Grand Prix Auckland 2012 Day 2 Blog

Posted in Event Coverage on November 4, 2012

Decklists - Day 1 Undefeated Decks

by Event Coverage Staff

Yoshitoki Sakai - Day 1 Undefeated Deck

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Robert Liu - Day 1 Undefeated Deck

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Gene Taylor - Day 1 Undefeated Deck

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Chang-Sern Kim - Day 1 Undefeated Deck

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Round 8 Feature Match: Chang-Sern Kim vs. Robert Liu

by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

We ended day one with four undefeated players, one of whom was the quite diminutive 12 year-old Chang-Sern Kim, who'd be facing fellow undefeated player, Robert Liu to start day two.

"I thought you picked this match because we're both minors," Liu laughed, "I'm 15!"

I didn't have the heart to tell either of them that there's rather a substantial difference between the ages 12 and 15.

"I've played this match-up on Magic Online a lot, it's not good for me," Liu told Kim as they shuffled.

"You know what I'm playing?!"

"We sat next to each other all day yesterday!"

"Such a stalker," Kim chided.

Kim's aggressive Selesnya deck would be looking to come screaming out of the gates to catch Liu's Blue-White-Red midrange deck unprepared. If Liu could hold him off long enough, he'd be able to overwhelm Kim with his Snapcaster Mages and Restoration Angels.

Kim won the die roll, and was attacking on turn two with a Rancor'd Avacyn's Pilgrim. Liu used Azorius Charm and Searing Spear to blunt Kim's assault, before finally landing a Restoration Angel at the end of Kim's turn.

Liu had an Essence Scatter for Kim's Thragtusk, and it seemed like Kim was out of gas. Liu wasted no time flashing back a Searing Spear with Snapcaster Mage, and then again with a second one to finish game one before Kim could get back in the driver's seat.

Chang-Sern Kim can tell that "Snapcaster Mage, flashing back Searing Spear, targeting you" means he's not winning game one.

Liu 1 – Kim 0

Game 2

Kim came out even faster in game two, with a turn two Loxodon Smiter. Liu again had an Azorius Charm to send it back. Kim summoned an Arbor Elf to go with his Avacyn's Pilgrim, but missed his third land drop.

The Smiter came back, and Liu locked it down with Dungeon Geists. Kim found a third land, and between that and his two elves, summoned a Sigarda, Host of Herons. Liu heaved a sigh at the hexproof'd Angel, summoning a second Dungeon Geists to tap down the Arbor Elf.

Sigarda attacked, and Liu frowned in thought, before finally deciding to double block. Kim didn't have the Selesnya Charm, so Sigarda traded with the Geist holding down the Smiter, and Kim passed back the turn. When Liu attacked with his remaining Geist, Kim tried to summon a Restoration Angel, but Kim had an Essence Scatter to let his Geist continue applying ghostly fist to face.

The Smiter attacked, but Kim only managed another Pilgrim after combat, so Liu Unsummon'd the Smiter and again attacked with his Geist. Kim could only summon a third Pilgrim, and sigh.

"Do you have another Restoration Angel?" Liu asked, before attacking.

"Yep, sure," Kim replied, but Liu had a Snapcaster Mage to rebuy his Essence Scatter, keeping the Angel off the table.

With the early game behind him, Robert Liu is feeling much more confident about his chances in this match.

Thragtusk brought Kim back up to 14 life, but the Geists knocked him right back to 11. Kim tried to Rancor his 'Tusk, but Liu Searing Spear'd it in response, ensuring the Rancor would not come back. Kim followed up with another Smiter.

Liu thundered into his attack step with a Thundermaw Hellkite, dropping Kim to just 3 life. Kim attacked back, but didn't have enough to finish off Liu, who was happy to throw his Snapcaster Mage under whichever bus looked the biggest.

"Yeah, I'm screwed," the 12 year-old laughed, as he picked up his cards.

Robert Liu defeats Chang-Sern Liu 2 – 0

Saturday, 12:30 p.m.: Quick Questions - Which Guild do you prefer to draft in Return to Ravnica?

by Pip Foweraker and Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

Andrew Plinston: "Selesnya"

Matt Rogers: "Rakdos, preferably splashing Blue"

Yoshitoki Sakai: "Izzet"

Remi Pearce: "Golgari"

Justin Cheung: "Rakdos"

Gene Grumby: "Azorius"

Round 9 Feature Match - Anthony Purdom vs. Justin Cheung

by Pip Foweraker

Grand Prix: Auckland Round 9 Feature Match

Game 1

Purdom led off with a Mulch, netting his graveyard an Unburial Rites and an Angel of Serenity. Cheung followed suit, also landing an Unburial Rites, a Lingering Souls and an Angel of Serenity into his graveyard. Both players settled in for the mirror match.

