Finals – Xu Bin (Blue White Control) vs. Chen Zhuang (Blue Black Control)

Posted in Event Coverage on July 3, 2011

By Chapman Sim

It has boiled down to the final match of the tournament and both players are one win away from hoisting the Champion trophy. The winner would go home with Koth to commemorate the joyous occasion while the one who fell would have to be content with an equally cool Tezzeret.

Both players have enjoyed success piloting control decks of a similar concept. Cast Jace Beleren, counter some spells and drop a huge threat. Unfortunately, the matchup seemed to be in Chen Zhuang's favor. In a matchup where information is crucial, invasion hand disruption spells could prove to be a huge edge, not to mention that black has access to more effective spot removal.

Game 1

Chen's Inquisition of Kozilek saw Xu's hand of double Jace Beleren and double Mana Leak, and he was happy to remove one of the Planeswalkers. Players did nothing until turn four, when Xu wasted no time trading a Tectonic Edge with Creeping Tar Pit. A missed land drop from Chen indicated that he was out of land and Xu continued to disrupt his opponent's mana base, turning Creeping Tar Pit into a basic [autocard]Island[/autocard] with Spreading Seas.

Exhausted of land to play, Xu decided to cycle Wall of Omens. Failing to draw a sixth land, he was forced to pass with three mana open. Chen used this window of opportunity and tried to resolve Jace Beleren. When Xu responded with Mana Leak, Chen did the same. Xu decided that blue Planeswalkers whose names started with the letter "J" could never stay on board for too long, so he attacked withCelestial Colonnade.

Because of that, Wurmcoil Engine was able to resolve unopposed and it was able to hit for six damage next turn. Unfazed, Xu used Gideon Jura to ax the Wurm, spawning two miniature versions. Chen wanted to use his own anime-character cards to represent them but Xu kindly borrowed him his pair of actual tokens.

Go for the Throat dealt with Wall of Omens and both tokens crashed in to take down Gideon Jura. The next attack prompted Xu to animate his Celestial Colonnade, but it was struck down with yet anotherGo for the Throat. By then, Xu was within range of Creeping Tar Pit and regardless of the two Celestial Colonnades he still had, they were unable to stop the 3/2 from sealing the deal.

Chen Zhuang wins the game on the back of Wurmcoil Engine.

Chen Zhuang wins Game One.

Game 2

Chen's Creeping Tar Pit was transformed into an Island almost as soon as it hit play but he was happy to replace with with another. On the forth turn, Xu sent back his own Spreading Seas with Into the Roil and replayed it back on the same land, cycling through two more cards in the process.

Chen put Jace Beleren on the stack, and after clashing Mana Leaks from both sides, and eventually resolving it. But Xu was not bothered as it was him who drew his Wurmcoil Engine this time and wasted no time in casting it out.

This proved to be a major problem for the Blue Black player at first glance, since Go for the Throatwas worthless against it. However, the back breaker came on the next turn when Chen used his singleton Volition Reins to gain control of the artifact wurm. Seemingly at the end of his line, he had no choice but to cast Day of Judgment and force Wurmcoil Engine to undergo mitosis.

Xu Min mulls over his options.

Currently at 14 life, he paid 2 more to cast Surgical Extraction to remove Mana Leak from Chen's deck. Chen wasn't going to let that happen and responded with Stoic RebuttalElspeth Tirel was his next spell and when Chen revealed Mana Leak from his hand (no surprises there!), Xu had the final say with a Spell Pierce.

Creeping Tar Pit infiltrated past the three Soldier tokens to give Elspeth Tirel the fatal blow. Now at only 9 life and facing impending death, Xu was forced to pass the turn and try to block with Celestial Colonnade. However, that plan failed to follow through. Chen showed him Spreading Seas and crashed in to put Xu at 3 life and finishing him off with Creeping Tar Pit a turn later.

Chen Zhuang wins Game Two and defeats Xu Bin to become the China National Champion of 2011! Congratulations!

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