Grand Prix Taipei 2008

Shu Komuro was on top of the field at the end of day one, and despite having to win the last round of day two to make the playoffs, then proceeded to bowl over the rest of the top 8 with his resilient Exalted Bant deck. Defeating fellow Japanese Pros Osamu Fujita in the semi finals and Yoshitaka Nakano and his brutal Esper deck in the finals, by denying him crucial Black mana by removing an Esper Obelisk with an Oblivion Ring. With just one Grand Prix left this season before the 2008 World Championships in Memphis in less than two weeks time, stay tuned to as we bring you the all of the action and antics. I’ll see you all next week in Auckland, New Zealand!

top 8 bracket


(7) Tsai, Homh Gi M

(6) Lee, Shi Tian

(3) Nakano, Yoshitaka

(1) Huang, Yun Min

(5) Komuro, Shuu

(4) Jian, Sheng Xiu

(2) Fujita, Osamu

(8) Chiang, Kang Nien


Tsai, Homh Gi M: 2-0

Nakano, Yoshitaka: 2-0

Komuro, Shuu: 2-0

Fujita, Osamu: 2-0


Nakano, Yoshitaka: 2-1

Komuro, Shuu: 2-1


Komuro, Shuu: 2-1


  • 9:10 p.m.: Finals: Shu Komuro vs Yoshitaka Nakan
    by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
  • 8:05 p.m.: Top 4: Shu Komuro vs Osamu Fujita
    by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
  • 6:43 p.m.: Top 8: Osamu Fujita vs Kang Nien “Kenny” Chiang
    by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
  • 6:17 p.m.: Top 8: Drafting with Osamu Fujita
    by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
  • 6:15 p.m.: Top 8 Decks
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • 6:10 p.m.: Top 8 Profiles
    by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
  • Day 2 Blog Archive: Day 2 blogs, Feature Matches, and More!
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Day 1 Blog Archive: Miss Day 1? Don't Fret, It's All Here!
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Fact Sheet
    by Event Coverage Staff


1. Komuro, Shuu $3,500
2. Nakano, Yoshitaka $2,300
3. Fujita, Osamu $1,500
4. Tsai, Homg Gi M $1,500
5. Huang, Yun Min $1,000
6. Jian, Sheng Xiu $1,000
7. Lee, Shi Tian $1,000
8. Chiang, Kang Nien $1,000

pairings, results, standings


14 13 12 11 10 9

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


14 13 12 11 10 9

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


14 13 12 11 10 9

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Top 8 Player profiles

Name: Yoshitaka Nakano
Hometown: Osaka, Japan
Age: 25
Occupation: Rogue
What was your record on Saturday, and what was the best card in your sealed deck?
7-1. Bone Splinters.
What was your record today, and the best card in each of your draft decks?
4-0-2. Vithian Stinger.
What is the most underrated card in Shards of Alara draft?
Corpse Connoisseur

Name: Shu Komuro
Hometown: Tokyo, Japan
Age: 26
Occupation: Pig =)
What was your record on Saturday, and what was the best card in your sealed deck?
8-0. Fatestitcher.
What was your record today, and the best card in each of your draft decks?
3-2-1. Violent Ultimatum, then Bull Cerodon.
What is the most underrated card in Shards of Alara draft?

Name: Sheng Xiu Jian
Hometown: Taichung, Taiwan
Age: 24
Occupation: Student
What was your record on Saturday, and what was the best card in your sealed deck?
7-1 (with 3 byes.) Soul’s Fire.
What was your record today, and the best card in each of your draft decks?
4-0-1 Agony Warp.
What is the most underrated card in Shards of Alara draft?
All uncommon three-color lands.

Name: Shi Tian Lee
Hometown: Hong Kong
Age: 21
Occupation: Student
What was your record on Saturday, and what was the best card in your sealed deck?
7-1. Wild Nacatl, Rhox Charger and Hissing Iguana.
What was your record today, and the best card in each of your draft decks?
4-1-1. Keeper of Progenitus, then Broodmate Dragon.
What is the most underrated card in Shards of Alara draft?
Ranger of Eos, Bant Battlemage and Excommunicate.

Name: Homg Gi Tsai
Hometown: Taiwan
Age: 24
Occupation: Mis.
What was your record on Saturday, and what was the best card in your sealed deck?
7-1. Battlegrace Angel.
What was your record today, and the best card in each of your draft decks?
2-1, 2-1. Agony Warp.
What is the most underrated card in Shards of Alara draft?
Shore Snapper.

