2011 China National Championship

A Champion of strength is born! Zhuang literally means strength in Mandarin and Chen Zhuang has certainly lived up to his name. After fifteen matches held over an intense weekend, he managed to emerge victorious as the China Nationals 2011 Champion.

His Blue Black control deck (along with his superior navigational skills) did not disappoint and he managed to pilot this deck all the way to the finals before beating Xu Bin for eternal honor and glory. Wang Xuan Ji also made the National Team by defeating Lü Jiachong (incidentally also last year's alternate) in the playoffs. We look forward to seeing this excellent team do wonders at the World Championships at the end of the season.

From left: Xu Bin (Finalist), Chen Zhuang (Champion), Wang Xuan Ji (3rd) & Lü Jiachong (Alternate)

Once again, hearty congratulations to our newly minted China National Team!



1. Xue Tong Du

8. Zhuang Chen

4. Li Meng

5. Wang Xuan-Ji

2. Tan Gao

7. Bin Xu

3. Lei Yu Sheng

6. Jiachong Lü


Zhuang Chen, 2-0

Wang Xuan-Ji, 2-0

Xu Bin, 2-0

Lü Jiachong, 2-1


Zhuang Chen, 2-1

Xu Bin, 2-0


Zhuang Chen, 2-0



  • by Chapman Sim
    Xu Bin (Blue White Control) vs. Chen Zhuang (Blue Black Control)
  • by Chapman Sim
    Top 8:
    Player Profiles
  • by Chapman Sim
    Top 8:
  • by Chapman Sim
    Xu Bin (Blue-White Control) vs. Lü Jiachong (Blue-Black Control)
  • by Chapman Sim
    Li Meng (Mono Black Control) vs. Wang Xuan Ji (Blue Black Control)
  • by Chapman Sim
    Sunday, 9:00 p.m.:
    Event Top 5 Cards
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 2: Complete Coverage
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 1: Complete Coverage
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Player List
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Fact Sheet


1. Zhuang Chen CNY 14000
2. Xu Bin CNY 10000
3. Wang Xuan Ji CNY 7000
4. Lü Jiachong CNY 4000
5. Xue Tong Du CNY 3000
6. Tan Gao CNY 3000
7. Lei Yu Sheng CNY 2000
8. Li Meng CNY 2000

pairings, results, standings


12 11 10 9 8

7 6 5 4 3 2 1


12 11 10 9 8

7 6 5 4 3 2 1


12 11 10 9 8

7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Top 5 Cards


For a card that costs only two mana, Spellskite certainly does a lot of work for what it costs. Aside from protecting yourself from Splinter Twin and multiple Valakut triggers, it also blocks Goblin Guides and Bloodghasts and "tanks" removal spells with high regularity. More recently, it has been taking bullets in the place of Primeval Titans, Fauna Shaman and Deceiver Exarch. This is possibly the most heavily sideboarded card of the entire tournament.

Chancellor of the Tangle

When it comes to mana acceleration and late game application in a single package, no card does it better than a trusty Chancellor of the Tangle. Cards like Llanowar Elves are awesome on turn one, but unspectacular and practically useless on turn seven.

Some Valakut players have incorporated this beast into their builds and it is common consensus that could generate you mana faster than the conventional Growth Spasm and Cultivate. The ability to throw out Lotus Cobra, Explore or Khalni Heart Expedition on turn one seems really potent. By the way, they block and kill Titans and hits as hard as them!

Go for the Throat

Efficient removal will always be efficient removal. Regardless of whether you're playing a control or beatdown, all decks containing Swamps should run this Mirrodin Besieged uncommon and for good reason. It's cost-effective, it's nifty and it has a nice card title. More importantly, it deals with almost any threat in the format barring Wurmcoil Engine and Mirran Crusaders.

Jace Beleren

It seems fitting that when the King of the Jungle passes away in the circle of life, a new lion emerges to rule the pride. Jace, the Mind Sculptor's demise has forced blue players to "downgrade" with Jace Beleren but honestly, it is STILL very good. This goes to show that even without four abilities (of which each and every one were highly relevant), Jaces still rock in the world of Standard and promises to be a vital staple until it rotates out at the end of the year.

Primeval Titan

The biggest card of the tournament has to be the land-tutoring, mana-ramping, pseudo-card-drawing Titan. Even though it has Trample, there are certain situations where players are able to kill their opponent before even the combat damage step.

The ability to single handedly end the game within two turns of it hitting play makes it a force to be reckoned with in weeks to come. Without Primeval Titan, Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle might even have spots in the junk rare box. Spreading Seas have returned into decks containing Islands and Vampires have gone so far as to pack Contaminated Ground to combat this dominant archetype enabled by this Titan.

Quarterfinals – Li Meng (Mono Black Control) vs. Wang Xuan Ji (Blue Black Control)

by Chapman Sim

Game 1

Li Meng's Inquisition of Kozilek netted Mana Leak and he followed that up with a second turn Vault Skirge. Wang was not bothered by the pesky imp and continued to dig for threats with Preordain and double Spreading Seas.

