Round 14 Feature Match - Shamsul Bahrin Zainuddin (UG-B) vs Yang Ting Hui (UW)

Posted in Event Coverage on January 25, 2014

By Noel Neo

With just one final round to go after this, the winner of the match takes a giant step closer to the top 8.

Game one was simply determined by Ting Hui's Daxos of Meletis on turn three, which revealed and allowed the bestowment of Leafcrown Dryad on four, and which promoted Shamsul's concession two turns later.

Ting Hui's Leafcrown bestowed Daxos dominates

Daxos of Meletis appeared on turn three again in the second game, but this time Shamsul had already established a dominant board position after Feral Invocation on Bronze Sable took down Setessan Battle Priest.

Shamsul in a better position for the rematch against Daxos

While Daxos provided Ting Hui a means to race, Shamsul had Aqueous Form to ensure his 4/3 got through and to play around Daxos's triggered ability. By the time Ting Hui found Voyage's End for the artefact creature, he was already down to just 8 life and Shamsul had summoned Prescient Chimera and Agent of Horizons, both of which Ting Hui had no means of interacting with.

Shamsul equalises the match at 1-1.

The rubber game featured quite a bit more interaction than the previous two.

The first skirmish occurred on turn five, when Agent of Horizons and Nylea's Emissary attacked into Ting Hui's lone Heliod's Emissary. Shamsul made a bid for the advantage with Lost in a Labyrinth, but Ting Hui had God's Willing (pro green) to maintain the status quo. Shamsul further extended his board position by summoning Vaporkin.

Next turn, Aqueous Form on Nylea's Disciple met Ray of Dissolution pre-combat and it was Ting Hui's turn to attempt Lost in a Labyrinth. However, Shamsul too had an answer in Savage Surge.

After the dust settles

Ting Hui thought he had stabilised at 12 life when he summoned Celestial Archon. However, the reprieve proved very fleeting when it blocked Nylea's Disciple and Shamsul flashed in Feral Invocation.

Though Ting Hui was able to rebuild, the tempo advantage accrued by Shamsul and the unblockable Agent of Horizons was simply too large a gap to close.

Shamsul wins 2-1 and needs just one final victory for a spot in the top 8.

*Just reviewing this match, it does seem Shamsul's draft strategy of forcing his curve down and with an emphasis on business spells that impact the board is optimal. Many players Pip and I interviewed over these two days say the format is defined by tempo, so it may be correct (to an extent) to forego power and card advantage in lieu of speed.

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