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Japanese Powerhouse Invades Singapore!

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Itaru Ishida Is the Grand Prix Singapore Champion!

Itaru Ishida is one the most long-tenured Pros in the Japanese Magic community, and with his Top 8 appearance he pulled into a tie with none other than Kai Budde for the second-most Top 8 appearances in Grand Prix competition. The taciturn Ishida dubbed his deck the Ink-Eyes Special and he piloted it through a pair of players with Temporary Solution, with one Rock player squeezed in between, for the Grand Prix-Singapore title.

This was the largest Southeast Asian Grand Prix in history and much of that was due to an unusually large Japanese presence, with 35 players making the seven-hour journey. There were more Japanese players than Singaporeans on Day 2, and four of them (three if you don't count Australian ex-pat Oliver Oks) reached the elimination rounds.

Congratulations to everyone who did well this weekend and condolences to Sukhum Kiwanont of Thailand who could not quite get over a wall of three straight Japanese opponents and just missed the cut in ninth place.


Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Dennis Yuliadinata   Sun Kit Yeung, 2-0        
8 Sun Kit Yeung   Itaru Ishida, 2-0
       
4 Itaru Ishida   Itaru Ishida, 2-0   Itaru Ishida, 2-0
5 Oliver Oks    
       
2 Shih Chien Chan   Shih Chien Chan, 2-0
7 Gabriel Kang   Shih Chien Chan, 2-0
       
3 Shu Komuro   Ichirou Shimura, 2-1
6 Ichirou Shimura    


EVENT COVERAGE FINAL TOP 8 STANDINGS

  • Blog - 8:18 p.m.: Finals: Shih Chien Chan vs. Itaru Ishida
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 7:51 p.m.: Semifinals: The Topdeck Triumph!
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 7:22 p.m.: Semifinals: Itaru Ishida vs. Sun Kit Yeung
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 7:08 p.m.: Quarterfinal Round-up
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 6:39 p.m.: The Top 8 Player Profiles
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 6:15 p.m.: The Top 8 Decklists
    by Brian David-Marshall

  • Day 2 Blog Archive: Top Table Action, Round 13 and 14 Feature Matches, Fujita's Disappearing Deck, Goblins vs. The World and much more!
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Info: Day 2 Player List
    by Event Coverage Staff

  • Day 1 Blog Archive: The Mini-Magician, Japanese Mirror Match, Singapore Eats, the Judges and much more!
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Info: Day 1 Player List
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Fact Sheet
    by Event Coverage Staff
 1.  Itaru Ishida $2,400
 2.  Shih Chien Chan $1,700
 3.  Ichirou Shimura $1,200
 4.  Sun Kit Yeung $1,000
 5.  Dennis Yuliadinata $800
 6.  Shu Komuro $800
 7.  Oliver Oks $800
 8.  Gabriel Kang $800
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  • Sunday, March 20, 6:15 p.m. - The Top 8 Decklists


  • Temporary Solution / Chih Shih Chen
    Top 8 Grand Prix Singapore - 3/20/05


    Temporary Solution / Oliver Oks
    Top 8 Grand Prix Singapore - 3/20/05


    Macey Rock / Ichirou Shimurou
    Top 8 Grand Prix Singapore - 3/20/05


    Red Deck Wins / Gabriel Kang
    Top 8 Grand Prix Singapore - 3/20/05


    MaceyRock / Yeung Sun Kit
    Top 8 Grand Prix Singapore - 3/20/05


    Ink-Eye Special / Itaru Ishida
    Top 8 Grand Prix Singapore - 3/20/05


    Goblins / Dennis Yuliadinata
    Top 8 Grand Prix Singapore - 3/20/05


    Desire / Shu Komuro
    Top 8 Grand Prix Singapore - 3/20/05

     
  • Sunday, March 20, 6:39 p.m. - The Top 8 Player Profiles


  • Dennis Yuliadinata

    Dennis Yuliadinata.

