Grand Prix Shanghai 2011 - Day 2 Blog

Posted in Event Coverage on August 20, 2011

By Wizards of the Coast

  • Sunday, 3:34 p.m.: Quick Questions
    Best sealed card
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
    and Chapman Sim
  • Round 14: Feature Match
    Bin Xu vs. Makihito Mihara
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
    and Chapman Sim
  • Sunday, 1:15 p.m.: Drafting with Bin Xu
    by Chapman Sim
  • Sunday, August 1:40 p.m.: Photo Essay
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Round 11: Feature Match
    Zhiyang Zhang vs. Chye Hwee Heng
    by Chapman Sim
  • Sunday, 11:21 p.m.: Quick Questions
    M12 Draft Color
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Sunday, 10:13 a.m.: Drafting with Yuuya Watanabe
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
    and Chapman Sim
  • Sunday, 9:13 a.m.: Day One Undefeated Decklists
    by Event Coverage Staff

Sunday, 9:13 a.m.: Day One Undefeated Decklists

by Event Coverage Staff

Yoshihiko Ikawa - Undefeated Deck

Download Arena Decklist

Ino Kentaro - Undefeated Deck

Download Arena Decklist

Song Kaizheng - Undefeated Deck

Download Arena Decklist

Sunday, 10:13 a.m. – Drafting with Yuuya Watanabe

by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw and Chapman Sim

The only player alive to have won both the Rookie of the Year title as well as the Player of the Year title, Yuuya Watanabe is deceptively intimidating, despite his soft-spoken and genial demeanor.

The Pro Tour Austin 2009 Quarterfinalist with eleven Grand Prix Top 8s is among the top of the pack of 84 other Grand Prix Shanghai champion aspirants with a remarkable 8-1 record.

He started off the first booster with back-to-back Stormblood Berserkers and a third pick Vampire Outcast, putting him solidly in one of the most heralded archetypes of the format, Red Black Bloodthirst. He was visibly shocked to see a fifth pick Overrun, and decided to take the signal that green was open but to our surprise, green started to dry up after that. A Bloodrage Vampire, Drifting Shade and Dark Favor rounded up an unexciting pack one.

Yuuya Watanabe makes his choice.

Yuuya was happy to receive Chandra's Outrage in pack two, but had to pass a Mind Control. His next two picks of Wring Flesh and Oynx Mage were not without sacrifice as well, as he had to ship a pair of Gideon's Lawkeeper to take those. Rune-Scarred Demon joined his pile as a potential finisher. He also picked up his second Drifting Shade, a card which he really likes a lot.

The final booster literally gave Watanabe a huge boost. It gave him three solid removal spells in his first three picks followed by a pair of desperately needed one-drops. A seventh pick Child of Night was slapped onto his stack of cards in practically less than a second. He also told me he was extremely happy to receive a thirteenth pick Goblin Piker, which was excellent to fill out his curve.

His deck looked pretty sweet to me, but he notified me that it was actually only "so-so" due to the fact that he had to pass many superior cards to get what he needed. The card pool was relatively deep and the power level of all the decks in this pod is definitely higher than average. For example, he had passed away two Azure Mages, Mind Control, two Gideon's Lawkeeper and Archon of Justice.

"The white decks will be really good, but at least the two Gideon's Lawkeeper and Archon of Justice were passed in opposite directions so different players would have them. If I didn't have to pass so many good cards, I could go 3-0 with this deck. But given the circumstances, even 2-1 might be difficult because everyone's deck seems so powerful."

Watanabe takes on Weiliang Wang.

Ready to put his draft deck through the paces, Watanabe was paired against China's Weiliang Wang in round 10. Wang had a similar deck to Watanabe's, but his end-game rare was Vengeful Pharaoh. Bloodthirsty creatures butted heads repeatedly, but Watanabe's Runed-Scarred Demon was enough to put the match away in favor of the Japanese.

Yuuya Watanabe defeats Weiliang Wang 2 – 0

Sunday, 11:21 p.m. – Quick Questions

by Chapman Sim and Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

What colors do you prefer to draft in Magic 2012?

Yoshihiko Ikawa: "Green/X. Red/Green or Red/Black." Yuuya Watanabe: "Blue/Black."
Alex West: "White/Black." Martin Juza: "Black/Red, or White/X aggro.."
Shuhei Nakamura: "Generally Red is superior." Shi Tian Lee: "Blue/Black."

Round 11: Feature Match - Zhiyang Zhang vs. Chye Hwee Heng

by Chapman Sim

Both players were at X-2 records and another loss here would mean that they were out of breathing space if they intended to make top 8. Zhiyang Zhang's cool and collected appearance can seem somewhat intimidating, but that would be because he used to be a former Worlds Team Champion. Heng is one of the two remaining Singaporeans who have survived Day One's onslaught and promises to put up a good fight, despite being the underdog.

