Round 11: Feature Match – Zhang Zhiyang (Blue Black Tezzeret) vs. Zhao Haotian (Valakut)

Posted in Event Coverage on July 1, 2011

By Chapman Sim

Zhang Zhiyang is possibly China's biggest superstar. This World Team Champion 2009 has also two Grand Prix Top 8s under his belt, a rather intimidating resume to hear about. Coming back from a mediocre record yesterday, Zhang Zhiyang has managed to win his first three matches of the day to go 7-3 and is still in contention for the Top 8. At a similar score is his opponent Zhao Haotian, who has brought Valakut to the table, a deck that has served many players well all weekend.

Zhang Zhiyang searches for Blightsteel Colossus

Game 1

Zhang won the die roll and opened with Everflowing Chalice and Torpor Orb, a card maindecked to beat just one card in question. Zhao happens to be playing with that card, Primeval Titan, but it seemed unlikely that he has any maindeck artifact removal.

[autocard]Inquisition of Kozilek[/autocard] prompted Zhao to use his Lightning Bolt in response, before showing a grip full of land. Zhao had Overgrown Battlement and Khlani Heart Expedition on the board, but he had no solution to Kuldotha Forgemaster that appeared next turn. When Zhao resolved Oracle of Mul Daya and plopped a couple of lands into play, Blightsteel Colossus entered play on the next turn and Primeval Titan was forced to chump block just to keep its master alive. That attack put Zhao at four poison (including a couple of hits with Inkmoth Nexus) and he had to summon a second Primeval Titan that would face the same fate as the previous copy.

Zhang Zhiyang 1 - Zhao Haotian 0

Game 2

Despite drawing two Primeval Titans, Zhao seemed crestfallen to have been wrecked by Torpor Orb and decided to adopt a more aggressive strategy in Game Two.

Zhang's Sphere of the Suns was promptly destroyed with Nature's Claim and Zhao tried to apply pressure with double Goblin Ruinblaster (destroying Inkmoth Nexus with one of them). The mana-denial strategy didn't seem to work, as Zhang still managed to resolve Spellskite and Kuldotha Forgemaster with the help of a second Sphere of the Suns and Everflowing Chalice.

Green Sun's Zenith was Zhao's response, tutoring out Primeval Titan, bringing himself up to three Valakuts and four Mountains, threatening at least 18 damage if the Titan was allowed to enter the red zone. It was not going to happen any time soon though, as Zhang put down Tumble Magnet onto the table. Having no more cards in his hand, Zhao could play the Mountain he just drew and pass the turn. Zhang took this opportunity to Tinker once again, sacrificing Sphere of the Suns, Spellskite and Tumble Magnet for Mindslaver. He took control of Zhao's turn, attacked with Primeval Titan then redirected all Valakut activations to its owner to clinch the win.

Zhao Haotian watches grimly as he faces impending elimination.

Zhang Zhiyang wins the match and goes 8-3, needing to win the next game to make Top 8.

Zhang Zhiyang 2 - Zhao Haotian 0

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