by Noel NeoRound 15 Feature MatchShuuhei Nakamura vs. Jun'ichi Semura
by Noel NeoRound 14 Feature MatchJoshua Yang vs. Zsolt Tokoli
by Pip FowerakerRound 14 Feature MatchAndrew Cantillana vs. Clement Yu Mun Fong
by Pip FowerakerSunday, 3:05 p.m.Draft #2: Andrew Cantillana
by Noel NeoSunday, 2:55 p.m.Drafting Golgari with Kuo Tzu-Ching
by Noel NeoRound 12 Feature MatchLoh Chuan Han vs. Toshiya Kanegawa
by Pip FowerakerRound 11 Feature MatchJun'ya Nakamura vs. Ayato Imai
by Pip FowerakerRound 10 Feature MatchMakihito Mihara vs. Chapman Sim
by Noel NeoSunday, 12:05 p.m.Drafting Izzet Aggro with Makihito Mihara
by Pip FowerakerRound 10 Feature MatchKen Yukuhiro vs. Ayato Imai
by Pip FowerakerSunday, 10:15 a.m.Grand Prix Singapore Draft 1: Jun'ya Nakamura
by Event Coverage StaffDay 1 Blog
by Event Coverage StaffInfo: Fact Sheet
Sunday, 10:15 a.m. – Grand Prix Singapore Draft 1: Jun'ya Nakamura
Nakamura's first pick stared him in the face from the front of the booster: a Hypersonic Dragon stood out from a middling pack, with only a Stab Wound giving Nakamura pause. A Rakdos Cackler in the next pack was followed by a Civic Saber and a Thoughtflare without any serious pause. Given the opportunity to move into another colour with a Detention Sphere coming around 5th, Nakamura took an Explosive Impact and stayed on course. He was rewarded for his Izzet leanings with a Staticaster, but then red dried up, leaving Nakamura to round out his first pack with a Goblin Rally, a Rakdos Shred-Freak and some chaff.
At the end of the first booster, Nakamura was evenly spread across the Grixis colours. The second pack yielded an Annihilating Fire amongst little else. A Splatter Thug and a Gore-House Chainwalker followed, but there were no relevant cards for the wheel. Nakamura found a second Civic Saber and another Gore-House Chainwalker. The deck was starting to take a very aggressive shape, but playables were thin on the ground.
The third pack started out lacklustre, with Nakamura first-picking another Splatter Thug. His next picks saw him a Tower Drake and an Izzet Guildmage, Nakamura passing up on a Pyroconvergence this late in the draft. A 6th pick Isperia's Skywatch was a nice touch, and was followed with a New Prahv Guildmage for a potentially greedy splash. The picks fizzled out after that, and Nakamura rounded his draft off with some filler.
We had a quick chat in deck construction about the deck. It had ended up being more aggressive than Nakamura had originally planned. After some careful cutting, Nakamura managed to trim the deck down to a solid 2-colour mana base, thanks to some hybrid cards. The Tower Drakes and most of his blue cards ended up being sideboard material – Nakamura had drafter then in case he was forced into Azorius, but for his aggressive Izzet strategy, his unleash-heavy creature base, coupled with a pair of Civic Sabers, would hopefully be enough.
Round 10 Feature Match – Ken Yukuhiro vs. Ayato Imai
The first round of Day 2 of Grand Prix: Singapore saw two of the undefeated players – both from Japan – sit down to do battle. Imai's Goblin Electromancer traded with Yukuhiro's Crosstown Courier, but Imai had another Goblin to replace his first. When Imai upped the pressure with a Cobblebrute, Yukuhiro had an answer in an Etherally Armored Tower Drake.
Imai cast a Pursuit of Flight on his Cobblebrute, and got in one rather large attack before Yukuhiro's Voidwielder put it away for a turn. Imai simply recast it and summoned a Runewing, while Yukuhiro kept pace with a Soulsworn Spirit. The Spirit rumbled in next turn, the other creatures staring each other down thanks to the Tower Drake.
