gpsin11

Grand Prix Singapore Day 1 Coverage

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  • Saturday, 1:34 p.m. – Grand Prix Trial Winners

    by Pip Hunn
  • Matthew Rogers - Trial # 2 Winner
    Grand Prix-Singapore 2011


     

  • Saturday, 3:40 p.m. – The Law

    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Me, I'm Team Judge (and apparently still trapped in 2008). These guys work tirelessly to keep these events running, and don't complain when I commandeer them for errands, or reprimand them for eating my precious chocolates.

    Their fearless leader this weekend is Australian level 4 James Mackay, author of "Judging at Regular," the ground-breaking document that reformed the way we run regular REL events, shifting the focus to fun and education.

    In support are fellow level 4's Carlos Ho and Kevin Desprez. The level 3's are Alfonso Bueno, David Lyford-Smith, Fabian Peck, Joel Bantiles, Nathan Brewer, and Smith Lo. The Level 2's are Arthur Wu, Clifford Yap, Gareth Pye, Glicerio Jr. "Surge" Garcia, Jinyi Lim, Sashi "C Loco" Kumar, Shing Nien Fong, and Sung Dae Eum. The level 1's are Fon-leang Chew, Frans Setiadi, Fuhai Zhou, Haitao Jia, Hosea Chong, Kin Seng Leong, Neil Pendon, Rajesh Ganesan, Sean Roffey, Shengkeng Deng, Shufeng Lu, Sikarin Korchareon, Victoriano Lim, Weiwen Loh, Yopi Effendi, Zhaoben Xu, and Zhenghua Lee. And lastly, the judges yet to sit their level 1 exams are Alvin Lim, Benjamin lam, Jason Lee, Morgan Ramanchandram, Sun Eurkittiroj, Wai Hoong Kan, and Wen Han Foo.


     

  • Saturday, 3:30 p.m. – Quick Questions

    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • What is the most overrated card in Standard?


    Kazuya Mitamura: "Spell Pierce." Ben Stark: "Sword of War and Peace."
    Luis Scott-Vargas: "Jace, the Mind Sculptor." Josh Utter-Leyton: "Mana Leak."
    Brad Nelson: "Emeria Angel." Conley Woods: "Day of Judgment."

     

  • Feature Match: Round 4 – Owen Turtenwald vs. Steven Tan

    by Pip Hunn
  • Steven Tan is a local icon, currently Singapore's highest ranked player. Most of his rating comes from a Top 32 at Worlds 2010, and he has 4 other GP Top 8's in his resume. Owen Turtenwald has a long and strong Magic history, notably winning the 2010 Vintage Championship held at GenCon. He also placed second at GP: Washington in 2010 and has 4 other GP Top 8's to his name.

    Game 1

    Tan started the action with a Stoneforge Mystic. He fetched a Batterskull and passed, Turtenwald returning the play with a Mystic and a Sword of Feast and Famine. Both players settled down for what was likely to be a common occurrence this weekend; the Caw-Blade mirror.

    Tan flashed his Batterskull into play with the Mystic and attacked Turtenwald for 4. The Caw-Blade mirror is often determined on board position rather than life totals, and Tan led out a Mirran Crusader to try and keep the pressure on. Turtenwald had a Mana Leak, keeping the dangerous creature off the board but leaving his Sword unplayed.

    Steven Tan is sporting Mirran Crusader in his CawBlade build.

    Both players deployed equipment and men tit-for-tat to the battlefield. A crucial moment came when Turtenwald was able to Into the Roil in response to Tan equipping his Batterskull. The loss of tempo gave Turtenwald an opening to exploit, and Tan was forced to move to his sideboard.

    Owen Turtenwald 1 – Steven Tan 0

    Stephen referred to some sideboarding notes in between the games. "It's my first tournament since Worlds", he grinned.

    Game 2

    Turtenwald led the action in game 2 with an early Preordain into a Stoneforge Mystic, which was halted by a Mana Leak from Tan. Tan summoned a Mirran Crusader, giving Turtenwald an opportunity to successfully cast his second Mystic, which fetched Sword of War and Peace. The Mirran Crusader attacked Turtenwald down to 16 and was joined by another copy of the powerful double-striker.

