Brumby is a mainstay in the New Zealand scene, known to players across the country for both his long play history (he's represented the country at Worlds 3 times!) and his role in the community as a local game store owner and very active trader. Huang has made multiple GP Top 8's and is a member of Team mtgmintcard, whose players have been posting strong results in recent events worldwide. Their last feature match ended in a draw that left both players out of contention, and they sat down with a friendly keenness to settle old scores.
This matchup is all about efficient, aggressive creatures clobbering the heck out of each other in a variety of ways. While Brumby's G/W shell packs the most power, card-for-card, Huang has access to more strategic flexibility in his tricks, 'fight' effects, and the top of his mana curve features Stormbreath Dragon and Polukranos, two difficult cards for Brumby's deck to oppose effectively.
Both players started the match with a mulligan to 6. Huang led off with an Elvish Mystic, Both played scried their tickets out of Mulligan Town, Huang accelerating off a Sylvan Caryatid into a Stormbreath Dragon, while Brumby had a Voice of Resurgence and then an Experiment One and another Voice.
Don't let his contemplation fool you. Huang knows exactly how he's going to win: DRAGONS!
Huang, proud controller of a pro-white Dragon, thought the best thing to do would be double up with another, sending both monsters crashing through the air at Brumby. Another turn of this hyper-aggressive nonsense, and Brumby was ready for his sideboard.
Whilst sideboarding, Brumby smiled at the ineffectual role his Voices of Resurgence had played last game. "They're the most glorified Grizzly Bears I've ever run", Brumby quipped.Hao-Shan Huang 1 - Gene Brumby 0
Both players sent their openers back once more. Brumby opened with a Fleecemane Lion, while Huang had an Elvish Mystic to kick things along. Huang used his extra mana to ramp into a Courser of Kruphix and a second Elvish Mystic. Brumby flashed in a Boon Satyr and untapped, eager to get his creatures into combat. Huang stopped the Lion with his Courser and took a nibble. Brumby followed up with an Experiment One and a second Fleecemane Lion, bolstering his army considerably.
Huang summoned a Stormbreath Dragon just in time for Brumby to draw a Plummet, summoning his third Lion and attacking. Huang, a Ghor-Clan Rampager sitting atop his deck, looked to have few good options against the incoming wave. He gang-blocked one of the Lions and fell to a precarious life total, needing to move to the defensive against Brumby's army.
Brumby proves that Gaze of the Gorgon isn't just a Magic card.
A Polukranos certainly seemed like it was going to help Huang out, especially when it was joined by a Domri Rade the following turn. Brumby kept attacking, pushing damage through where he could in an effort to race the terrifying monster. Brumby summoned a Loxodon Smiter and then an Arbor Colossus. Polukranos went monstrous and, with Domri's aid, took out both of Brumby's top-end creatures.
Brumby, running low on dudes, was under pressure to finish Huang off before he could further stabilise. On Brumby's attack, Huang assigned blockers but left the Boon Satyr unopposed. When he went to finish it off with a Destructive Revelry, Brumby flashed his topdecked Rootborn Defences to keep his attacker alive and take the second game by the most narrow of margins.Gene Brumby 1 - Hao-Shan Huang 1
The third game came as almost a repeat of the first. Brumby deployed a pile of aggressive early creatures and had double Advent of the Wurm in hand, but Huang simply chose to ignore Brumby's plan of action and once again summoned a pair of Stormbreath Dragons to take the game and match.Hao-Shan Huang 2 - Gene Brumby 1