Imai summoned an Isperia's Skyknight to take care of the Drake for a turn. His team attacked, and his Cobblebrute traded with Yukuhiro's freshly-summoned Fencing Ace. Yukuhiro ramped up his clock with a Knightly Valor on his Spirit. Imai paused to consider his options. He used an Izzet Charm and then an Inspiration to churn through his deck, while Yukuhiro just plugged away.
Staring down an unblockable 4/4 with a plummeting life total, Imai launched an attack with all his creatures. Yukuhiro blocked, and Imai dramatically threw an Explosive Impact on the board. Yukuhiro shook his head at such desperate follies and flashed a Dispel to move them on to the second game.
Ken Yukuhiro 1 – Ayato Imai 0
Imai led with a Goblin Electromancer, which Yukuhiro stymied with a Soul Tithe. Imai kept his Goblin around for a turn, but then let it die to ramp up to a Cobblebrute. Yukuhiro took advantage of the turns to summon a Fencing Ace, a Keening Apparition and a Sunspire Griffin. Imai summoned a Runewing, but neither player seemed keen on attacking.
Yukuhiro accelerated the pace of the game with a Martial Law and an Ethereal Armor on his Fencing Ace, creating a 3/3 double-striker and all manner of headaches for his opponent. Imai had an Inaction Injunction and a Traitorous Instincts to push through Yukuhiro's defense for a turn.
Valiant the effort was, but to no avail. Yukuhiro simply dropped another pair of creatures and, with Martial Law dominating Imai's defenses, the game was over in moments.
Ken Yukuhiro 2 – Ayato Imao 0
Sunday, 12:05 p.m. – Drafting Izzet Aggro with Makihito Mihara
2006 World Champion Makihito Mihara has just come off a win at Grand Prix Taipei, which was in the Return to Ravnica Limited format. He clearly understands the format and is looking to repeat the feat in Singapore.
Makihito's first pack was pretty weak and he chose Azor's Elocutors over Centaur Herald. Knightly Valor over Splatter Thug was next, followed by Frostburn Weird over Void Wielder and Deviant Glee, then Trostani's Judgment over Hellhole Flailer (to keep in colour) and Avenging Arrow. The direction of Makihito's draft then took a turn towards Izzet with consecutive picks of Splatter Thug, Pursuit of Flight over Rakdos Shred-Freak, Gore-House Chainwalker, Runewing, and Izzet Guildgate.
For the second pack, Mahikito chose Rakdos Cackler over Blustersquall, Stealer of Secrets over Vassal Soul and Isperia, Supreme Judge, then Righteous Authority over Gore-House Chainwalker and Keening Apparition. The rest of the pack filled out Mahikito's low end creature curve, though it did leave him a little light on combat tricks and removal. One pick that might have gone differently with the benefit of hindsight would be his sixth pick of Viashino Racketeer over Electrickery.
The third pack presented some interesting options and Mahikito went with Frostburn Weird, passing Lyev Skyknight and Knightly Valor. There weren't any highlights for the remainder of the picks, though he did manage to pick up a second Pursuit of Flight, as well as counters – Dispel over Goblin Electromancer and Cancel.
The one pick I was really puzzled about though was his third pack, third pick of Transguild Promenade over New Prahv Guildmage, which Mahikito explained as being difficult to splash as an early drop. Mahikito ended up splashing white still for the creature enchantments and Trostani's Judgment though.
Round 10 Feature Match – Makihito Mihara vs. Chapman Sim
Chapman decided to take a break from coverage this local Grand Prix – clearly the right choice as evidenced by his current standings. How would he fare against a World Champion?
Makihito won the die roll and opted to play.
Chapman laid the beats with Call of the Conclave on turn two, into Azorius Arrester, into Azorius Arrester and Keening Apparition, and topped it all off with Common Bond. With Makihito's unleashed Gore-House Chainwalker detained for multiple turns and Batterhorn trading down, the game was over as quickly as it begun.