Name: Yun Min Huang
Hometown: Taiwan.
Age: 24
Occupation: Student.
What was your record on Saturday, and what was the best card in your sealed deck?
7-1. Brilliant Ultimatum.
What was your record today, and the best card in each of your draft decks?
5-1. Dragon Fodder.
What is the most underrated card in Shards of Alara draft?
Rockcaster Platoon.

Name: Kang Nien “Kenny” Chiang
Hometown: Taiwan
Age: 32 + 2
Occupation: Financial manager of a tech company.
What was your record on Saturday, and what was the best card in your sealed deck?
7-1. Battlegrace Angel
What was your record today, and the best card in each of your draft decks?
4-2. Soul’s Fire.
What is the most underrated card in Shards of Alara draft?
A lot, depends on what you draft.

Name: Osamu Fujita
Hometown: Kyoto, Japan
Age: 30
Occupation: Debugger.
What was your record on Saturday, and what was the best card in your sealed deck?
8-0. Elspeth, Knight-Errant.
What was your record today, and the best card in each of your draft decks?
3-1-2. Wild Nacatl, then Mycoloth.
What is the most underrated card in Shards of Alara draft?
Welkin Guide.

Sunday, November 30: 6:15p.m. – Top 8 Decks

by Event Coverage Staff

Shu Komuro

Download Arena Decklist

Yoshitaka Nakano

Download Arena Decklist

Homg Gi Tsai

Download Arena Decklist

Kang Nien “Kenny” Chiang

Download Arena Decklist

Yun Min Huang

Download Arena Decklist

Sheng Xiu Jian

Download Arena Decklist

Shi Tian Lee

Download Arena Decklist

Fujita Osamu

Download Arena Decklist

Sunday, November 30: 6:17p.m. – Top 8: Drafting with Osamu Fujita

by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

Osamu Fujita was in control of this tournament all weekend long, but don’t for a second think that meant he was playing the long game. No, the Beatdown Master himself was indeed beating everyone down, left and right.

First pack, first pick in the top 8 was what many of the Japanese players consider the best, or at least second best common in Shards of Alara; Vithian Stinger, over Infest and Cavern Thoctar. Fujita followed that up with Cavern Thoctar over a Knight-Captain of Eos, and then Bone Splinters over Agony Warp, swinging him towards Jund. Many players have expressed a desire to draft Jund this weekend, and Fujita continued in this vein with a Carrion Thrash, a Dragon Fodder and then another Bone Splinters, over a Goblin Assault. Upstream of Fujita, Shi Tian Lee was drafting a Bant deck after his first pick, Rhox War Monk. Seemingly meshing with Fujita’s plans perfectly.

Pack two held not only a Branching Bolt, a Savage Lands and a Dragon Fodder, but also the card Fujita admitted he most wanted to open in Shards of Alara draft, Sigil of Distinction, which he slammed onto his pile. He was then passed a Resounding Thunder by Yoshitaka Nakano, a Jungle Shrine and then a Wild Nacatl. Fifth pick, he selected a Rockslide Elemental over a Skullmulcher and a Bull Cerodon, ensuring his deck stayed as aggressive as possible. The rest of pack two was reasonably under-whelming though, Fujita having to grab a White card or two, just to keep up the numbers.

A second Vithian Stinger awaited Fujita in pack three, followed by a Manaplasm and a Magma Spray. A Resounding Thunder, an Executioner’s Capsule and a few small men filled out the rest of the pack for him nicely.

Aftewards, Fujita admitted that while he thought the draft went very well, he still felt he was a little light on creatures. I asked if he had planned on forcing Jund from the beginning, but he replied that he’d kept his options open to either Naya or Jund during the first two picks (Vithian Stinger and Cavern Thoctar) before finally committing to Jund on his third pick. Despite a fair amount of attractive Blue coming past, Fujita said that he wanted to leave that for his good friend, Nakano, knowing that he would likely set him up in return. When asked if he thought he had what it took to take the title, Fujita replied with a non-committal smile “if I get good draws.”

