Crouching Tigers, Hidden Dragons

Posted in GRAND PRIX SHANGHAI 2015 on May 17, 2015

By Chapman Sim

China may not have many road warriors who trot the globe, but she certainly isn't devoid of great players. We have wrote about Li Bo (World Team Champion and Grand Prix Shanghai Champion) and Han Bing (Reigning National Champion) yesterday, but let's take a moment to meet some of the other well-known players within the local community.

Along with Li Bo and Han Bing, these three players we're about to put in the spotlight have all made it through to Day Two at Grand Prix Shanghai. Clearly, they must be doing something right!

Sun Bo

Sun Bo, 3 Grand Prix Top 8s

Sun Bo has three Grand Prix Top 8s to his name and is the current Pro Point leader of China this season. At 19 points, he just needs one more to attain Silver to qualify for both Pro Tour Magic Origins and Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar.

Perhaps he is better known by his Magic Online persona though. Just a couple of years back, he (duotianshi) narrowly lost out to Shota Yasooka (yaya3) by a small margin for the title of Magic Online Player of the Year.

"It was a heartbreaking moment, but I know that I tried my very best!"

His weapon of choice was Sultai Whip and has reasons to defend it. "I think it was a good metagame choice. I have a strong late game against Abzan Control and none of the other decks except Mono Red are super fast. If I were to make a change, it would probably be to move a Thoughtseize to the sideboard for another copy of Murderous Cut."

Zhang Zhiyang

Zhang Zhiyang, World Team Champion 2009

Zhang Zhiyang has also three Grand Prix Top 8s and a couple of China Nationals Top 8s to his name. In addition, he has also the honor of being a World Team Champion when he won alongside teammates Li Bo and Wu Tong at the World Championships 2009 in Rome.

Rather than conforming to norm, he chose White Green Company today and he says that it is one of the best decks in the format that nobody knows about. "The deck is actually really good, most people dismiss it or don't realize it."

Currently standing 10-2-1, he would need to win his last two matches for a shot at the Top 8.

Gao Tan

Gao Tan, Super Sunday Series 2014 Top 8

Gao Tan is also another well-known player locally, recently making a name for himself when he made it to the Top 8 of the first ever Super Sunday Series last year. He qualified for the event at Grand Prix Hong Kong and was treated to a splendid weekend in Seattle. Going into the last round of the tournament, he was already locked for the Top 8 and even had enough breathing space to concede to his friend and the eventual Champion Owen Turtenwald. 

This weekend, he is one of the many players piloting Abzan Control, contributing to the number of Siege Rhinos trudging the room this weekend.

"I feel that the metagame is rather balanced. Almost every deck is going to be represented and that's why I think Abzan Control is the safe choice. It has a good game plan against any deck out there. I think it has a good win rate against the Blue, Red, or Black decks, and Elspeth, Sun's Champion is great against the Green decks."