Purdom's third turn gave him another Mulch, throwing Griselbrand into the bin. Cheung went a different route, flashing back the Lingering Souls. Purdom reanimated his Griselbrand, who landed on the battlefield with a thump that would be unseemly for any less-broken creature . Cheung was having none of it, though, and went to Sever the Bloodline. Purdom filled his grip before Griselbrand was sent to the sidelines.

His hand full of gas, Purdom started with an Unburial Rites on his Angel of Serenity, getting rid of Cheung's tokens. Cheung summoned a Thragtusk and passed. Purdom did a bit of Faithless Looting before summoning a Deathrite Shaman and attacking with his Angel, dropping Cheung back down to 20.

Purdom's flurry of Angels are anything but serene.

Cheung attacked with his Thragtusk, who Purdom declined to block, falling to 6. Purdom summoned a Thragtusk of his own to bring his life to a less perilous total. He used his Deathrite Shaman to deal with Cheung's graveyard's Sever the Bloodline before passing. Cheung had a Restoration Angel to blink out his Thragtusk at Purdom's end step, before he untapped and swung with his team. The Thragtusks traded, and Purdom took 6 from the Beast and Angel, falling to 5.

Post-combat, Cheung had another Thragtusk and a Lingering Souls. Purdom had an Unburial Rites to get back a second Angel of Serenity, but Cheung trumped it with a Craterhoof Behemoth. With a roar, Cheung's army smashed into battle, and Purdom's best blocks weren't enough to keep him alive.

Justin Cheung 1 – Anthony Purdom 0

Game 2

Cheung led the action with a Deathrite Shaman, while Purdom used his second turn to go digging with a Faithless Looting. A Deathrite Shaman joined the board for Purdom as well, leaving both player's graveyards a little vulnerable.

Both players laid lands for a few turns, then Cheung probed with a Restoration Angel in Purdom's end step. Purdom Severed the Bloodline of both Shamen, then played another Shaman. Cheung's Angel kept swinging. Cheung had a double Lingering Souls, but Purdom simply flashed back his Sever to deal with them.

Purdom hard-cast an Angel of Serenity, and Cheung followed suit. Purdom had a Dreadbore, leaving the board empty and Angel feathers flying all over the place.

Cheung, inexplicably, keeps pumping all his creatures and attacking.

Both players summoned Deathrite Shamans. Purdom an Angel of Serenity, and Cheung flashed in his Restoration Angel to protect the targeted Deathrite Shaman. Craterhoof Behemoth from Cheung forced Purdom to chump-block and fall to 1. Purdom's Unburial Rites on an Angel of Restoration cleared out Cheung's board, but an Appetite for Brains revealed Cheung had a hand of his Angel, a Sever the Bloodline, and two Unburial Rites.

Cheung used his Sever to kill Purdom's Angel, getting back his Behemoth back, and Purdom's last-ditch Thragtusk wasn't enough to keep him alive in face of the incoming, hasty, trampler.

Justin Cheung 2 – Anthony Purdom 0

Sunday, 12:35 p.m. - Round 10 Quick-feature

by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

Dylan Brown sees dead people.

Dylan Brown crushed Jason Chung in game one with a Craterhoof Behemoth, but was bested in the second by a Rest in Peace, followed by a flock of Angels. Getting creative, Brown sideboarded out his Unburial Rites and Séance's and quickly beat Chung down with Centaur Healers and Thragtusks to take the deciding game.

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. - Quick Questions: "Which card in Standard do you think is most underrated?"

by Pip Foweraker and Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

Dan Bretherton: "Centaur Healer"

Justin Cheung: "Cavern of Souls"

Julian Brown-Santirsoi: "It used to be Dissipate, but now probably Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker"

Andrew Brewer: "Mizzium Mortars"

Dominic Lo: "Intangible Virtue"

Andrew Plinston: "Silverblade Paladin"

Sunday, 2:15 p.m. - Deck Tech: NuiSéance with Dylan Brown

by Pip Foweraker

One interesting deck making waves this weekend is a W/G/B/R Reanimator deck featuring Séance, a pile of utility creatures and a top end that includes such hits as Angel of Serenity and Craterhoof Behemoth.

