gpsha11

Watanabe Wins the Showdown in Shanghai

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When a certain individual made Top 8 at Grand Prix Prague 2009, he listed down his occupation as "M10 Master (Three GP top eight, all with M10)". Who would expect that two years later, he would reinstate the reign of terror and continue to tear up the competition in the World of Core Set Limited. The dust has settled and Yuuya Watanabe is your Grand Prix Shanghai 2011 Champion.

Piloting his Blue/Green/Red concoction to perfection, he defeated fellow countryman Ryouta Endou in the finals to clinch his third Grand Prix title, upping his Grand Prix Top 8 count to a dozen. His tried-and-tested formula of fliers, fatties and a light garnish of burn was a recipe that was delicious enough to seal the deal.

The Chinese put up a strong resistance with exceedingly admirable effort. Kuang Chen would enter the Top 8 as the top seed before he fell to the eventual champion, while Zhiyang Zhang and Bin Xu both proved to the World that their previous achievements were no fluke, solidifying their place as titans in the Chinese community.

Congratulations to Yuuya Watanabe!

Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals Champion
Ryouta Endou Ryouta Endou
2-1
Kentarou Nonaka Ryouta Endou
2-1
Daniel Pham Zhiyang Zhang
2-1
Yuuya Watanabe
2-0
Zhiyang Zhang
Bin Xu Kentarou Ino
2-0
Kentarou Ino Yuuya Watanabe
2-1
Yuuya Watanabe Yuuya Watanabe
2-0
Kuang Chen

Day 2 Coverage

Day 1 Coverage


EVENT COVERAGE TWITTER
  • by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
    and Chapman Sim
    Sunday, 9:04 p.m.: Top 5 Cards

  • by Chapman Sim
    Finals:
    Finals: Yuuya Watanabe vs. Ryouta Endou

  • by Chapman Sim
    Semifinal:
    Yuuya Watanabe vs. Kentarou Ino

  • by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
    Semifinal:
    Ryouta Endou vs. Zhiyang Zhang

  • by Chapman Sim
    Quarterfinal:
    Zhiyang Zhang vs. Daniel Hieu Pham

  • by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
    Quarterfinal:
    Yuuya Watanabe vs. Kuang Chen

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8: Decklists

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8: Player Profiles

  • by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
    Sunday, 5:17 p.m.: Top 8 Draft with Yuuya Watanabe

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 2 Blog
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 1 Blog
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Fact Sheet

INFORMATION
  1.   Yuuya Watanabe $3,500
  2.   Ryouta Endou $2,300
  3.   Zhiyang Zhang $1,500
  4.   Kentarou Ino $1,500
  5.   Kuang Chen $1,000
  6.   Kentarou Nonaka $1,000
  7.   Daniel Pham $1,000
  8.   Bin Xu $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
Final

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  • Sunday, 5:17 p.m. – Top 8 Draft with Yuuya Watanabe

    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • With 11 previous Grand Prix top 8's under his belt, Yuuya Watanabe is definitely the odds-on favorite coming into this top 8. I wasted no time taking up residence behind him with pen and paper.

    The first pack gave Watanabe a Solemn Simulacrum over a Sorin's Thirst. None of the remaining cards were anywhere near close to first pick quality. Second pick, he took a Cudgel Troll over a Chasm Drake and a Phantasmal Dragon. Many players shy away from drafting Green in M12 draft, but Watanabe explained later that a heavy Green deck was still quite strong, especially if Green was going to be underdrafted at the table. He continued taking Green monsters until he couldn't take any more, rounding out the pack by dipping into Blue for a Chasm Drake.

    Down-stream of Watanabe, Daniel Pham was drafting Blue/Black after he'd been passed both the Dragon and the Drake, while Kentarou Nonaka, who was feeding Watanabe, was drafting White.

    Yuuya Watanabe, being passed to by Kentarou Nonaka.

    As pack two progressed, the realization that all he had was a bunch of "reasonable" guys began to dawn on Watanabe. So far, the most impressive cards he had managed to pick up were a second Cudgel Troll, and a second Giant Spider. Pack three was going to have to be a great deal kinder to him if he wanted to exit this draft alive.

    With a Birds of Paradise, and a Rampant Growth already hanging out in his pile, Watanabe found the Doom Blade waiting in pack three somewhat tempting. However, he opted for a Primordial Hydra instead. He did take the second pick Fireball, though, and the third pick Incinerate over a Chandra's Outrage. A late Greater Basilisk filled out the top end of his deck, and a Ponder and a 12th pick Divination gave it some depth.