Unfortunately for Li, he was severely land flooded and the 1/1 flier was hardly any pressure. When he did draw Grave Titan, Wang had it removed with Despise. A Lashwrithe the turn later was countered by Stoic Rebuttal.

Wang managed to draw into Batterskull and Grave Titan and it was not surprising to see Li succumb to these powerful mythics.

Wang Xuan Ji and his mythics take Game One.

Wang Xuan Ji wins Game One.

Game 2

Li started with double Inquisition of Kozilek, stripping Mana Leak and Stoic Rebuttal from Wang's hand. When Li summoned Vampire Nighthawk, Wang went for its throat then untapped to drop Jace Beleren.

Li Meng ponders how to survive the assault.

Li made use of this opportunity to resolve Mimic Vat, hoping to combo it with Vampire Hexmage in his hand but Wang forced him to discard it with his own Inquisition of Kozilek. Wanting to reduce Li of kill conditions and blockers, he decided to use Surgical Extraction to remove Li's decks of Nighthawks then untapped to resolve Grave Titan.

Gatekeeper of Malakir reduced the number of zombies by one, but it didn't bother Wang at all. He simply attacked with Grave Titan, tapped out for the ultra-cool Karn Liberated, then reducing his opponent's land count to just three. Li had Hex Parasite to kill Karn, but he could do nothing to the power of Grave Titan and its dark minions.

Wang Xuan Ji wins Game Two and proceeds to the Semifinals.

Semifinals – Xu Bin (Blue-White Control) vs. Lü Jiachong (Blue-Black Control)

by Chapman Sim

Game 1

Xu Bin won the die roll and chose to play first but Lü had to mulligan down to six. Xu opened with relatively-useless Wall of Omens and Spell Pierced his opponent's Jace Beleren. When Xu tried to cast his own a few turns later, Lü decided to stop it with double Mana Leak.

A few turns of stalemante ensued and players were comfortable to play the waiting game. That is, until Xu reached nine mana. Feeling confident enough to finally call forth Gideon Jura, it was surprised to see it resolve unopposed. Lü tried to seek answers with Jace's Ingenuity. He didn't find what he wanted, and tried to dig further with Preordain, but Mental Misstep prevented him from doing so.

When Gideon Jura entered the red zone, Lü pointed Go for the Throat at the Planeswalker but it was countered again, this time, with a second Spell Pierce. Even though Lü was drawing more cards with his Jace Beleren, he was having problems finding a solution for Gideon Jura. When he did manage to resolve Wurmcoil Engine, Xu sent it Into the Roil to end the game with one final punch.

Lü Jiachong harnessing the power of Jace and his ingenuity.

Xu Bin wins Game One.

Game 2

Recently, the control matchup's victor is usually determined in two ways. The player who has resolved more Jaces, or the player who has more land. Xu attacked Lü's mana base by activating Tectonic Edge on an opposing Creeping Tar Pit as soon as he reached four lands, and plucked out the remaining three copies from his deck. He repeated this trick on Darkslick Shores as well, and Lü was suddenly in severe trouble.

Even though he had a couple of countermagic in his hand, he was stuck at four lands, of which only one produced blue mana. To make matters worse, the chance of him drawing additional lands was significantly reduced thanks to both Surgical Extractions.

Xu wasn't about to let his guard down and further reduced his land count with his third Tectonic Edge. Now totally devoid of blue mana, Lü could only watch blankly as Elspeth Tirel and Celestial Colonnade took the game in a matter of seconds.

Xu Bin beats Lü Jiachong 2-0 and proceeds to the Finals!

Tectonic Edge
Surgical Extraction
Secret combo to beat the control mirror?

Top 8 - Decklists

by Chapman Sim

Congratulations to the all Top 8 players of China Nationals 2011 Top Row (from left): Chen Zhuang, Gao Tan, Xu Bin. Bottom Row (from left): Li Meng, Wang Xuanji, Du Xuetong, Lei Yu Sheng, Lu Jiachong.

Gao Tan - Top 8

Lü Jiachong - Top 8

Lei Yusheng - Top 8

Du Xuetong - Top 8

Chen Zhuang - Top 8

Wang Xuanji - Top 8

Li Meng - Top 8

Planeswalker (1)
1 Liliana Vess
Instant (5)
3 Go for the Throat 2 Dismember
Artifact (3)
3 Lashwrithe
Land (25)
25 Swamp
60 Cards

Xu Bin - Top 8

Top 8 Player profiles

Congratulations to the Top 8!If you were a Planeswalker, what would you be called and what would you do?

Name: Du Xuetong
City, Country: Beijing, China
Age: 31
Occupation: MTG JudgeScore for Standard Portion: 4 – 1 – 1
Score for Limited Portion: 5 – 0 – 1 Previous achievements: 1 previous Nationals Top 8

Name: Chen Zhuang
City, Country: Chongqing, China
Age: 28
Occupation: IT EngineerScore for Standard Portion: 5 – 1
Score for Limited Portion: 4 – 2 Previous achievements: This is my first Nationals Top 8!

Name: Wang Xuan Ji
City, Country: Beijing, China
Age: 29
Occupation: PlannerScore for Standard Portion: 5 – 1
Score for Limited Portion: 4 – 2 Previous achievements: First Nationals Top 8.

