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Zhang Shreds Sydney!

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Few would have picked Melbourne's Allen Zhang to win this power packed Top 8, but armed with his lightning-fast Rakdos deck, he made short work of Martin Jůza in the quarterfinals. Jůza was looking to be the first person to win a Grand Prix in four continents, but he'll have another chance later this year at GP Brisbane.

Zhang then faced New Zealand's Zen Takahashi in the semifinals, besting the feisty 15 year-old with his Shred-Freaks in 3 games, to go through to the finals to face one of Australia's finest mages, Justin Cheung.

Cheung's deck was almost perfectly suited to foil Zhang's aggressive beaters, but having watched Cheung wreck Tomoharu Saito in the semifinals with Electrickery and Izzet Staticaster, Zhang played play around them perfectly, quickly and forcefully giving Cheung yet another second place finish for his resume.

Congratulations to Allen Zhang, the 2013 Grand Prix Sydney Champion!



Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals Champion
8 Adam Witton Justin Cheung, 2-1
3 Justin Cheung Justin Cheung, 2-0
1 Daniel Unwin Tomoharu Saito, 2-0 Allen Zhang, 2-0
5 Tomoharu Saito
7 Stanislav Cifka Zen Takahashi, 2-1
6 Zen Takahashi Allen Zhang, 2-1
4 Allen Zhang Allen Zhang, 2-1
2 Martin Juza






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EVENT COVERAGE TWITTER

INFORMATION
 1.  Allen Zhang $3,500
 2.  Justin Cheung $2,300
 3.  Tomoharu Saito $1,500
 4.  Zen Takahashi $1,500
 5.  Daniel Unwin $1,000
 6.  Martin Jůza $1,000
 7.  Stanislav Cifka $1,000
 8.  Adam Witton $1,000
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Top 8 Profiles

by Event Coverage Staff


Zen Takahasi

Age: 15
Hometown: Auckland, New Zealand
Occupation: Student


Which Ravnica Guild are you in?
Izzet

What colors did you play on day one, and what was your record?
4 Colour Trash, 7-1 (3 Byes)

What colors did you play in the first draft, and what was your record?
Rakdos, 3-0

What colors did you play in the second draft, and what was your record?
Rakdos, 1-1-1

What's your best Magic event finish and where/when?
GP Auckland, 11th, PTQ win.

What is your local Magic gaming store?
King of Cards, Auckland

Which Planeswalker do you think could beat Giant Rubber Ducky in a fight?
Tibalt.




Tomoharu Saito

Age: 29
Hometown: Shinjyuku-ku (Tokyo), Japan
Occupation: MTG Shop Owner and Very Fresh Pro Player (I was reborn (●⌒∇⌒●) )


Which Ravnica Guild are you in?
Azorious

What colors did you play on day one, and what was your record?
7-1

What colors did you play in the first draft, and what was your record?
G/B 2-1

What colors did you play in the second draft, and what was your record?
W/U 2-0-1

What's your best Magic event finish and where/when?
2005 Charleston winner, 4x GP winner

What is your local Magic gaming store?
Card Shop Hareruya

Which Planeswalker do you think could beat Giant Rubber Ducky in a fight?
Everyone but Tibalt!




Justin Cheung

Age: 31
Hometown: Sydney
Occupation: Public Servant


Which Ravnica Guild are you in?
Simic

What colors did you play on day one, and what was your record?
RB splash Teleportal, Voidwalker and 2 Pursuits of Flight, 7-1 with 3 byes.

What colors did you play in the first draft, and what was your record?
GW, 3-0

What colors did you play in the second draft, and what was your record?
UW, 1-0-2

What's your best Magic event finish and where/when?
3X GP Top 8

What is your local Magic gaming store?
Magic Online

Which Planeswalker do you think could beat Giant Rubber Ducky in a fight?
Jace, Memory Adept could headbutt and pop it with his hair.




