Drafting with Ng Soon Lye

Posted in GRAND PRIX HONG KONG 2015 on August 9, 2015

By Chapman Sim

The Top 8 of Grand Prix Hong Kong 2013 was a star-studded one. Shuhei Nakamura won it all, defeating "BFF" Martin Juza in the finals, while Ken Yukuhiro and Yuuta Takahashi had their journey cut short in the semifinals.

A lesser-known Singapore also made the Top 8 that event, and happens to be lurking at the top of the standings today. Introducing Ng Soon Lye, one of the Top 8 competitors of Grand Prix Hong Kong 2013.

Ng Soon Lye made Top 8 at Grand Prix Hong Kong 2013, and is well-positioned for a repeat performance.

Ng's Magic Origins dates back over a decade and is considered a veteran of Singapore's Magic community. In fact, I've had the honor of playing against Ng at the Top 8 of Singapore Nationals 2009.

After navigating through the Sealed Deck portion to finish 8-1, it was a good opportunity to check in with Ng to see if he can do a "back-to-back" stunt!

Pack 1

Ng's first booster presented him with weak commons and uncommons, but he wasted no time picking the rare. "Life is such a fragile thing," also happens to be my favorite flavor text in Magic Origins.

This Constructed-worthy board sweeper set the tone for Ng to draft a midrange or control deck and he soon decided to pair Black with Blue, picking up a pair of Ringwarden Owls 3rd and 6th.

He was gifted with a 7th pick Reave Soul, which was not only one of the top black commons but more importantly, it was a strong signal from the players to his right that black was open. Sure enough, a late Nantuko Husk and Necromantic Summons confirmed Ng's suspicions.

Pack 1 Picks

  1. Languish
  2. Throwing Knife
  3. Ringwarden Owl
  4. Scrapskin Drake
  5. Shambling Ghoul
  6. Ringwarden Owl
  7. Reave Soul
  8. Infernal Scarring
  9. Send to Sleep
  10. Nantuko Husk
  11. Necromantic Summons
  12. Nightsnare
  13. Thornbow Archer
  14. Thornbow Archer

Pack 2

Ng's second booster presented him with Managorger Hydra and Sentinel of the Eternal Watch, two extremely powerful cards that he could not play. Thankfully, there was Unholy Hunger in that booster which he was happy to pick up. He deliberated between Tower Geist and Separatist Voidmage, and eventually decided on the latter. Claustrophobia over Fetid Imp was Ng's third pick, and the makes of a powerful Blue Black "Midrange Control" deck was starting to shape up.

However, the power level of the cards for Blue and Black started to decline after Ng's first three picks but Ng took advantage of the weak selections to pick up Runed Servitor, Nantuko Husk and Screeching Skaab to fill out his curve. A seventh pick Relic Seeker was a shocker, but Ng declined to hate draft, preferring to pick up Negate for his sideboard.

Pack 2 Picks

  1. Unholy Hunger
  2. Separatist Voidmage
  3. Claustrophobia
  4. Disperse
  5. Runed Servitor
  6. Nantuko Husk
  7. Negate
  8. Screeching Skaab
  9. Weight of the Underworld
  10. Aspiring Aeronaut
  11. Artificer's Epiphany
  12. Calculated Dismissal
  13. Revenant
  14. Thornbow Archer

Pack 3 Picks

Whirler Rogue was the no-brainer pick, even if Ng did have to pass a Knightly Valor and Blazing Hellhound to his neighbors. Eyeblight Massacre was the second mass removal spell to join Ng's deck, a card that would complement his pair of Shambling Ghouls and Nantuko Husks perfectly.

Tower Geist and a second Reave Soul and a second Unholy Hunger added more raw power to Ng's deck. A crucial Fetid Imp tabled, adding his another coveted two-drop to the deck.

  1. Whirler Rogue
  2. Eyeblight Massacre
  3. Tower Geist
  4. Reave Soul
  5. Weight of the Underworld
  6. Unholy Hunger
  7. Shambling Ghoul
  8. Shadows of the Past
  9. Fetid Imp
  10. Rabid Bloodsucker
  11. Dark Petition
  12. Tormented Thoughts
  13. Helm of the Gods
  14. Tainted Remedy

Ng likes his deck and thinks he should be able to go at least 2-1, and with a little push, perhaps even win out.

Ng Soon Lye’s Day 2 Draft 1 (Blue Black)

Download Arena Decklist

"The deck is lacking in bombs, even though I have a lot of removal spells. Perhaps a finisher like Kothophed, Soul Hoarder or Alhammarret, High Arbiter would push it towards being a 3-0 deck."

I had to agree.

Between Languish, Eyeblight Massacre, Claustrophobia and multiple copies of Reave Soul and Unholy Hunger, Ng was certainly not short of quality removal but could use some improvement in his creature department.

"Whirler Rogue is my best creature. It feels like a Mythic Uncommon but perhaps I should have ran Runed Servitor over Send to Sleep. Throwing Knife and Dark Petition are also unimpressive and sometimes situational in my deck. I will make the appropriate adjustments based on what I see from my opponents' decks."

Regardless, I think the deck is very solid and I hope that Ng will be able to sweep his draft pod! As we speak, he has just won his first match and advanced to 9-1! It is always nice to see a fellow Singaporean doing well at a Grand Prix!