Game One

Zhang opened with Goblin Arsonist, Stormfront Pegasus and Benalish Veteran. Heng was unfortunately stuck on two land, but he managed to freeze the flier in an Ice Cage. Zhang trumped it with Goblin Tunneler, destroying the blue aura and then attacking with his entire team. Things were not looking good for Heng and he had to cast Phantasmal Image (copying Stormfront Pegasus) to block, even if it was a lowly Goblin Arsonist. Æther Adept (returning Benalish Veteran) and Belltower Sphinx bought Heng some time but all Zhang had to do was reveal Act of Treason from his hand to convince his opponent to scoop up his cards.

Zhang 1 – Heng 0

Chye Hwee Heng

Game Two

Zhang's superbly aggressive deck continued to apply quick pressure as he started off with double Goblin Piker, and Benalish Veteran. Thankfully, Heng was able to solidify his defense with Coral Merfolk and Æther Adept, along with Druidic Satchel, a card which is capable of winning a prolonged game on its own.

Zhang tried to take it to the air with Assault Griffin, but Heng would not have any of that and promptly slapped Ice Cage on it. Slaughter Cry thawed out the griffin and it came in for six damage, reducing Heng to 16 life. Auramancer returned the Ice Cage to his hand but he declined to cast it, preferring to activate Druidic Satchel.

All this time, Heng had gained tremendous advantage from the Druidic Satchel. With the many lands he received for free, Heng added Harbor Serpent and then Serra Angel to his board. Zhang pointed Incinerate at the vigilant angel and finished her off with a Grim Lavamancer activation, but Heng simply replaced the fallen angel with a second copy. When the 5/5 and 4/4 entered the red zone again, Zhang was forced to chump with Grim Lavamancer, signaling the downward spiral of no return. Chasm Drake from the Singaporean player ensured that a rubber game would occur.

Zhang 1 – Heng 1

Zhiyang Zhang

Game Three

Game three was unfortunate for Heng as he had to mulligan to six. To make matters worse, Zhang opened aggressively with Grim Lavamancer, Stormfront Pegasus and Fiery Hellhound, but at least Heng had Alabaster Mage to cushion the damage. The Alabaster Mage would not be blocking any time soon though, as Zhang had just recruited the help of Assault Griffin and Goblin Tunneler, which would make a great partner with Fiery Hellhound.

Stonehorn Dignitary did stave off the assault for a turn, but Heng was facing an unblockable Fiery Hellhound. Despite efforts to stabilize with an Unsummon, Zhang simply pumped up the firebreathing hound and Fling it at his opponent, taking the match.

Zhiyang Zhang 2 – Chye Hwee Heng 1

Sunday, August 1:40 p.m. - Photo Essay

by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

It can be easy to forget that a Grand Prix is more than just the main event. It's a great chance for friends from afar to catch up, trade cards, watch games, meet new people, and even play some Magic. Here are some pictures from around this event that I haven't found an excuse to post yet.

Just for entering in the Grand Prix, you get this sweet, commemorative shirt.

I wish Head Judge Riccardo Tessitori would have given me some warning about how he was going to do the deck swap. This picture really doesn't do the whole room holding their registered decks in the air justice.

The dealers came well stocked with desirable cards and rarities, and the players have been lapping them up.

Artists Scott Chou and Erica Yang from Concept Art House are here signing cards and doing custom artworks for their fans.

As is practically tradition for me, I'm trying some of the more... unusual chocolate varieties. This one was definitely all that it claimed to be; dark, lemony, and peppery. The aftertaste however, was none of those things.

And of course, an event like this can only happen with the hard work of our event staff:

Under the watchful gaze of Italy's level 5 Riccardo Tessitori are level 3's Edwin Zhang, Christian Gawrilowicz, Kenji Suzuki, and Matteo Callegari. Level 2's Chao Li, Clifford Yap, Glicerio "Surge" Garcia, Haitao Jia, Hans Wang, Hon Ying Lau, Jacky Yang, Jinyi Lim, Masaru Koide, Sashi "c-loco" Balakrishnan, Satoshi Miyamoto, Simon Lee, Wataru Hosaka, Xin Wang, Yan Chi Wang, Zhaoben Xu, and Zhongliang Lin, and level 1's Benjamin Lam, Cai Jiahui, David Magerl, Gary Wong, Guisheng Xiao, Jerry Deng, Ji Li, Ji Liu, Jialuan Wei, Joseph Leong Kin Seng, JunYue Zhu, Lik Hang Yu, Maxwell Yip, Pip Hunn, Rajesh Ganesan, Shufeng Lu, Sun Jianhong, Tianxiong Dong, Tinac Xing, Wang Fang, Weiwen Loh, Fei Pei, and Lixin Li.

Sunday, 1:15 p.m. - Drafting with Bin Xu

by Chapman Sim
China's Bin Xu drafted some keepers.

Xu Bin is a juggernaut of sorts, not just because of his colossal stature, but because he is incredibly good at the game. It is common consensus that Bin Xu may well be top few players of mainland China, and he also happens to be the captain of "Max", one of the most dominant teams in the region. A highly-respected personality among his peers, he managed to live up to his reputation and made the China National Team this year as the finalist. He will be representing his country at the World Championships in San Francisco but before that, it would be nice if he could make the Top 8 today.