Stanislav Cifka

Age: 25
Hometown: Český Krumlov (Czech Republic)
Occupation: MtG Player


Which Ravnica Guild are you in?
Izzet.

What colors did you play on day one, and what was your record?
Rakdos, 7-1

What colors did you play in the first draft, and what was your record?
4CC Guardian 2-1

What colors did you play in the second draft, and what was your record?
Rakdos 2-0-1

What's your best Magic event finish and where/when?
PT RTR Winner (Seattle)

What is your local Magic gaming store?
None.

Which Planeswalker do you think could beat Giant Rubber Ducky in a fight?
Nicol Bolas beats everything.




Dan Unwin

Age: 27
Hometown: Melbourne
Occupation: Looking at Waitresses.


Which Ravnica Guild are you in?
Izzet

What colors did you play on day one, and what was your record?
G/W Splash U/R, 6-2

What colors did you play in the first draft, and what was your record?
G/W, 3-0

What colors did you play in the second draft, and what was your record?
U/W, 3-0

What's your best Magic event finish and where/when?
Top 8 GP Melbourne 2012, Brisbane 2011

What is your local Magic gaming store?
Games Laboratory, Melbourne

Which Planeswalker do you think could beat Giant Rubber Ducky in a fight?
Tibalt.




Adam Witton

Age: 30
Hometown: Melbourne
Occupation: Loading up the Tray


Which Ravnica Guild are you in?
Rakdos

What colors did you play on day one, and what was your record?
Rakdos, 6-2

What colors did you play in the first draft, and what was your record?
Selesnya 3-0

What colors did you play in the second draft, and what was your record?
Rakdos 2-0-1

What's your best Magic event finish and where/when?
Top 2 GP Auckland

What is your local Magic gaming store?
Good Games, Melbourne

Which Planeswalker do you think could beat Giant Rubber Ducky in a fight?
Dan Unwin / Ajani Goldmane.




Martin Juza

Age: 13
Hometown: Plzeň, Czech Republic
Occupation: Tourist


Which Ravnica Guild are you in?
Simic

What colors did you play on day one, and what was your record?
UWg, 8-0

What colors did you play in the first draft, and what was your record?
U/W, 2-0-1

What colors did you play in the second draft, and what was your record?
G/B/w/r, 1-1-1

What's your best Magic event finish and where/when?
Won back-to-back GP Best Buy.

What is your local Magic gaming store?
Unfortunately Plzeň doesn't have one, we have to play in a pub.

Which Planeswalker do you think could beat Giant Rubber Ducky in a fight?
How do you come up with these questions




Allen Zhang

Age: 23
Hometown: Melbourne
Occupation: Student


Which Ravnica Guild are you in?
Orzhov

What colors did you play on day one, and what was your record?
Rakdos, 7-1

What colors did you play in the first draft, and what was your record?
B/W/G, 3-0

What colors did you play in the second draft, and what was your record?
U/W, 1-0-2

What's your best Magic event finish and where/when?
This one so far!

What is your local Magic gaming store?
Next Level Games, Dandenong

Which Planeswalker do you think could beat Giant Rubber Ducky in a fight?
Garruk and 100 horse-sized ducks!




 

  • Quarterfinals Feature Match – Martin Jůza vs. Allen Zhang

    by Pip Foweraker

  • Juza's Top 8 started inauspiciously with a mulligan to 4, and kept a low-curve hand. Juza played his first land on turn 3, while Zhang took advantage of the free turns to drop a Frostburn Weird and a Grim Roustabout. Juza conceded a few turns later, having gleaned some small pieces of information about his opponent's deck.

    Martin Juza: Not enamoured of mulligans to 4 in the Top 8.

    Allen Zhang 1 – Martin Juza 0

    Juza's hand was more acceptable this game, but Zhang sent his back. "I guess it must be my turn", smiled Zhang, shaking his head once more and going to 5. Another mulligan drew a round of laughter from the crowd as Zhang kept his 4.