Sunday, November 30: 6:43p.m. – Top 8: Osamu Fujita vs Kang Nien “Kenny” Chiang

by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

Chiang won the die roll 10 to 3, and chose to draw, letting Fujita get in an early Cylian Elf to the face, and following it up with a Manaplasm. Chiang defended with Naya Battlemage, but lacked the White mana to bring it online. Fujita dropped an Incurable Ogre into play, and swung in for 7, dropping Chiang to 11 before he’d even had his fourth turn. Chiang played a Naya Obelisk to give him the White mana he needed, and tapped the Incurable Ogre on the following turn, taking 6 from the rest, thanks to a Rockslide Elemental from Fujita. Chiang cycled a Ridge Rannet, before taking out the Elf with a Fleshbag Marauder. Fujita played an Undead Leotau, giving the Manaplasm +6/+6, and Chiang packed up his cards.

Fujita 1 – Chiang 0

(all other matches; barely started!)

This time, Chiang decided to play instead of draw, playing a pair of Mountains, and then a Savage Lands and knocking fiercely on his deck. However, all Fujita could muster was a turn three Jund Obelisk. Chiang missed his fourth land, but played a Jund Battlemage at least. Fujita could only play a Crumbling Necropolis and a Cylian Elf. Chiang again passed the turn back without Land, his Battlemage ready to make men, which it did the following turn when Fujita dropped a six mana Sigil of Distinction and swung in with his now 7/7 Elf. Chiang found a fourth land, and capped the Elf with a Fleshbag Marauder. Fujita calmly played a 7th mana and a Carrion Thrash, equipping it and passing the turn back with enough mana to activate it, if his 8/8 should die somehow. Chiang had nothing but a fourth land, and another Saproling to block the Thrash. After combat, Fujita made a Wild Nacatl, promptly killed the Battlemage with a Bone Splinters and added anorther Cylian Elf to the board.

Chiang searching for answers to Fujita’a army.With an audible sigh, Chiang fetched a Forest with his Panorama at the end of Fujita’s turn, and untapped to see if he could find an answer. All he had was a Swamp before passing it back. When Fujita swung in again, a Skeletonize killed the Elf, and Chiang dropped to six, wanting to keep his new Skeleton to be a blocker for the foreseeable future. Knocking on his deck again, Chiang drew and played a Necrogenesis, which could also provide an army while the Skeleton held the 8/8 Thrash at bay. Fujita played another Thrash, which at least allowed Fujita to keep on top of the swelling Saproling Uprising. He then played an Incurable Ogre and equipped that with the Sigil, now down the three counters.

Now drawing land, Chiang played a Manaplasm, while cranking out the Saprolings to fed off Fujita’s fatties. Fujita crashed in again with his two 4/4’s and an 8/4, eating two move Saprolings. Chiang played a Cavern Thoctar, and attacked for 7 with his Manaplasm. At the end of his turn, Fujita cycled a Resounding Thunder to take out the Thoctar, leaving Chiang with only a Saproling and the Skeleton on defense, without enough mana to make another blocker. Fujita was going to get in for at least 4 more damage this turn, which he did, knocking Chiang down to 8 and playing an Undead Leotau. Chiang untapped and pondered his options.

I took the opportunity to go check out the other matches. Yoshitaka Nakano had defeated Yun Min Huang 2-0, while Shu Komuro and Homg Tsai were up 1-0 over their respective opponents.

Chiang made an Incurable Ogre of his own, and the Manaplasm came over and traded with the Leotau. Fujita swung back, the Ogres trading and the Thrashes bouncing off a Skeleton and munching another Saproling, the Rockslide Elemental was now 4/4.

Lee scoops up his cards.Meanwhile, Shu Komuro had finished off Sheng Xiu Jian 2-0 as Chiang slowly considered his options, finally playing a Carrion Thrash of his own, which traded with a Thorn-Thrash Viashino that was now wearing the two-counter Sigil, the Necrogenesis still working overtime to keep Chiang alive. A Blightning from Fujita dropped Chiang to 1, and a Magma Spray took out a Vithian Stinger before it could finish the job. Fujita continued to crash in with his two Thrashes and a now 10/10 Rockslide Elemental, slowly chewing through Chiang’s expansive graveyard. Chiang tried to find an answer with a Gift of the Gargantuan, but found nothing, and packed up his cards, having never had the opportunity to play the Flameblast Dragon that sat in his hand the whole game.

Osamu Fujita defeats Kang Nien “Kenny” Chang 2-0 while over on the other table, Homg Tsai defeats Shi Tian Lee 2-0.

