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Grand Prix Singapore 05 - Day 2 Blog Archive

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  • Sunday, March 20 - 5:31 p.m.: Round 14 Finishes
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Sunday, March 20 - 4:48 p.m.: Round 13 Update
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Sunday, March 20 - 4:22 p.m.: Country Breakdown - Day 2
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Sunday, March 20 - 4:04 p.m.: Don't Call it a Comeback -- No, Really, Don't!
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Sunday, March 20 - 3:41 p.m.: Top Table ID action
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Sunday, March 20 - 3:17 p.m.: Rogue on Rogue Action: Akira Asahara vs. Joe Soh
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Sunday, March 20 - 2:29 p.m.: Player Breakdown by Country - Day 1
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Sunday, March 20 - 2:15 p.m.: Player of the Year Leader Going Strong
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Sunday, March 20 - 12:41 p.m.: Singapore Slinging
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Sunday, March 20 - 11:25 a.m.: Deck Doctor Doctor
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Sunday, March 20 - 10:38 a.m.: Goblins vs. the World
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Sunday, March 20 - 10:12 a.m.: Day 1 Undefeated Decks
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Sunday, March 20 - 9:47 a.m.: Day Two Breakdown
    by Brian David-Marshall



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  • Sunday, March 20, 9:47 a.m. - Day Two Breakdown
  • Sixty-four players had to wake up early this morning and they were playing 23 different types of decks. You can narrow it down to 20 if you collapse Tog/Scepter-Tog, Rock/MaceyRock, and Blue-White Desire/Black-White Desire into broader classifications. No matter how you slice it though, Extended remains wide open even as the season is rounding the home stretch.

    The dominant decks on Day Two continues to be Goblins with one-eighth of the field running with little red men. There was more than one of those Goblin decks sporting Asahara-tech from Columbus with Pattern Of Rebirth searching up Akroma in the mirror match. If you collapse the Rock category black-green is the most popular archetype but the decks seem distinctly different with the Macey builds sporting swords and in one of the top builds -- Umezawe's Jitte.

    Goblins - 8
    Reanimator - 7
    Temporary Solution - 5
    Rock - 5
    MaceyRock - 5
    Red Deck Wins - 4
    Tog - 4
    Blue-Black Desire - 4
    Scepter-Tog - 3
    Blue-white Desire - 3
    Blue-green Madness - 3
    Sneaky-Go - 2
    Enchantress - 1
    Pattern-Ghoul - 1
    Aluren - 1
    Suicide-Go - 1
    5C Green - 1
    Affinity - 1
    Cepahlid Life - 1
    Life - 1
    Scepter-Chant - 1
    Nether-Go - 1
    Orb-Opposition - 1


     
  • Sunday, March 20, 10:12 a.m. - Day 1 Undefeated Decks


  • Risky Opposition / Tobey Tamber
    8-0 Day One Grand Prix Singapore - 3/19/05


    Ink-Eye Special / Itaru Ishida
    8-0 Day One Grand Prix Singapore - 3/19/05


    Goblins / Dennis Yuliadinata
    8-0 Day One Grand Prix Singapore - 3/19/05


    Goblins / Kento Nishino
    7-0-1 Day One Grand Prix Singapore - 3/19/05


     
  • Sunday, March 20, 10:38 a.m. - Goblins vs. the World


  • Itaru Ishida

    The two pairings at the undefeated tables pitted two old stand-bys against the powerful Goblin archetype that occupied the most Day Two chairs. At table one Dennis Yuliadinata's Goblins were playing against Itaru Ishida with Psychatog. Dennis's Aether Vial resolved but his turn two Piledriver was Force Spiked meaning this would have likely been a very different game had Ishida won the flip there. Mogg Fanatic resolved but the second one was countered with Mana Leak

    Dennis pushed his Vial up to three counters and pushed his Fanatic into the red zone. He offered a Skirk Prospector and it was countered as well. Ishida put Tog into play. Dennis was empty and Vialed an Incinerator into play EOT.

