Rallying with Lee Shi Tian

Posted in GRAND PRIX KOBE 2015 on November 22, 2015

By Ben Swartz

This weekend MTG Mint Card's Lee Shi Tian decided to play a Rally the Ancestors deck. Although him and his team built the deck for the Pro Tour he didn't have the confidence to play it until this weekend: "This deck we built during Pro Tour playtesting but I was too scared of Anafenza and didn't play it in the Pro Tour," Lee mentioned. "We wanted to build ally deck, but it didn't work out in the way we thought, so we started turning [it in]to a Rally deck."

This change happened when "we found out about the Liliana/Sidisi's Faithful interaction," Lee continued, "[we] thought 'this is really good' and we started tuning the deck [with] Rally and Nantuko Husk."

The deck is based around the very powerful combo kill that it can set up. The deck gets out an early army with cheap creatures such as Kalastria Healer and Zulaport Cutthroat. It continues to gain board dominance with Collected Company. Finally, with a stacked graveyard, it uses Rally the Ancestors to return everything from the graveyard to feed Nantuko Husk.

Lee Shi Tian

"I like complicated decks—[my MTG Mint Card teammates] like midrange. I'll never be a midrange guy, I'm a combo or aggro guy." Lee mentioned when I asked him if the other members of MTG Mint Card were playing the deck. "Actually this deck is creature control with many Planeswalkers," Lee continued. "You go Jace into Liliana into Sidisi's Faithful [and on] turn 4 you have two Planeswalkers and can empty your opponent's board."

While he was nervous to play the deck at the Pro Tour, the success that Team EUreka had last weekend in Brussels gave him confidence. "I didn't test the deck a lot after the Pro Tour—I played in the Super League but I never played against Abzan," Lee mentioned. "Last week it proved that Abzan is not bad—they had [something like a] 24-2 [record] against Abzan; I trust their result and believe that this deck can beat Abzan."

While the Team EUreka version gave him confidence, his list differs slightly from their version. "I think [their] deck is good, but sometimes it's too narrow," Lee explained. "If you don't have Husk or Zulaport Cutthroat, their deck basically can't win. With Liliana you have [another] dimension [with the deck]." Lee also pointed out that his mana is better than Team EUreka's, "[their] version has three different color of 2 drops: Elvish Visionary, Zulaport Cutthroat, and Jace. You cannot support Liliana when you have 3 different color [2 drops]." Lee continued, "You want your deck to have all basic lands and battle lands, but there are no Black-Green or Blue-Black battle lands." Lee fixed this problem by playing two copies of Llanowar Wastes and cutting Elvish Visionary for Kalastria Healer, "I can always search for black mana in the first couple turns."

Lee is looking forward to representing Hong Kong at the World Magic Cup in a few weeks, "I think we have good players but we still [have] not figured out the right approach to unified Standard. I think I'm very strong at team sealed." Lee thinks that the strongest team at the WMC is not Japan or USA but Korea, "Korea has the best 4 Korean players on their team. Canada is really strong [as well]."

Finally he wanted to thank his friend Jeffrey Chan from Singapore for testing the deck at the Pro Tour and having the confidence to play it there. With a 9-1 record after the first round of the day 2 Lee Shi Tian seems to be en route to a great performance here in Kobe.

Lee Shi Tian's Rally the Ancestors

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