    Both players had plays this game – Zhang with a Thrill-Kill Assassin and a Rakdos Shred-Freak, Juza with a Hellhole Flailer, a Thrill-Kill Assassin of his own (plus a Deviant Glee!) and a Mizzium Mortars to clear out Zhang's Assassin.

    Zhang started mustering a defense with a Dead Reveler, who teamed up with the Shred-Freak to block the Flailer. Unfortunately for Zhang, Juza had more creatures, and Zhang didn't.

    Zhang: Also not enamoured of mulligans to 4 in the Top 8.

    Martin Juza 1 – Allen Zhang 1

    Both players sat back to consider their hands for the decider. Juza thought long and hard about his opening grip before sending it back – 2 off-colour lands not enough for him. Zhang kept his 7, and the players began.

    "This is just like last game, but with more cards", remarked Zhang, as he summoned a Rakdos Shred-Freak. Juza had one of his own, and they traded a moment later. Zhang summoned a Frostburn Weird and a Viashino Racketeer, while Juza found a Lobber Crew to shore up his defenses, then followed it with a Bloodfray Giant once he found his 4th land. Zhang had a Dreadbore to kill the Giant and attacked, whittling away at Juza's life total. An Auger Spree killed the Weird, but Zhang kept up the pressure with a Tenement Crasher.

    Juza summoned a Grim Roustabout, buying himself some time... Chaos Imps arrived on Juza's side of the battlefield (unleashed, too!), pushing Zhang to attack and knock out the Roustabout. Zhang had a Roustabout of his own, and Juza dropped a Deviant Glee onto his Lobber Crew.

    With the Chaos Imps threatening a lethal swing the following turn, Zhang pushed all his men sideways. He got through for enough damage that the Explosive Impact in his hand was enough to seal the deal.

    Allen Zhang 2 – Martin Juza 1




     

  • Quarterfinals Feature Match – Justin Cheung vs. Adam Witton

    by Pip Foweraker

  • Cheung led the action with a Seeker of Secrets, while Witton summoned a Stonefare Crocodile. An Izzet Charm killed off the pesky reptile and let Cheung connect with his Seeker. Witton rebuilt with an Ogre Jailbreaker.

    Cheung passed with no action, and Witton summoned a Dreg Mangler and attacked with his Jailbreaker. Cheung took the damage and Annihilating Fired the Dreg Mangler, but Witton had a Giant Growth in response.

    Cheung summoned an Isperia's Skywatch, while Witton had the powerful Collective Blessing to bolster his team. Cheung cast a Paralyzing Grasp on Witton's tapped Ogre Jailbreaker and summoned a Cobblebrute.

    Adam Witton

    Witton had more creatures coming, with a Deathrite Shaman and a Sluiceway Scorpion bolstering his team. Cheung, on the ropes, watched as Witton attacked with his team the following turn. His Cobblebrute blocked the Scorpion and a Trostani's Judgment took care of the Dreg Mangler, dropping Cheung to a perilous 5 life but leaving Witton with only the Shaman available for attacks.

    A second Isperia's Skywatch kept Cheung out of harm's way for a turn, leaving him enough time to summon an Electromancer and Bloodfray Giant, while Witton had no plays on his turn. Cheung's Skywatch had been crashing through the air unhindered, and within the space of a turn cycle, Witton found himself firmly on the defensive. When the top of his deck had no answers, both players turned to their sideboards.

    Justin Cheung 1 – Adam Witton 0

    Cheung opened the game with a Nivix Guildmage and a Cobblebrute, while Witton summoned an Ogre Jailbreaker and followed it with a Lotleth Troll. Witton tried a Dreg Mangler, but an Annihilating Fire took care of it quick-smart. Witton attacked with his Jailbreaker, and Cheung declined to block, summoning a Voidwielder on his turn to clear the board temporarily for an attack. Both players nibbled away at each other's life totals, preferring to race rather than trade.