    Turtenwald simply bounced the second Mirran Crusader with an Into the Roil and passed, two mana open and threatening a Mystic activation. Tan's sole Mirran Crusader attacked and knocked Turtenwald to 12. Tan followed up by destroying Turtenwald's access to white mana with a Tectonic Edge. Unable to play any threats, Turtenwald was steamrolled by Tan's attackers.

    Steven Tan 1 – Owen Turtenwald 1

    It's okay, Turtenwald's takin' it back!

    Game 3

    Turtenwald began the action in game 3 with - you guessed it - a Stoneforge Mystic for Batterskull. It was quickly Dismembered to clear the way for Tan's Mystic. Turtenwald filled his board with Squadron Hawks and used a Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Into the Roils to repeatedly bounce Tan's Mystic. Tan powered through Preordains to try and stick a threat, but Turtenwald kept his answers coming.

    Tan tried his own Jace and then a Gideon Jura, but neither had any impact. Unable to stick a Planeswalker and facing down a Sword of War and Peace and a flock of Hawks, Tan found himself outmanned and outgunned.

    Own Turtenwald 2 – Steven Tan 1


     

  • Saturday, 5:15 p.m. – Quick Questions

    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • What is the most underrated card in Standard?


    Shuhei Nakamua: "Primeval Titan." Alex West: "Divine Offering or Shatter. The format is open to it, but I haven’t seen anyone playing more than one copy."
    Martin Juza: "Fauna Shaman." Brian Kibler: "Etched Champion."
    David Ochoa: "Consecrated Sphinx." Sam Black: "Tectonic Edge. People still seem to think it’s okay to play more than two colors in CawBlade."

     

  • Feature Match: Round 6 – Brian Kibler vs. Josh Utter-Leyton

    by Pip Hunn
  • Brian Kibler, Hall of Famer and all-around Magic Nice Guy, has let it be known that his deck's packing a few surprises. Twitter has been awash with speculation as to what he's running, and Kibler and a few co-pilots have been confident of success.

    Standing in Kibler's way is Josh Utter-Leyton, 2010 US National Champion. Utter-Leyton piloted Caw-Blade to a 6th place finish at Grand Prix: Fort Worth earlier this year. Both players had tested against each other, and predicted the first game would fall to Kibler, whose deck was designed to chew up Caw-Blade like so much fried chicken.

    Game 1

    Utter-Leyton made the first play with a Stoneforge Mystic. Kibler quickly shut down any shenanigans with a Phyrexian Revoker, showing the gathered crowd some of what was lurking in his U/B concoction. Utter-Leyton Dismembered the Revoker, but Kibler replaced it with an Etched Champion.

    Things don't appear to be going as planned for Kibler.

    Utter-Leyton was unfazed by the 2/2. He flashed in a Sword of Feast and Famine at end of turn and equipped it. He followed up with a second Stoneforge Mystic and some Squadron Hawks. Desperate for answers, Kibler dug with an Ichor Wellspring and found a Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas. Unfortunately for him, Utter-Leyton had a Spell Pierce, and Kibler was quickly overrun.

    Josh Utter-Leyton 1 – Brian Kibler 0

    "That's not how game one's supposed to go", grinned Kibler as he shuffled up. Utter-Leyton smiled back, more confident now he was up a game.

    Game 2

    Kibler led off with a mulligan and a Vedalken Certarch, and following that with a Phyrexian Revoker, naming Stoneforge Mystic. Kibler's play proved sound, as Utter-Leyton summoned the powerful 2-drop, at least still able to tutor for a Sword of Feast and Famine. Kibler's Revoker traded with the Mystic in combat and a second got Ousted, giving Utter-Leyton a window to resolve a Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

    Utter-Leyton calmly takes control of the situation.

    Utter-Leyton took his time, spending the next few turns carefully laying out Squadron Hawks and filling his hand with gas thanks to Jace's Brainstorm ability. The ability to shuffle away Squadron Hawks and then re-tutor for them has given many a Caw-Blade player an overwhelming advantage, and it was no exception in this case. Despite mounting a valiant offence with a pair of Etched Champions, Kibler soon found himself outpaced.

    Josh Utter-Leyton 2 – Brian Kibler 0


     

  • Saturday, 6:48 p.m. – Quick Questions

    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • What New Phyrexia common or uncommon would you most like to open in Scars Block draft?