    Ishida Wished for a Fact or Fiction and untapped to attack. Dennis Vialed out Matron and fetched a Ringleader. Matron stepped in the path. Ishida passed the turn and hoped for the best on the Ringleader. Dennis went 4 for 4 but Ishida was able to keep the damage to a minimum by countering a Warchief. Fact or Fiction was the main phase play and Ishida took a pile with Cunning Wish and passed the turn.

    Dennis had another Ringleader although he only batted .250 on this one. Dennis offered a Warchief and Itaru Gushed twice in search of an answer. He also Brainstormed but there was nothing he could do. Dennis added a Piledriver and that was Game 1.

    Tamber, meanwhile, had also dropped Game 1 to Kenta Nishino's Goblins. Tamber was playing Orb-Opposition. His second game started with a mulligan -- "One land is not enough!" His second set was also poor and he shipped it back as well.

    "The same thing happened yesterday when I played Goblins. Ship back a one-lander and then mulligan to five."

    "You won though?"

    Dennis Yuliadinata

    "Yeah"

    Tamber made second turn Chill and smiled, "That was a lucky draw."

    Kenta Wastelanded Minamo, School at the Water's Edge and when Tamber had no more land he frowned, "Not so lucky draw."

    Kenta went straight to four lands and was able to play Mogg Fanatic and Piledriver on the fourth and fifth turns. Tobey found an Ice Bridge and managed a Wall of Blossoms down before his Ice bridge was shattered with a Wasteland.

    Kenta made a Sparksmith while Tamber found a Cradle and was able to play a Sakura-Tribe Elder. Kenta played a Warchief and shot the Wall. He sent everyone else in and sacrificed his Mogg Fanatic to take out the Elder -- the Piledriver was locked in at five power and Tamber fell to eleven from the seven point attack.

    Wall of Blossoms and Living Wish put a Masticore in Tamber's hand should he survive the turn. Skirk Prospector meant a cycled Incinerator would kill the wall and Tamber scooped up to a lethal attack.

    "I have not used Minamo for anything but blue mana all weekend. Considering how that game went it probably should have been an Island."

    Meanwhile, Ishida had evened things up but was facing down a pair of Piledrivers in the rubber game of the match. Mogg Flunkies resolved and Ishida cast Cunning Wish for Hideous Laughter. He waited until Dennis' attack step and wiped out the protection from blue nightmares. Dennis found another one a turn later and Ishida found himself on five life -- four after he cracked a Flooded Strand. Intuition offered Dennis a selection of Accumulated Knowledges and Ishida drew three cards.

    Kenta Nishino

    Another Intuition found Togs and Ishida tapped out to play it hoping there would be no goblins joining the raiding party. He fell to one and Dennis showed him a Mogg Fanatic.

    The only players left with undefeated records on Day Two were both commanding Siege-Gangs and only Dennis Yuliadinata remained perfect at 9-0. There was no cagey metagame decision behind Dennis' deck choice. Dennis, who is Indonesian but maintains permanent resident status in Singapore, did not have time to test the plethora of decks available in this format and simply chose the deck he had the cards to build and the experience to play well.



     
  • Sunday, March 20, 11:25 a.m. - Deck Doctor Doctor


  • Oliver Oks reads Fujita's Sarcomancy.

    As the players took their seats for Round 10 two of Japan's -- and the game's -- best deck designers were seated next to each other in the 7-2 bracket. Tsuyoshi Fujita was paired against Japan's favorite Australian ex-pat Oliver Oks. Tsuyoshi who just won the Resident Genius ballot for the 2005 Magic Invitational was playing an unexpected Suicide Black deck that drew a startled reaction for Oks after a turn one Sarcomancy.

    Next to Fujita was the actual Deck Doctor for Japan's Mana Burn Vol.2 Magazine, Akira Asahara playing an equally unexpected Pattern Ghoul deck this weekend. Ironically, his opponent Milton Lin was also sporting an Asahara creation this round -- Goblins with Pattern of Rebirth -- that the veteran Japanese pro played at Pro Tour Columbus.

    Lin's goblin deck fell in two quick games to Asahara's Pattern Ghoul build which could parlay a Pattern of Rebirth into a giant Mythic Proportioned trampling monster at will. Interesting alterations to this once popular archetype included Yosei, the Morning Star and Sundering Titan.

