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Yuuya'd Better Believe It!

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Unstoppable force, immovable object, and 'very lucky' cardslinger Yuuya Watanabe has won Grand Prix: Kuala Lumpur! As humble as he is talented, Yuuya dominated the second day of GP: Kuala Lumpur. With 2 losses coming into day 2 of the GP, Watanabe needed to win out, and that's exactly what he did. Congratulations to Watanabe, who's clinched his fifth Grand Prix, expertly piloting a U/W Delver deck to victory.

Rounding out the Top 8 were Sukhum Kiwanont, Xin Sui, King Yim Ki Tong, Jason Yap, Sutti Lee, Chao Lu, and Tzu Ching Kuo. The Delver deckw as the most represented, making up fully half of the Top 8, with Mono-Black Zombies, U/B Zombies, R/G Aggro and G/W Aggro rounding out the field.

Congratulations to all of the finalists, and especially to Yuuya Watanabe, your GP: Kuala Lumpur champion!




Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Kiwanont, Sukhum   Sui, Xin 2-0        
8 Sui, Xin   Sui, Xin 2-0
       
4 Lu, Chao   Lu, Chao 2-0   Watanabe, Yuuya 2-0
5 Tong, Kingston    
       
2 Lee, Sutti   Lee, Sutti 2-1
7 Yap, Jason   Watanabe, Yuuya 2-0
       
3 Kuo, Tzu Ching   Watanabe, Yuuya 2-1
6 Watanabe, Yuuya    








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EVENT COVERAGE TWITTER

INFORMATION
 1.  Yuuya Watanabe $3,500
 2.  Xin Sui $2,300
 3.  Sutti Lee $1,500
 4.  Chao Lu $1,500
 5.  Sukhum Kiwanont $1,000
 6.  Tsu Ching Kuo $1,000
 7.  Kingston Tong $1,000
 8.  Jason Yap $1,000
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  • Top 8 Decklists
    by Event Coverage Staff

  • Yuuya Watanabe (UW Delver)
    Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur - Top 8 Standard

    Sukhum Kiwanont (UW Delver)
    Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur - Top 8 Standard

    Kingston Tong King Yim (UB Zombies)
    Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur - Top 8 Standard

    Lu Chao (UB Zombies)
    Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur - Top 8 Standard



     

  • Top 8 Profiles
    by Event Coverage Staff

  • Kingston Tong King Yim

    Age: 29
    Hometown: Hong Kong
    Occupation: Lawyer


    Pro Tour & Grand Prix Top 8s:
    0 PT, 2 GP

    Other MTG Achievements:
    Some Nationals Top 8s and a lot of FNM Top8s! =D

    What deck did you play today?
    UB Zombies

    If you were to play the deck again, what will you change in the deck?
    The deck is bad! Bad matchups are everywhere!

    What's your favorite card from Dark Ascension?
    Sorin, Lord of Innistrad

    What tribe would you like to belong to if you lived on Innistrad?
    Humans. To kill zombies easily!



    Yuuya Watanabe

    Age: 23
    Hometown: Machida, Japan
    Occupation: MTG Pro Player


    Pro Tour & Grand Prix Top 8s:
    1 PT, 14 GP

    Other MTG Achievements:
    Rookie of the Year & Player of the Year

    What deck did you play today?
    UW Delver

    If you were to play the deck again, what will you change in the deck?
    Cut Oblivion Ring and change it to Steel Sabotage or Celestial Purge

    What's your favorite card from Dark Ascension?
    Thought Scour

    What tribe would you like to belong to if you lived on Innistrad?
    Human



    Sukhum Kiwanont

    Age: 30
    Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand
    Occupation: Family Business


    Pro Tour & Grand Prix Top 8s:
    None

    Other MTG Achievements:
    9th GP Singapore, 9th GP KL 2010, 20th PT Berlin 2008, 3rd Nationals 2004

    What deck did you play today?
    UW Delver

    If you were to play the deck again, what will you change in the deck?
    It's up to Watanabe-san. LOL!

    What's your favorite card from Dark Ascension?
    Dungeon Geists

    What tribe would you like to belong to if you lived on Innistrad?
    Human



    Kuo Tzu Ching

    Age: 30
    Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan
    Occupation: Tourist


    Pro Tour & Grand Prix Top 8s:
    0 PT, 8GP

    Other MTG Achievements:
    Top 4 Worlds Team 2011, 3 times National Champion

    What deck did you play today?
    UW Delver

    If you were to play the deck again, what will you change in the deck?
    I will change all the cards to Foil versions!