    Brad Nelson: "Enslave." Shuhei Nakamura: "Enslave."
    Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa: "Viral Drake." Ben Stark: "Enslave, not even close."
    Brian Kibler: "Dismember." Raphael Levy: "Mortis Dogs! :)"

     

  • Feature Match: Round 7 – Hao-Shan Huang vs. Martin Juza (Quick Recap)

    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Hao-Shan Huang

    Taiwan's Hao-Shan Huang defeated Martin Juza in two straight games. Huang's three-color DarkBlade, while being somewhat weak to Tectonic Edge, had what it took to take down Juza's more traditional two-color CawBlade. Unfortunately, I expended what could potentially be the greatest pun of the weekend reporting the win on twitter, when I posted "Juza's Hawks just Cawdn't get there".


     

  • Saturday, June 4: 8:02p.m.: Artist Feature – Daarken

    by Pip Hunn
  • Daarken is a popular Fantasy artist who has worked for Wizards of the Coast as well as creating art for the popular Warhammer and Warcraft games. A student of the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, Daarken is a talented, flexible artist with a penchant for drawing deltoids. He graciously answered a few questions in between scribbling out sketches for a seemingly endless line of fans.

    Pip: You mentioned on your blog that you got called up by Wizards to do some work for them.

    Daarken: Yeah, Wizards contacted me and asked me if I was interested in doing some freelance work for them. I started off doing D&D work for them in 2004, and did that for about two years.



    Then I got in contact with Jeremy Jarvis and asked about doing some Magic work. My art appeared in Future Sight and I've had recurring work with Wizards from then in.

    Pip: Do you get to travel much for signings and conventions?

    Daarken: I get to do a bit. I'm out here in Singapore and love it here, everyone's really friendly. This is one stop in a series for me, I'm also heading to Nagoya for the Pro Tour. I've been to a couple of WizardCons as well, they were great.



    Pip: What's your most popular card for signings and alterations?

    Daarken: It changes as the formats rotate, but Bloodghast's always been popular.

    Pip: Do you play Magic?

    Daarken: I used to play, actually before I started working for Wizards. Then everyone I played with moved away, and I stopped for a while.

    Pip: You've made a career of working on some pretty popular game franchises. Magic, Warhammer, WoW... Are you much of a gamer?



    Daarken: I play a lot of games. I play WoW a reasonable amount, so it was nice to work on artwork for the game. I actually play more Magic on the X-box than in cards, and I used to paint Warhammer models as well.

    Pip: Of the Magic cards you've done, which one's your favorite?

    Daarken: Probably Sarkhan Vol. I think Chippy's one of the best Magic artists around, so it's great to work on a version of a card that exists alongside his. It's an iconic piece of artwork, and working on a Planeswalker lets you make much larger, full-size artwork than other card types.

    (Daarken's website: http://daarken.com)




     

  • Saturday, 8:16p.m. - Quick Questions

    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • What did you have for breakfast this morning?

    Sam Black: "Two peanut butter and banana sandwiches."" David Ochoa: "Mono-bacon! No, actually, I’ve been working on this dish. I start with a mixed greens salad, add bacon, fried shallots, and braised peanuts."
    Raphael Levy: "Toast with peanut butter." Martin Juza: "Nothing, I stayed up and watched the tennis." (the picture tells it all, really - blister)
    Luis Scott-Vargas: "Scrambled eggs, bacon, and salad." Josh Utter-Leyton: "Hotel buffet. Eggs, waffle, bacon, and a croissant."

     

  • Saturday, 9:22p.m. – The Night Lights of Singapore

    by Pip Hunn and Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • One of the great things about the Grand Prix series is the exotic locations one gets to travel to. Tropical Singapore is no exception. As an international travel hub, Singapore has an amazing nightlife, brilliant food, and dozens of tourist attractions. And so to the coverage staff fell the difficult, onerous duty of heading out on a Friday evening to sample the local flavor and getting some photos to spice up the coverage.

    Singapore presented us with a buffet of choices. After polling various Pros who'd arrived earlier, we narrowed it down to a night safari, a visit to the bird park, and checking out Songs of the Sea, a laser light show combined with singing and explosions. Your intrepid reporters love lasers and explosions, (although the less said about their singing, the better). The decision was made.

