15 Years of Magic in Taipei

Posted in GRAND PRIX TAIPEI 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on July 26, 2014

By Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

This is not the first time the Magic Grand Prix train has pulled into Taipei, and I should know, this is the third time I've covered an event here. But Taipei's Magic history goes back much further than I do, so I thought I'd take a wander through the archives.

Over 15 years ago, Kenichi Fujita from Japan won the first Grand Prix Taipei, but what he was playing is lost to the mists of time, as very little is held in our archives. One thing it does have is the ages of the players in the top 8 and 6 of them are older than me, and I'm old.

In 2000, Tadayoshi Komiya beat Tsuyoshi Fujita in the finals with an absurd looking NecroDonate deck, by today's standards. In 2001, Taipei hosted a team Grand Prix, in which Japan's Katsuhiro Mori, Itaru Ishida, and Osamu Fujita lost the finals to Dave Williams, Chris Benafel, and Dan Clegg from the United States.

It was an all-local finals in 2002, when Sheng Hsun Hsia defeated Kang Nien Chiang's Opposition deck with his White-Blue-Green control deck. In 2005, Osamu Fujita made up for his lost in the 2001 team finals by beating Masahiko Morita's Gifts Ungiven deck with an unorthodox White midrange deck that splashed Blue for Meloku the Clouded Mirror, and featured 4 copies of Honor-Worn Shaku. Look at me, successfully rest raining the urge to makes jokes about it being a paddlin'. Well, mostly successfully. Ok, not at all successfully.

From left to right: Mihara (2012), Komuro (2008), Fujita (2005), Hsia (2002), and Clegg, Benafel, and Williams (2001).

2008 finally marked the historic appearance of myself on the coverage team. Ok, maybe not that historic, or even notable, but I digress. Osamu Fujiti again made top 8, but lost in the semifinals to the eventual champion Shu Komuro. Komuro's Bant deck took down Yoshitaka Nakano's Esper deck in the finals.

Lastly, in 2012 Makihito Mihara blitzed the top 8 draft with an aggressive Rakdos deck, defeating Akimasa Yamamoto's Golgari-Selesnya mash-up, leaving no question in the minds of anyone watching that Mihara is one of the best players in the region, if not the World.

Speaking of the World, the Chinese Taipei national team took down the World Magic Cup in 2012, too. Leading the team was one of Taipei's Magic elite, Tzu-Ching Kuo, who was joined by Tung-Yi Cheng, Yu Min Yang, and Paul Renie. Their victory over team USA in the swiss rounds has been immortalised by the popular animated gif below.

Team Chinese Taipei draws a Bonfire of the Damned to beat Team USA at the 2012 World Magic Cup.

And that brings us to 2014, but you'll have to check back with me in around 36 hour's time for the winner of that one.