Originally built by Jacob Dunn and Dylan Brown, the pair wanted to find a combo-based solution to the emerging format. They worked extensively on the deck, developing it throughout the spoiler season. While the basic premise of the deck remained unchanged, it went through several colour iterations, including one version with blue, piloted by their mutual friend Lachlan Ward-Smith to a breakout 4-0 on a recent MTGO Daily.

Jacob Dunn and Dylan Brown love brewing with Séance

Brown has had a good run with it so far, and decided on the deck after only minimal testing, when they realised it was 'just beating everything'. The deck posts good results against Jund, whose non-interactive starts allow the deck to go about its business mostly unhindered. In any match that boils down to the 'Thragtusk mirror', Nuiséance is playing 'more' Thragtusks. And nearly every deck has issues with Craterhoof Behemoth, particularly control, whose answers are often too slow. The deck occasionally has issues with Zombies, but finds them less of a challenge after sideboarding.

The most adorable Séance tokens you're ever likely to see.
From left to right:
Top row: Avacyn's Pilgrim, Acidic Slime, Trostani, Selesnya's Voice, Tragtusk.
Middle row: Angel of Glory's Rise, Centaur Healer, Craterhoof Behemoth
Bottom row: 3/3 Beast tokens, Angel of Serenity, Zealous Conscripts

Changes? Brown would make some minor changes to his sideboard, taking out the Temblors for some Cavern of Souls, which are more effective against control matchups. The maindeck he is 'pretty happy' with, although any good deck is always a work in progress.

NuiSéance with Dylan Brown

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Sunday, 2:45 p.m. - Deck Tech: Mono Red with Ivan Magoč

by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

Since relocating from Wellington to Sydney, Ivan Magoč hasn't had a great deal of time to play Magic, so he leapt at the chance to come over to Auckland to hang out with his friends from Wellington, Blair Gray and Mark Tung, who had just the deck for him: Mono Red.

"It's easy to pick up and play, which I needed," Magoč explained. "It's really good against control. You have plenty of 1-drops, Haste guys, and burn."

But what about Thragtusk, the Elephant Monstrosity Beast in the room.

"Yeah, Thragtusk is really good against this deck, but of the 10 Thragtusk decks I've played this weekend, I've beaten 8 of them," he boasted with a smile. "Hellrider is the best card in the deck, it's criminally under-played right now."

Ivan Magoč is Hellrider Tough.

But that's not all Magoč has up his sleeve against the 5/3 lifegain menace. Standing out like a sore thumb on his deck list is 3x Pyreheart Wolf.

"We had one in the sideboard during the Grand Prix Trials on Friday, and it was amazing. Playing creatures on turn 1 and 2, and following up with the Wolf is great. We can have trouble with the many 3 toughness blockers running around, but there's usually only one of them on defence, so the Wolf means it's practically game over. I took out 2 Thundermaw Hellkite and a land to fit them in the maindeck."

Magoč admitted that if he were to change anything about the deck, it would be that there wasn't much reason to be mono-colored. "The mono Red removal isn't great, and playing Black for something like Sever the Bloodline would really help break some of the ground-stalls that can happen. The sideboard is also really loose, I would have run a third Thunderbolt if I could've found one."

Round 11 Feature Match - Dan Unwin vs. Gene Brumby

by Pip Foweraker

The only problem I have with covering these players is that their banter is too fast and witty for me to accurately catch while they play. So, for the next few paragraphs, assume that they're firing quips while playing with a sophistication that would put Tarantino to shame. Brumby and Unwin are two players at the top of their game. Both well known locally and internationally,

Game 1

A pair of mulligans left the banter continue while shuffle times were had. Unwin missed his third land drop, while Brumby kept up his pace with a Borderland Ranger and a Huntmaster of the Fells. Unwin found a green source to let him Farseek, while Brumby simply bashed. He followed up with a Thragtusk, and Unwin scooped his cards up when the top of his deck yielded a blank.

Gene Brumby 1 – Dan Unwin 0

Game 2

Gene Brumby curves out to win game 1 in convincing fashion.