    "If this was Swiss, it'd be a 2-1 deck," Watanabe admitted sheepishly afterwards, smiling at least. "I saw at least 3 more of these," he continued, pointing to his solitary Frost Breath. None of them came back to him, and all of them were potentially very good against him.

     
  • Top 8 - Player Profiles

    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Name: Chen Kuang
    Hometown: Wuhan, China
    Age: 23
    Occupation: Student
    Score & Colors for Sealed: 8-1 (URG)
    Score & Colors for Draft 1: 3-0 (RB)
    Score & Colors for Draft 2: 6 (WB)
    Pro Tour & Grand Prix Top 8s: NIL
    Other Achievements: NIL
    What's the coolest card in M12? Inferno Titan
    Name: Nonaka Kentaro
    Hometown: Osaka, Japan
    Age: 26
    Occupation: Employee
    Score & Colors for Sealed: 8-1 (WB)
    Score & Colors for Draft 1: 3-0 (UW splash Fireball)
    Score & Colors for Draft 2: 1-1-1 (WR)
    Pro Tour & Grand Prix Top 8s: 3 Grand Prix (including this!)
    Other Achievements: NIL
    What's the coolest card in M12? Stormfront Pegasus
    Name: Zhang Zhiyang
    Hometown: Beijing, China
    Age: 21
    Occupation: Employee: Student
    Score & Colors for Sealed: 7-2 (WRG)
    Score & Colors for Draft 1: 3-0 (RW)
    Score & Colors for Draft 2: 2-0-1 (BG)
    Pro Tour & Grand Prix Top 8s: 3 Grand Prix
    Other Achievements: 2 Nationals Top 8, Worlds Team Champions 2009
    What's the coolest card in M12? Runeclaw Bear
    Name: Pham Daniel Hieu
    Hometown: Toronto, Canada (but I live in Japan!)
    Age: 25
    Occupation: MBA Student & English Teacher
    Score & Colors for Sealed: 8-0-1 (WB)
    Score & Colors for Draft 1: 3-0 (BR)
    Score & Colors for Draft 2: 1-2 (BR)
    Pro Tour & Grand Prix Top 8s: This is my first!
    Other Achievements: Top 16 Grand Prix Barcelona, Top 100 PT Nagoya
    What's the coolest card in M12? Jace Memory Adept. Milling is fun!
    Name: Yuuya Watanabe
    Hometown: Kanagawa, Japan
    Age: 22
    Occupation: Pro Player
    Score & Colors for Sealed: 8-1 (WB splash red)
    Score & Colors for Draft 1: 2-1 (BR)
    Score & Colors for Draft 2: 2-0-1 (WR)
    Pro Tour & Grand Prix Top 8s: Pro Tour Austin 2009 Top 8, 11 Grand Prix
    Other Achievements: 2-time National Team member, Rookie of the Year 2007, Player of the Year 2009
    What's the coolest card in M12? Adaptive Automaton. Good card!
    Name: Xu Bin
    Hometown: Beijing, China
    Age: 28
    Occupation: Administrative Clerk
    Score & Colors for Sealed: 8-1 (URG)
    Score & Colors for Draft 1: 2-1 (RB)
    Score & Colors for Draft 2: 2-0-1 (WR)
    Pro Tour & Grand Prix Top 8s: NIL
    Other Achievements: 2011 China Nationals Finalist
    What's the coolest card in M12? Solemn Simulacrum
    Name: Endou Ryota
    Hometown: Saitama, Japan
    Age: 22
    Occupation: Student
    Score & Colors for Sealed: 8-1 (WG)
    Score & Colors for Draft 1: 3-0 (WU splash G)
    Score & Colors for Draft 2: 1-1-1 (UG)
    Pro Tour & Grand Prix Top 8s: NIL
    Other Achievements: NIL
    What's the coolest card in M12? Arachnus Spinner
    Name: Ino Kentaro
    Hometown: Kyoto, Japan
    Age: 23
    Occupation: Student
    Score & Colors for Sealed: 9-0 (UBG)
    Score & Colors for Draft 1: 1-2 (Mono white)
    Score & Colors for Draft 2: 2-1 (WB)
    Pro Tour & Grand Prix Top 8s: Grand Prix Kobe Top 8
    Other Achievements: NIL
    What's the coolest card in M12? Sorin Markov
     