    Witton rebuilt with his Troll and an attendant Wild Beastmaster, then sent in his Jailbreaker. Cheung cast an Izzet Charm on the (regenerating) Lotleth Troll, then copied it with his Guildmage to take out the Beastmaster. Niiiiice! The Jailbreaker attacked once more and Cheung declined to block, life totals standing at Cheung 5, Witton 4. Cheung summoned a Batterhorn and a Psychic Barrier, while Witton stockpiled cards in his hand before summoning a Sluiceway Scorpion.

    Cheung summoned an Isperia's Skyknight, detaining Witton's creatures and swinging with his Batterhorn and Cobblebrute. Witton cast a Golgari Charm to 2-for-1 Cheung, killing off both his attackers thanks to the Scorpion's deathtouch. His return attack knocked out Cheung's Voidwielder. Cheung attacked back with his Skyknight, dropping Witton to 1 and leaving his Psychic Barrier and Nivix Guildmage to stare down Witton's Scorpion, Jailbreaker and Troll, all of whom came crashing in.

    Cheung blocked Witton's Lotleth Troll with his Psychic Barrier, which Witton killed with a Launch Party. Cheung went to ping the Troll with a Staticaster, but Witton had a Giant Growth to leave it trampling over the now-dead blocker for exactly lethal..

    Adam Witton 1 – Justin Cheung 1

    Cheung had the first action of the decider, unleashing a Gore-House Chainwalker. Witton summoned a Korozda Guildmage, while Cheung piled on the pressure with a Tower Drake. The Guildmage attacked unblocked, and post-combat, Witton had an Axebane Guardian.

    Cheung attacked with both his creatures and Witton took the damage. Post-combat, Cheung summoned a Nivix Guildmage. Witton attacked again with his Guildmage and summoned a Sluiceway Scorpion. Cheung summoned a Voidwielder and bounced Witton's Scorpion before attacking with his Chainwalker and Drake. Witton threw his Axebane Guardian in front of the Chainwalker, who promptly Giant Growth'd himself to live to defend another day.

    On his turn, Witton summoned a Wild Beastmaster and an unleashed Grim Roustabout. Cheung had an Isperia's Skywatch, clearing the road once again for his Guildmage and Tower Drake to attack unhindered. Witton fell to 6 life.

    Justin Cheung

    Witton cast a Giant Growth on his Wild Beastmaster and then attacked with it, his Korozda Guildmage, and his Grim Roustabout. Cheung blocked the Guildmage with his Voidwielder and took 10, falling to 6 as well.

    Cheung attacked with his Skyknight and passed. At the end of his turn, Witton sacrificed his Roustabout to make 2 Saprolings. In response to Witton's all-in attack, Cheung cast an overloaded Chemister's Trick. Witton could only pump his Beastmaster twice, returning a state of balance to the Force – but not quite enough to finish Cheung off.

    Justin Cheung 2 – Adam Witton 1




     

  • Quarterfinals Feature Match – Dan Unwin vs. Tomoharu Saito

    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

  • Dan Unwin had his back against the wall early, with 2 losses to his name at the end of round 6. Needing 8 straight wins, he did just that, coming into the top 8 in first place, for his 3rd straight Australian Grand Prix Top 8.

    But if he was looking for an easy way through his Top 8, he wouldn't find one, faced with none other than Japan's Tomoharu Saito, who is certainly no stranger to Grand Prix Top 8's.

    Having finished at the top of the Swiss, Unwin was more than happy to play first, but had nothing but lands for his first four turns, while Saito summoned a Frostburn Weird, and followed it up with a Seller of Songbirds.

    Dan Unwin

    Wary of Unwin's untapped lands, Saito finally decided to play an Ethereal Armor on his Bird token, before attacking for 7, pumping his Weird twice to drop Unwin to 12.

    Unwin finally summoned a Golgari Longlegs, but Saito pushed another 7 damage through with an Inaction Injunction, before Unwin played a Knightly Valor on his Longlegs. It was soon sent packing by an Azorius Charm, and a Runewing joined the Bird Token, dropping Unwin to just 2 life. An Eyes in the Skies from Saito was enough to convince Unwin to go to game 2.