    Tsuyoshi Fujita, left, and Akira Asahara.

    Tsuyoshi Fujita came into today's action with two losses and in an unenviable 63rd place. He faced of with Masashi Oiso for the second time last round and handed the APAC ballot winner his third loss on the weekend. This round he was unable to deal with the Exalted Angels of Oks' Temporary Solution deck and his chances of going back to back Top 8s in consecutive GPs with different decks took a serious blow.

    It is interesting to note that both players opted to maindeck Engineered Plagues for the infestation of Goblins they anticipated. Also to whoever schedules Grand Prix events that Fujita and/or Asahara might take part in… The dealer's humbly request that you schedule them earlier in the season so they can sell all their Dragon Tyrants, Sarcomancies, Pattern of Rebirths, and Academy Rectors.



    Suicide Go / Tsuyoshi Fujita
    Day Two Grand Prix Singapore - 3/20/05

    Main Deck

    60 cards

    18  Swamp
    Wasteland

    22 lands

    Carnophage
    Dauthi Horror
    Dauthi Slayer
    Phyrexian Negator
    Withered Wretch

    16 creatures

    Cabal Therapy
    Duress
    Engineered Plague
    Sarcomancy
    Smother
    Sword of Fire and Ice

    22 other spells

    Sideboard
    Damping Matrix
    Dauthi Slayer
    Diabolic Edict
    Plague Spitter
    Unmask

    15 sideboard cards



     
  • Sunday, March 20, 12:41 p.m. - Singapore Slinging


  • The Singaporean players have been holding their own this weekend despite an invasion of the top Pros from Japan, Malaysia, and China. Sitting atop the standings after ten rounds is Singapore's Dennis Yuliadinata with his Goblins blithely smiting everything in their path. He was paired up with Tobey Tamber this round and dodged the Orb Opposition lock ling enough to squeak out just enough goblins to overwhelm Tamber in two quick games. 11-0 with only one player even close to him in the standings, Dennis looked like we could pencil him into the elimination rounds for later today.

    Albertus Law

    Albertus Law is perhaps the most well known player from Singapore. He has floated near the surface of the standings all weekend and was at table three when the 11th round rolled around. He was playing the Cephalid Life deck and facing off with Zhen X Gao of China who was last seen in the Top 8 of Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur. Zhen was playing Rock and in the second game the Chinese player Vampiric Tutored for what Law correctly assumed would be Coffin Purge but Law was able to use Krosan Reclamation from his hand on his opponent to shuffle the Tutor back into the depths of Zhen's library. Law won as a result of the play and went into the second half of Day Two action with a 9-1-1 record.

    Gabriel Kang -- who chose RDW as his deck with Mountains over the more explosive Goblins -- found himself fending off the Siege-Gang's of Kenta Nishino this round. Kang was overwhelmed by Aether Vial, Goblin Matron, and Goblin Ringleaders (batting like Albert Pujols) after a double mulligan. Although Kang has managed to escape from Goblins more than once this weekend they are also the only collection of 75 cards he has lost to and was now 8-2-1 at halftime of Day Two.


     
  • Sunday, March 20, 2:15 p.m. - Player of the Year Leader Going Strong


  • Pro Tour Nagoya Champion and current Player of the Year leader Shu Komuro was looking to pad his lead this weekend. His team finished 9th at Pro Tour Atlanta -- good for another six points -- and he was going strong this weekend. After 11 rounds of play Shu was in 3rd place with a 9-1-1 record. His deck of choice was Mind's Desire but not the blue-black version that so many of his countrymen chose. He favored the white-blue version and was way ahead of the Desire pack with his lesser-played build.

    Shu Komuro

    Anticipating a heavy goblin field, Shu wanted to play Sunscape Familiar over the Mogg-allergic Nightscape Familiar. It is essential for the deck to have some kind of Medallion effect to go off and although the black familiar regenerates you rarely have the luxury of open mana to regenerate it. So far Komuro and Ishida (in 2nd place with Tog) were the front-running Japanese players and looked likely to reach the bracketed portion of the competition.