Sunday, November 30: 8:05p.m. – Top 4: Shu Komuro vs Osamu Fujita

by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

Fujita lead with a Wild Nacatl on turn two, while Komuro spoiled it with a Deft Duelist. Fujita dropped a Manaplasm, which ran past Komuro’s Court Archers on the following turn, thanks to an Incurable Ogre increasing it’s worth. Komuro continued to build a defense with a Dawnray Archers. A Vithian Stinger and an Executioner’s Capsule allowed the Manaplasm to keep on swinging, Komuro adding a Cloudheath Drake and hoping Fujita had no more gas. A second Stinger from Fujita and the Manaplasm kept on trucking, the Capsule ensuring no double blocks could foul it up. Komuro was now on six life and facing a pair of Vithian Stingers. He bravely swung back with his Drake, played a Kathari Screecher and pushed one of the Stingers to the bottom of Fujita’s library with a Bant Charm. Finally out of propellant, the Manaplasm stayed at home, Fujita content to try and finish it with his remaining Stinger. A Guardian’s of Akrasa made Komuro’s return assaults a little more menacing, Fujita dropping to 9. The Executioner’s Capsule took down the Cloudheath Drake on defense, but still nothing came off the top for Fujita, who sent it back again, dropping to 4 from the Exalted fliers, now joined by a Waveskimmer Aven. Fujita cracked his Jund Panorama and his draw step revealed... a Forest. He sent his whole team in, and when Komuro blocked correctly, he scooped up his cards with a grin. His gassy start ran out just before the finish line.

Komuro 1 – Fujita 0

KomuroOver on the back table, Yoshitaka’s Nakano’s Esper deck was still sparring off against Homg Gi Tsai’s Naya/Jund Hybrid in their first game of the match.

Komuro lead Game 2 with a mulligan, while Fujita improved his mana with his Jund Panorama, before dropping the dreaded turn three Manaplasm. Komuro failed to find a third land, and when the ‘Plasm crashed in for five with help from yet another Incurable Ogre, Komuro could only laugh and pick up his cards. All two of them.

Komuro 1 – Fujita 1

Komuro stalled on two land again in Game 3, despite cycling a Spell Snip. Fujita got in while he could with a Cylian Elf, a 1/1 (not so) Wild Nacatl and some Dragon Fodder. Komuro found an Island, and played out back to back Deft Duelists, stopping Fujita’s attack in its tracks. Looking to step it up slightly, Fujita played a Carrion Thrash, while Komuro started swinging with a Jhessian Infiltrator. An Executioner’s Capsule sat in play, unable to decide between the two Duelists and the new Rhox War Monk Komuro had found. Without an acceptable aggressive option, the Capsule took out the Infiltrator instead. Komuro played a Dawnray Archers, while Fujita played a particularly deflated looking Incurable Ogre. Komuro played a Waveskimmer Aven, and looked about set to start the Exalted offense when Fujita finally found a Vithian Stinger, and killed the Aven with a Bone Splinters. Komuro had an Oblivion Ring for the first Stinger, and after much thought, a second Ring for the second Stinger. He played a Court Archers and considered attacking with one of his Duelists.

FujitaOver on the other table, Homg Tsai finally won game 1.

Komuro instead sent in the War Monk, which became 5/6 thanks to the two Archers. Fujita knew he needed to kill the Monk, or it would take Komuro’s life total well out of reach. He pushed the Carrion Thrash and the Wild Nacatl in front, now a 2/2, losing the Thrash but at least taking down the Monk.

The top of Fujita’s deck rewarded his patience with an eight mana Sigil of Distinction. The Incurable Ogre swung in for 12, dropping Komuro to 9. A Guardian’s Akrasa came down for Komuro, who swung back with a Duelist, taking down a sacrificial Nacatl. The Ogre came back and took down the Dawnray Archer, and then the Wall, Komuro sucking air through his teeth as he wondered how he was going to get out of this.

Meanwhile, Tsai found himself drastically short on mana in Game 2, and Nakano took their match to the third game.

NakanoKomuro swung back with his two Duelists, and Excommunicated the Ogre, only to then take 6 from the Cylian Elf, dropping to a low, low 3 life. A Cloudheath Drake came out for Komuro, who had 10 more damage to do to Fujita before he died and any top-decked burn. The Elf ate a Duelist, before upgrading to the Incurable Ogre, and then chumped the Duelist on the return. Komuro continued to play guys, and Fujita was finally forced to defend with his Ogre. He peeled his last card off the top, but it wasn’t one of his many burn spells, it was only a land. He threw down the Swamp with a cry and scooped up his cards.

