Round 10 Feature Match – Bo Li, Zhang Meng Qiu and Hua Chao Song vs. Marijn Lybaert, Christophe Gregoir and Zac Hill

Posted in Event Coverage on March 2, 2014

By Oliver Gehrmann

While Deck Construction was underway, we'd been looking over the shoulders of both the teams of Bo Li, Zhang Meng Qiu, and Hua Chao Song as well as Marijn Lybaert, Christophe Gregoir, and Zac Hill. Since they're now playing each other, it's only fitting that we're going to cover this match as well. We had the following matches:

  • Bo Li (G/B) vs. Marijn Lybaert (W)
  • Zhang Meng Qiu (W/B) vs. Christophe Gregoir (B/G)
  • Zac Hill (R/B) vs. Hua Chao Song (B/R)

At first, things had been looking very promising for Zac Hill. He had pulled ahead fast with a Deathbellow Raider that had been enchanted with an Ordeal of Erebos, however, Hua Chao Song found a Voyage's End to slow his opponent down.

At the same time, his Reckless Reveler and Coastline Chimera did also quite some damage and when he found a Nullify to deal with Hill's possible comeback Kragma Warcaller, Hill could never recover, letting out a big sigh and shortly after accessing his sideboard.

Hua Chao Song 1 - 0 Zac Hill

While the game between Christophe Gregoir and Zhang Meng Qiu looked somewhat promising for the Belgian / American team, they first had to deal with some more bad news. Marijn Lybaert was shuffling up and he opted not to say much about the first game. "Not good" was his only comment.

Bo Li 1 - 0 Marijn Lybaert

Now everyone was looking at Christophe Gregoir who had to win his game to make sure the Belgian / American team wouldn't fall behind completely.

Gregoir was clearly controlling the board in the second game against Zhang Meng Qiu. When a Nessian Demolok entered play and Zhang Meng Qiu opted against paying the Tribute, Gregoir took out one of his opponent's Islands, pulling even further ahead.

Nyxborn Wolf enchanted Wavecrash Triton the following turn, allowing Gregoir to attack with all of his creatures nearly unopposed and when Meng Qiu drew blank, Gregoir started to shift the momentum slightly.

Christophe Gregoir 1 - 0 Zhang Meng Qiu

Once again, Zac Hill and Hua Chao Song traded blows on the third table. While Song was the first to make a play with Reckless Reveler, an  Archetype of Aggression provided Hill with something to fight back.

Hill found a Dragon Mantle, Chao Song added a Kragma Butcher. An Ordeal of Purphoros put Hill seemingly far ahead, if only Chao Song wouldn't find an answer like he did in the game before in Voyage's End. Hill added Blood-Toll Harpy, making it 13 for Chao.

Still, Chao Song saw no reason to shift strategies; he was happy with the damage race and after he swung with both of his creatures, Hill was left with 11 life.

Coastline Chimera would then give Chao Song something to block.

Hill however had Asphyxiate to deal with it, the following attacks dealt 9 and Chao Song was left with only 4 life! Chao Song drew...

and started to shuffle up since he didn't find a way to comeback after the removal had foiled his plans.

Hill 1 - 1 Chao Song

"Zac, is this good? 5 permanents on turn 3?", Lybaert inquired. Hill only laughed, feeling somewhat relieved that it appeared like Lybaert would also tie the scores in his match against Bo Li.

Li drew for his turn, he took another look at the field and he then shuffled up.

Lybaert 1 - 1 Li

Slowly, but steadily, the Belgian / American team started to turn things around.

On the table of Christophe Gregoir and Zhang Meng Qiu, Gregoir just added Kiora's Follower to his field that already sported Wavecrash TritonNessian Asp and Karametra's Acolyte. Once again, it seemed very one-sided, which wasn't too surprising since Meng Qiu had to mulligan down to 5 at the start of the match.

One turn later, he extended the hand.

Gregoir 2 - 0 Meng Qiu

The third game between Marijn Lybaert and Bo Li also seemed to have turned into a very one-sided affair with Lybaert sporting a big field with Akroan SkyguardSoldier of the PantheonVanguard of Brimaz and even more white creatures.

Divine Verdict for Bo Li's blocker indicated that Lybaert wouldn't give away this game anymore. While Bo Li tried to stem the bleeding with Oreskos Sun Guide, it wasn't enough to stop the onslaught of the many creatures that Lybaert had on the field, especially after a Nyxborn Wolf enchanted his Akroan Skyguard.

Lybaert 2 - 1 Bo Li

Zac Hill and Hua Chao Song, who had just finished shuffling, accessed their sideboards once again to return their decks to their original state. They didn't feel like continuing to play after the match between the teams had now been decided.

I spoke to Marijn Lybaert after the match and asked him how he felt after his team had fallen behind at first.

Lybaert: "I felt like my match-up was good even though I lost game 1. I wasn't feeling too confident regarding Zac (Hill), but Christophe (Gregoir) gave me a lot of hope that we could turn this around. When his opponent mulliganned down to 5 in the second game, I felt like we could now go on and win the match."

I also sat down with Zac Hill since I heard that the Belgians felt like he was "one of them". How did he feel about that?

Hill: "I playtested for like 6 Pro Tours with the Belgians, so yeah, I feel like I'm a part of the group.

If only I could play for them in the World Magic Cup..."

Do you guys go way back?

Hill: "I first met Marijn back at the Pro Tour Kobe in 2006 and ever since, we've been friends. At another Pro Tour, I scooped to him and he advanced to the Top 8, so I thought to myself: "Wow, this guy is legit." So ever since, we've been testing together and staying in touch and it's just developed into such a great friendship."

Hill went on: "One of the great things about Magic is that you get to know people from all over the World and they become great friends of yours. I fondly remember recording a video for Marijn's wedding and he told me how much he enjoyed it. That's the kind of friendship you can build because both of you are working towards a common goal, trying to become the best in a game like Magic. It's really not trivial and this is also not the exception to the rule; I've made quite a couple of friends because ofMagic."

We'll definitely keep an eye on this unlikely alliance and continue watching them in the rounds to come.

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