  • Top 8 - Decklists

    by Event Coverage Staff


  • Kentaro Nonaka - Top 8
    Grand Prix Shanghai 2011



    Zhiyang Zhang - Top 8
    Grand Prix Shanghai 2011



    Daniel Hieu Pham - Top 8
    Grand Prix Shanghai 2011



    Yuuya Watanabe - Top 8
    Grand Prix Shanghai 2011





    Ryota Endou - Top 8
    Grand Prix Shanghai 2011



    Kentaro Ino - Top 8
    Grand Prix Shanghai 2011


     
  • Quarterfinal - Yuuya Watanabe vs. Kuang Chen

    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Game One

    Underdog Kuang Chen won the die roll, and promptly took a mulligan, while Yuuya Watanabe kept his hand. Watanabe's Birds of Paradise was met by a Wring Flesh, and Chen missed his second land drop for a turn while Watanabe summoned a Garruk's Companion. Chen caught up, summoning a Reassembling Skeleton, which helped bloodthirst up a Duskhunter Bat. Watanabe summoned a Solemn Simulacrum and a Chasm Drake, while Chen managed to take down the Companion in combat with a Slaughter Cry.

    Kuang Chen can see how far behind he is.

    Chen fell to 7, to Watanabe's 17. The early turns spent playing catch up meant he was trailing far behind Watanabe on the table, who had just summoned a second Chasm Drake. Chen cast Diabolic Tutor for a Goblin Grenade, falling to 1 life on the following turn. Watanabe then summoned a Stampeding Rhino. Chen failed to find two additional removal spells on top of his library, and the players reached for their sideboards.

    Watanabe 1 – Chen 0

    Game Two

    Watanabe again had a turn one Birds of Paradise, but this time it survived, enabling an impressive turn 2 Garruk's Companion, turn 3 Cudgel Troll draw. Chen's first play meanwhile, was a Scepter if Empires. He at least had a Doom Blade for the Troll, and summoned both a Blood Ogre and a Stormblood Berserker the turn after. Watanabe's creatures seemed more impressive however, as his team expanded to include a Giant Spider, a Greater Basilisk, and a Chasm Drake.

    Yuuya Watanabe is coming over the top.

    Chen summoned a Fiery Hellhound, his Scepter dropping Watanabe to 15. Watanabe untapped and summoned a 4/4 Primordial Hydra, but that earned a Brink of Disaster. Watanabe's Crown of Empires was destroyed by a Manic Vandal, but the Drake had been taking respectable bites out of Chen's life total, and it wouldn't be long before Watanabe would be ready to send the Basilisk along for the ride. As he tried to figure out just how large his Hydra was during his upkeep, Chen just scooped up his cards with a chuckle.

    Yuuya Watanabe defeats Kuang Chen 2 – 0

     
  • Quarterfinal - Zhiyang Zhang vs. Daniel Hieu Pham

    by Chapman Sim
  • Game One

    Both players' personalities could be described to be polar opposites. Zhiyang Zhang is a man of few words and began to shuffle up his Blue/Green control deck without a word. It featured a pair of Garruk's Horde, and a quartet of Arachnus Webs, giving this color combination some much-needed removal. Daniel Hieu Pham on the other hand, was exponentially more animated than his opponent, clearly happy to be part of the Top 8. His deck was more aggressive and focused on finishing his opponents fast using his pair of Doom Blades and Sorin's Thirsts, alongside quadruple Frost Breaths to clear the way.

    Zhang won the die roll and opened with Merfolk Looter. Wanting to deny his opponent card selection, Pham wasted no time killing it with Doom Blade, then followed that up with Child of Night and Aven Fleetwing.

    Zhiyang Zhang – silent, but deadly.

    Zhang's creatures were a little bigger though, in the form of Chasm Drake and Stampeding Rhino. Double Sorin's Thirsts removed the uplifting drake but Zhang was happy to recruit a Lurking Crocodile to penetrate the defenses. When Pham tried to slow the attacks with Frost Breath, it clashed with Zhang's Mana Leak.

    Now playing from the top of his deck, it seemed like Pham was at the end of his line. He had no way of dealing with the 4/4 trampler or the 3/3 islandwalking crocodile. His Amphin Cutthroat and Child of Night seemed to be mocking him, they were both entangled by Arachnus Webs. His draws of Reassembling Skeleton and Grim Lavamancer were insufficient to save him.