    Speaking of the Japanese players… Coming into Day Two action Katsuhiro Mori and Tsuyoshi Fujita had the second and third worst record. They have feasted so far on the bottom of the pack and have quietly crept up into having an outside shot at Top 8 at the mid-thirties in the standings. Meanwhile, Akira Asahara continued to combo his way up the standings and was in 12th place with his Recurring Nightmare/Yosei locking down opponents when Pattern Ghoul could not knock them down.

    Former Rookie of the Year Mori is one of the fastest players on the Pro Tour. A kinetic player who plays the game at seeming hyper-speed many of his countrymen were stunned to learn that Mori's 18 points on Day One were not the product of a 6-2 record but rather a perplexing 5-0-3 with his Mind's Desire deck. If you haven't seen the collection of knees, elbows, and died hair known as Katsumori it will not seem so surprising but I am fairly sure that Ted Knutson fell out of his chair somewhere when he read this.

    Desire / Shu Komuro
    Day Two Grand Prix Singapore - 3/20/05


     
  • Sunday, March 20, 2:29 p.m. - Player Breakdown by Country


  • There were 372 players by kick-off yesterday. It seemed like everywhere you looked there was a Japanese player and that was with good reason. Nearly 10 % of the field came here from Japan. Malaysia, Taiwan, and Thailand also put up big numbers thanks to the low airfares as a result of a new discount carrier setting off a price war.

    Japan - 35
    Malaysia - 29
    Taiwan - 17
    Thailand - 16
    INdonesia - 12
    China - 10
    South Korea - 7
    Hong Kong - 3
    Philipines - 2
    France - 2
    Germany - 2
    Czech Republic - 1
    Netherlands - 1


     
  • Sunday, March 20, 3:17 p.m. - Rogue on Rogue Action: Akira Asahara vs. Joe Soh


  • The second half of Day Two action kicked off with a feature match between two players with fairly rogue creations that harkens to decks from seasons past. Renowned Japanese deck builder and accredited Deck Doctor Akira Asahara was playing Pattern Ghoul with an added Recurring Nightmare/Yosei the Morning Star lockdown component. His opponent was Joe Soh who joined his brother Terry and Simon Carlsson in Atlanta last week as Soh Soh the Punisher. Soh had been tearing up the field with a retooled Nether-Go that added control elements courtesy of Vedalken Shackles and could Meloku its way to victory.

    Joe Soh

    A crowd gathered to watch these two players put their rogue choices through their respective paces. A turn two Elder from Asahara was nailed with a Force Spike but a second one resolved a turn later. Soh's deck hiccupped on three lands while Asahara had enough that he could afford to beat down with his Elder.

    After discarding for two turns, Soh sneered, "Feature matches are no good. This is the first game I have been mana-screwed all day."

    A fourth land finally allowed the Malaysian player to Fact or Fiction and the Deck Doctor put the cards into a pile of four spells and one land and then rethought his split as he was putting two more FoFs and Foil in the four card pile. He moved the Foil over with the Wasteland and Soh took the three card pile. He did not draw another land and discarded three cards on his next turn.

    Asahara offered a Phyrexian Ghoul up to for a Counterspell and Soh obliged. Cabal Therapy on the next turn merited a Counterspell. Asahara perused Soh's bin and weighed his next move. Academy Rector drew out a Forbid with buyback --pitching Spike and FoF. On the next turn, Pattern of Rebirth was enough for Soh to blow the Forbid. Therapy was flashed back and hit the FoF-- the only card left in Soh's grip was Meloku, which he played on the next turn with an extra spirit as his land drop for the turn.

    Asahara plotted out his turn carefully. He could put an end to the threat of Meloku with the Engineered Plague he was holding but instead he chose to tap out and play Recurring Nightmare and Phyrexian Ghoul. Soh made a second token EOT and flew over for four.

