Day 1 Coverage of Grand Prix–Bangkok

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Day one has drawn to a close here at Grand Prix Bangkok, with 413 players narrowing down to 99, as the players with 6-2 or better records advance to day two. Sitting at the top of the standings, undefeated, are Kurt Stockbrugger from Canada, Ruud Warmenhoven from the Netherlands, Ryan Luo from Singapore and Thatiland’s Chokchai Jettanachewchankit. Right behind them on 7-1 there is a veritable sea of pro players, just waiting to get their drafts on tomorrow, including Matteo Orsini Jones, Shingou Kurihara, Sam Black, Gaudenis Vidugiris, Shuu Komuro and Yuuta Takahashi to name just a few. Of course, there are still plenty of local players battling it out for a chance at the title and defending their home turf, so keep it locked here at Magicthegathering.com while we crack open the draft packs to see who will be the 2009 Grand Prix Bangkok Champion.





EVENT COVERAGE TWITTER

  • by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
    Saturday, 7:16p.m.
    Round 8: Matteo Orsini Jones vs Ruud Warmenhoven

  • by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
    Saturday, 6:48p.m.
    Round 7: Feature matches to the left of me, feature matches to the right!

  • by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
    Saturday, 6:27p.m.
    Round 7: Quick Questions

  • by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
    Saturday, 5:10p.m.
    Round 6: Terry Soh vs Florian Koch

  • by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
    Saturday, 4:31p.m.
    Round 5: Lost in Translation

  • by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
    Saturday, 4:14p.m.
    Round 5: Quick Questions

  • by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
    Saturday, 2:55p.m.
    Round 4: Tomoharu Saito vs Makihito Mihara

  • by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
    Saturday,1:18 p.m.
    Round 3: Quick Questions

  • by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
    Saturday,10:52 a.m.
    The Sealed Section, with Olivier Ruel and Martin Juza

  • by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
    Saturday, 9:02 a.m.
    Last Chance Qualifier Decklists

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Country Breakdown

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Fact Sheet

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  • Saturday, August 22: 9:02a.m. – Last Chance Qualifier Decklists
    by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
  • I feel like I start every Grand Prix by waxing lyrical on the value of a trio of byes to get your tournament off to a good start, but it bears repeating, because they’re just that good. Whether you think they’re fair or not, having byes at the start of an event like this is a hefty advantage. Not only do you not have to play the first three rounds, but your tiebreakers are that much better for not having persons who happened upon losses in rounds one, two or three. Having to go a mere three wins and two loses, perhaps even as low as 2-2 to make day two is a lot easier than rattling off five or more wins, and the players know it. Throughout the region, in the lead up to this event, people have been flocking to Grant Prix Trial tournaments to compete for the hallowed three bye prize, and those who missed out there, were queuing up here yesterday to battle it out in the Last Chance Qualifiers. As the lights were being switched off in the venue last night after a hard day’s Magicing, I could be found hunching over my laptop (I really must work on my posture) hammering out the winner’s decklists, for you, our faithful readers.

    Lucas Wong
    Winner - LCQ Grand Prix Bangkok #4

     

  • Saturday, August 22: 10:52a.m. – The Sealed Section, with Olivier Ruel and Martin Juza
    by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
  • If you’re looking for any advice of Magic 2010 sealed deck, you’d be hard pressed to do better than the finalists of GP Brighton two weeks ago, Martin Juza and Hall of Fame Road Warrior, Olivier Ruel. Compared to Ruel, who has been knocking out Grand Prix top 8’s for what seems like forever, Juza is a relative newcomer, but has certainly been putting up some strong results over the last year or two. Looking through his pool, Juza was quick to dismiss his Green, White and Blue cards. Not because the Red and Black were that good, but more because those other colors were considerably lacking. Juza held up a pair of Consume Spirits and a Tendrils of Corruption, along with two Child of Night. “I might play my Sanguine Bond,” he joked, “there’s not another single playable color.” He toyed with the idea of going Blue for some fliers and a Twincast, to combo with his removal spells, but eventually opted for his Red cards, that at least had a Fireball and a Pyroclasm. “I think it’s better to splash these and a couple of stupid Red creatures over the Blue cards, I want to maximize my Black for all these,” he explained, pointing to his Tendrils of Corruption and Consume Spirits. Juza pushed the Sanguine Bond to the side, before admitting “I think it’s okay,” with a nod, meaning his deck, not the Bond. As I was leaving the table though, I heard him say, “Maybe I will play it, just for fun.”

