Posted in GRAND PRIX LOS ANGELES 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on October 19, 2014

By Frank Karsten

Eugene Hwang, a 29-year old data analyst from Los Angeles, has been playing Magic since he was 10, but as far as really competitive Magic goes, he's only been playing since last year. And what a year it was. He decided to fly to Grand Prix Providence on a whim, yet he finished in the Top 16 right away. This fueled his competitive drive. He's gone to 15 Grand Prix tournaments in the last year, and that experience paid off in Orlando two weeks ago with a Grand Prix trophy. Today, the rising talent will do his best to claim another.

Eugene Hwang and the marquee cards of his deck.

The deck he brought this weekend is a spicy one:

Eugene Hwang – Sidisi-Whip, Grand Prix Los Angeles 2014

Download Arena Decklist

With the dominance of Mantis Rider and Siege Rhino at the Pro Tour, Sultai may have been a bit of a forgotten clan. However, Sidisi, Brood Tyrant is an awesome Magic card in a deck that is built to exploit it, and this deck certainly makes her shine. To learn more about the deck, I sat down with Hwang to pick his brain on exactly what makes the deck tick, where it came from, and how he thinks it will fare against the field here this weekend.

How was the deck conceived and built – who else was involved?

"I was watching the PT coverage with one of my roommates," Hwang explained. "Near the end of Day 2, they put on the deck tech of Christian Seibold with Sidisi-Whip. My roommate Brandon said, "gotta go" and came back 10 minutes later with all the cards for the deck. I tend to be more conservative with my deck choices, but he kept pushing me to try it. So I tested 5 games against Abzan and 5 games against Jeskai and I went 9-1, so I was pretty sold."

What is the key card of the deck?

"After my 9-1 in testing, I started thinking why it was winning so much, and I realized it's all about Whip of Erebos," Hwang answered. "Life gain is really good against Jeskai because then they can never burn you out. And whipping back Hornet Queen allows me to overwhelm Abzan with bees."

How did you decide to play four copies of that legendary card?

"That's indeed the most non-intuitive part of the deck, but you still want to draw one Whip every game and sometimes even two because opponents can remove it."

What is your game plan if you don't draw a Whip?

"If I don't draw Whip, you can still play a grindy game because you have access to Sidisi, Brood Tyant; Courser of Kruphix, and 7 removal spells."

So it looks like Jeskai Wins and Abzan Midrange are good matchups for you. Is there a bad matchup?


Can you explain how you sideboard against the top decks?

"Against Jeskai, I bring in Bile Blights and Negate and take out some of my slower creatures like Soul of Innistrad and Necropolis Fiend. Getting those cards Jeskai Charmed is a disaster. Against Abzan, I bring in Negate, Soul of Innistrad, and Empty the Pits and take out Elvish Mystic because the games tend go long and it's a bad topdeck."

How many other people are playing this deck, and how are they faring?

"I gave the decklist to three of my other friends: Jules Robins, Neil Anderson, and Cliff Chen. All of them made Day 2, too!"

What are some interesting plays that we might not see right away picking up this deck?

"There's a lot of sequencing that is important because you can get run over real quick. If you have Sylvan Wayfinder, Sylvan Caryatid, and Murderous Cut in your opening hand, then you should generally play Sylvan Caryatid on turn two, followed by Sylvan Wayfinder and a two-mana Murderous Cut on turn three. The mana works out exactly that way. Another thing is that it's a really trigger-intensive deck, so remember your triggers!"

To conclude, please give us three quick reasons for picking up the deck.

"It's really fun to play. The sideboard is pretty configurable. And I think it's a pretty good choice for the metagame."

This deck has all of the right tools to play a major role in Standard going forward. Hwang is currently 10-2, so stay tuned to see if he can make it to the Top 8 once again.