Brumby started the game off with a Farseek, while Unwin had a Selesnya Keyrune to get things going. Brumby summoned a Centaur Healer, while Unwin had a Garruk, Primal Hunter to power up the board. Brumby attacked with his Healer, and when Unwin blocked, blinked it with a Restoration Angel.

Unwin had a second Keyrune and an Oblivion Ring, which he nabbed Brumby's Angel with. Garruk drew Unwin some cards, and Brumby pondered his options. After a Farseek, Brumby passed, and Unwin began his aggression with his Beast token.

Garruk spawned another Beast. Brumby had a Bonfire of the Damned for 3, clearing out Garruk and the tokens. When he attacked with his Healer, Unwin had a Restoration Angel to block and kill it.

"Ah, walked into that one", Brumby smiled.

Unwin attacked with a Restoration Angel and a Keyrune. Brumby flashed in his own Angel to block the Keyrune, but Unwin had a Selesnya Charm to pump the Keyrune. Brumby had nothing next turn, allowing Unwin to attack for lethal and move the game to a decider.

Dan Unwin 1 – Gene Brumby 1

Game 3

Both players had a turn 2 Farseek to start them off. Brumby had no non-land action, while Unwin had a second Farseek. Brumby flashed in a Restoration Angel and began beating with it, summoning a Tamiyo, the Moon Sage and tapping down Unwin's land. Unwin had a Selesnya Charm to make a Knight, which he used to poke Tamiyo before summoning a Sigarda, Host of Herons.

Brumby attacked and Unwin declined to block. Brumby had a Supreme Verdict to take care of the Sigarda, while Unwin took out Tamiyo with a Devil's Play. Brumby passed with no action and Unwin summoned a Garruk, Primal Hunter, who made a Beastly friend to keep him company. Brumby took advantage of this lull to cast Sphinx's Revelation for 4, netting him some life and a grip full of cards.

Brumby took advantage of his hand full of goodness to summon a Thragtusk. Unwin drew off Garruk, played a Selesnya Keyrune and passed with a conspicuous amount of mana up. Brumby, clearly preferring not to walk into a telegraphed Restoration Angel, attacked anyway. The Angel flashed on down and traded with the Thragtusk.

Unwin loves his Angels. And his other Angels. And, oh, look, some more Angels...

Unwin summoned an Angel of Serenity. Unwin went to remove Brumby's Thragtusk, Brumby responded with a Restoration Angel, leaving himself token-netural after the Angel of Serenity removed one. The Angel also foisted Unwin's Sigarda back out of the graveyard, both players prepared for a long game.

Brumby powered the game along with a Bonfire of the Damned for 3, killing Unwin's Beasts and knocking Garruk out of play. Brumby attacked with his team and the Angel of Serenity blocked Brumby's Thragtusk. Unwin summoned another Angel of Serenity, wiping out Brumby's team. Brumby rebuilt with another Thragtusk, bringing his life total up to 40.

Garruk, Primal Hunter drew Unwin a pile of cards, and he passed on 8 life and a full hand. Brumby's Thragtusk attacked, and Brumby went to pump his attacker with Kessig Wolf Run. Luckily for Unwin, Selesnya Charm took out the engorged attacker. With Brumby out of pressure, Unwin rebuilt his board with Sigarda, then used his own Kessig Wolf Run to brutalise his opponent in a few short swings.

Dan Unwin 2 – Gene Brumby 1

Sunday, 3:20 p.m. - Quick Questions: Which Guild do you want to play at the Gatecrash Prerelease?

by Pip Foweraker and Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

Gene Taylor: "Gruul"

Andrew Brewer: "Simic"

Chris Bewley: "Dimir, all day!"

Matt Rogers: "Orzhov"

Yoshitoki Sakai: "Simic"

Remi Pearce: "Gruul"

Sunday, 3:40 p.m. - Quick Feature: Adam Witton vs. Justin Cheung

by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

In three very tight games, 2010 Australian National Champion Adam Witton bested 2008 Australian National Team member and Magic: Online Championship winner Justin Cheung. Angels and Thragtusks brawled left and right, and in the end, Witton's Kessig Wolf Run was enough to break things in his favor.

Adam Witton

Sunday, 4:00 p.m. - RK Post

by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

As always, it's not just the Grand Prix tournament on show this weekend. There are countless public events for people to get stuck into, as well as the much adored Magic Artist, RK Post, who has been signing cards, and doing various sketches by request, as well as selling rare prints and artworks.

