Round 13 With Yifan Wei

Posted in GRAND PRIX AUCKLAND 2015 on March 15, 2015

By Neale Talbot

I had an opportunity to watch local player, Yifan Wei, draft for the second draft of Day 2. Wei reached 36th place at Pro Tour Journey Into Nyx, and was was 3rd place at GP Auckland at end of Round 12.

Yifan Wei drafts in Round 13 of GP Auckland.

Wei started off the draft with a Pack 1, Pick 1 Crux of Fate. The draft continued with a Bloodfell Caves, Wild Slash, then Reach of Shadows. Wei's Black cards shored up with a Ghastly Conscription and a couple of Hooded Assassins before falling away.

"In Pack One I don't want to be in one specific colour." Wei explained later. "I prioritise lands very highly. Usually I will only take removal spells and very good creatures over lands. But when you take a 'Wrath' first pick, you need to aggressively move into control. From Pick Four, the land was missing, so I suspected someone else was drafting the lands very highly. I took the Ghastly Conscription, as at that time I had a lot of removal but no finisher. I needed something to win the game."

In Pack 2 Wei kicked off with an Arc Lightning and an Utter End. He started moving away from Mardu and into Abzan when he received a fifth pick Abzan Guide, a seven pick Anafenza, the Foremost and ninth pick Blossomoing Sands.

"Anafenza was a huge thing. In Pack One I passed a lot of Green to my left, but in Pack Two I saw a lot of good Abzan, so I moved in." Wei said.

Wei reviews his deck between packs.

Wei was faced with pick between a powerful common and uncommon in Pack 3, Debilitating Injury versus Feat of Resistance. Wei eventually chose the Debilitating Injury, followed by an Abzan Falconer, Suspension Field and a second Debilitating Injury. He rounded out the deck with a Bitter Revelation and a twelth pick Jungle Hollow. Wei proceeded on to deckbuilding.

"My best creature is probably the Bellowing Saddlebrute. As I have a lot of three drops I should be able to trigger the Raid and avoid losing life. I just need to try to keep my life total high, then win through Crux of Fate and Ghastly Conscription." Wei said, laying the cards out at the Feature Match table. "I don't have a feel for the power level of the deck. The removal is very good. Probably 2-1; Sultai is probably my worst matchup, my best matchup is probably Abzan or some green midrange deck. Jeskai should be fine, because of all the cheap removal spells."

Time was called and his opponent, Jason Chung, who was currently in 1st place, arrived. Wei swept up his cards and the two took to dueling.

"You always beat me." joked Chung.

"We've only played once!" said Wei.

“100% success rate.” replied Chung.

Jason Chung vs Yifan Wei - Game 1

Yifan was on the play, and both planeswalkers kept their grip of seven cards. Chung found land easily and summoned morphs, while Yifan struggled on three lands. The two traded creatures and cards, Chung losing a Snowhorn Rider to Yifan's Suspension Field, Yifan losing a Hooded Assassin to Chung's Awaken the Bear.

Jason Chung works his way through the combat maths.

Soon the game slowed down. Eventually Chung found an opening and swing a morph into Yifan's team. Yifan blocked with a bare Abzan Falconer and a Krumar Bond-Kin, enough to take down a Woolly Loxodon if necessary. Chung flipped the morph to reveal a Ainok Tracker, killing the Krumar Bond-Kin and surviving the Abzan Falconer.

"I love me some unplayable cards." grinned Chung.

"Well I didn't expect THAT morph." replied Wei.

Chung continued to build up his team until Wei decided to pull the pin on his Crux of Fate. However Chung was prepared, having been playing around End Hostilities, and at the end of Wei's turn cast Etherial Ambush to continue his assault. The next turn he flipped one of the manifests to reveal Sage-Eye Avengers, bounced Yifan's only blocker, then cast Master The Way to finish Yifan off.

Chung 1 - Yifan 0

In Game 2 Yifan again struggled to keep up, mulliganing to six, and then again unable to find land. Chung's morphs applied pressure and a very active Jeskai Sage harraassed Yifan. Yifan attempted to block the 1/1 with a morph, but an Etherial Ambush triggered the prowess ability, taking down Yifan’s morph and netting Chung a card.

At this point Chung was firmly in control. He swung his team of two manifest creatures, a morph and a Sultai Flayer at Yifan's Chief of the Scale. Yifan used his Utter End to vanquish the Sultai Flayer and successfully blocked a morph, but still dropped terribly low on life. Chung's follow up play of Sage-Eye punished Yifan's inability to find lands even further.

When all you have left is a death stare, you may as well use it.

"No black mana, no black mana." whispered Chung, nervous that Crux of Fate would make a second appearance. But it was not to be, and Chung's Djinn once again took down the game.

"I think I held Crux of Fate too long in Game 1." Wei said after, "Because when I was at ten life I could probably survive the board wipe. I expected one or two burn cards in his deck, but I didn't expect the Etherial Ambush. Game Two I was mana-screwed. I think the six card keep was fine, but I only have three green cards in my deck and I drew all of them."

Chung 2 - Yifan 0