Round 6 Feature Match: Ryan Luo (Abzan Aggro) vs. Li Bo (Abzan Control)

Posted in GRAND PRIX SHANGHAI 2015 on May 16, 2015

By Chapman Sim

Team MTG Mint Card's Li Bo is one of the best players that China has to offer. For starters, he's won Grand Prix Shanghai 2012 and is one of the most well-known personalities within the mainland. For another, he is also a World Team Champion, a third of the trio that hoisted the Champion Trophy at the World Championships in Rome at 2009.

Wu Tong, Li Bo and Zhang Zhiyang. World Team Champions 2009.

Coincidentally, his opponent was also present at that very same tournament and their paths have even crossed before. Ryan Luo was paired against Li in the Extended portion and it was Li who emerged victorious. Luo himself hails from Singapore, and has a pair of Grand Prix Top 8s to his name, achieved at Grand Prix Bangkok 2009 and Grand Prix Taipei 2014.

The matchup was not something that either were unfamiliar with. Li's deck selection was straightforward. He chose to show up with Abzan Control, a deck that he had played at Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir just a couple of months ago. He feels that it was a good matchup against all the green decks that have gained popularity over the past few weeks.

[card]Elspeth, Sun's Champion[/card]

Luo had also made amendments to his Abzan Aggro list in view of the metagame shift, choosing to play with triple Wingmate Roc in his maindeck. With this slight tweak, it was Luo's hope that he would not be cold against Li's Elspeth, Sun's Champion and Li agreed that the match up was now about 50/50.

Game 1

Luo won the right to begin first but unfortunately found himself stuck on two lands. He quickly reduced Li to 12 with the aid of Rakshasa Deathdealer and its activation on turns three and four. Li put an end to it, and killed Rakshasa Deathdealer with Hero's Downfall.

When Luo did find his third and fourth lands, Anafenza, the Foremost and Siege Rhino were the follow-ups but Li was in firm control of the game and at a rather healthy life total. Elspeth, Sun's Champion made her grand appearance, knocking out both opposing creatures without breaking a sweat.

With only two Fleecemane Lions left in his arsenal, Luo watched as Li's army of soldiers began to bolster while his chances of victory faded away.

Li Bo secures the first game with Elspeth on his side.

Ryan Luo 0 – Li Bo 1

Game 2

Luo had a slow start and his deck failed to offer any two-drops on his second turn. Li quickly relieved himself of the opposing Anafenza, the Foremost with Self-Inflicted Wound.

Both players tried to get ahead in the card advantage department. Li put up a pair of Courser of Kruphix, while Luo refilled his hand with Abzan Charm.

Double Thoughtseize from Luo stripped away a pair of planeswalkers from Li's hand, namely Sorin, Solemn Visitor and Elspeth, Sun's Champion. Now that his hand was devoid of gas, Li had to find a way to deal with both Siege Rhino and Fleecemane Lion.

Thanks to the pair of Coursers who were helping Li to "filter" away his hands and cushion his life total, Li managed to find his other two Elspeths in the nick of time.

Luo was definitely not happy to see Elspeth, Sun's Champion at the top of Li's deck, and much more dismayed when he deployed it. Despite having five lands on the battlefield, Luo was unable to cough up double white mana to deploy his Wingmate Roc and soon folded to Elspeth, Sun's Champion once again.

"It's ok! I will try my very best to go 8-1," Luo kept up his spirits while offering the handshake.

Ryan Luo gets wrecked by multiple Elspeths and picks up his first loss of the day.

Ryan Luo 0 – Li Bo 2

Li Bo defeats Ryan Luo and advances to 6-0.