    Asahara tapped out for Yosei, the Morning Star. Soh cast FoF in response. Asahara put Force Spike in one pile and four cards, including double AK and Intuition, in the other. Soh read the dragon, read the enchantment and agonized over his decision before taking the four card pile. He AK'd for two cards and let the dragon resolve. Asahara used the Recurring Nightmare to lock down Soh's team and return a Rector to play. He sac'd the Rector and showed Soh -- who had taken abundant Elder beatings -- the Mythic Proportions and they moved onto Game 2.

    Soh shipped back his hand in the second game and was content with the next set of six. Asahara offered an Elder for counter magic on the next turn but it was allowed. Soh cast AK instead and untapped to play Vedalken Shackles.

    Akira Asahara

    Asahara beat for one and played a Ghoul. Soh untapped into his fourth Island and Shackled the Ghoul -- Asahara fed the Ghoul it itself. He continued to beat for one and then attempted Pattern of Rebirth on Elder. Soh allowed it and attempted to take the Elder with his Shackles. When Asahara sacrificed the Elder in response Soh Stifled the Pattern effect.

    Cranial Extraction was Counterspelled and Soh continued to play the draw-go game. He allowed an Academy Rector to hit play with no visible means of sacrifice and mana open to activate his Shackles. What he wasn't counting on was that Asahara was not going to yield priority. The Japanese player laid a Phyrexian Tower and sacrificed the Rector to find an Oath of Ghouls.

    He cast Eternal Witness for Extraction on the next turn and Towered out the Extraction naming Meloku successfully removing it. Soh cast Fact or Fiction main phase but there were no answers to be found. Asahara had enough creatures in his bin to get back a Witness every turn and although Soh struggled gamely for another turn or two he was ultimately overwhelmed by brain surgery turn after turn.

    Nether-Soh / Joe Soh
    Day Two Grand Prix Singapore - 3/20/05

    Main Deck

    60 cards

    19  Island
    Wasteland

    23 lands

    Meloku the Clouded Mirror
    Nether Spirit

    3 creatures

    Accumulated Knowledge
    Counterspell
    Fact or Fiction
    Foil
    Forbid
    Force Spike
    Intuition
    Powder Keg
    Vedalken Shackles

    34 other spells

    Sideboard
    Chalice of the Void
    Chill
    Deep Analysis
    Echoing Truth
    Morphling
    Stifle

    15 sideboard cards



     
  • Sunday, March 20, 3:41 p.m. - Top Table ID action


  • Round thirteen saw the top tables draw into what they hope is a Top 8 berth. Dennis Yuliadinata could afford to be generous with a two match lead over the nearest competition and he drew with Shih Chan. Itaru Ishida and Tobey Tamber shook hands and presumably half of the Top 8 was set.

    The remainder of the players in the 28 to 30 point range were all slugging it out for the next two rounds. Oliver Oks was matched up with local Sun Yeung. Akira Asahara needed to get past Keng Lee for his Top 8 shot and Tomoharu Saito -- of Atlanta's One Spin -- was facing off with Kenta Nishino. Albertus Law tried to fend off Japan's Ichirou Shimura while Shu Kimuro grappled with Tzu Kuo. The last 28-pointer was Gabriel Kang who was paired down against Yu-Jen Chang. The remaining Top 8 competitors would merge from that scrum.


     
  • Sunday, March 20, 4:04 p.m. - Don't Call it a Comeback -- No, Really, Don't!


  • Tsuyoshi Fujita's comeback bid took a big blow in the twelfth round when he could not find his deck after the lunch break. He searched high and low for the deck but to no avail. It looked like he was going to have to drop after taking his fourth loss of the tournament when he could not start playing on time.

    He tried to rebuild the deck but all he could come up with were the cards that overlapped Rock but there were no Carnophages or Sarcomancies to be found. Fortunately, after losing to Fujita on Day One, Nick Wong had gone home and built a copy of Fujita's deck to play in the PTQ. Wong dropped from the PTQ so that he could lend Fujita his card for card copy of the deck.

    The story does not have a happy ending though as Fujita was savaged by a Red Deck Wins player in the next round and knocked out of contention for a money finish. He dropped to cheer on his girlfriend Asami for the rest of the tournament.


