Sunday, July 25: 10:25 pm - Finals
Morita and Yuen pored over each other's decklists in the remaining minutes before they had to begin playing their mirror-match final of Affinity decks. Yuen appears to be a very thoughtful young man who has agonized over every major decision during the tournament this weekend. His instincts have carried him this far and now they were telling him to examine Morita's list for every second that the judges would allow so he could anticipate what was coming in games two and three.
Morita shipped back his hand and his next six saw him open with an Arcbound Worker. Yuen had an Ornithopter and a Disciple of the Vault. Morita's second turn saw him play Blinkmoth Nexus, his own Thopter, and Cranial Plating.
Yuen also had Plating for his turn and they continued to mount their armies with no attack. Morita's second Arcbound Worker gave him enough comfort to send the first Worker into battle with the Plating. Yuen pushed his Disciple in the way.
Yuen had a Disciple and another Worker on his turn and sent his equipped Thopter into battle. Morita chose to trade his equipped Thopter for it and took two from Yuen's Disciple. Morita laid a Citadel and sent his equipped Worker into the Red zone. Yuen chose not to block the base 2/2 modular guy and fell to thirteen.
Yuen played another Disciple and Morita did not seem too happy to see it. The Singaporean equipped his Worker and attacked for six. Morita had to decide if he wanted to block with his Blinkmoth--he took the six. Yuen moved the Playing to one of his Disciples.
Morita activated his Blinkmoth on offense and sent it in for seven pints--Yuen fell to six. Yuen swapped equipment back to his Worker and looked for an attack. He sent in everyone and Morita counted artifacts and decided to block one of the Disciples and take the seven from the Worker. Morita fell to three and when no Shrapnel Blast came to finish him off he sighed deeply with relief and attacked for the kill on his turn.
Morita - 1 Yuen - 0
Morita sided in two Moriok Riggers and two Bolts for an assortment of singletons. Yuen took out two Night's Whisper and two Myr Enforcers to bring in four Bolts--the key card in the post sideboard mirror in his analysis. He was not too happy about facing the Riggers and had hoped someone would have taken Morita out before he had to face him. Down a game he must have liked the prospect even less.
There were no mulligan and Yuen led off with a Worker. Morita made the traditional risky play of Sphere and Glimmervoid--the advantages of knowing your opponent's list I guess. Yuen had a ravager for turn two and Plating on turn three. Morita had played a second Sphere, a second Glimmervoid, and an Arcbound Worker. He had to take eight on Yuen's attack.
Morita cycled a Sphere, found his third land, and played a Rigger. Yuen had another Ravager and a second Worker--and all of Morita's dice--and tried to puzzle out his attack. Finally he sent everyone who was willing and able into the red zone and then at the last second pulled back his Worker and sent in only his Played Ravager. Morita's Worker stepped in its path and Yuen had to eat a land to save his guy. Morita's Rigger got two counters.
Morita cycled his Sphere to make a 5/5 but had to scoop when Yuen sent everyone into the red zone after playing a Disciple. He had two black open and he could move his Playing to any unblocked creature.
Morita - 1 Yuen - 1
Morita quickly decided to keep a solid hand while Yuen deliberated the wisdom of keeping a triple Cranial Plating hand. After much soul searching and sighing he sent it back and hoped for more action in his next six off the top. The next set featured only one land--a Citadel and nothing to play off of it beside a Welding Jar. He decided to keep and hope for a second.
Morita led off with Worker and Ravager. Yuen slowly peeled his next card looking for land number two and was rewarded with a Nexus that allowed him to play his own Ravager. Morita had a Frogmite and three cards deeper with Sphere and Thoughtcast he had no third land. He got in for one and passed the turn.
Yuen found his third land right on time and was able to play and Plate his Ravager but had no attack. Morita was peaceful as well but rattled some sabers with an Ornithopter and Somber Hoverguard thanks to his Glimmervoid. Yuen played a second Nexus and did his sums. He didn't like what he came up with and played a second Plating and a Disciple.
Morita could smell his first premiere event victory as he fumbled a pair of Disciples nervously into play. He activated his Nexus and pushed everything toward the center of the table. Yuen knew it was lethal but double and triple checked. Once he was sure he extended his hand to the new Grand Prox Kuala Lumpur Champion.
Final result: Masahiko Morita is the Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur Champion after defeating Kwan Ching Yuen in a three game match.
Sunday, July 25: 10:18 pm - Semifinal Coverage
This post is guest written by Jun-Wei Hew
Just two more matches separate Gao from bring home China's first Grand Prix championship, and one of them is Singapore's Yuen wielding Affinity in what is supposedly a rather lopsided matchup. At this point in time, both players are aware that the winner will go on to face Masahiko Morita in the finals, and Gao is certainly eager about his chances. Yuen, on the other hand, is rather relieved just to be here after his quarterfinal match against Blue-Red Obliterate and sits down bemoaning his second bad matchup of the Top 8, hoping that the raw power of Affinity will be able to carry him through the hate Gao has waiting for him in his sideboard.
If explosive starts was what Yuen wanted, his first hand of two Shrapnel Blasts, two Ornithopters, an Arcbound Ravager, a Great Furnace and a Seat of the Synod wasn't exactly what he was after. Granted, he has the mighty double-Blast hand that is responsible for many a stolen victory, but other than that, the hand didn't quite look up to the task of dealing the other ten points of damage. After some agonizing, he decided to trust the power of ten to the dome. Gao had no problems keeping a hand with both Viridian Shaman and Wrath of God, although his lack of Forests might've proved to be a problem.