    Saito 1 – Unwin 0

    Unwin began game 2 a little faster this time, summoning a turn 3 Seller of Songbirds, but it was already facing down a Dryad Militant and a New-Prahv Guildmage from Saito. Unwin made a 3/3 with Slime Molding, but Saito kept coming with a Vassal Soul, a Tower Drake, and a Sunspire Griffin, knocking Unwin down to 14.

    But this time, Unwin had Eyes in the Skies, populating his 3/3 Slime Token and attacking back to keep up with Saito's damage. Saito slowed the bleeding with an Inaction Injunction, but Unwin pushed the point with a Common Bond, Saito falling to 11 to Unwin's 10.

    Unwin attacked, trading a Golgari Keyrune for the Dryad Militant, and crushing a Frostburn Weird with his now 4/4 Slime Token, dropping Saito to 9. Saito cast Knightly Valor on his Tower Drake, and attacked back, putting Unwin to a paltry 4 life.

    Tomoharu Saito

    Unwin drew and immediately turned his 4/4 Slime, 3/3 Slime, and 2/3 Seller of Songbirds sideways. Saito fed his Knight token to the 4/4, and pushed the 4/3 Drake in front of the 3/3, pumping it to try and keep it alive, but Unwin pushed right through it with a Selesnya Charm, dropping Saito to 6.

    Saito attacked with his remaining Griffin and Guildmage, and Unwin played the last card in his hand, Rootborn Defenses, to populate his Slime token, but Saito simply gave his Guildmage flying and Unwin extended the handshake with a smile.

    Tomoharu Saito defeats Dan Unwin 2-0

    "I should have mulliganed game one," Unwin laughed as they packed up their cards. "It was 3 good cards and 4 lands," he shrugged.




     

  • Quarterfinals Feature Match – Stanislav Cifka vs Zen Takahashi

    by Liam Fraser-Quick

  • Under the eyes of an enthralled crowd, Pro Tour Return to Ravnica champion Stanislav Cifka sat across the table from Zen Takahashi, who only two months ago placed 11th at Grand Prix Auckland. Before the match, Cifka expressed some dissatisfaction with his deck, and was noted to sigh on more than one occasion through his match.

    Cifka took a mulligan, but led the action with an Azorius Arrester. Takahashi summoned a Tower Drake, while Cifka missed his third land drop, swinging with his Arrester.

    Cifka's Arrester tried again, only to be ambushed by Takahashi's Hussar Patrol. Takahashi continued building his board with Armory Guard, while Cifka (still on two lands) entered emergency mode with a Slime Molding to make a 1/1.

    Takahashi put Cifka to 8 life with one big attack and cemented his already formidable position with an Izzet Keyrune, a Seller of Songbirds and her pet. A desperate Cifka drew, saw nothing, sighed, and conceded.

    Zen Takahashi 1 - Stanislav Cifka 0

    Takahashi indulges in a moment of Zen.

    Cifka elected to play first, but it was Takahashi who had the first play in Doorkeeper, while Cifka kicked off with a Chromatic Lantern, helping fuel a 4/4 Ooze from Slime Molding.

    Takahashi laid down an Armory Guard and Cifka followed with a Gatecreeper Vine. Cifka's Eyes in the Skies made another 4/4 plus a complementary 1/1 flier. Takahashi went onto the back foot with a second Doorkeeper, threatening to mill Cifka for 6 cards a turn.

    Cifka placed Armory Guard under Arrest and got in for 9 with the team for two successive turns, putting Takahashi to 2. He cemented his board position with an Archweaver. A timely Voidwielder for Takahashi sent an Ooze into the abyss - however, not reading that Cifka's Archweaver had trample cost Takahashi the game on the following turn.

