THE ONLY UNDEFEATED: WING CHUN YAM

Posted in NEWS on June 29, 2014

By Corbin Hosler

A year ago, Wing Chun Yam was barely involved with Magic. He was a self-described casual player who hadn't ever traveled for a tournament.

Six months ago, he was one of a small contingent of Magic players in Hong Kong, a group that consists of fewer than 100 competitors across the country and rarely has enough to play tournaments on the weekends, trying to advance to the next level.

Two months ago, he was the newest member of Team MTG Mint Card at Pro Tour Atlanta, the only one without a Pro Tour Top 8 and so grateful to be a part of the team he was offering to pick up food and carry their bags if he needed to.

And on Sunday, he was the last remaining undefeated player at Grand Prix Washington D.C., in need of just one more win heading into the final draft to secure his first Grand Prix Top 8.

It's been a quick rise to the top for Yam, who first finished Day 1 of a premier event undefeated at Grand Prix Bangkok last summer. That event ended in near-disaster when he promptly lost his first four rounds of Day 2 to fall to a top 32 finish. It was a disappointing experience, but also a valuable one for Yam, who reflected on the last year of his Magic career while looking over his draft deck.

"Compared to a year ago I've improved a lot," he said. "I've had a lot of help from [12th-ranked player] Lee Shi Tian. I've gotten to watch him and learn from him and the rest of the team. They've taught me a lot."

Wing Chun Yam's career has been heating up, and he's looking to add his first Grand Prix Top 8 to that list today.

 

With only one more year of college ahead of him, Yam decided the time was right for him to chase Magic around the world. He traveled to the United States two months ago and has been a journeyman ever since, playing in every event he can in any city he can reach, a streak he said has amounted to a major event every weekend since he arrived.

 

His trip will end soon. In fact, his flight back to Hong Kong leaves tomorrow.

He hopes he'll have some hardware to take back with him.

"It's exciting to have a chance to Top 8," he said. "I didn't expect it."

With three rounds to play, Yam needs one win to secure a Top 8 berth. Here's the deck he'll be battling with to get there.

Wing Chun Yam, Red-Green Aggro

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It's a deck that Yam initially thought would be a "train wreck" after how poorly the final pack went. But after spreading his cards in front of him he realized just how good the first two packs were to him. Born of the Gods, in particular, was spectacular. He found a pair of Rise to the Challenge as well as a late Hero of Leina Tower and Scourge of Skola Vale to join a host of value creatures. In all, he's playing 10 of the 14 cards he drafted in the second pack after successfully cutting green, as opposed to just five from Theros.

"I first-picked a Ravenous Leucrocota over a few black cards because the testing I did with my team for the Pro Tour showed us that black just isn't that good because you only have one chance to open Gray Merchant of Asphodel, which is the best card in the color," he said. "And it paid off in the second pack. I don't know what happened in the third because I didn't get any of the removal I hoped for, but I still think it turned out well."