    Age: 29

    Hometown: Pontianak, Indonesia

    Occupation: Site Engineer

    How many PTQs did you play in this season? 0

    Number of GP, PT Top 8's: 0

    Other Previous Magic accomplishments: PT Osaka competitor, Day Two of GP Singapore in 2003 & 2001

    What was your record on Day 1: 8-0 Day 2: 4-1-1

    What did you play and why? Goblins -- just beats and beats!

    Who built your deck? Royce Chai

    What decks were you expecting to be playing against? Combo decks

    What do you think of your chances in the Top 8? No idea.

    Tell us a fun fact about you or the tournament this weekend? I almost chose not to come due to a work commitment.

    What should people be playing in Standard for their Regionals? Tooth and Nail


    Oliver Oks

    Oliver Oks.

    Age: 25

    Hometown: Adelaide although I am currently living in Tokyo

    Occupation: English Teacher

    How many PTQs did you play in this season? 4

    Number of GP, PT Top 8's: 0

    Other Previous Magic accomplishments: None although I finished 1st in something like 14 PTQs

    What was your record on Day 1: 6-2 Day 2: 5-0-1

    What did you play and why? The Solution. It has very few bad match-ups most of which I didn't think would be popular this weekend.

    Who built your deck? It is net-decked. Tuned from play testing and advice from Saitou and Ibamoto

    What decks were you expecting to be playing against? Lots of Goblins, RDW, and Desire. Maybe some Rock.

    What do you think of your chances in the Top 8? 0% Almost the entire Top 8 are bad match-ups. And Tog in the Quarters?!? ARRRRghh!

    Tell us a fun fact about you or the tournament this weekend? I have been informed that I have to mention that I am now a member of Team Rookies/Rush (Mori, Saitou, etc.)

    What should people be playing in Standard for their Regionals? No idea. I have not played Standard since the finals in Dec.


    Itaru Ishida

    Itaru Ishida

    Age: 25

    Hometown: Tokyo

    Occupation: Creator

    How many PTQs did you play in this season? 0

    Number of GP, PT Top 8's: GP = 14, PT = 1

    Other Previous Magic accomplishments: JP Nationals Finalist. Masters Finalist x 2

    What was your record on Day 1: 8-0 Day 2: 2-0-1

    What did you play and why? Psychatog

    Who built your deck?

    What decks were you expecting to be playing against?

    What do you think of your chances in the Top 8? So-so

    Tell us a fun fact about you or the tournament this weekend? I top decked twice -- both times it was the only copy of the card in my deck.

    What should people be playing in Standard for their Regionals? NINJA!!!


    Shu Komuro

    Shu Komuro.

    Age: 23

    Hometown: Tokyo

    Occupation:

    How many PTQs did you play in this season? 0

    Number of GP, PT Top 8's: PT = 1 GP =2

    Other Previous Magic accomplishments: Won Pro Tour Nagoya and GP Yokohama

    What was your record on Day 1: 6-1-1 Day 2: 5-1

    What did you play and why? Blue-white Desire. I wanted to play it because it is fun.

    Who built your deck? KTO

    What decks were you expecting to be playing against?

    What do you think of your chances in the Top 8? If I can not play Solution and Goblin I might win.

    Tell us a fun fact about you or the tournament this weekend? Desire with storm for two -> reveal Desire -> Storm for 4 -> reveal Desire -> I win!

    What should people be playing in Standard for their Regionals? Mono-blue!


    Chan Shih Chien.

    Chan Shih Chien

    Age: 21

    Hometown: Malaysia

    Occupation: Sales Executive

    How many PTQs did you play in this season? 1

    Number of GP, PT Top 8's: Just this one.

    Other Previous Magic accomplishments: None

    What was your record on Day 1: 7-1 Day 2: 5-1

    What did you play and why? Temporary Solution. It offers more solutions than any other deck!

    Who built your deck? I checked for decks online and just modified.

    What decks were you expecting to be playing against? Mind's Desire, Goblin, Tog, and Rock.

    What do you think of your chances in the Top 8? 50%

    Tell us a fun fact about you or the tournament this weekend? I have been Plowed Under by my opponent's twice but still won each time.

