Chapman Sim, fellow coverage writer and finalist at Return to Ravnica Limited Grand Prix Singapore 2013, is also a member of team mtgmintcard, the Asian answer to the emergence of super teams such as ChannelFireball, Star City Games and Face to Face Games. Featuring a roster of Pros including Kuo Tzu-Ching (Taiwan), Huang Hao-Shan (Taiwan), Li Bo (China), Lee Shi Tian (Hong Kong), Zhang Meng Qin (Hong Kong), Soh Weng Heng (Singapore), Shouta Yasooka (Japan) and Junya Iyanaga (Japan), the grouping aims to equalise a field where shared innovation and deck tech can allow an entire team to leapfrog the competition.
We caught up with the team to understand how the movement was started and how they coordinate their testing across a span of geographies.
How was team mtgmintcard formed?
Chapman and Hao-Shan: It started informally really. There are a few of us from Asia who regularly travel to Pro Tours and we started to hang out together and coordinate schedules, etc. Over time, this just evolved into the concept of a testing group and more formalised team structure.
Outside of the core team, we also test with and exchange ideas with other Pros like Ari Lax, Ken Yukuhiro, Kelvin Chew, etc.
The team spans a number of countries. How do you coordinate the testing across the geographic distance?
Chapman and Hao-Shan: The internet is a fantastic enabler. We prepare ourselves and swap ideas through email, facebook, etc. When we play MTGO, we would take screenshots and post them for critique by other team members so the entire team benefits from the experience.
To be honest, we do less testing for Grand Prix. Testing for Pro Tours is a lot more intense. We would rent an apartment and huddle together to fine tune our approach to the metagame. Ken Yukuhiro would be joining our testing group for the next Pro Tour.
With the release of Born of Gods on the immediate horizon, what do you think would have the most impact on Limited?
Shi Tian: The Heroic archetype seems to have received a boost with more Heroic creatures and Auras. WR should become more viable as a result and the format would become a little faster.
Any particular commons and uncommons catch your eye?
Shi Tian: Akroan Skyguard and Meletis Astronomer looks interesting.
Chapman, the last time you switched from writing to playing, you reached the finals of Grand Prix Singapore. You must have learnt something from your time behind the laptop. Any tips on Theros Limited?
Chapman: Well, tempo is really important in this format. It is more important than bombs. The dearth of cost efficient removal means it's difficult to claw back into the game once you're behind.