revealed nothing, of use, Watanabe scooped up his cards.

Yuuta Takahashi defeats Yuuya Watanabe 2 – 0

  • Sunday, June 13: 2:36p.m. – Feature: Cool Decks
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

While going through the day two decks for the metagame breakdown earlier, I found a few wee gems I thought you’d all like to see.

Paul Ernest Lazaro

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Joe Lam

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Raynand Rivas

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Jonathan Mark Te

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Archie Tan

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Nicholas Wong

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  • Round 15 Snapshot - Xue Tong Du vs Jan Ruess
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
After battling to a draw against Brian Kibler’s Next Level Bant deck in round 12, Xue Tong Du seems to have done it again in the last round against Jan Ruess with the same deck, eliminating them both from top 8 contention.

  • Round 15 Snapshot - Alex West vs. Martin Juza
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
Alex West beat Martin Juza to lock up top 16, and enough Pro Points that he can finally stop grinding those GP Trials!

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