Very close game despite a mulligan by Chapman. I'm going to lay this one out play-by-play so you can appreciate how close the game was. It's Mikihito's turn before the "/" and Chapman's turn after the "/".
Rakdos Cackler (unleashed) / Centaur Herald
Cackler attacks, Centaur Herald blocks / Mikihito removes the centaur token with Trostani's Judgment, Martial Law
Final score: Chapman Sim 2 – Makihito Mihara 0
**In hindsight, Mikihito might have had a better shot at game 2 if he had given his Cackler flight on turn 7 rather than opting to leave mana open for Trostani's Judgment.
Round 11 Feature Match – Jun'ya Nakamura vs. Ayato Imai
Nakamura opened the game with an unleashed Rakdos Cackler, which Imai was quick to kill with an Izzet Charm. Nakamura followed up with a Nivix Guildmage, which traded with Imai's freshly summoned Vassal Soul.
Keeping up the pressure, Nakamura summoned a Gore-House Chainwalker. Imai had a Cobblebrute, but Annihilating Fire took care of that. Imai summoned a Runewing, which was enough to hold off the Chainwalker for a turn.
Nakamura curved into a Hypersonic Dragon and attacked with his team. Imai traded his blockers for the two Chainwalkers, unable to deal with the Dragon. On his turn, he had a Goblin Electromancer. Nakamura tried an Explosive Impact, but Imai's Syncopate took care of business. Nakamura refilled his hand with a Thoughtflare and dumped a pile of creatures into play the following turn.
Imai cast a Traitorous Instinct on Nakamura's Hypersonic Dragon, stealing it long enough to bash him for a turn. Post-combat, Imai laughingly returned the Dragon to his opponent and scooped up his cards, not having any permanent answers to the troubling flier.
Jun'ya Nakamura 1 - Ayato Imai 0
Nakamura rebuilt with a Nivix Guildmage and an unleashed Rakdos Cackler. Imai summoned a Bloodfray Giant, unleashing it and hanging back with his Weird. Nakamura used the Guildmage to loot through his deck, then swung with both creatures to punch through for 2. Imai cast a Pursuit of Flight on his Weird and swung back for 8, then followed with a Goblin Electromancer.
Nakamura had the Hypersonic Dragon, but only sent in his Cackler. Imai attacked with his team, and Nakamura traded his Dragon and Guildmage for the Giant and Electromancer, the Weird getting through for an impressive amount after pumps. Unable to answer the flying Weird, Nakamura conceded the next turn.
Ayato Imai 1 – Jun'ya Nakamura 1
Nakamura led with a Rakdos Cackler, then followed with a Nivix Guildmage. Imai had an Izzet Charm to take out the Guildmage, but Nakamura kept up the pressure with a Splatter Thug. Imai only had an Electromancer, which traded with the Cackler.
Imai had a second Electromancer, less than useful against the Thug. Nakamura cast and equipped a Civic Saber before attacking, and Imai chumped to save himself the 4 life. When the Thug attacked again, Imai had an Explosive Impact for it. Nakamura summoned a Soulsworn Spirit, which started attacking. Imai had a Skyline Predator – but the Spirit was both implacable and, unfortunately for Imai, unblockable.
Jun'Ya Nakamura 2 – Ayato Imai 1
Round 12 Feature Match – Loh Chuan Han vs. Toshiya Kanegawa
Toshiya proved his limited mettle by making the top 8 in Grand Prix Shanghai just last year. He is again sitting pretty here in Singapore, with just one loss after eleven rounds of play. He is facing off against Chuan Han, a long time fan of the game.
Toshiya won the die roll and opted to play.
A brutal first game as Toshiya had Golgari Guildgate on one, Lotleth Troll on two, used its ability and scavenged Sewer Shambler on three, and played Ogre Jailbreaker on four. Meanwhile, Chuan Han had been stuck on two lands after a mulligan.