    What's your favorite card from Dark Ascension?
    Huntmaster of the Fells

    What tribe would you like to belong to if you lived on Innistrad?
    Planeswalker



    Sutti Lee

    Age: 26
    Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand
    Occupation: Engineer, Business Owner


    Pro Tour & Grand Prix Top 8s:
    None

    Other MTG Achievements:
    None

    What deck did you play today?
    UW Delver

    If you were to play the deck again, what will you change in the deck?
    More Faith's Shield.

    What's your favorite card from Dark Ascension?
    Faith's Shield

    What tribe would you like to belong to if you lived on Innistrad?
    None, not a good place to live in.



    Jason Yap

    Age: 27
    Hometown: Malaysia
    Occupation: Internal Auditor


    Pro Tour & Grand Prix Top 8s:
    None

    Other MTG Achievements:
    3rd Nationals 2008, Top 8 Nationals 2006

    What deck did you play today?
    RG Aggro

    If you were to play the deck again, what will you change in the deck?
    Nothing. The deck is great! Thank you to Ong Whey Whey and Kim Kiat for playtesting it!

    What's your favorite card from Dark Ascension?
    Huntmaster of the Fells

    What tribe would you like to belong to if you lived on Innistrad?
    Werewolf!



    Lu Chao

    Age: 23
    Hometown: Nanjing, China
    Occupation: Company Employee & Card Shop Owner


    Pro Tour & Grand Prix Top 8s:
    None

    Other MTG Achievements:
    National Champion 2010

    What deck did you play today?
    UB Zombies

    If you were to play the deck again, what will you change in the deck?
    Add Go for the Throat to the maindeck.

    What's your favorite card from Dark Ascension?
    Tragic Slip

    What tribe would you like to belong to if you lived on Innistrad?
    Vampire maybe



    Sui Xin

    Age: 19
    Hometown: Beijing, China
    Occupation: Professional fan of Zhuo Yan Liu


    Pro Tour & Grand Prix Top 8s:
    This is my first.

    Other MTG Achievements:
    Beat Zhang Zhiyang in Tenth Edition Prerelease Event

    What deck did you play today?
    GW Aggro

    If you were to play the deck again, what will you change in the deck?
    I'll ask Martin Juza again.

    What's your favorite card from Dark Ascension?
    Lingering Souls

    What tribe would you like to belong to if you lived on Innistrad?
    Zombie!





     

  • Sunday 3:39 - Deck Feature: Going Rogue
    by Chapman Sim

  • The Top 8 for Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur is born and players are preparing for the last three rounds of battle before a champion is crowned. In the meantime, let's take a look at some of the interesting decks which I've witnessed in action all weekend.

    These individuals may not have made the Top 8 but they've all finished in the money with their own personal concoctions! An impressive feat in itself! The next time you think someone's deck might not work, you'd better Think Twice. You might be on the receiving end of a savage beating!

    Nooryaldie Renee (57th Place) Heartless Summoning Control
    Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur - Standard



     

  • Quarterfinal - Xin Sui vs. Sukhum Kiwanont
    by Pip Foweraker

  • Kiwanont assembled an early lead, using a Gut Shot and a Snapcaster Mage to keep Sui's utility creatures under control. Sui kept applying pressure, eventually resolving an Elspeth Tirel against Kiwanont's Geist of Saint Traft.

    Sukhum Kiwanont

    The tokens generated by Elspeth traded with the Geist, while the flying token took out the powerful Planeswalker. With both the boards relatively even, it was a race to see who could present the better threats first. Hero of Bladehold for Sui was the fastest racer, sending both players to their sideboards.

    Xin Sui 1 – Sukhum Kiwanont 0

    The second game was even more brutal than the first. Sui combined the power of Garruk and with the precision of Mortarpod, and cleared the way for Thrun, the Last Troll to dominate any defence that Kiwanont tried to muster.

    Xin Sui moves on to the semifinals

    Xin Sui 2 – Sukhum Kiwanont 0



     

  • Quarterfinal - Jason Yap vs. Sutti Lee
    by Pip Foweraker

  • Lee led play with a spell before he'd even played any lands. A Gitaxian Probe revealed Yip's hand in detail, allowing Lee to map out his next turns. A follow-up Delver of Secrets was answered by a turn 1 Birds of Paradise from Yap.

    Jason Yap

    Yap powered out a Huntmaster of the Fells, which stopped Lee in his tacks, leaving him with only an Invisible Stalker on offence. The stalker suddenly looked a lot more powerful after it suited up with a Sword of War and Peace.