    Zen Takahashi 1 - Stanislav Cifka 1

    A passive opening consisted of Takahashi's Doorkeeper being met by two of Cifka's Gatecreeper Vines. The Doorkeeper milled a Golgari Decoy, threatening to turn any old creature into something much more threatening.

    And threaten Cifka did, summoning a Towering Indrik. Takahashi decided that a potential 4/6 with reach was a little too much to deal with, and denied Cifka his fun with a Syncopate. Cifka sighed again. Takahashi's Izzet Keyrune hit the table, while Cifka played a third Gatecreeper Vine to add to his already impressive array of shrubberies.

    Cifka demands you fetch him a Shrubbery. One that looks nice. And not too expensive.

    Takahashi broke the stalemate with a Seller of Songbirds and the obligatory pet Bird token while Cifka (who clearly didn't want a repeat of game one's lack of mana) played a Chromatic Lantern. Takahashi stole first blood with his Bird and followed it up with an even bigger bird in the form of Archon of the Triumvirate, which was met with yet another sigh from Cifka as he played his seventh land and passed the turn.

    Takahashi put Cifka to 16 with his fliers and played an Armory Guard. Cifka had another Towering Indrik, looking very pale in comparison to Takahashi's flying, detaining Archon.

    Takahashi swung in with everyone, and Cifka killed off the animated Keyrune with a Giant Growthed Gatecreeper Vine. Cifka went to 7. Cifka summoned a Volatile Rig, but Takahashi's end step Hussar Patrol, followed by an overloaded Blustersquall, sealed the deal. Cifka – you guessed it – sighed and extended his hand.

    Zen Takahashi wins 2-1.




     

  • Semifinals Feature Match – Allen Zhang vs. Zen Takahashi

    by Pip Foweraker

  • Zhang led the action with a Rakdos Shred-Freak, while Takahashi summoned a Concordia Pegasus. Zhang bolstered his Shred-Freak with a Deviant Glee, while Takahashi summoned a Seller of Songbirds. Zhang killed the Pegasus with a Dreadbore, swung with his Freak - who traded with both of Takahashi's creatures – and summoned a Grim Roustabout.

    Takahashi had a Doorkeeper, but Zhang had another Deviant Glee to improve his Roustabout's offense. Takahashi summoned a Tower Drake but was tapped out, letting Zhang sneak in for another 4. Zhang then summoned a Viashino Racketeer, while Takahashi passed without any action on his turn.

    Zhang attacked again with his Roustabout, and this time the Doorkeeper jumped in its way. Zhang swung in with both his creatures, and a flashed Hussar Patrol took out the Racketeer. Takahashi attacked with his Tower Drake and passed. When Zhang's Roustabout attacked again, the Patrol chump-blocked it, but with nothing on the top of Takahashi's library, it was time for sideboards.

    Allen Zhang

    Allen Zhang 1 – Zen Takahashi 0

    Zhang cast the first spell with a Rakdos Shred-Freak, but Takahashi Syncopated it and summoned a Vassal Soul. Zhang had a second Shred-Freak, and Takahashi summoned a Seller of Songbirds. Hang enchanted his Shred-Freak with a Pursuit of Flight, then cast a Deviant Glee to turn his Shred-Freak into some sort of Hulk.

    Takahashi took the 6 damage, then cast an Avenging Arrow to take out the aptly-named Freak.

    On his turn, Takahashi summoned a Palisade Giant, which Zhang wiped out with a Dreadbore. Takahashi was unfazed, casting a Knightly Valor on his Seller of Songbirds and swinging. With no creatures and an army opposing him, Zhang scooped up his cards and started shuffling.

    Zen Takahashi

    Zen Takahashi 1 – Allen Zhang 1

    After exchanging comments about Hobbits (both players hail in their youths from NZ), Takahashi took a mulligan and the game began.