    We trekked over to Sentosa, an island off the side of Singapore, to check out the show. It started off gently, with mists and light over the water, delicately outlining a beach village. Then the lights turned into lasers, giant fireballs roared into the sky, and cannons of water started firing.

    The audience to this family-oriented show was impressive. The cast of the show came out to waves of enthusiastic applause and the show began, combining singing and voice-overs from a host of laser projected fish. For an outsider, it felt like a cross between a high-tech cabaret and a performance by the Wiggles.

    Unfortunately our repertoire was limited to various Heavy Metal ballads in Ray's case, and Disney's 'Under the Sea' from Pip. Most of the songs were, as far as we could tell, either traditional songs or non-English pop, leaving it hard for us to follow along. We did clap along with the best of spirits, though.

    All up, Singapore gave us an enjoyable evening in the balmy air. The fireballs were explosive, the water cannons were thunderous and the sight of lasers beaming and twinkling their way through the spray and mist was a sight to see.



     

  • Feature Match: Round 9 – Brad Nelson vs. Hironobu Sugaya

    by Pip Hunn
  • Brad Nelson is a familiar name in Magic coverage worldwide. Player of the Year for 2010, multiple Grand Prix Top 8's and the winner of GP: Washington in 2010, feared by Magic Online players worldwide, Nelson has a well deserved reputation for strong play. He hasn't had a great string of finishes recently, but is looking to fix that this weekend.

    Hironobu Sugaya, the Winner in Manila in 2008, also the Top 8 of GP Kitakyushu in 2009. He's a confident Caw-Blade player, although a little intimidated by Nelson's reputation.

    Game 1

    Nelson mulliganed and began his recovery with a pair of Preordains. Sugaya simply summoned a Stoneforge Mystic. Nelson countered the card-advantageous creature with a card-advantageous Planeswalker, Jace, the Mind Sculptor. With engines running, both Caw-Blade pilots slapped down equipment and assembled their armies.

    Nelson spies an opening.

    Things started to get a little out of hand. Germ tokens suited up with Batterskulls and Swords of War and Peace. Single creatures attacking swung life totals by fifteen or more. Nelson made his move by activating a pair of Tectonic Edges, leaving Sugaya stranded for colored sources of mana. Nelson took the first game, Sugaya unable to recover in time.

    Brad Nelson 1 – Hironobu Sugaya 0

    Game 2

    Sugaya led the play with a Squadron Hawk, but Nelson raced ahead by summoning a Stoneforge Mystic. Sugaya implacably played another flier and started attacking, Nelson declining to activate his Mystic in the face of Sugaya's open lands. After a couple of attacks, Sugaya tested the waters with a Stoneforge Mystic. It resolved, but Nelson used the opening to flash in a Batterskull.

    Nelson had a Dismember for Sugaya's Mystic, and the Batterskull crashed in to recoup some of the life lost by the Hawk attacks. The game grew to resemble the first, with each player seeking out incremental advantages in tempo and board position. With equipment clogging up the board, both players raced through their decks for something to break the relative stalemate. Sugaya found his first, with a Mirran Crusader's double strike proving too much for Nelson to defend against.

    Sugaya strikes back.

    Hironobu Sugaya 1 – Brad Nelson 1

    Game 3

    Both players sped into the third game with less than 10 minutes on the clock. One thing about Caw-Blade, you need to be confident in the mirror, because nobody wants a draw in the final round of a Grand Prix Day 1.

    After a mulligan from Nelson, neither player had any early action. Sugaya resolved a turn 4 Jace unopposed. He Fatesealed his opponent and tucked what he saw away. Nelson dug for a 4th land with a Preordain and found it, using it to Mana Leak Sugaya's Stoneforge Mystic.

    Sugaya simply cast another and passed. Nelson cast and resolved his own Jace to clear the board of Planeswalkers, but Sugaya had another, and his Mystic was looking ominous. Nelson cast the fourth Jace of the game, with Sugaya flashing in his Batterskull to start trying to win in the time he had left. Sugaya followed up with a third Mystic and went hunting for more equipment. Nelson, saw the writing on the wall and conceded.

    Hironobu Sugaya 2 – Brad Nelson 1

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