Posted in NEWS on March 29, 2014

By Pip Foweraker

This feature match highlights the raw power of an all-in strategy against an unprepared field. Red mages have been asking questions of the other colours - mostly 'What was your life total again?' - since the dawn of Magic, and the current Standard format is no exception. Scry is a powerful mechanic when it digs you closer to the next burn spell. Black-based decks in Standard are particularly vulnerable to burn, as two of their key strategic cards - Thoughtseize and Underworld Connections - play very comfortably into a burn deck's game plan. Gray Merchant of Asphodel and Blood Baron of Vizkopa can provide some relief, but they come at the higher end of the mana curve, which is always a risk...

Game 1

Liu opened with Thoughtseize showing Tan with a Magma Jet and Chandra's Phoenix. He summoned a Pack Rats, which was promptly Shocked. A second Thoughtseize took a Searing Blood, but Tan had his Phoenix and a Mutavault (in addition to the Thoughtseize damage) to keep the pressure up regardless. Liu had an Abrupt Decay for the Phoenix, then cast an Underworld Connections to try and draw into some more answers. Tan didn't give him the time, pushing through more burn damage and recycling his Phoenix to take the first game.

"Are you a little burned, or is that just a deep Tan?"

Raymond Tan 1 Yi-liu Liu 0

Liu's opening Thoughtseize took out a Chandra, Pyromaster, and an Ash Zealot was met with an Abrupt Decay.

A Magma Jet and a Warleader's Helix went to Liu's head, and a Lightning Strike took out a Nightveil Spectre. A Boros Charm knocked Liu to a precarious 4, but Tan's Chandra's Phoenix barely entered the red zone before it was shot with a Hero's Downfall. "No more charms!", pleaded Liu, as he tested the waters with a Thoughtseize. Seeing the coast was clear, he summoned a Gray Merchant of Asphodel and then followed it up with another, gaining a little breathing room.

Liu, barely containing his overwhelming joy at this most fortuitous of matchups.

Unfortunately for Liu, his room ran short as Tan threw a freshly drawn Lightning Strike at him, reanimated his Phoenix and finished things off in short order with another flurry of burn to the dome.

Raymond Tan 2 - Yi-liu Liu 0