     
  • Sunday, March 20, 4:22 p.m. - Country Breakdown - Day 2


  • It's official… the Japanese outnumber the Singaporeans on Day two. It is actually a tie if you count Oliver Oks among the Australians but since the Japanese seem to have embraced them as one of their own -- even including him in the travel package they assembled for this event -- the edge goes to Japan by one player.

    Japan - 22
    Singapore - 21
    Taiwan - 6
    Malaysia - 6
    Thailand - 3
    Hong Kong - 2
    China - 2
    France - 1
    South Korea - 1


     
  • Sunday, March 20, 4:48 p.m. - Round 13 Update


  • Itaru Ishida is gunning for Kai Budde. After securing a Top 8 berth this weekend he be in a tie with the German Juggernaut for second place on the all-time list of GP Top 8 finisher putting a little room between him and Masahiko Morita who is currently "stalled" at thirteen.

    Itaru had his eye on the prize -- the runner's up prize. "Kai Budde . . . Yes. Alex Shvartsman. . . No!" He laughed referring to the seemingly insurmountable 21 Top 8 finishes posted by Shvartsman when the Grand Prix circuit was first introduced.

    As for the rest of the Top 8... Oliver Oks looked like he would be taking Temporary Solution into elimination battle after dispatching Sun Yeung in a three game set during round 13. Akira Ashara and Keng Lee battled to a frustrating tie at table four while Tomoharu Saito looked to build on his Atlanta succss after dispatching Kenta Nishino.

    Shimura and Kimuro won their rounds and set up the possibilty of a Top 8 that was more than half Japanese. Gabriel Kang needed one more win after beating Yu-Jen Chang. After all the IDs of the last round there could only be two or three spots in play during the final round.


     
  • Sunday, March 20, 5:31 p.m. - Round 14 Finishes


  • After a thirteenth round draw with Itaru Ishida, Tobey Tamber found himself in a position where he had to play against Shih Chan's Temporary Solution in the last round. He knew he needed to take a win and the draw in the final two rounds and elected to take the draw against Ishida's Tog deck -- a terrible match-up for his Orb Opposition deck to his mind.

    Shih Chan

    He was not overly fond of the match-up against Solution but felt if things went the right way he could still emerge with a Top 8 berth. If not: "I need to do some sightseeing with my girlfriend so it will be okay."

    Tobey managed to buy some turns in Game 1 with a Static Orb but it was not clear who he was buying the turns for. His opponent had a Seal of Cleansing in play and would be able to untap at anytime. He chose to untap when he was in a position to unmorph an Exalted Angel equipped with Sword of Fire and Ice. Game 2 was not even close as Shih had all the answers and Tobey had all the land. With Oliver Oks taking a draw with front-running Dennis Yuliadinata that meant there would be at least two copies of Temporary Solution in the bracketed portion of the weekend's competition.

    Itaru Ishida conceded his final round to Pro Tour Nagoya winner Shu Komuro -- a move which assured both of them a Top 8 berth. In another all Japanese pairing Ichirou Shimura defeated Akira Asahara to put the fourth Japanese player into the Top 8 (including Oks).

    One of the last undetermined berths came down to the match-up between Gabriel Kang and Tomaharu Saito. Saito -- a fast player -- seemed put off his game by Kang's deliberate style. Kang would slide his card drawn each turn slowly across the table and put in the back of his hand waiting until the last possible moment to find out what he had drawn. Kang was also rusty after not playing for some time -- although he did make many tight plays all weekend -- and was taking great care to read each card and understand the implications of the board state.

    Saito was incensed and harangued Kang for faster play, "Go! Go! You are taking to long. These are fast decks."

    Gabriel Kang, right, is congratulated by a friend.

    The two players split the first pair of games and, of course, it all came down to the rubber game. The two had additional time due to a deck check at the start of the round and when everyone else was done they were just shuffling for Game 3.

    "Play fast!"

    Kang obliged with a flurry of burn -- including his unusual Pyrite Spell bombs -- that gave him threshold for his Fledgling Dragon and the win. In addition to reaching the Top 8, Kang was also the tournament's top amateur and would be collecting $1,500 on top of whatever else he won in the Top 8.

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