As luck would have it, Yuen conveniently drew a Cranial Plating to start off his second turn, and suddenly, his hand looked pretty darn good. By turn three, Gao was facing the wrong end of a 7/1 Ornithopther (if the wrong end of an Ornithopter even exists) along with a Ravager and the second Ornithopter to cheer it on. His two Plains certainly weren't helping him out here, as he cycled a Renewed Faith in a desperate attempt to draw a Forest to go with the Viridian Shaman. Gao drew for his cycling, drew again for his turn, and sighed as only a third Plains offered its services.
The little Ornithopther that could came in for another nine, leaving Gao at a precarious six life. When Gao finally had the opportunity to cast his Wrath of God, it didn't matter to Kwan one bit. One Shrapnel Blast on Gao's end step, followed by another Shrapnel Blast on Yuen's turn, and they were packing up and sideboarding for Game 2.
Yuen 1 - Gao 0
-2 Myr Enforcer, -1 Night's Whisper, -1 Darksteel Citadel
+4 Mana Leak
-4 Solemn Simulacrum, -1 Duplicant, -2 Scrabbling Claws, -1 Decree of Justice
+4 Oxidize, +4 Naturalize
Once again, Yuen was dissatisfied with his opening hand, but this time, shipped it back for a somewhat risky hand of Seat of the Synod, an Arcbound Worker, Welding Jar, Frogmite, Arcbound Ravager and Disciple. On the other hand, Gao chose to keep a hand that many in the audience questioned- three Forests, a Tranquil Thicket, an Eternal Dragon, an Eternal Witness, and an Astral Slide. No artifact hate, not even Wrath of God. Only the Eternal Witness/Astral Slide engine to look forward to.
The top of Yuen's deck didn't fail him, as he conveniently peeled a Frogmite on his first turn, and a Glimmervoid on the second. On his second turn, what was originally a sketchy hand certainly didn't resemble that, with Arcbound Ravager, Arcbound Worker and both Frogmites out in a bid to take down the Chinese player. In the meantime, removal of any shape or form eluded Gao, and he was forced to play his Eternal Witness as a blocker in a bid to preserve his life total, breaking his Slide combo. Kwan sat, and thought for a bit before revealing the Disciple of the Vault to the murmurs of the growing audience.
Yuen sent everything in. Eternal Witness blocked. Some more thinking later, Ravager and Disciple tricks left Gao at 12 life, facing a full board.
Gao drew. No gas. He cycled Tranquil Thicket and saw Gilded Light in its place. Seeing the Onslaught that awaited his land-filled board, he conceded the game, and match to Yuen.
Yuen 2 - Gao 0
Sunday, July 25: 9:31 pm - Semifinal News
Tsuyoshi Fujita (G/W Slide) vs. Masahiko Morita (Affinity)
After consulting with the senior Wizards person on site to make sure he was doing nothing untoward, Tsuyoshi conceded his match to Masahiko Morita. Tsuyoshi's friend needed the Pro Points and more importantly has never won a Premiere Event. Tsuyoshi shrugged, "I am the Japanese Champion and I won Bangkok. It is his turn to win a big event.." He added with a big grin, "And I will have Worlds!"
Sunday, July 25: 9:05 pm - Quarterfinal Roundup
Tsuyoshi Fujita (G/W Slide) vs. Han How Sim (Affinity)
Han How was at the top of the standings at the start of play today while Tsuyoshi was trying make it upstream from fifty-something place. Han How looked like he had Tsuyoshi on the ropes in Game 1 but only took him to one with a combination of combat damage and Disciple activations. That was more than enough room for Fujita to maneuver though as he had Astral Slide and Eternal Witness making room for him.
In the second game, Han How mulliganed and did not want to send his six card hand back despite being quite leery of keeping. Fujita had a sideboarded Relic Barrier on turn two. He followed with a Wrath and Plow Under on turns four and five. Han How never recovered and Fujita was the first semifinalist.
Final result: Tsuyoshi Fujita defeated Han How Sim two games to none. One Affinity deck down and four to go.
Zhen X Gao (G/W Slide) vs. Cheng Wee Pek (Affinity)
Zhen won this match with a Vengeance--actually with two or three of them to be precise. His Astral Slide and Decree of Justice bought him enough time to wipe out the Affinity player's board in each of the two games.
Final result: Zhen Gao defeated Cheng Wee Pek two games to none.
Masahiko Morita (Affinity) vs. Bernard Chan (Affinity)
All of the Affinity players were hoping the other would take out Morita. His sideboarded Moriok Riggers could get pretty scary in the mirror in games two and three. After splitting the first two games the Riggers showed up to play in the final game and Chan could not cope with the Fifth Dawn sleeper card.
Final result: Masahiko Morita defeated Bernard Chan two games to one.
Kwan Ching Yuen (Affinity) vs. Khang Jong Kuan (Obliterate)
The March of the Machines came down early in Game 1 and Kwan found himself on the receiving end of a Darksteel Ingot beating. In Game 2, Khang had the March early as well but had to play around Annul. He had a small window to draw a sixth mana source to play it with Mana Leak back-up when Kwan tapped out all his lands save a Glimmervoid on one turn but it wasn't on top of his deck. When he finally had to try to the March, Kwan had the Annul and took the second game.
Game 3 was anticlimactic with the Obliterate player scuffling for lands in the face of an above average Affinity draw.
Final result: Kwan Ching Yuen defeated Khang Jong Kuan two games to one. There were only two Affinity decks left. They were in opposite brackets and it was possible for an all Affinity finals.