Toshiya got in some damage with the Crocodile and again had Ogre Jailbreaker with a Guildgate on four (while Chuan Han was stuck with 3 forests on the play). To stem the damage, Chuan Han traded his centaur for the Crocodile the next turn, only to find he had acted too fast as he had the Sundering Growth for Underworld Connections.
Knightly Valor on the General offer hope for respite, but in the wake of the next onslaught – Toshiya was the only one with an army standing as the Ogre took out the General with Valor decayed by Golgari Charm and Drudge Beetle traded with the knight token. A Dreg Mangler later, it was all over.
Final score: Toshiya 2 – Chuan Han 0
Sunday, 2:55 p.m. – Drafting Golgari with Kuo Tzu-Ching
Taiwan National Champion and 2012 World Magic Cup Team Champion – Kuo Tzu-Ching is in a pod with two other players with whom he regularly tests with. Would this familiarity with his fellow drafters be a boon for Tzu-Ching?
Tzu-Ching's very first pack presented a tough choice as he gazed upon Void Wielder, Giant Growth, and Ultimate Price. He chose the removal spell, a choice he came to rue as more Void Wielders came round in the next two passes. Nonetheless, Tzu-Ching stuck to his guns with a second pick of Sluiceway Scorpion over Drudge Beetle and said Void Wielder. This choice was made on the belief that it is easier to pick up two drops than four drops in this format, an expectation that did not hold for this draft.
Volatile Rig was the next card to join his pile, followed by Centaur Healer over Perilous Shadows, Stab Wound, and Selesnya Guildgate. The rest of the pack provided Tzu-Ching with a couple of fillers, but many of the picks were off colour. This meant he would have to work harder in packs two and three.
Pack two saw Tzu-Ching's deck really come together with consecutive Abrupt Decay, Trestle Troll, Ogre Jailbreaker, Daggerdrome Imp, Perilous Shadow, Dead Reveler, Golgari Charm, and Ogre Jailbreaker. Tzu-Ching would come to rue his sixth pick of Dead Reveler over Selesnya Guildgate, however, as he would later be forced to play an off-colour Guildgate to enable his pair of Jailbreakers.
The third and final pack was again dry for Tzu-Ching, though the first couple of picks caused him some anguish. First pick Centaur Healer over Perilous Shadow on the basis of an abundance of four drops, but second pick presented him with Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage, Golgari Guildgate, and Axebane Guardian. Tzu-Ching chose the Guardian to again lower his curve, and also to power out his later drops. He would find his pick more debatable immediately, however, as he picked up Trostani, Selesnya's Voice immediately after. Despite the difficulty he would face in meeting the double white in Trostani's cost, Tzu-Ching felt the guild leader was enough of game breaker (even without tokens to populate) to pick her over Trestle Troll and Slitherhead. The rest of the pack yielded more fillers and off-colour picks, though he did manage pick up Mana Bloom to both help his curve and colours.
During the post-draft dialogue, Tzu-Ching explained that while blue was very strong in this draft, he has a preference for forcing Golgari or Selesnya unless he comes across a game breaker in the other colours early. He also noted the lack of synergy and rather high curve of his deck and hoped to go 2-1.
Sunday, 3:05 p.m. – Draft #2: Andrew Cantillana
The first pick in Cantillana's draft was about as close to a no-brainer as you could get: a Pack Rats winking out at you from that first precious booster. After a quick scan to make sure there weren't two of them in the booster for some reason, it was time to move on.
And in the right direction, it would seem: a Stab Wounds and an Axebane Guardian followed in short order, both packs without anything to cause Cantillana pause. He picked an Aerial Predation higher than most, sensing a move into Golgari, which traditionally struggles with fliers. A Rubbleback Rhino and a pair of Gatekeeper Vines pushed the deck firmly in the Golgari direction, but the last few picks yielded naught but sideboard filler.