Name: Li Meng
City, Country: Beijing, China
Age: 30
Occupation: EditorScore for Standard Portion: 6 – 0
Score for Limited Portion: 3 – 3 Previous achievements: First Nationals Top 8.

Name: Lei Yusheng
City, Country: Shanghai, China
Age: 28
Occupation: Quality Assurance EngineerScore for Standard Portion: 4 – 1 – 1
Score for Limited Portion: 5 – 1 Previous achievements: First Nationals Top 8.

Name: Lü Jiachong
City, Country: Shanghai, China
Age: 25
Occupation: Card Store OwnerScore for Standard Portion: 4 – 2
Score for Limited Portion: 5 – 1 Previous achievements: 2010 Nationals Top 4.

Name: Xu Bin
City, Country: Beijing, China
Age: 29
Occupation: Administrative ClerkScore for Standard Portion: 3 – 3
Score for Limited Portion: 6 – 0Previous achievements: Top 8 Nationals 2007

Name: Gao Tan
City, Country: Beijing, China
Age: 19
Occupation: StudentScore for Standard Portion: 5 – 0 – 1
Score for Limited Portion: 4 – 2Previous achievements: This is my first.

Finals – Xu Bin (Blue White Control) vs. Chen Zhuang (Blue Black Control)

by Chapman Sim

It has boiled down to the final match of the tournament and both players are one win away from hoisting the Champion trophy. The winner would go home with Koth to commemorate the joyous occasion while the one who fell would have to be content with an equally cool Tezzeret.

Both players have enjoyed success piloting control decks of a similar concept. Cast Jace Beleren, counter some spells and drop a huge threat. Unfortunately, the matchup seemed to be in Chen Zhuang's favor. In a matchup where information is crucial, invasion hand disruption spells could prove to be a huge edge, not to mention that black has access to more effective spot removal.

Game 1

Chen's Inquisition of Kozilek saw Xu's hand of double Jace Beleren and double Mana Leak, and he was happy to remove one of the Planeswalkers. Players did nothing until turn four, when Xu wasted no time trading a Tectonic Edge with Creeping Tar Pit. A missed land drop from Chen indicated that he was out of land and Xu continued to disrupt his opponent's mana base, turning Creeping Tar Pit into a basic Island with Spreading Seas.

Exhausted of land to play, Xu decided to cycle Wall of Omens. Failing to draw a sixth land, he was forced to pass with three mana open. Chen used this window of opportunity and tried to resolve Jace Beleren. When Xu responded with Mana Leak, Chen did the same. Xu decided that blue Planeswalkers whose names started with the letter "J" could never stay on board for too long, so he attacked with Celestial Colonnade.

Because of that, Wurmcoil Engine was able to resolve unopposed and it was able to hit for six damage next turn. Unfazed, Xu used Gideon Jura to ax the Wurm, spawning two miniature versions. Chen wanted to use his own anime-character cards to represent them but Xu kindly borrowed him his pair of actual tokens.

Go for the Throat dealt with Wall of Omens and both tokens crashed in to take down Gideon Jura. The next attack prompted Xu to animate his Celestial Colonnade, but it was struck down with yet another Go for the Throat. By then, Xu was within range of Creeping Tar Pit and regardless of the two Celestial Colonnades he still had, they were unable to stop the 3/2 from sealing the deal.

Chen Zhuang wins the game on the back of Wurmcoil Engine.

Chen Zhuang wins Game One.

Game 2

Chen's Creeping Tar Pit was transformed into an Island almost as soon as it hit play but he was happy to replace with with another. On the forth turn, Xu sent back his own Spreading Seas with Into the Roil and replayed it back on the same land, cycling through two more cards in the process.

Chen put Jace Beleren on the stack, and after clashing Mana Leaks from both sides, and eventually resolving it. But Xu was not bothered as it was him who drew his Wurmcoil Engine this time and wasted no time in casting it out.

This proved to be a major problem for the Blue Black player at first glance, since Go for the Throat was worthless against it. However, the back breaker came on the next turn when Chen used his singleton Volition Reins to gain control of the artifact wurm. Seemingly at the end of his line, he had no choice but to cast Day of Judgment and force Wurmcoil Engine to undergo mitosis.

Xu Min mulls over his options.

Currently at 14 life, he paid 2 more to cast Surgical Extraction to remove Mana Leak from Chen's deck. Chen wasn't going to let that happen and responded with Stoic Rebuttal. Elspeth Tirel was his next spell and when Chen revealed Mana Leak from his hand (no surprises there!), Xu had the final say with a Spell Pierce.

Creeping Tar Pit infiltrated past the three Soldier tokens to give Elspeth Tirel the fatal blow. Now at only 9 life and facing impending death, Xu was forced to pass the turn and try to block with Celestial Colonnade. However, that plan failed to follow through. Chen showed him Spreading Seas and crashed in to put Xu at 3 life and finishing him off with Creeping Tar Pit a turn later.

Celestial Colonnade Creeping Tar Pit

Chen Zhuang wins Game Two and defeats Xu Bin to become the China National Champion of 2011! Congratulations!

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