Top Stories of Grand Prix Manila 2017

Posted in Event Coverage on June 4, 2017

By Chapman Sim

Want to catch up on this weekend in a nutshell? That's what these highlights are for! What were the top stories at Grand Prix Manila 2017? You can find out in a matter of minutes with this short summary!

Day 2 Metagame Breakdown

The complete Day 1 Metagame Breakdown provided a bird's eye view to the Standard metagame in Manila. The metagame in Day 2 was not very different.

Temur Marvelworks (24.5%) occupied approximately a quarter of the metagame, which was reasonable considering that Mardu Vehicles (13.3%), Mardu Blue (1.7%) and Jeskai Vehicles (4.3%) made up the next 19.3%. Blue-Red Control (8.2%) and Blue-Red Tower (1.7%) constitued a tenth of the field, while Mono Black Zombies (6.0%) and White-Black Zombies (2.6%) combined made up 8.5%.

Deck # %
Temur Marvelworks 57 24.5%
Mardu Vehicles 31 13.3%
Blue-Red Control 19 8.2%
Mono Black Zombies 14 6.0%
Black-Green Energy 10 4.3%
Jeskai Vehicles 10 4.3%
Red-Green Energy 10 4.3%
Black-Green Delirium 9 3.9%
Temur Midrange 9 3.9%
Temur Control 6 2.6%
White-Black Zombies 6 2.6%
Red-Green Pummeler 5 2.1%
White-Blue Flash 5 2.1%
Black-Green Constrictor 4 1.7%
Mardu Blue 4 1.7%
Blue-Red Tower 4 1.7%
White-Blue Control 4 1.7%
Jund Gods 3 1.3%
Bant Marvelworks 2 0.9%
Others 21 9.0%
  233 100.0%

At the end of it all, here was the Top 8 metagame with 8 different decks, indicating that the format had the possibility to be as diverse as ever!

  • Qi Wentao (Esper Vehicles)
  • Ryoichi Tamada (White-Blue Flash)
  • Cholo Pascual (Mardu Blue)
  • Mark Anthony Biala (Mono Black Zombies)
  • Imman Van Valerio (Temur Aetherworks)
  • Wee Pang Ming (Red-Green Pummeler)
  • Rei Anthony Coo (Black-Green Constrictor)
  • Dustan Tauli (Mardu Vehicles)

Chaos Can Be Fun!

At every Grand Prix, there are always a wide range of side events for you to participate in. This weekend, the most special one was the Chaos Sealed. As one of the most fascinating ways to play Magic, the format is not only extremely exciting, but also rather skill intensive. Here's how it works.


The Chaos Sealed tournament attracted a large crowd of attendees.

Each player who registered today will receive at least one Eternal Masters booster, one Modern Masters booster, as well as four other random boosters, of which no more than two will be Standard legal. Players open their six boosters and construct the best Sealed Deck they can, but what was the most interesting was the fact that you'll be playing with cards through the ages.

For example, this Jund deck ended up having Broodmate Dragon from Modern Masters, Chainer's Edict from Torment, and Wirewood Guardian from Scourge, which are cards that span fifteen years! For many players, this was the first opportunity to play with cards from over a decade ago and have a blast from the past!

Longtusk Cub and Thriving Rhino might feature the energy mechanic unique only to Kaladesh, but that does not stop them from working well alongside cards like Call of the Conclave, Oran-Rief Invoker and Nest Invader! This is a prime example of how Magic, to this day, remains a game with over 16, 000 unique cards which work seamlessly with one another.

Chaos Sealed is just but one way to experience old cards alongside new, and to have a taste of nostalgia if you're a grizzled veteran. Taking things one step further, you could also rally up a group of four to eight friends, gather three random boosters for each player and create your very own Chaos Booster Draft! I don't know about you, but the next time I do this, I want to also throw in an Unglued booster and an Unhinged booster into the mix! I know for sure that Richard Garfield, Ph.D. is one of the most powerful ever!

Two Time's The Charm

Most players are usually not so disappointed when they make the finals of any Grand Prix, but imagine if you come in 2nd place twice within the same season?


Qi Wentao in the finals of Grand Prix Shizuoka 2017

That was exactly what happened to Qi Wentao from China, who broke into his very first Grand Prix Top 8 at Shizuoka a few months ago. Playing a Mardu Ballista mirror match, he fell short of clinching the top spot. Proving that he was no fluke, he followed up that performance with yet another stellar run this weekend, before falling to the eventual champion, coincidentally also playing a mirror.


Qi Wentao piloted Esper Vehicles all the way to the finals.

Coming into this weekend with 15 Pro Points, the pressure was on him to at least crack the finals in order to hit Silver. Since he was already qualified for Pro Tour Hour of Devastation in Kyoto, the Top 8 today in Manila also qualified him for Pro Tour Ixalan in Albuquerque, while still having a Silver invite in the bag.

All in all, it was a great weekend for Qi but he still had some regrets.

“I wish I had played better in the finals and managed my resources better. Ultimately, I lost to the better player but I'm still very happy of course!"

Home Run

If the story of Qi Wenhao was inspiring, then wait til you hear about Ryoichi Tamada's streak. Oh wait, you've probably heard about it already. After making the Top 8 at Grand Prix Kobe last weekend, Tamada already felt extremely fortunate considering it was a 2800-man tournament. To continue the hot streak in Manila was certainly unexpected.


Ryoichi Tamada thanks lady luck for his great fortnight.

“I was so lucky this weekend. I went 11-0 at the beginning so I only needed one more win in the next three rounds to take a draw."

Having made the Grand Prix Top 8 on five previous occasions and coming in second at Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar, Tamada had proven to be a force to be reckoned with but a title eluded him.

Well, until today...

In a nail-biting game three against Qi Wentao, Tamada used Thraben Inspector to keep a pair of Qi's Toolcraft Exemplars at bay. Then, Qi wisely chose to pass the turn when Tamada had three mana open, but he flashed in Spell Queller anyway and began to pressure.

That, was a wise move, because it forced Qi to budge. When Qi tried to resolve Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, Tamada ate it up with a second copy of Spell Queller, before untapping to drop his very own Gideon, Ally of Zendikar.

Qi used that window to resolve Sorin, Grim Nemesis to kill Spell Queller #2, releasing his own Gideon, Ally of Zendikar in the process. Then, Tamada turned things around by creating a Gideon Emblem before adding a second copy of Gideon, Ally of Zendikar on the board. The 3/4 Spell Queller, together with a 3/2 Selfless Spirit, ruled the skies and kept Qi off the ability to stick a planeswalker on the board!

Thanks to your trusty Spell Quellers, you're now a Grand Prix Champion! Congrats to Ryoichi Tamada once again!

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