The second pack opened up with a Stab Wound – always a welcome sight – but then the power level dropped slightly. The next few picks gave Cantillana a Sluiceway Scorpion, a Daggerdrome Imp, and another Rubbleback Rhino. Mid-pack, Cantillana scored another Gatekeeper Vine and a Trestle Troll before the pack gave way to chaff.
Looking to round out his deck with some more solid bodies, Cantillana wasn't disappointed, getting a Slum Reaper and then a Deadbridge Goliath to start off the final pack. A Launch Party and a second Daggerdrome Imp gave the deck some more reach, and mid-pack Towering Indriks and an Ogre Jailbreaker rounded out the creature base. A Grisly Salvage gave Cantillana some more options as he finished up the draft.
I picked Cantillana's brains as he was constructing his deck. Happy? Happy. "The power level overall is quite high", he explained, "But I stopped paying attention to my curve and picked too many 4-drops. Look," he said, fanning four or five out of his sideboard. "Now that I've trimmed them, the curve is much better."
The draft hadn't really presented any challenging picks for Cantillana – the deck had assembled itself as he went along. "It's a solid deck", he opined. "It should be enough to get me there." Sitting on X-1 with 3 rounds to go, Cantillana, who was undefeated in day 1, certainly hopes so.
Round 14 Feature Match – Andrew Cantillana vs. Clement Yu Mun Fong
Fong led with a Nivix Guildmage, while Cantillana spent his 3rd turn casting a Selesnya Keyrune. Fong took advantage of his opportunity to use the Guildmage to loot, digging through his deck. Fong's 4th turn saw him cast a Chomatic Lantern but with no other plays. Cantillana summoned a Pack Rats, and Fong cast a Syncopate for 1 to keep him off copying the Rat.
On Fong's turn, he had an Izzet Charm for the Rat, Cantillana responded with a Giant Growth, but Fong had a Dispel to kill the dangerous 1/1. Cantillana followed up with a Rubbleback Rhino, impressive enough on his own, but perhaps a poor consolation prize.
Fong summoned a Tower Drake, which was rapidly trumped by a Towering Indrik. Fong cast a Goblin Rally to bolster his army, while Cantillana had a Deadbridge Goliath to keep things moving along. After a passed turn from Fong, Cantillana attacked with both his oversized creatures, and Fong threw a goblin in front of one, buying himself some time.
The time (and a couple of searches with the Nivix Guildmage) found an Isperia's Skywatch, which put the Indrik away for a turn and allowed Fong to punch through for some damage with his men. On his turn, Cantillana summoned a Gatecreeper Vine, killed the Skywatch with an Aerial Predation, and swung right back at Fong to put him within clobberin' range.
Fong, on the defensive, was forced to pass the turn without any plays. Cantillana summoned a Slum Reaper, which cleared out a Goblin token, and then attacked with his army. Fong blocked as best he could, but despite more digging with his Guildmage, couldn't find any outs.
Andrew Cantillana 1 – Clement Yu Mun Fong 0
Cantillana led play with a Daggerdrome Imp, while Fong was stuck on 2 lands and forced to discard. Cantillana didn't let up, with a Deadbridge Goliath and a Korozda Monitor to apply the pressure. Fong finally found a third land, but far too late to keep pace with his aggressive opponent.
Andrew Cantillana 2 – Clement Yu Mun Fong 0
Round 14 Feature Match – Joshua Yang vs. Zsolt Tokoli
Zsolt Tokoli is Hungary's National Champion from way back in the year 2000. He was posted to Singapore for work last April and is looking forward to more Asian events. His opponent is Joshua Yang, a similarly old school player; both players are looking to lock up a slot in the top 8.
Joshua won the die roll and opted to play.
