Posted in GRAND PRIX SHANGHAI 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on October 4, 2014

By Chapman Sim

Han Bing has the honor of representing China this year at the World Magic Cup as the captain. After a money finish at Pro Tour Journey to Nyx, he is living up to the expectations of his fellow comrades and finds himself in the comfortable 6-0 position, requiring just one more win to make the Day 2 cut.

Han is part of the Mardu Horde today, his deck laden with powerful cards such as Butcher of the Horde, Ghostfire Blade, double Mardu Roughrider and double Horde Ambusher. It seemed like the type of deck that would do a great job pushing though any opponent's defenses.

Similarly, Bruce Pai of Taiwan has shown no signs of slowing down. As a veteran of the Taiwanese Magic community, he is hoping to continue his winning streak. Pai on the other hand has chosen to ally with the Abzan Houses. He has equally ridiculous bombs of his own, including High Sentinels of Arashin, Ivorytusk Fortress, Duneblast and Sorin, Solemn Visitor.

Game 1

Pai pressured with Mardu Hateblade and Heir of the Wilds and they managed to do some good work. That was, until Han threatened to counterattack with morphs and a horde of tokens generated by Ponyback Brigade.

Going for the long game, Pai assembled the combo of Ivorytusk Fortress along with Disowned Ancestor and Mer-Ek Nightblade, while Han managed to put together a 6/6 Dragon-Style Twins (Feat of Resistance and Ghostfire Blade).

Han Bing has the aid of the Mardu Horde.

Meanwhile, Mer-Ek Nightblade was growing at a steady pace, becoming a 9/10 monstrosity that could hold back nearly any opposing threat. Han had his tricks up his sleeve, summoning not one but two Mardu Roughriders. The pair of pink rhinos looked like it could ride Han to victory but Pai managed to topdeck Kin-Tree Invocation, restoring the stalemate.

Han ripped Butcher of the Horde, but Pai was ready with Smite the Monstrous and he added High Sentinels of Arashin to the board. With just three creatures on his side, it was shocking that they totalled 27 power (7/8 High Sentinels of Arashin, 10/10 Spirit Warrior, 10/11 Mer-Ek Nightblade).

Pai decided to go for the win and attacked with all his creatures. This forced Han to chump with both his creatures and was reduced to just one draw step before his imminent death.

Bai was at 6 life, he knew he had just one chance to win in his entire deck. He flipped over Act of Treason, to his bewilderment. Pai could only graciously smile and bemoan his ill fate.

Bruce Pai 0 – Han Bing 1

Game 2

Pai mulliganed to 6 and found himself with only Plains and Swamps on his side. Deprived of his third color, he could only put up Alabaster Kirin to buy some time.

Han capitalized on the mana problems and curved out perfectly with Ghostfire Blade, Seeker of the Way, Mardu Skullhunter and Mardu Warshrieker. I guess that's what any typical Mardu deck does best.

Bruce Pai encounters mana problems and is quickly relieved of his misery.

Han played a creature face down, which turned out to be Horde Ambusher. Despite having High Sentinels of Arashin, Pai folded to the Mardu Horde. If he had drawn a Forest, the Duneblast in his grip might have saved him.

Bruce Pai 0 – Han Bing 2

Han Bing defeats Bruce Pai to go 7-0, making the cut for Day 2!