Ever the busy man, Post was at Grand Prix Philadelphia last weekend, and will be at Grand Prix Chicago the next. If you're planning on attending (and who wouldn't?) be sure to stop by and see the man in action. Just maybe don't ask him about long-haul flights.

Feature Match Round 13 - John Denz vs. David Mines

by Pip Foweraker

Both players have landed the dreaded last-round feature match. It's win-and-in time – for the victor, glory, riches and fame. For the loser, bitter ignominy and slightly less glory and fame. Also, the loser gets fed to wolves* during the finals.

Game 1

Mines began the action of the game with a Rakdos Keyrune, while Denz simply played lands. Mines tried a Borderland Ranger, and, once it resolved, kept on going with a Farseek. Denz remained implacable. Mines, raising a cautious eyebrow, tested the water with an Armada Wurm. Well, I say 'tested the water'. The Wurm made quite a splash as it hit the battlefield. Denz dug for an answer with an Azorius Charm. Supreme Verdict fit the bill nicely.

Mines activated his Keyrune and attacked, while Denz summoned a Jace, Architect of Thought. Mines tried a Restoration Angel, but Denz cast a Syncopate to put an end to that nonsense. A Huntmaster of the Fells was met with a miraculous Terminus, and Denz went digging with Jace to see what he could see. An Entreat the Angels for 1 was the net result, giving him a blocker against Mines' Keyrune. Mines had another Restoration Angel at the end of Denz's turn.

Mines had a miracle of his own, hitting a Bonfire of the Damned for 7, letting him wipe out the Jace. Denz drew and passed, and Mines mounted an offensive with both his creatures, then summoned a Thragtusk. Denz had a Sphinx's Revelation to draw 5 cards and gain a little more life., then hard-cast a Terminus, leaving Mines with a Keyrune and a Beast token.

Mines attacked with both his men, Denz's Azorius Charm taking care of the Keyrune for a turn. At the end of Mines' turn, Denz used an Isolated Lighthouse to draw, hitting miraculous Entreat the Angels for 2, and then another on his draw step for 8. Mines' long-held final card turned out to be a Bonfire of the Damned, which he could tap out for and play for exactly 4. He swung with his Keyrune, but Denz had an Izzet Charm to kill the attacker.

When 9 Angels just aren't enough...

Both players hunted for threats, Denz on 2, Mines on 17. An Armada Wurm demanded an answer. Terminus arrived. Denz followed with a Tamiyo, the Moon Sage, tapping down Mines' land. Denz, needing to finish the game, went digging through his deck and happened across his third Entreat the Angels, netting himself 3 hard-cast tokens. Mines picked one off, but couldn't answer the others fast enough as they swooped in to steal the first game.

John Denz 1 – David Mines 0

Game 2

Mines started the second game with a Farseek, then followed it with a Thragtusk. Denz had an Entreat the Angels for a single token, which left him with only a single mana open. Mines had a Rakdos's Return for 4, and chose to leave his Thragtusk home for the time being.

After a pass from Denz, Mines tried a second Rakdos's Return for 2. Mines flashed back his Think Twice, leaving him with a single card in hand. Mines cast a Sever the Bloodline to kill off the Angel token, then attacked with his Thragtusk. Denz had a Supreme Verdict to kill it off, and then an Azorius Charm to deal with the token. Denz's deck yielded him a Jace, Architect of Thought, while Denz looked for more pressure from his library.

Despite digging for several turns, Mines fails to unearth an answer.

A Farseek was, perhaps, not what he was seeking. Denz assembled some powerful blue Planeswalkers, while Denz fell further behind in card advantage. He drew and played a Dreadbore on a Tamiyo, but there was still a Jace, Memory Adept to deal with. Over the next few turns, Mines' library yielded nothing of note, while his library was being eaten ten cards at a time.

With cards in his library falling perilously low – two, in fact – Mines cast and resolved a Rakdos's Return for 7, wiping his opponent's hand and killing the Jace. Mines flashed in a Restoration Angel One card left in library. Hold breath. Draw. Shake head. Extend hand. Denz makes it through to the Top 8, and Mines is cast out* to the wolves that have been circling the venue for the last few days, howling hungrily....

John Denz 2 – David Mines 0

*Not really.

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