    Martin Juza, will he play Sanguine Bond “just for fun”?

    Ruel however, was in a much better position. He too, had discounted some of his colors immediately, both Red and Green, not because they were no good, but because his Blue, Black and White were so strong. “I’m quite sure it’s Blue White from what I saw, but let’s double check,” he said, laying out the cards, revealing doubles of Blinding Mage, Divine Verdict and Sleep, along with a Guardian Seraph, a Serra Angel, and a seemingly out of place Clone. “I gotta go for the combo,” he clarified with a chuckle, pointing at the Guardian Seraph, “it’s also an answer to some bombs.” Ruel also pushed a couple of Elite Vanguards into his playables. “Not sure about this guy, but with double Sleep I think I need as many guys as I can.” Wanting to make sure Blue White was the correct color combination for him, Ruel swept aside the White cards for a moment to pair Blue with Black, revealing the powerful Mind Shatter, backed up by a pair of Mind Rot and a trio of Kelinore Bats. “Sleep is not as good in Blue Black,” he noticed, “the thing is, I think I’m going to want Mind Shatter against Green decks every round. My Blue White has a better curve and synergy, but my Blue Black deals with bombs better.”


    Frequent flier, Olivier Ruel.

    We then discussed playing or drawing in M10 sealed. “I definitely would want to play with my Blue White, and draw with my Blue Black. That’s another reason to go with the Blue White. Most people will choose to draw, and then it’s as if I won the flip anyway.” Ruel favored aggressive Blue White decks late in Shards of Alara block draft, but while he has a predilection for that archetype, he admitted it’s not as effective in M10 sealed. “There are not as many bad draws in this format, people should be two color. In Shards, people draft decks that don’t work.” Ruel continued to ponder his choices, growing less sure of his Blue White. “Building a deck that dies to bombs, I’m not sure that’s so smart,” he said with a frown. In the end, he decided on the Blue White anyway, “it’s too late to change now. I’ll definitely be testing Blue Black with my byes, though.” As he counted out his mana, he also had this to add about his 17 lands. “It’s not often I play less than 18 land in this format, I’m generally only ever land screwed than flooded.”

     

  • Saturday, August 22: 1:18p.m. – Round 3: Quick Questions
    by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

  • What common or uncommon do you most want to open in M10 Sealed deck?


    Tomoharu Saito Yuuta Takahashi Sam Black


    “Overrun or Mind Control. Merfolk Looter is the best common in M10.”


    “Sleep.”


    “I think the correct answer is Fireball, or at least Gorgon Flail, so I can play it no matter what colors I am.”

    Kazuya Mitamura Olivier Ruel Yuuya Watanabe


    “Overrun.”


    “Mind Control.”


    “Mind Control.”
     

  • Saturday, August 22: 2:55p.m. – Round 4: Tomoharu Saito vs Makihito Mihara
    by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
  • “Bad deck,” Grand Prix Singapore Champion, Tomoharu Saito exclaimed, gesturing to himself as he sat down. “Good deck,” he continued, pointing to 2006 World Champion Makihito Mihara.

    Both players said something to each other in Japanese in a manner that I assume meant they were wishing each other good luck. Saito kept and was quickly taking chunks out of Mihara’s life total with an Elite Vanguard. Mihara had a Seismic Strike for a Lightning Elemental, but the Vanguard kept coming. Mihara summoned a Centaur Courser to hold it off, and then dropped a Mind Control on Saito’s recent arrival, a Capricious Efreet, only to recoil in surprise as Saito destroyed it with a maindeck Solemn Offering. Mihara then summoned an Enormous Baloth, but the Efreet ate that during Saito’s upkeep, while more and more small White creatures filled out Saito’s board. Mihara eagerly traded his men with Saito’s, if only to ensure the Efreet wouldn’t cause so much harm to his team. A Sleep tapped the attackers down for a turn, while Mihara looked for answers. He summoned an Air Elemental, and waited with baited breath to see what Saito rolled with his die during his upkeep. Sure enough, the Efreet ate the Elemental, and Mihara was scooping up his cards.

    Saito 1 – Mihara 0

    Tomoharu Saito sideboarding a considerable amount of cards.