    Zhang unleashed a Grim Roustabout, while Takahashi had 2 Plains but no action. Zhang cast a Deviant Glee on his Roustabout and attacked, while Takahashi missed his 3rd and 4th land drops. Zhang summoned a Tenement Crasher, which Takahashi could tap for a turn with a Dynacharge, but Zhang was too far ahead for it to matter.

    Allen Zhang 2 – Zen Takahashi 1




     

  • Semifinals Feature Match – Tomoharu Saito vs. Justin Cheung

    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

  • Justin Cheung is no stranger to Australian Magic success, having represented Australia twice in team play, and finishing 2nd at the World Team Championships in 2008. But when it comes to teams, Tomoharu Saito's got him beat, with a Team Pro Tour win in Charleston 2006.

    Cheung screamed out of the gates in game one with a Goblin Electromancer, a Stealer of Secrets, and an unleashed Bloodfray Giant, adding insult to Saito's mulligan to 4. When Saito finally found his second color, he could only laugh as his New-Prahv Guildmage was promptly shot down by an Izzet Charm.

    Tomoharu Saito

    "Next game!" Saito announced, his shoulders bouncing with mirth.

    Cheung 1 – Saito 0

    Cheung attacked early with his Nivix Guildmage, clearing the first Vassal Soul aside with Izzet Charm, but applying the brakes in the face of the second, summoning a Goblin Electromancer.

    Saito Inaction Injunction'd the Guildmage, and attacked, before summoning a Dryad Militant. Saito chuckled as Cheung added a Staticaster to his team, knocking out the Militant. The Vassal Soul attacked again, and was joined by a Sunspire Griffin. Cheung attacked with his 2/2's, the Staticaster allowing the Guildmage to trade with the 2/3 Griffin. Cheung followed combat with a Stealer of Secrets and passed it back.

    Saito pointed a second Inaction Injunction at the Stealer and attacked with his Vassal Soul, the scores now 14 apiece. Cheung attacked back for 2 with his Electromancer, and summoned a Batterhorn. Saito elected not to attack after playing a 6th land turn, and motioned Cheung to proceed.

    Voidwielder bounced the Vassal Soul, and Cheung attacked with his Stealer, Batterhorn, and Electromancer. A largely unsurprising Skyline Predator ambushed the Stealer, and Saito fell to 6 life.

    Saito replayed his Soul, but Isperia's Skywatch detained the Predator before Cheung attacked with his team. Some Swift Justice allowed Saito's Vassal Soul to take down the Batterhorn, the lifelink keeping him afloat. Saito untapped, and summoned a Tower Drake.

    With Saito's Drake, Predator, and Vassal Soul facing down Cheung's Staticaster, Voidwielder, Skywatch, and Electromancer, they were at a bit of an impasse. Saito tried to break the silence with a Detention Sphere on the Staticaster, but it elected to pass Go and collect $200 anyway, borrowing some Annihilating Fire to help take down the Predator. Saito then tapped out to summon a Soulsworn Spirit, detaining the Skywatch, and letting the Drake fly over the Voidwielder and Electromancer.

    Justin Cheung

    With Saito's shields down, Cheung overloaded some Electrickery on the Drake and the Soulsworn Spirit. Now left with just the Vassal Soul facing off against Cheung's Skywatch, Saito's low life total was going to be a problem. He bought a turn with a Dramatic Rescue, but Cheung couldn't be stopped.

    "Your day!" Saito declared with a grin and a handshake, congratulating the Australian.

    Justin Cheung defeats Tomoharu Saito 2-0 to advance to the finals.




     

  • Finals Feature Match – Justin Cheung vs. Allen Zhang

    by Pip Foweraker

  • Game 1

    Zhang came steaming out of the gates with a Rakdos Shred-Freak, which Cheung killed with an Izzet Charm. Cheung summoned a Psychic Barrier, and Zhang unleashed a Dead Reveler. Cheung upped the pace with a Cobblebrute, while Zhang had a Desecration Demon.