The first booster was not particularly exciting, but he did receive some red white beatdown staples. Picking up Incinerate (forgoing Gideon's Avenger), Blood Ogre and then Goblin Fireslinger, he solidified himself in red. When Griffin Rider came by at sixth, he happily picked it up and was rewarded with a 9th pick Griffin Sentinel.

In a cruel twist of fate, he would open Gideon's Avenger again in the second booster, but this time he decided to recruit his help. He added Benalish Veteran and Elite Vanguard to his deck, while picking up some useful instants like Stave Off and Celestial Purge. A seventh pick Goblin Fireslinger made Xu really happy, but no other picks were worthy of mention after that.

Archon of Justice

Xu was visibly excited to see Archon of Justice greet him in his third booster. He quickly added Chandra's Outrage, Oblivion Ring and a second Incinerate to his pile, ensuring that he would have ample removal to clear the way for his angry little men. Grand Abolisher and Timely Reinforcements may be constructed superstars, but they certainly shine in Xu's deck as well. He also managed to pick up his third copy of Griffin Rider, but it was a shame he couldn't find any further Griffins, other than the Sentinel he picked up in the first booster.

He needs two wins with this deck and he says its might be a perilous journey.

"It's definitely not a 3-0 deck. I'd be very happy if I went 2-1 with this deck. It's very average. There was nothing much in the boosters. I think the pod's card pool is generally quite weak. The third booster totally saved me. I had no removal then and was blessed with three top-notch ones."

As we speak, he had just demolished his opponent with an extremely fast draw which involved Elite Vanguard, Goblin Fireslinger, Gideon's Avenger and double Incinerates. His opponent's triple Mana Leaks could not stave off the offense and crumbled even though he had Mind Control. In another exciting game, he managed to recover from a backbreaking Fireball and on the crucial turn, he Demystify his opponent's Arachnus Web then cast Slaughter Cry to clinch victory. Good sideboard cards indeed!

Xu battles past Japan's Shouta Takao.

He is now 11-2, just one win away from the Top 8! With a fast draw and good luck, he could make it there and further ascertain that his Nationals Top 8 was no fluke. Let's wish Xu Bin good luck in advance, and may his red white deck get him where he wants to be!

Round 14: Feature Match - Bin Xu vs. Makihito Mihara

by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw and Chapman Sim

Bin Xu is apparently very well respected in the Chinese Magic community, and is making a run for the top 8 here this weekend. Standing in his way this round, is 2006 World Champion, Makihito Mihara. An End Boss if ever I've seen one.

Game One

After several tied die rolls, play eventually began with a Goblin Pikers on each side of the table, and after a wee bit o' combat, both graveyards as well. Mihara could only play more Mountains after that, while Xu summoned a Griffin Sentinel, a Manic Vandal, and a Griffin Rider. Mihara fell to 9 life, heaving a sigh, before finally playing his first Swamp, and a Child of Night. Xu showed him a Chandra's Outrage, and they were off to game two.

Mihara counts the incoming damage – forgetting to carry the one, and coming up with two meeellion.

Xu 1 – Mihara 0

Game Two

Mihara got off to a much better start in game two, with back to back Children of the Night, while Xu missed his second turn play. He more than made up for it, however, with a Timely Reinforcements on turn three. Mihara summoned a Blood Seeker, while Xu summoned a Grand Abolisher, and powered up a Blood Ogre when Mihara declined to block one of the Soldiers. Mihara's Bonebreaker Giant looked to rule the table, but Xu had the Chandra's Outrage to keep his slightly smaller Ogre on the attack.

Mihara lapsed into thought, and Xu snapped out a fan to cool himself. Mihara finally pointed a Shock at Xu's eyebrow, before summoning a 4/4 Vampire Outcasts. Xu sent in his Ogre anyway, and Mihara let it past, falling to 10. Xu passed the turn back without further play. Whatever trick he was holding was still live.

Xu fans himself as Mihara levels burn in his direction.

A Fireball for 5 was split between Xu's Abolisher and a Soldier, and the trick was revealed to be Mighty leap, saving the 2/2. Mihara sent in his Children, the last Soldier trading with one, while Mihara climbed back up to 14.

Xu again sent in the Ogre, and Mihara again gave the situation some thought. What did Xu have that made the Ogre disrespect the larger Vampire this time? Mihara finally called, pushing forward his blocker. Xu pointed an Incinerate at the Vamp, and the Ogre's first strike did the rest. Mihara summoned a Devouring Swarm, but a Divine Favor beefed up the Abolisher, as Xu continued to beat Mihara down. When Xu followed that up with an Archon of Justice, Mihara took as long as his next draw step to pack it in.

Bin Xu defeats Makihito Mihara 2 – 0

Sunday, 3:34 p.m. - Quick Questions

by Chapman Sim and Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

What was the best card in your sealed deck pool in day one?

Zhiyang Zhang: "Sun Titan" Alex West: "Mind Control."
Yoshihiko Ikawa: "Pentavus." Shi Tian Lee: "Deathmark, so good!"
Yuuya Watanabe: "Pentavus." Tzu Ching Kuo: "Jace's Archivist."

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