    What should people be playing in Standard for their Regionals? Tooth and Nail.


    Yeung Sun Kit

    Yeung Sun Kit.

    Age: 20

    Hometown: Hong Kong

    Occupation: Student

    How many PTQs did you play in this season? 2

    Number of GP, PT Top 8's: This is my first time

    Other Previous Magic accomplishments:

    What was your record on Day 1: 7-1 Day 2: 4-2

    What did you play and why? Rock because it has many good match-ups.

    Who built your deck? I built it myself.

    What decks were you expecting to be playing against? Red Deck Wins and Goblins

    What do you think of your chances in the Top 8? 50%

    Tell us a fun fact about you or the tournament this weekend? I Plowed my opponent Under two times but I still lost.

    What should people be playing in Standard for their Regionals? Mono-green or Mono-red


    Gabriel Kang

    Gabriel Kang.

    Age: 27

    Hometown: Singapore

    Occupation: Self-employed

    How many PTQs did you play in this season? 0

    Number of GP, PT Top 8's: 0

    Other Previous Magic accomplishments: 0

    What was your record on Day 1: 7-1 Day 2: 3-1-1

    What did you play and why? Red Deck Wins. . . Because that is what it does!

    Who built your deck? I did… about 15 minutes before the start of the GP from cards I totally borrowed J

    What decks were you expecting to be playing against? The usual suspects.

    What do you think of your chances in the Top 8?

    Tell us a fun fact about you or the tournament this weekend? The fact that everyone told me to play Vial Goblins over RDW!

    What should people be playing in Standard for their Regionals?


    Ichirou Shimura

    Ichirou Shimura.

    Age: 22

    Hometown: Tsukaba-shi Ibaraki

    Occupation: Student

    How many PTQs did you play in this season? 0

    Number of GP, PT Top 8's: GP= 2, PT = 1

    Other Previous Magic accomplishments: I won GP Sendai

    What was your record on Day 1: 7-1 Day 2: 4-1-1

    What did you play and why? "Kyota Neiku Annai" (green-black) The deck wins against Goblins and Cephalid Life.

    Who built your deck? Me.

    What decks were you expecting to be playing against? Goblins and Cephalid Life

    What do you think of your chances in the Top 8? I will do my best.

    Tell us a fun fact about you or the tournament this weekend? I won a match on the fifth extra turn because I top decked Smother.

    What should people be playing in Standard for their Regionals? NINJA!!

     
  • Sunday, March 20, 7:08 p.m. - Quarterfinal Round-up


  • Itaru Ishida vs. Oliver Oks

    Ishida took some early beats from Oks' Silver Knight before he slowed things down with his Psychatog. Oks played a Gilded Drake to steal the Tog and got in seven more points on his next attack but Ishida had access to Echoing Truth and returned the Tog to its rightful owner. He was able to get it to lethal range in pretty short order.

    In the second game, Oks drew land where Ishida was drawing Accumulated Knowledges. Ishida advanced to the semifinals taking the match two games to none.

    Sun Kit Yeung vs. Dennis Yuliadinata

    Sun's maindeck Swords and sideboarded Engineered Plagues made this a completely lopsided affair with Sun taking the match in two blisteringly fast games. He would go on to the semis to face Ishida after the two-oh sweep.

    Gabriel Kang vs. Shih Chien Chan

    This match went about how you expect when RDW faces off with Temporary Solution. In Game 2 Gabriel had ample opportunity to draw Pyrite Spellbombs to deal with a pair of Silver Knights -- he could do little else with his mana being attacked by Tides and Chills. Shih advanced to face the winner of Komoro and Shimura also taking his match in two games.

    Shu Komoro vs. Ichirou Shimura

    Ichirou knocked down the champ in a three game set. In the two games that he won he managed to pull off an early Cranial Extraction on Cunning Wish and beat down more or less unmolested. Shu tried to go off in the third game but without Cunning Wish to get the key pieces he needed he fizzled and Ichirou advanced to face off against Shih in the only match to go three games.

