ROUND 13: YIFAN WEI VS. JAMES ZHANG

Posted in GRAND PRIX SYDNEY 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on August 24, 2014

By Neale Talbot

Round 13 featured Yifan Wei, with a recent Top 8 at GP Melbourne this March, up against James Zhang, who won two GPs back to back in Melbourne and Sydney in 2005 and 2006. Before they began, we caught up with Zhang to discuss his GW/b deck.

"It's not your usual Green/White deck," Zhang admitted, "I'm missing the usual top end, but I have a couple of bombs, including Soul of Zendikar, Yisan, Wanderer Bard and Resolute Archangel, and a bomb is a bomb. I've good one, two and three-drops for Ysian, and I'm splashing black for removal. I think I'll have to close out the game before any opposing Souls arrive."

Game 1

Yifan played first, rushing out a Welkin Tern that could sail right over Zhang's Wall of Mulch. Zhang followed up with an Invasive Species, followed by a Wartorn Golem. Wei put down blockers and a second Welkin Tern. Facing the double flyers, Zhang thought things through before playing out Yisan, the Wanderer Bard. The Terns took Zhang down to 6. The next turn Zhang sent in his team. Wei tried some profitable blocks, but Zhang used Yisan to fetch out Sunblade Elf and pumped his team to survive. Wei swung back with the Terns, then finished Zhang off with a Covenant of Blood.

James Zhang has the look of a man who just crossed out his life total.

 

Wei 1 - Zhang 0

 

Game 2 saw Wei race off with a quick Welkin Tern and Child of Night. Zhang finally hit the board with an end-of-turn Hushwing Grif. As the ground clogged with Soldier tokens and Research Assistant, Zhang tried for a big play with Soul of New Phyrexia that Wei Dissipated without hesitation. Zhang tried to stablise with Yisan, but Wei responded by drawing three of Jace's Ingenuity to find Ulcerate and killing the Bard. Zhang looked set to die until he found his seventh land and cast Resolute Archangel against a tapped-out Wei. Back at 20 life, Zhang was in the driver's seat and beat Wei to the finish line.

Wei Wifan is not impressed.

 

Wei looked at his opponent. "That Archangel was amazing for you." "Yes," responded Zhang,
"But it was still close."

 

Wei 1 - Zhang 1

Game 3

Wei was on the play but mulliganed to six cards while Zhang kept his seven. Zhang pushed out an early convoked Warforge Golem but Wei kept the attacks down with a Rotfeaster Maggot, Frost Lynx and Wall of Frost. Zhang summoned his Resolute Archangel, resetting his life total and putting serious pressure on Wei. Weir found a Nimbus of the Isles, but Zhang immediately Plummet'd it. Not even Wei's own Soul of New Phyrexia could help when Zhang fired a revenge-laced Covenant of Blood directly at Wei for the win.

Yifan Wei 1 - James Zhang 2