    Saito’s first two lands were Islands in Game 2, perhaps explaining the extensive sideboarding he’d undertaken, while Mihara got his mana just right with a Borderland Ranger, suiting it up with an Oakenform and smashing in for 5 while Saito filled up his hand with a Divination. Cancel trumped a Stampeding Rhino, and Saito wasted no time slamming a Mind Control of his own on the Oakenform‘d Ranger on his fifth turn, having played only Islands so far this game. Mihara rebounded with an Awakening Druid, but a Gorgon Flail wielding Veteran Swordsmith looked like it would put pay to that. That is, until Mihara played his own Mind Control, and then a Siege-Gang Commander. Having taken a great deal of damage early in the game, Saito was quick to pack up his cards.

    Saito 1 – Mihara 1

    Makihito Mihara eyes up Saito’s meager life total.

    With much less sideboarding this time, Saito instead went into the tank over his opening seven, before finally electing to throw it back for one less. Mihara did the same, saving a great deal of time, thanks to the M10 rules on the matter. Both players kept their six. Saito had a turn two Veteran Armorsmith, while Mihara tidied up his mana with a Terramorphic Expanse, and then a Borderland Ranger. With only Plains on his side of the battlefield, Saito was still getting in there, summoning a Stormfront Pegasus. Saito sent his Armorsmith in to battle with Mihara’s Cudgel Troll while he lacked the mana to regenerate. Mihara called the bluff and the Armorsmith was sent to the sin-bin. A Wind Drake traded with the Pegasus, while the Troll evened up the life totals. Saito tired to stall long enough to draw some Islands by Excommunicating a Stampeding Rhino, but was soon sweeping up his cards in defeat.

    Makihito Mihara defeats Tomoharu Saito 2 – 1

     

  • Saturday, August 22: 4:14p.m. – Round 5: Quick Questions
    by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

  • Play or Draw in M10 Sealed deck?


    Martin Juza Yuuya Watanabe Tomoharu Saito


    “Draw, every single time.”


    “Play.”


    “Play. Game 1, every time.”

    Yuuta Takahashi Kazuya Mitamura Shuuhei Nakamura


    “Draw.”


    “Draw.”


    “Draw.”
     

  • Saturday, August 22: -4:31p.m. – Round 5: Lost in Translation
    by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
  • Veteran Japanese level 3 judge, Shindo Yoshiya has kept the peace in many a Grand Prix and Pro Tour event in his time, but his contributions to the game of Magic don’t end there. Shindo moonlights as a translator for Wizards of the Coast, translating English Magic cards into Japanese. Shindo regaled us yesterday about how he couldn’t get any of this work done in his hotel room, because the judge sharing a room with him could read English, and might get a glimpse of some of that top secret, tasty spoiler information that we’re all on the edge of our seats for at this time of year. If he was after the Inside Scoop on Zendikar however, he’d be sorely disappointed, because that went to print months ago. Right now, Shindo is working on the first set of 2010, Worldwake! Okay, so perhaps “disappointed” is not the word I was looking for there. There are people out there who’d sell their Grandmothers, or their eye teeth, or even their Grandmother’s eye teeth (if she still has any) to get a peek at some Worldwakery goodness, but Shindo is a tight-lipped man, who could only chuckle as he admitted that it wasn’t uncommon for players to buy him drinks to see if they can’t get his tongue wagging.

    Japanese level 3 judge and Wizards of the Coast translator, Shindo Yoshiya

    But this weekend, we’re playing with Magic 2010, and while Shindo can’t tell us about anything that hasn’t been released yet, he certainly has a story or two about the latest Base Set. “In Japanese,” he explained, “all the card names need to be Nouns. Usually, if something has been given a Verb name, it’s easy enough to change it to a Noun, but Regenerate gave us some difficulty, because there was already a card called Regeneration! In the end, we gave it a new name with a similar meaning, something like ‘a new life’ I think.” One can only guess they’re hoping a card never gets printed with that as its name. Speaking of verbs and nouns and cards ending up with the same name, apparently they ran into a spot of bother a few years back when Mobilize and Mobilization ended up with the same card name in Japanese. Thankfully, one of those has only shown up in Portal so far, so it’s unlikely that there’ll be any decklist confusion, but Shindo has assured me that they now have a comprehensive database that will help ensure that never happens again.