     
  • Sunday, March 20, 7:22 p.m. - Semifinals: Itaru Ishida vs. Sun Kit Yeung


  • Semifinals: Itaru Ishida vs. Sun Kit Yeung

    Sun came out of the gates fast in Game 1 with Llanowar Elves and a Sword of Fire and Ice. He equipped and elf and began beating down for five -- and a card -- per turn. Ishida bided his time with card drawing spells and working around Cabal Therapy until he found Tog. Tog could not block the elf but Ishida cast a flurry of Gushes leaving himself only one Island in play. He added up all the damage he could manage with his flying Tog and it was two points shy of being lethal.

    "Good game," conceded Ishida.

    Ishida mulliganed to open Game 2 and was fine with the next six. Sun tried to slow down his foe's mana with a pair of Ports while beating with an elf. On turn five, Ishida floated one mana and drew a card. He burned for one and passed the turn after playing a land. Sun prompted Ishida to break a Delta for a Swamp by Porting it EOT.

    Ishida cast FoF at the end of Sun's turn and took a three card pile with land, Counterspell, and Mana Leak over Intuition and Cunning Wish. Sun kept Ishida from black mana to cast his Tog. He tutored up a Cabal Therapy and cast it naming Counterspell. He saw Meloku, the desired counter, Mana Leak x 2, Gush, and Tog. He played a land and cast Troll Ascetic. Ishida Mana Leaked it twice and Sun flashed back Therapy naming Tog.

    Ishida untapped and played his Meloku. Sun played Braids and the legend battle was on. Ishida made two spirit tokens EOT and untapped to swing for four. He killed one of Sun's permanents by putting engineering a plague on elves. Sun continued to port Ishida's dwindling mana and the Japanese player kept making additional tokens in response to being ported.

    Sun drew a Sword and equipped Braids and attacked. He used the ability from the Sword to shoot down a token. Ishida was down to one land and five guys and would kill Sun on the next turn. Sun sighed as he drew his card -- a second Sword. He equipped his Braids and attacked only to come up two points short.

    If he had done the two to Ishida last turn he would have won.

    Sun mulliganed a perfectly reasonable hand if you didn't account for the fact that it had no Forests. He liked his next six and led with an elf. Turn two was Cabal Therapy on Counterspell. He hit and saw two Cunning Wish, three land and Deep Analysis as well.

    Sun took the Wishes. His Eternal Witness was Countered on the next turn. Ishida tapped out to Deep Analysis and Sun had a window to cast Braids. Ravenous Baloth was countered a turn later. Ishida had a pair of Deep Analysis keeping his at four lands while Sun was pressing up against his own Braids lock.

    The Rock player tapped out to cast Troll Ascetic and then sacrificed his elf -- he had two lands left -- to name Tog. He whiffed. Ishida was locked at four lands and could not get out from under to cast Meloku.

    Ishida Brainstormed in response to Cabal Therapy he tucked two Togs on top for safekeeping. Sun named Cunning Wish but it did not matter. Ishida played Togs over the two turns and Sun could not get in an attack. The damage wasn't quite lethal until Ishida showed him the Fact or Fiction he was holding.

    The Japanese fans burst into cheers while Sun slumped, no doubt replaying the turn from Game 2 where he could have taken the match. He looked up and smiled, "Pretty exciting match, huh?"

     
  • Sunday, March 20, 7:51 p.m. - Semifinals: The Topdeck Triumph!



  • Ichirou Shimura could taste victory!

    Shih Chien Chan took Game 1 of his match with Ichirou Shimura while the other semifinal was underway. Things were looking grim for the Malaysian in Game 2. His Silver Knights were weakened by a Plague as were the spirit tokens from Meloku. His Sword of Fire and Ice was Naturalized in combat and there was a herd of elephants knocking on his front door.

    He peeled a card slowly from the top of his deck and tucked it in the back of his hand without looking at it, "What can I draw here?"

    "Nothing!" was the curt reply from Shimura.

    Chan thought about it and disagreed -- still not looking at the card he had just drawn -- "Parallax Wave is the only thing that can save me."

    But fate was on Shih Chien Chan's side!