    Zhang 1 – Pham 0

    Game Two

    Despite being down a game, Pham decided to let Zhang play first, but that did not stop him from applying devastating pressure. His Reassembling Skeleton on turn two allowed Bloodrage Vampire to enter play as a 4/2 the next turn. He followed that up with Drifting Shade and Phantasmal Bear, while Zhang could only stare at his four islands in play, while holding a fistful of green cards. When Pham sunk all his mana into the flying shade, it prompted Zhang to concede and move on to the decider.

    Zhang 1 – Pham 1

    Game Three

    "I think you need lands to play Magic, right?" Pham mused as he shuffled his initial seven into his library. When he threw in his next six, he started to wince, and eventually went down to five. Zhang could only nod silently, looking slightly apologetic. He had to Paris a fourth time, going down to four cards, declaring he would keep before he could even look at them.

    Daniel Pham – not as silent, and not as deadly.

    Zhang summoned Merfolk Looter and the industrious Merfolk went to work. Despite his opponent's triple mulligan, he was unable to capitalize on it and could only manage Runeclaw Bear by his sixth turn.

    That was about to change though, since he drew into his seventh land and dropped one of his two Garruk Hordes. Pham was ready with Doom Blade but he found no way to deal with Chasm Drake, which was giving Runeclaw Bear flying and dealing a total five damage a turn.

    Victory seemed certain for Zhang when Pham's second Doom Blade got Cancelled. Pham tapped out for Sphinx of Uthuun but Stingerfling Spider from Zhang convinced Pham to scoop up his cards, ending his Top 8 run there and then.

    "Not a bad try for four cards!" Pham said as he extended his hand graciously.

    Zhang 2 – Pham 1

     
  • Semifinal - Ryouta Endou vs. Zhiyang Zhang

    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • While Green may be considered by many to be the fifth best color in M12 draft, both Zhiyang Zhang and Ryouta Endou managed to get past their respective quarterfinals opponents playing Forests, as did Yuuya Watanabe over in the other semifinals match.

    Game One

    Zhang won the die roll, and got things started with a turn one Ponder, while Endou summoned a Goblin Arsonist. When the Goblin attacked into Zhang's Runeclaw Bear, Endou used a Titanic Growth to keep it alive. Zhang replaced his Bear with a Merfolk Looter, while Endou summoned a 3/3 Blood Ogre. Zhang looted on his turn, finding an Arachnus Web for the Ogre, but Endou cast a Trollhide on it, knocking the Web aside. Zhang continued to loot for answers, now facing down a 5/5 first striker, and found a Cudgel Troll. Stopped in his tracks, Endou could only frown as Zhang followed that up with a Garruk's Horde.

    Zhiyang Zhang tries to fight off the Hordes with one of his own.

    With no cards left in hand, Zhang hoped his Horde would bring him some good news before Endou could grow an army great enough to get through. A Greater Basilisk would have been threatening, but the 7/7 had already forecast another Arachnus Web. The Horde finally dug up a Chasm Drake, but Zhang was going to need more than that as Endou summoned a 5/5 Gorehorn Minotaurs, and then a Stingerfling Spider to knock the Drake off its perch, and take them to game two.

    Endou 1 – Zhang 0

    Game Two

    The second game began in a similar manner, Zhang with his Runeclaw Bear, and a Merfolk Looter, and Endou with his Goblin Arsonist. However, things quickly began to turn sour for Endou as he failed to find a third land. A Web shut down the Goblin, and Zhang attacked with his bear, and even his Looter, before summoning a Cudgel Troll. Endou drew his next card, and flicked the web back to Zhang in frustration, scooping up what few permanents he had managed to make.

    Endou 1 – Zhang 1

    Game Three

    Zhang mulliganed in the decider, but had the first plays with a Phantasmal Bear, and a Ponder to find himself a third land. Endou's first spell was a third turn Greatsword, followed by a Rusted Sentinel, while Zhang summoned a Cudgel Troll. With the Troll's shields down, Endou sent in the Sentinel, enabling a 5/5 Gorehorn Minotaurs. Zhang again tapped out, this time to summon a Stampeding Rhino.

    Ryouta Endou looks for a way through.

    Endou considered his options. There was a vulnerable Troll, a Rhino, and a Bear facing down his Sentinel, and Minotaurs. He equipped the Sword to his Sentinel, and attacked with a 5/5 and a 6/4, showing two Green mana for tricks. Zhang's eyes flicked over the board repeatedly as his brow furrowed. He finally pushed the Rhino in front of the Sentinel, and sure enough, Endou had the Titanic Growth. Zhang had nothing on his turn, but at least his Troll was now able to regenerate, if required. A Bonebreaker Giant got Cancelled while the rest of Endou's team waited for the opportune moment.

