Finals: Tobey Tamber vs. Tzu Ching Kuo

Posted in Event Coverage

By Wizards of the Coast

It is the third Taiwanese Grand Prix. For the first time ever, the title is going to go to a Taiwanese player. Well, sort of.

Tobey Tamber moved from United States to Taiwan about a year ago. He now lives in Kaohsiung and makes a living by teaching English to school kids. Although both players are registered as Taiwanese, there is at least a rivalry since Tamber is from Kaohsiung and his opponent Kuo is from the capitol of Taipei.

Kuo won a die roll, but his advantage quickly dissipated as he was forced to take a mulligan. Tamber went on to ride the card advantage when Kuo played a turn three Viashino Grappler; Tamber cast his Plague Spitter and had its ability take out the 3/1 monster.

Kuo posed a serious problem to his opponent when he cast Planeswalker's Scorn a turn later. Tamber was holding a handful of creatures, ranging from two to five mana on their casting cost, and no lands. Thus, he would likely lose any creature he cast to Scorn.

Tamber lost a couple of smaller creatures he already had in play while waiting to draw his fifth mana. When he finally did that, he was able to begin playing creatures that would not automatically die to Scorn. Phyrexian Bloodstock and a Vodalian Zombie made their way into play, but Scorn was not the only removal spell in Kuo's arsenal. He sacrificed two of his lands to remove both creatures with Magma Burst.

Although Kuo enjoyed total control of the table for many turns, he was unable to take advantage of it at all. His turns were spent trying to use Planeswalker's Scorn, rather than getting some attackers into play.

Once the Scorn was no longer useful (Tamber played out all of his creatures that cost more than one mana), Tamber was able to quickly regain the advantage. He cast monstrosities such as Andradite Leech and Marsh Crocodile. Several turns later the game was over.

It was Tamber's turn to mulligan in the second game. His second hand had two Swamps, but his spells were blue and expensive. He chose to aggressively mulligan to five cards. The choice worked out well, as his 5-card hand had three lands and a pair of spells he could cast with it.

Kuo played out Viashino Grappler and Kavu Scout, but got stuck on three mana. Tamber took damage down to twelve life, then cast a turn five Vodalian Serpent with kicker, by sacrificing a Sulfur Vent.

This play stalled his opponent's offense for a while. A Yavimaya Barbarian was able to continue attacking, but other creatures were stalled by the Wall of Serpent.

Things were looking up for Tamber as he cast several more creatures - but quickly deteriorated again after Kuo cast not one but two Magma Bursts with kicker, removing all of Tamber's creatures.

The situation looked grim for Tamber. He was at five life with only a Volcanic Imp in play. Kuo was at 20 life with a Verduran Emissary in play, and the card Tamber just drew was a Plague Spitter.

Tamber took some time to think about his play. Eventually he decided that taking one per turn was better than taking two on the following turn, then simply hoping to top-deck. He cast the Plague Spitter, and attacked his opponent down to 18.

For the next several turns, Kuo patiently took the damage from Volcanic Imp, while letting Plague Spitter do his job for him. Down to three life, Tamber drew and cast Rainbow Crow. It now looked like he might at least have a chance at winning the damage race.

Kuo cast an Amphibious Kavu and attacked with both of his creatures on the following turn. After Plague Spitter and Crow blocked and traded in combat for Kuo's creatures, Tamber was down to one life point.

Volcanic Imp pressed on. Kuo cast a Kavu Aggressor, but Tamber was ready for it with Tsabo's Decree. Having sacrificed four lands to his two Magma Bursts a few minutes back, he was now stuck at three mana himself and could not cast some of the cards he was drawing. The Imp went all the way, finally giving the three-time Grand Prix top 8 finisher Tobey Tamber his first title win.

Final Result: Tamber 2 - Kuo 0

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