Shu Komuro defeats Osamu Fujita 2-1 and Yoshitaka Nakano defeats Homg Gi Tsai 2-1

Sunday, November 30: 9:10p.m. – Finals: Shu Komuro vs Yoshitaka Nakan

by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

Shu Komuro eventually won the die roll after a couple of ties, but then had to mulligan, stalling on two lands while Yoshitaka found his perfect Esper mana base, complete with an Obelisk to make things smoother. He was about to get in with a Windwright Mage when Komuro finally found a Plains to complete his Bant set, playing a Steward of Valeron. Nakano contemplated the opposing 2/2 for a moment, before offing it with an Agony Warp and swinging the life totals by 4. He then added a Deft Duelist and passed it back. Komuro had a Duelist of his own, but didn’t take the trade when Nakano offered it. A Tidehollow Skuller then denied Komuro a Naya Battlemage, and a Courier’s Capsule came down for later use. Komuro developed his board with a Court Archers, and took down a Cloudheath Drake with an Oblivion Ring. Nakano simply replaced it with another. A Dawnray Archers came down for Komuro, as both players began gumming up the table.

KomuroNakano killed the Court Archers with another Agony Warp, and finally sent his team in, suddenly dropping Komuro to 7 and adding an Esper Battlemage to the table. Komuro made a Cloudheath Drake of his own, but lost it to an Executioner’s Capsule, as the Battlemage killed off a Deft Duelist. Nakano made to turn his army sideways but Komuro just picked up his cards with a laugh.

Nakano 1 – Komuro 0

Komuro lead Game 2 with a Jhessian Infiltrator into a Court Archers, swinging unhindered for 3. Nakano made a Courier’s Capsule and an Esper Obelisk, while Komuro added a Dawnray Archers, beefing the Infiltrator up further and sending it in for 4. A Blister Beetle popped the Blue Archers, but Komuro had a Guardians of Akrasa to keep the hits coming, until Nakano finally stopped the bleeding with an Executioner’s Capsule at 9 life. An Esper Battlemage came out, and a Sanctum Gargoyle fetched back the Executioner’s Capsule. A Sighted-Caste Sorcerer dropped Nakano to 5 before the Battlemage was Excommunicated. Nakano replayed the Battlemage and added a Cloudheath Drake to his board, dangerously low on life but definitely appearing to taking control of the game, chumping the Sorcerer with the now spent Blister Beetle.

Komuro played his Rhox War Monk, and Nakano replayed his Executioner’s Capsule. The Sorcerer again coming over for 4, but feeling roughly half as effective, thanks to the Esper Battlemage’s White ability. The Capsule killed the Court Archers, and Komuro added a Deft Duelist to his team. Nakano’s Cloudheath Drake gained vigilance, and swung over for 3. Another Executioner’s Capsule came out for Nakano, and Komuro could only giggle.

NakanoKomuro untapped and played yet another Exalted card, Angelic Benediction. The War Monk took to the Red Zone, now a monstrous 5/6. Nakano tapped Komuro’s remaining Blue source and deflated the Monk and attempting to kill the Sighted-Caste Sorcerer with an Agony Warp, enabling him to untap and finish the Sorcerer with the Battlemage. The Drake then chumped the Monk while Komuro added a Steward of Valeron and a Naya Battlemage to his team. Another Agony Warp fogging the Monk and killing the new Battlemage, while Nakano carefully swung back with his Sanctum Gargoyle. However, when Komuro showed him an Oblivion Ring for the Battlemage, that was more than enough to take them to Game 3.

Nakano 1 – Komuro 1

Nakano lead the deciding game with a Courier’s Capsule, cracking it on his third turn to ensure smooth mana development. His fourth turn yielded an Esper Obelisk, but no fourth land. Komuro got in for two with a Steward of Valeron that was slow off the starting line thanks to a turn two Seaside Citadel, and took out the Obelisk with an Oblivion Ring. Without a fourth land, Nakano was forced to discard a Cloudheath Drake at the end of his turn. A Deft Duelist and a Naya Battlemage joined Komuro’s forces, while Nakano finally found a land, just not one that provided Black, dropping an unfulfilling Sanctum Gargoyle. Komuro Excommunicated the Gargoyle and attacked for 6, effectively Time Walking the Esper Mage while dropping him to 10. The Gargoyle came down again, but this time Komuro had a Bant Charm. Nakano could only scoop up his cards with a smile.

Shu Komuro defeats Yoshitaka Nakano 2-1 to become the Grand Prix: Taipei Champion 2008.

Komuro is the Taipei Champion!