    Endou summoned a Greater Basilisk, which stuck, while Zhang summoned a lowly Runeclaw Bear. Endou counted his lands and moved his creatures around his side of the table, considering his angles of attack, and what Zhang might have had at his disposal. Finally, he slammed down an Overrun, causing Zhang to rock forward in his chair. But no Mana Leak sprang forward to stop the spell. Zhang's only recourse was to offer the handshake.

    Ryouta Endou defeats Zhiyang Zhang 2 – 1

     
  • Semifinal - Yuuya Watanabe vs. Kentarou Ino

    by Chapman Sim
  • Yuuya Watanabe is just two matches away from becoming a three-time Grand Prix Champion and his three color deck seemed powerful enough to do the job. Splashing Red for Fireball and Incinerate, his Blue/Green deck was able to end games fast with a lethal combination of fliers and fatties. Kentaro Ino wasn't going to make life easy for his opponent though, since his deck featured double Aegis Angel, Rune-Scarred Demon, as well as two very dangerous Spirit Mantles and three Auramancers.

    Game One

    Ino opened with Gideon's Lawkeeper, and an Alabaster Mage, which zoomed in for a few damage before Watanabe cushioned the assault with Giant Spider. Ino used Diabolic Tutor to call forth Rune-Scarred Demon, promising yet another round of card searching in the future.

    Kentarou Ino searches up the answers.

    When Ino added Siege Mastodon to the board, Watanabe Incinerated the opposing "tapper", so that the Giant Spider may stand in the way of an incoming elephant. However, that was not to be as Ino calmly attached Spirit Mantle to the 3/5 elephant, making it a formidable 4/6 unblockable monstrosity. Watanabe had four land in play, but only one of them provided green mana, leaving Garruk's Companion, Cudgel Troll and Greater Basilisk stranded in his hand.

    Out of desperation, he attacked with Giant Spider, using Hunter Insight to draw two cards but Ino's counterattack reduced him to just four life. Rune-Scarred Demon entered the battlefield, ensuring Watanabe's doom when he tutored up Pacifism.

    Ino 1 – Watanabe 0

    Game Two

    Watanabe's first play was Garruk's Companion, but the beast kicked the bucket when Alabaster Mage and Wring Flesh teamed up. Watanabe's Cudgel Troll had Pacifism stuck onto it, but he retaliated with double Chasm Drakes and a gigantic 9/9 Carnage Wurm, threatening to end the game faster than you can say "ouch". Ino tried to find a solution with Rune-Scarred Demon but that was irrelevant. Plummet destroyed the demon before he could even untap, allowing Watanabe to deal the exact fifteen damage he needed on turn eight of the game.

    Watanabe 1 –Ino 1

    Game Three

    Ino opened with double Gideon's Lawkeeper and Alabaster Mage, while Watanabe could only lay lands and watch his life points whittle away. Spirit Mantle made the Mage rather daunting, even if it couldn't grant itself lifelink. A second Spirit Mantle was attached to one of the Lawkeepers, and it didn't seem like Watanabe would be attacking OR blocking anytime soon.

    Yuuya Watanabe's back is against the wall.

    Watanabe was not without a plan though. He resolved Primordial Hydra as a 3/3, then got rid of the Alabaster Mage with Deathmark. Ino still had his duo of tappers and thought he was safe, but it was a false sense of security. Watanabe laid low for a turn to allow the hydra to double in size, then tapped down both Gideon's Lawkeepers with Frost Breath, allowing the 12/12 hydra to attack unopposed to take the match.

    Yuuya Watanabe 2 – Kentarou Ino 1

     
  • Finals: Yuuya Watanabe vs. Ryouta Endou

    by Chapman Sim
  • Both friends engaged in the usual pre-game banter and were clearly ecstatic to be at the final table. Yuuya Watanabe's tri-colored deck did stumble on mana during his previous matches, but he still managed to climb back from the clutches of death. Ryouta Endou's deck was very solid as well, and was possibly the deck with the least lands all weekend. He was only playing fifteen, since he had a full set of Llanowar Elves. He also had triple Goblin Arsonists to "switch" on his triple Gorehorn Minotaurs, and Overrun to overwhelm his opponents.