Zsolt stole the lead with Azorius Charm sending Grim Roustabout back to the top of Joshua's library, before landing the first permanent in Seller of Songbirds. Ogre Jailbreaker without a Guildgate in sight was a dud against Runewing, and Zsolt continued to peck away at Joshua's life total after Inaction Injunction on an unleashed Spawn of Rix Maadi.
Joshua attempted to get back in the race by re-summoning Grim Roustabout (unleashed) and Sewer Shambler, as the flyers brought him down to 13 life and Armory Guard came down to hold the fort. Assassin's Strike took care of the Guard and with the Seller of Songbirds trading with Sewer Shambler, Joshua looked to have a chance with Zsolt suddenly down to 12.
Another swing from the flyers narrowed the gap to 7-6, and Zsolt added Hover Barrier and Dryad Militant in defense. Joshua scavenged Sewer Shambler on the Rig and sent his team in (save the Ogre who still could not find a jail to break). The Barrier was sacrificed to the Rig, the Dryad to the Spawn, and the Patrol stonewalled the skeleton. Blustersquall the following turn bought Zsolt the time he needed for his flyers to put away the game.
Final score: Zsolt Tokoli 2 – Joshua Yang 0
Round 15 Feature Match – Shuuhei Nakamura vs. Jun'ichi Semura
Both players are already out of contention for the top 8, but at stake is a spot in the top 16 and the consequent boost in Pro Points.
Jun'ichi won the die roll and opted to play.
Shuuhei was in total control of this game, with Gatecreeper Vine and Axebane Guardian powering Assassin's Strike for Jun'ichi first permanent – Bloodfray Giant. A subsequent Pursuit of Flight targeting Tenement Crasher saw Shuuhei respond by taking out the Crasher with Auger Spree before the enhancement could hit.
In the intervening space, Jun'ichi's Goblin Rally was trumped by Trestle Troll, Korozda Monitor, Rubbleback Rhino, and Daggerdrome Imp. Having already started off with a mulligan, the card disadvantage was too large for Jun'ichi to claw back and he quickly succumbed.
Both players were stuck on three lands in the early game, and clawed out of the position via different means. Jun'ichi had Nivix Guildmage to cycle through his deck, while Shuuhei had Axebane Guardian, Trestle Troll and Gatecreeper Vine.
A couple of summons hit play through the middle game, but what it came down to was Mizzium Mortars which left Shuuhei with a lone Trestle Troll. Shuuhei struggled for a few more turns, but the writing was already on the wall.
Jun'ichi mulliganed for the second time in the match, but managed to come out of the gates with Rakdos Shred-Freak. It traded with Sewer Shambler the following turn and it come down to Stealer of Secrets versus Trestle Troll. Pursuit of Flight on the rogue netted Jun'ichi some card advantage and Shuuhei responded by scavenging the Shambler onto his troll and summoning Thrill-Kill Assassin.
Jun'ichi took out the beefy Troll with a combination of a flying rogue and Mizzum Mortars. However, Shuuhei merely summoned a replacement and left mana to regenerate.
The game state then stalled for a bit as Shuuhei managed to find Auger Spree to take out Stealer of Secrets and the players rebuilt with Frost Burn Weird, Goblin Rally, and Runewing for Jun'ichi, and Rubbleback Rhino and Orgre Jailbreaker for Shuuhei. Shuuhei's Assassin had been sneaking in to equalize the life totals at 14 apiece, but Jun'ichi had had enough and sent Runewing and a goblin token to trade.
Jun'ichi continued to build out his board with Nivix Guildmage and Goblin Electromancer, while Shuuhei looked to break the stalemate with Knightly Valor on the Rhino. The Jailbreaker and vigilant Rhino started to swing in, whittling away at Jun'ichi's cadre of goblins. Jun'ichi cycled through his deck vigorously looking for answer, but with Mizzium Mortars having already been deployed and the lack of beef in Izzet, it was only a matter of time before Shuuhei took the game and match.
Final score: Shuuhei Nakamura 2 –Jun'ichi Semura 1