Worlds Near and Far Away

Posted in Event Coverage on June 14, 2015

By Adam Styborski

Stybs has played Magic the world over, writing and drafting as part of the event coverage team and slinging Commander everywhere his decks will fit.

The clock is ticking, and for many pros it's a sound heard around the world. With the window of opportunity begin to close on securing Pro Players Club levels and benefits, every Grand Prix becomes a race fight for points.

That's what brought several members of team MTGMintCard to Charlotte, half the world away from Nam Sung Wook.

Nam Sung Wook was a leader in the growing South Korea Magic community, captain of the 2014 World Magic Cup team and Top 8 contender at Pro Tour Journey into Nyx.

Wing Chun Yam, Hao-Shan Huang, and new teammate Patrick Dickmann were in attendance alongside Nam, who has easy explanations for their long travel. "I need points this month and there's only Grand Prix in America," he said. "I'm at 26 Pro Points so I had to got go America for more because I'd like to be Platinum again. My teammates are looking for it too."

Hao-Shan Huang, like his teammates, appeared under the feature match lights of Grand Prix Charlotte to battle.

Of course, traveling the world over isn't done on a whim. Nam had a straightforward plan to tackle opponent's decks. "Any deck is 50/50 I think," he explained, "but I think my best hate card is Blood Moon. I sideboard it in against many decks and it's advantageous in a dangerous matchup. I think Modern has two dangerous things: Boros Burn and Blood Moon. So I chose Jund to sideboard in Blood Moon."

The cadre from across the ocean wasn't the only group chasing the Pro Points they needed. No. 20-ranked Alexander Hayne had a tenuous one point lead over fellow Canadian Pascal Maynard in the Grand Prix points leader race. Both players were having an exceptional year of Grand Prix success, and thanks to the superb efforts of Japan's Teruya Kakumae keeping pace just one point behind Maynard everyone had a vested interest in finding another Top 8.

"It's a little bit of an arms race," Hayne explained. "There's some others in contention [for the World Championship slot] too and there's enough Grand Prix for any to catch up. I'm hoping to put some distance between the people behind me. Maynard's Top 4 in Las Vegas put him right up with me."

Alexander Hayne was the narrow leader in a tight Grand Prix points race for the World Championship.

While there was relatively little time left to lock in qualifications it was still a full schedule for the Canadian contenders. "I haven't decided if I'm going to Singapore or Buenos Aires – they're the same weekend – but I'm definitely at Providence and Montreal. Dallas too. I know Maynard's also playing all the remaining Grand Prix," Hayne said. "I'm also one Pro Point away from locking up Platinum so I need a Top 8, but a Worlds slot is definitely more important to me than Platinum."

While Hayne and Maynard were familiar with each other, it wasn't a showdown between teammates. "Maynard and I used to test together back in the day and then he fell off the tour," Hayne explained. "My situation with teams has changed so the last couple Pro Tours I haven't worked with Maynard. Even though we're relatively close as far as Canada goes we're still three hours apart so it's hard to meet up. By arms race I meant that both Maynard and I are capped out for points. We both need a Top 8 for it to matter. I don't think we'd be going to as many Grand Prix if it wasn't for the arms race. And if it wasn't for Kakumae we might have a gentleman's agreement to skip one. It's pretty tough to go to all of them."

So what was Hayne's Modern plan given the importance making Top 8 meant? "The last time I played Modern was at Grand Prix Vancouver and I finished in the Top 8 so I decided to play Amulet Bloom again," he said. "With how well it did recently I was worried there'd be a lot of hate for this weekend but it doesn't seem that way. I considered Storm as well and I think it's well positioned right now. Jund decks are swapping Abrupt Decays for Terminates, which makes it a much better match up."

Why hasn't Hayne jumped on the Jund bandwagon? "I have not been successful playing fair," he explained. "I've been much more successful when I play with a proactive game plan and I have a primary goal I'm playing the game around. Last year I missed a World Championship invite by one point. I do not want to miss by one point again."

Nam Sung Wook - Jund

Download Arena Decklist
Planeswalker (4)
4 Liliana of the Veil
Other (12)
1 chandra, pyromancer 4 dark confident 1 tasigur,the golden Fang 2 thuoghtseize 2 overgrowth tomb 1 craven cairn 1 moutain
60 Cards

Alexander Hayne - Amulet Bloom

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Artifact (4)
4 Amulet of Vigor
Enchantment (3)
3 Hive Mind
Other (4)
1 slayer's stronghold 1 tendo ice-bridge 2 azusa, lost but seeing
60 Cards

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