     

  • Saturday, August 22: 5:10p.m. – Round 6: Terry Soh vs Florian Koch
    by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
  • While Terry Soh hasn’t been making too many waves recently, he has still be playing away happily in this corner of the world, and he’s still one of the few Magic players in the World with an Invitational win and card with his face on it to match (Rakdos Augermage). Florian Koch is on holiday here with his girlfriend, because she’s always wanted to go to Bali. Apparently she’s higher in the standings than he is right now, as both players are sitting at 4-2, making this an elimination match. Koch also did some of the German language coverage at the German National Champs last weekend, so I feel somewhat of a kinship with him there, too. Not only that, but famous Swiss deck designer, Manuel Bucher saw Koch’s name in the coverage and well, I’ll let Manuel fill you in.

    While Koch lacked the mana to regenerate his turn two Drudge Skeletons, Soh took them out with a Seismic Strike for one, thanks to the mana boost from his turn one Llanowar Elves. When Koch then played a Cudgel Troll, Soh sent his Elves in for 1, but Koch did not rise to the bait, and let it by. The Troll swung back, before Soh summoned a sizable Craw Wurm. A Gravedigger from Koch bought back the Drudge Skeletons, and it was beginning to look difficult for Soh to either get in for damage, or stop the Troll from doing the same. An Goblin Artillery blocked an incoming Child of Night, drawing out a Giant Growth from each player, while the Troll and the Gravedigger dropped Soh to a low 6 life. The Lifelink on the Child buoying Koch back up to 17, as he rounded out his turn with a Kelinore Bat. Soh summoned another Craw Wurm, and attacked back with his Elves and the earlier Wurm, dropping Koch to 10. Koch swung back with his Bat and his Troll, leaving the Gravedigger on defense. With its owner getting very low on life, the Artillery chumped the Troll and shot down the Bat, Soh dropping to 3. Koch again summoned his Drudge Skeletons and passed the turn back. Both Wurms attacked, the Skeletons deflecting one of them while Koch dropped to 4. Soh regrew his Goblin Artillery with a Nature’s Spiral and passed the turn back to Koch with the Goblin and his Llanowar Elves defending. A Tendrils of Corruption killed the Artillery, and Koch was able to attack in for the exactly lethal.

    Koch 1 – Soh 0

    Florian Koch won the third LCQ yesterday, but isn’t having as good a day today.
    After a bit of sideboarding, Soh again elected to draw, and got off to a fast start with a White Knight and an Awaking Druid to Koch’s double Dread Warlock. A Pacifism pacified one of the Warlocks, while Koch hiccupped on a land drop, playing the wrong land and having to pass back the turn without play. A Tendrils of Corruption killed the Druid, and practically evened up the scores 13 to 12. Koch sent his remaining Warlock tentatively into Soh’s four open Plains, worried it might get its neck snapped by a Divine Verdict, which failed to materialize. He played a Cudgel Troll and passed it back, and could only watch as Soh sent his Knight Skyward with an Armored Ascension. Koch could only frown at the 6/6 flying Protection from Black Knight before scooping up his cards.

    Koch 1 – Soh 1

    “You’re swapping back and forth?” Koch enquired, as Soh appeared to sideboard his White back out for the Red he had in his deck in Game 1. “Maybe,” was all he replied with a smile.

    Terry Soh shares his Ant Farm with Koch.
    Soh again had the turn one Llanowar Elves, that managed to get in twice before Koch summoned one of his Dread Warlocks. Soh exiled it with a Celestial Purge at the end of turn, before untapping and summoning a turn four Ant Queen. “That’s rude,” Koch teased, as he summoned his trusty Cudgel Troll. The Queen got in for 5, and spawned three followers as Koch made a Looming Shade. With the Troll holding the fort, Soh was content to simply make another three Ants, before finding a Blinding Mage. Koch had the Tendrils of Corruption for that, before summoning a rare of his own, a Kalonian Behemoth. However, large monsters aren’t overly good at stopping an Ant swarm like the one Soh was churning out. Finally Soh made a move, sending in nine Ants and the Llanowar Elves to drop Koch to 3 life. Koch surveyed the board, and could only summon a Gravedigger and pass it back. Another Tendrils was not enough to stop the attack that dropped Koch to -1. He dropped his hand on the table, revealing the Overrun that would have killed Soh had Koch been allowed to untap.

    Terry Soh defeats Florian Koch 2 – 1

     

  • Saturday, August 22: 6:27p.m. – Round 7: Quick Questions
    by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

  • What is the best color in M10 Sealed deck?


    Kazuya Mitamura Yuuya Watanabe Martin Juza


    “Green, Black and White are the sealed deck colors.”


