Finals -Jun Young Park vs. Andrew Huska

Posted in Event Coverage on May 11, 2014

By Nate Price

A longtime member of the Pro Tour and Grand Prix coverage staff, Nate Price now works making beautiful words for all of you lovely people as the community manager for organized play. When not covering events, he lords over the @MagicProTour Twitter account, ruling with an iron fist.

The Players

South Korea's Jun Young Park is one of the newest members of the Asian superteam Team MTG Mint Card headlined by Chinese Taipei's Tzu-Ching Kuo and tenth-ranked Shi Tian Lee from Hong Kong. This is Park's third Grand Prix Top 8, but it marks his first trip to the Finals. Along with the rest of Team MTG Mint Card, Park has made the long trip across the Pacific to acclimate themselves to the time change and spend a few days consolidating their testing efforts in preparation for the Pro Tour.

His opponent, Andrew Huska, is one of the great crop of fine Magic players to come out of Canada's resurgence in recent years. While he might not be as well-known as Shaun McLaren is now, Huska is still a very good player with a Pro Tour appearance and a Grand Prix Top 32 to his name.

The Decks

Both of these decks were in a prime position to win this weekend, especially if Shi Tian Lee is to be believed.

"If I wanted to win this tournament, I would be playing either Scapeshift or Jund," he said early into Day 2.

Park is playing the first of those two decks. The Scapeshift combo uses a number of mana accelerants to get up to seven or eight mana before throwing them all away with Scapeshift. This allows them to magically become Mountains and Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, immediately killing opponents for the investment of four simple mana. Backing this all up are a number of card-drawing spells and permission, as well as Snapcaster Mage and Electrolyze.

Huska's weapon of choice is the other side of Lee's coin: Jund. Jund decks of various shapes and sizes seem like they have been a part of Magic for as long as it's been around. This most recent incarnation is based off of work done by team Elaborate Ruse from Pro Tour Born of the Gods. Relying on Courser of Kruphix, Dark Confidant, Tarmogoyf, and every other incredibly efficient red, green, or black card in the format, Jund is a deck that is synonymous with the word attrition. Between Maelstrom Pulse, Lightning Bolt, and Liliana of the Veil, very little survives the board, and Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek also team up with Liliana to make sure that little survives the hand. In the end, the sheer efficiency and versatility of Jund tends to grind opponents into dust.

The Games

The first game of the match was about as one-sided as a game can get. Park's deck did exactly what it was supposed to do, using Sakura-Tribe Elder and Search for Tomorrow to ramp up to seven mana early into the game.

"So I basically need you to brick here," Huska said with a smile.

Andrew Huska

On his turn, Park cracked a Misty Rainforest to thin another land out of his deck before casting Serum Visions.

"Bottom, Bottom," Huska yelled at the cards! "Get down there!"

When Park put both cards on the top of his deck, Huska knew he was beat. Two Tarmogoyfs and a Raging Ravine made for an impressive attack, but it wasn't enough, as Park simply flipped over the top card of his deck, revealed his Scapeshift, and ended the game.

The second game was a reversal of fortunes, with Huska jumping out to a very early lead. Tarmogoyf hit the table early and began to attack. Fulminator Mage ran interference, taking out Park's lands, keeping him from the all-important seven. Even an Obstinate Baloth couldn't stop Huska, as he immediately removed it with Liliana of the Veil. Park was able to fog two attacks from the Goyf with a pair of Sakura-Tribe Elders, but a second Goyf really put the hammer down. With one last turn before the lethal attack came, Park managed to clear the board with an Engineered Explosives, but a Raging Ravine was able to pick up where the Goyfs left off and end things before Park could reach seven lands. Park had one turn to draw a Scapshift, but the green card he revealed ended up being a Search for Tomorrow, forcing him to concede.

Jun Young Park

The final game went very similarly to the second. Park's attempts to defend himself with Obstinate Baloth were thwarted by Liliana of the Veil, and a massive 6/7 Tarmogoyf began to beat down. Serum Visions dug and dug, but Park was forced to wash his cards to the bottom time and again. It once again came down to one turn. Park was facing a lethal Tarmogoyf as he rubbed his hands together and reached for his deck.

The crowd gasped as he rolled it over to reveal the lethal Scapeshift. As it settled in what had happened, the collected Team MTG Mint Card behind Park roared, rushing in to congratulate their teammate. It was the one card he needed to win Game 2, and it showed up big time in Game 3, with everything on the line. One card changed the fate of the Grand Prix, giving Jun Young Park his first Grand Prix win and a great way to begin his journey to next week's Pro Tours.

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