Kuo Tzu Ching and Huang Hao-Shan are two of the best players in all of Taiwan, superstars in their own right. It seemed befitting that the final round of Grand Prix Taipei would send at least one of them into the Top 8. As soon as pairings were posted and their names announced, both slightly-superstitious players rushed to the Featured Match in a bid to grab the "luckier seat".
Interestingly, both MTG Mint Card players had been practicing together for the past week, churning out almost ten drafts within a span of seven days. It looked like their practice had paid off and both players were 5-0 at the Booster Draft portion today. Both players came to the conclusion that Red White were the best colors to be in, resulting in this epic Boros mirror match that would send the winner into the Top 8.
Huang presented his first creature, Juggernaut. Kuo had no immediate solution to it, only managing a hasted 2/2 creature by combining Forge Devil and Hammerhand. The reason for quickly sticking a creature on the board was more apparent, when Kuo tapped his Forge Devil to convoke Triplicate Spirits on the next turn.
"I'll triple block the Juggernaut," Kuo taunted.
"I don't think so," replied Huang, as he smiled and summoned a Forge Devil of his own, clearing one of tokens from the sky.
Kuo feigned weakness and held back both of his spirit tokens and Forge Devil. When Huang attacked with Juggernaut and his own Forge Devil, his side of the board was wiped clean with a timely Sanctified Charge.
Huang however had the final trump, in the form of Boonweaver Giant tutoring out Spectra Ward. Having no way to outrace the practically indestructible monster, Kuo scooped up his cards and reached for the sideboard.
Kuo Tzu Ching 0 – Huang Hao-Shan 1
Huang used Solemn Offering to rid himself of the aura, but was soon faced with Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient. Once again, Huang had the Heat Ray to relieve himself of the pressure. Clearly, Huang's deck had a better late game and all he wanted to do was to be the control player in this matchup.
Not knowing exactly what was in Huang's deck, Kuo pondered what to name with Phyrexian Revoker. He eventually decided on Chandra, Pyromaster, revealing to Huang that he didn't have a copy himself either. Or did he?
With only Selfless Cathar and Lava Axe left in his hand, he stared down at Krenko's Enforcer enhanced with Divine Favor. With both players at 23 life, it would seem that there was an equal game state, until Huang put Spectra Ward on his 3/5 Krenko's Enforcer.
Kuo managed to topdeck Triplicate Spirits the next turn, making this race moderately possible. However, with him already down to 8 life (and Huang at 16), it didn't seem like he had outs other than Sanctified Charge.
Huang did the math for him, informing him that he had a potential of 17 damage if he could lay a land, cast Sanctified Charge and sacrifice Selfless Cathar. However, that was not to be. Huang knew he was never going to lose the race. An end-of-turn Congregate gained him 14 life, enough to put him out of range from any shenanigans Kuo could attempt.
That didn't stop Kuo from trying though. He attacked for 6, and flung Lava Axe at Huang, reducing him to 12, leaving just a token back to block. Huang showed him Forge Devil and Kuo could only extend his hand.
Kuo Tzu Ching 0 – Huang Hao-Shan 2
Huang Hao-Shan triumphs over Kuo Tzu Ching and advances to his 5th Grand Prix Top 8.