    “Green.”


    “I think it’s Black. Maybe Green… Nonono, definitely Black, definitely not Green!”

    Olivier Ruel Yuuta Takahashi Shuuhei Nakamura


    “The color of your bombs, or Black because it deals with bombs.”


    “Green.”


    “Green maybe.”
     

  • Saturday, August 22: 6:48p.m. – Round 7: Feature matches to the left of me, feature matches to the right!
    by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
  • With too many feature matches to choose from, and a round 6 match write up not quite finished, we’ll have to settle for a quick spot o’ photo journalism.

    Gaudenis Vidugiris defeated Pro Tour Honolulu champion Kazuya Mitamura 2 – 0

    England’s Matteo Orsini Jones beat Japan’s Shuu Komuro 2 – 1

    Seen here during a mid round deck check (guess who was up a game) Ruud Warmenhoven of the Netherlands was victorious over Sam Black from the United States, 2 – 1.

    And in other news, sadly for Switzerland’s Manuel Bucher, who wanted to see more of Olivier Ruel, Ruel has picked up a third loss and won’t be playing in the main event tomorrow.

     

  • Saturday, August 22: 7:16p.m. – Round 8: Matteo Orsini Jones vs Ruud Warmenhoven
    by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw
  • Coming into the last round of day one, a handful of players still remain undefeated, including Matteo Orsini Jones from the UK, and Ruud Warmenhoven, who I last saw in the top 8 of Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur 2006, which the first Grand Prix I covered all by my lonesome. (Sniff, memories)

    Matteo Orsini Jones wonders how he’s going to deal with Warmenhoven’s team.
    Orsini Jones won the pick the highest mana cost card game, Bountiful Harvest To Tome Scour, and got off to a great start, with an Elvish Visionary and a Borderland Ranger fetching him an unconventional fourth color, everything but Blue. Meanwhile, Warmenhoven was doing just fine himself, with a Kelinore Bat and a Rhox Pikemaster. After a Doom Blade on the Pikemaster, Orsini Jones made a Rod of Ruin, before losing most of his hand to a Mind Shatter. He attacked back for 3, dropping Warmenhoven to 14, before applying Rod to Bat. Warmenhoven rebuilt his team with a Veteran Armorsmith and a Siege Mastodon, but a Pacifism put pay to the 3/5 and Orsini Jones kept on trucking, taking Warmenhoven down to 8 and summoning a Stampeding Rhino.

    Warmenhoven pointed an Armored Ascension at his Armorsmith, asking if Orsini Jones had anything to stop it, but he didn’t and the life totals were suddenly even as Warmenhoven took to the air. “I never thought I’d make this play,” Warmenhoven continued, sending back the Ranger with an Excommunicate. When Orsini Jones tried to get in for the win on the following turn, Warmenhoven had a Doom Blade of his own to make the attack non-lethal.

    Warmenhoven 1 – Orsini Jones 0

    While the players sideboarded, I lamented their lengthy names. I told them how I covered a Soh-Koch match earlier that was a pleasure to type, and how these gents were simply letting the side down. “You can call me OJ,” Orsini Jones replied with a smile and a shrug. “I like that,” smiled Warmenhoven, “you can call me Ruud.” OJ and Ruud it is, lads, thanks for being team players!

    Ruud Warmenhoven, with old school rail-birds Jeff Fung and Ken Krouner in tow.
    OJ got in early and often in Game 2 with an Elite Vanguard, while Ruud returned fire with a Silvercoat Lion. A Griffin Sentinel held off the Vanguard, so OJ instead opted to trade his Vanguard for the Lion, only to see it dug up by a Gravedigger. Not happy being on the back foot, OJ summoned a Razorfoot Griffin and then called Garruk Wildspeaker to his side, untapping some land and Pacifying a Ruud’s new Serra Angel. Ruud had his Armored Ascension however, and took down the Planeswalker with his Lion anyway. A Mind Rot cleared out the last two cards in OJ’s hand, a Doom Blade and a Fireball, OJ having not drawn any of his fixers to power up his splashed bombs. “I was getting a bit greedy there,” he joked, before summoning a Serra Angel of his own. Ruud was still in the driving seat, and the Angel wasn’t enough to stop the Lion, and Ruud soon took the match in two games straight.

    Matteo “OJ” Orsini Jones is defeated 0 – 2 by Ruud “Ruud” Warmenhoven.

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