    Game One

    Yuuya seemed like he was playing constructed, as he opened with Birds of Paradise and then Rampant Growth plus Ponder on turn two, giving him an excellent kick start. Endou was not to be outdone as he used Llanowar Elves to accelerate into turn two and three Manic Vandal and Rusted Sentinel.

    Yuuya Watanabe in action.

    Chasm Drake appeared soon after, and Yuuya took advantage of the Endou being tapped out to resolve Hunter's Insight, drawing three cards to refill his hand. Garruk's Companion soon took to the skies as well, and together, they started dealing six damage a turn, while Cudgel Troll stayed back to block.

    When Endou tried to race with his army, Watanabe blocked the Sentinel with the Troll, but had to lose Birds of Paradise to Endou's Greater Basilisk. Watanabe's counterattack brought Endou down to just five life, and he could only scoop up his cards after looking at his next card.

    Watanabe 1 – Endou 0

    Game Two

    Having four copies of Llanowar Elf in his deck, it was not surprising to Watanabe when his opponent opened with double Llanowar Elves. It was a weird sight though, since both players were stuck on multiple forests, with no access to their secondary (or in Watanabe's case, secondary and tertiary) color. Garruk's Companion tried to race the pair of Llanowar Elves, but Endou added Stingerfling Spider to block.

    Ryouta Endou fights back.

    Watanabe had to discard Alluring Siren last turn but he was visibly excited to draw an Island to enable Solemn Simulacrum, granting him the Mountain he needed to alleviate his manascrew. Suddenly, all of Watanabe's cards were "live", and I when I peered over his shoulder, he was holding a monster grip which included double Chasm Drake, Frost Breath, Incinerate, and Fireball!

    Endou was still stuck on five green mana, facing Watanabe's Chasm Drake, Garruk's Companion as well as Solemn Simulacrum. Watanabe attacked next turn with all his three creatures and blew a breath of frosty air at the Rusted Sentinel and Stingerfling Spider before blockers could be declared. The attack took Endou down to just six damage and Watanabe mercilessly finished off his fellow countryman with a lethal fireball.

    Congratulations to Yuuya Watanabe, our Grand Prix Shanghai Champion!

     
  • Sunday, 9:04 p.m. - Top 5 Cards of the Grand Prix Shanghai 2011

    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw and Chapman Sim
  • #5 Pentavus
    Pentavus may not be what you wish to open in your booster drafts, but it certainly makes top five of the most annoying, yet effective creatures in sealed deck, and was credited by anyone who opened it as the best card in their deck on day one. Pentavites jump in and out to attack AND defend simultaneously. It's ridiculously hard to kill. And to make matters worse, it's not even profitable to kill it, unless your opponent happens to be totally tapped out. Be sure to have your Naturalize ready!



    #4 Cudgel Troll

    When it comes to Magic 2012 limited, many people will tell you that Green is just too slow to keep up with the other four colors, but that just didn't seem like the case here this weekend. Leading the stampede was Cudgel Troll, a card that has garnered plenty of respect in the past with M10 and M11 limited, and made its mark again here this weekend in the hands of Yuuya Watanabe. Usually on opponent's faces.



    #3. Druidic Satchel

    In an environment where blood is spilt earlier than usual and where card advantage is minimal (unless you're a blue mage), Druidic Satchel is certainly worth every mana you invest. Receiving any one of the three bonuses every turn is potentially a huge advantage, single-handedly dominating games on its own. It also complicates combat for your opponent, and filters out unnecessary lands which you would otherwise have drawn.



    #2 Doom Blade

    Doom Blade is impressive for its unrivalled consensus to be the best common in the set for limited. We went as far as not bothering to ask people what common most wanted open in draft, because we already knew the answer. The gap is hardly close, and for good reason. Of the 116 creatures in this Core Set, 5 have hexproof, and 21 are black. If you do the math, Doom Blade deals with more than 77% of all the creatures you will ever encounter in M12 sealed deck or booster draft, and at the low, low price of two mana.



    #1 Fireball
    Since the dawn of time* Fireball has been ending games in favor of the Red mage. The much feared and coveted uncommon took an early retirement from Magic after Fifth Edition, only to be brought back by popular demand in Darksteel. It slices, it dices (where slicing and dicing can be done with fire) and it flat out wins you games. It certainly won Yuuya Watanabe the last game of the finals this weekend, his Blue/Green deck splashing Red almost exclusively for the Great Balls of Fire.



    *I'm dead certain the Dawn of Time happened in 1993. Absolutely sure of it.

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