    Cheung attacked with his Cobblebrute, which battled the Demon with the aid of some Annihilating Fire. Zhang summoned a Slum Reaper to clear out Cheung's Psychic Barrier, then bolstered it with a Deviant Glee.

    Justin Cheung

    On his turn, Cheung summoned a Stealer of Secrets. Zhang attacked with his Gleeful Reaper, then summoned a Golgari Longlegs. Cheung had no action on his turn, chump-blocking Zhang's Longlegs when he attacked next turn. Post-combat, Zhang had a Thrill-Kill Assassin, which was enough to prompt Cheung to scoop.

    Allen Zhang 1 – Justin Cheung 0

    Game 2

    Cheung took a mulligan in the second game. Zhang had the first creature with an unleashed Grim Roustabout, while Cheung missed his 3rd land drop. Zhang cast a Deviant Glee on the Roustabout and attacked. Cheung again failed to hit a land, while Zhang cast and equipped a Civic Saber. At the end of Zhang's turn, Cheung cast an Izzet Charm to dig for lands. Hitting at least one, Zhang dropped a Paralyzing Grasp on the Roustabout.

    Allen Zhang

    Zhang summoned a Rakdos Shred-Freak, equipped it with the Saber, and attacked. Cheung summoned his Psychic Barrier, which Zhang killed with a Launch Party, letting him attack again with his Shred-Freak. Cheung summoned a Voidwielder to bounce Zhang's Shred-Freak.

    On his turn, Zhang re-summoned his Rakdos Shred-Freak and followed up with a Slum Reaper, swinging for exactly lethal.

    The handshake.

    Congratulations to Allen 'Jub-Jub' Zhang, your Grand Prix: Sydney Champion!

    Allen Zhang 2 – Justin Cheung 0




     

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  • Top 5 Cards of Grand Prix Sydney 2013

    by Event Coverage Staff

  • After a yet another Grand Prix's finals were dominated by aggressive Rakdos cards, the event coverage staff have decided to pay due respect to what is clearly the best guild. Without further ado, here are the Top 5 cards from the winning-est, face-smashing-est decks from the weekend.



    5. Civic Saber

    Civic Saber is a wonderful card for aggressive decks, particularly in Rakdos and Azorius decks. Combining high-powered multicolour creatures with an aggressive and defensive boost helps one's early drops trade up. Grand Prix winner Allen Zhang used his to good effect, giving his creatures the vital points of power to push past Doorkeepers and Voidwielders.









    4. Bloodfray Giant

    The hyper-aggressive Giant is a keystone of any deckbuilder lucky enough to have one. Less effective on defense, but since when does that matter to a Red mage? The Giant's unleash gives you some strategic flexibility, but most of the time, players will opt to summon him in battle stance.










    3. Traitorous Instinct

    Oh, what's that? Your opponent summoned something bigger than your Rakdos Cackler and Grim Roustabout? That's OK – a Traitorous Instincts will (temporarily) cure what ails you, with the added bonus of extra points of smackdown with your borrowed creature. Your opponents will either learn their lesson about playing big creatures, or you'll beat them to death with them. Either way, it's a very Rakdos way to win.









    2. Deviant Glee

    Try to stop a smile spreading as you cast this on a creature and swing for 4 before your opponent has laid a blocker. We dare you. It's harder than you think – normally, creature enchantments are mediocre in Limited environments. In RTR Limited, though, enchantments have gained some respect, with many pro's over the weekend voicing admiration for Deviant Glee, Knightly Valor and a few other enchantments. The hyper-aggressive nature of Deviant Glee fits into Rakdos' fairly linear game plans – mostly involving knives and flame – and is a natural fit for Limited decks.






    1. Rakdos Shred-Freak

    Belittled throughout the format by many top players, Rakdos Shred-Freak does appear fragile at first glance. He doesn't do much in combat, and there are of creatures out there larger than him. That said, he is fast -very fast – and as Allen Zhang proved, a little faith and a couple of copies of Deviant Glee showcases the power of The Little Common That Could.






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