    Sure enough, hidden behind a Silver Knight was the top deck he had been waiting his whole life for. He 'wrathed' Shimura's team of tokens away -- save one that he stole with Gilded Drake -- and was able to get in the final five points of damage by the skin of his teeth. He would advance to face off against Itaru Ishida's Ink-Eyes Special in the finals.



     
  • Sunday, March 20, 8:18 p.m. - Finals: Shih Chien Chan vs. Itaru Ishida


  • The largest GP ever held in Southeast Asia came down to a contest between Shih Chien Chan of Malaysia with Temporary Solution and Itaru Ishida of Japan with tried and true Psychatog. It was only fitting that the young upstart was playing one of the newest decks on the Extended block while the seasoned veteran with fourteen Grand Prix Top 8s and one Pro Tour Top 8 on his lengthy resume should be playing one of the format's old standards.

    Chan led off with Enlightened Tutor -- off Adarkar Wastes -- for Ancient Den. That allowed for a turn two Meddling Mage naming Cunning Wish.

    As usual, Ishida gave away nothing by his expression. He merely played lands, did not comment or even show a flicker of joy as his opponent hiccupped on his third land drop. Chan plugged away with the Mage and Ishida Intuitioned for three Accumulated Knowledge. Chan missed another land drop and Ishida drew three cards. He played his fifth land and calmly announced "discard" as he threw away two lands.

    Chan tried a morph and Ishida paid full price to Foil it. Ishida seemed to be in control but his life was below the halfway mark from the Mage. He played his sixth land and had to return two of them for Gush to find an answer for another morph. He then had to Brainstorm but eventually found a Counterspell. He Intuitioned at the end of the turn for three copies of Tog and played the toothy threat when he untapped leaving the always intimidating UU available.

    Chan took a point from a painland and cast his second Enlightened Tutor of the game to find a Parallax Wave. Ishida tapped his two blue and countered the enchantment with a pair of Force Spikes. Ishida untapped and discarded Wonder to his Tog and proceeded to use the alternate casting cost to play a pair of Gushes and put six extra cards in his hand.

    I have to say it was one of the few times that Ishida showed some emotion in a feature match. He looked positively gleeful -- if you can imagine that -- as he picked up his lands and ripped four cards from the top of his deck. It almost seemed like he was having fun.

    Both players kept their hands for Game 2. Chan tried to craft his hand with the Vintage play of Brainstorm and Flooded Strand. He tucked two cards and top and quickly shuffled them down into his deck to find a Plains. His Meddling Mage was Counterspelled. He attempted another on the next turn and Ishida Brainstormed. The Mage resolved and Chan named Hideous Laughter but he missed his fourth land drop.

    Ishida just developed his mana. When Chan --still missing a fourth land -- attempted to play a Bouncer, Ishida broke a Delta and Brainstormed again to find a Counterspell for the spellshaper. Ishida untapped and played Psychatog.

    Itaru Ishida is going to Disneyland!

    Chan drew his card and slowly panned through them hoping to find a fourth land. He did not and offered a morph for Itaru to Force Spike. Chan gestured for Ishida to get along with it and kill him but the math was not right. Ishida Brainstormed again and sent his Tog into battle. Meddling Mage stepped in the way and Ishida pumped from his bin. Another Tog joined the team.

    Still no fourth land for Chan. He braced for lethal from Ishida but took only two. He cast Enlightened Tutor EOT -- "Give me a white source." He searched up his Ancient Den and tried a Parallax Tide which was Foiled. He took two more from the looming threat of the Togs.

    Another Tide was Mana Leaked and tie was running out for the Malaysian player as the Tog math crept closer and closer to being in the black. Ishida did some quick tallies and pushed them into battle. He cast Intuition for Cunning Wish and then Wished for a Gush. He paid the ACC and began dumping his hand. Chan double checked the math on the off chance that Ishida was wrong but the crowd had already double checked Ishida's sums and they poured past the makeshift barriers to rain their congratulations down on the popular player's back.

    Itaru Ishida is the Grand Prix Singapore Champion!

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