Choice of Champions

Posted in GRAND PRIX HONG KONG 2015 on August 8, 2015

By Chapman Sim

The highlight of Magic Origins, among other delights, is the cycle of double-faced Planeswalkers. They are probably what you hope to open whenever you rip open a Magic Origins booster pack. It's like finding a Golden Ticket in a Willy Wonka chocolate bar.

However, if given a choice of opening any one, which one do you most want in your Sealed deck?

There are many factors to consider, including mana-cost, power level in Sealed, how relevant the abilities are, as well as how easy is it to transform them.

Just like a kid in a candy store, I have no clue what I want, so I'm gonna throw the hot potato to a couple other players who have a better idea than I do.

Acing with Jace

Sun Bo is the newly crowned China National Champion and is currently 6-0 in the main event. He must be doing something right and I will boldly assume that he knows what he is talking about.

China National Champion 2015, Sun Bo

Sun finished the last season with a heartbreaking 19 Pro Points, one point short of hitting Silver. This means that he misses out on invites to both Pro Tour Magic Origins and Pro Tour Battle of Zendikar, However, he is very excited and honored to lead the team in Barcelona at the World Magic Cup.

When asked about his Planeswalker of choice, his first instinct was Liliana, Heretical Healer but eventually settled on Jace, Vryn's Prodigy.

"Having Liliana, Heretical Healer on the board can put your opponent into awkward positions where they can neither trade or race. But in terms of making my Sealed Deck better, I'd opt for Jace, Vryn's Prodigy instead."

"Looters" have traditionally been awesome in Limited formats, allowing you to ditch poor cards such as excess lands and outclassed "bears" in exchange for better upgrades.

Jace goes one step further, allowing you to wreck havoc on the board after a few activations. Having it in your opening hand also minimizes the odds of you having to mulligan and improves your draws considerably.

"Jace, Telepath Unbound's +1 ability can usually neutralize a decently good creature on the opposite side, so it doubles up as board control. It also allows you to reuse any removal spells you have, and this ability is very precious because Magic Origins has so little removal spells."

Harnessing Nature's Blessings

South Korea National Champion 2015, Nam Sung Wook

Another National Champion who is also at 6-0 happens to be Nam Sung Wook. He will be leading the South Korean team at the World Magic Cup in the hopes of making the Top 8 once again.

Borderland Ranger and Civic Wayfinder has generally been good in the Limited formats they were printed in and Nissa, Vastwood Seer does a pretty good impression, despite it not being able to help in color splashes.

Nam explains his fondness for the Elf Scout earnestly.

"Nissa is good for the mana curve. It allows you to keep more hands and mulligan less. It also gives card advantage and smoothens your mana."

Nam states that many of the green cards demand more mana than other colors and having access to the 5th and 6th mana is important with cards like Rhox Maulers and Skysnare Spider in your deck. Nissa, Vastwood Seer not only helps you out in times of mana screw, but also in times of mana flood.

"It is not so easy to flip Nissa because you need to wait until at least turn 7. But if you mana flood she will definitely flip and it helps you to recover by drawing you cards or providing a 4/4 creature. I really like Nissa a lot. I want many, many Nissa!"

Both players need just one more win in the remaining three rounds in order to secure a spot in Day 2. Pairings are being posted so I sent them off on their way. Chances are, we'll be seeing more of them tomorrow anyway.