    Yap knocked furiously on the top of his deck, looking for an answer. After some consideration, his resolution seemed to be that time-honoured strategy: 'If in doubt, turn 'em sideways'. The Huntmaster and accompanying Wolves attacked, bolstered by a Strangleroot Geist.

    After doing his math and checking it twice, Lee let all the attackers through, and then played a secondSword of War and Peace and swung on in with his Stalker. The return haymaker from Yip dropped Lee to 3 life, but Yap was seemingly dead on the board.

    An Acidic Slime from Yap knocked out one of the swords. Lee counted, thought, and then played a Snapcaster Mage for a Mutagenic Growth, letting his Stalker get through for exactly lethal.

    Sutti Lee 1 – Jason Yap 0

    Yap led the action in game 2 with a Strangleroot Geist, while Lee Pondered his options. Lee tried a Phantasmal Image to get a Strangleroot Geist of his own, while Yap just played a second one. Counters flew everywhere, combat got a little confusing, but when the dust settled, Yap was ahead and Lee was looking for answers. He tried a Snapcaster Mage into a Ponder, then opted to shuffle and draw blind.

    This time, the top of his deck wasn't so forgiving. Despite a valiant dig for answers, Lee was beaten to death in short order.

    Jason Yap 1 – Sutti Lee 1

    Lee began play with a Delver of Secrets, which obligingly flipped and started eating away at Yap's life totals. He followed it up with a Geist of Saint Traft, while Yap mounted his own offensive with a Strangleroot Geist. Yap used a Phyrexian Metamorph to off the Geist, but Lee had a second Delver of Secrets and a Phantasmal Image to cover the skies.

    Sutti Lee moves on to the semifinals

    Yap was unable to stop the Aberrant menaces, and Lee advances to the semifinals.

    Sutti Lee 2 – Jason Yap 1.



     

  • Quarterfinal - Kingston Tong vs. Lu Chao
    by Chapman Sim

  • This is an exciting moment for both players. For ex-National China National Champ Lu Chao, it was his very first Grand Prix Top 8. For Kingston Tong, one of the top players in Hong Kong, the third time's definitely the charm. In addition, the winner of this match wins an invitation to the upcoming Pro Tour, in addition to complimentary airfare and an extra bunch of Pro Points. Both players were playing highly similar decks and it promises to be a cutthroat race.

    Game One

    Tong was forced to mulligan his first seven, but found himself land flooded in his next six. He opts to keep the hand anyway, not wanting to go down to five. Being ranked higher in Swiss, Lu chooses to play first and opens with double Diregraf Ghoul while Tong lays two Swamps with no plays and remains on the receiving end of the beatdown.

    Lu Chao further reinforces his board with Liliana, forcing both players to pitch and card and going up to 4 loyalty. Tong's first play of Diregraf Captain was irrelevant, as all Lu had to do was to activate Liliana. Drawing no creatures for the next three turns, Tong scooped up his cards with mild frustration.

    Kingston Tong 0 - Lu Chao 1

    Kingston Tong

    Game Two

    Tong declined to play first and instead gave his opponent the opportunity to start, much to Lu's surprise. Tong mentioned that the extra card was crucial in beating the mirror based on the results of his intensive playtesting.

    Tong leads with a turn one Diregraf Ghoul, after which both players had matching Mortarpods. Lu used his Germ to kill the opposing one, then beckoned for Liliana's help to clear Tong's board of creatures.

    Unfazed, Tong summoned the undying Geralf's Messenger, only to become copied by Lu's Phantasmal Image. Tong simply equipped Mortarpod to it and attacked.

    A little trickery occurred the next round when Lu tried to resolve Diregraf Captain. Before the zombie lord could resolve, Tong sacrificed his Messenger to kill Phantasmal Image, resulting in its return as a 1/1 vanilla creature. While undying was still on the stack, Lu used Surgical Extraction to prevent the Messenger from returning to the battlefield (while exiling all remaining copies from his opponent's library.)

    After that was said and done, Lu summoned a Messenger of his own and tried to attack, but Tong used three removal spells to clear the board. Lu managed to topdeck a second Geralf's Messenger and Phantasmal Image, spelling eventual doom for Tong.

    Kingston Tong 0 - Lu Chao 2

    China's ex-National Champion advances to the semi-finals.



     

  • Quarterfinal - Kuo Tzu Ching vs. Yuuya Watanabe
    by Chapman Sim

  • These two players are easily the oldest veterans among the remaining competitors. Watanabe has a breathtaking FOURTEEN Grand Prix Top 8s, dwarfing Kuo's "miniscule" (sarcasm) eight. In an interesting twist of event, it was Watanabe who had provided his decklist to Kuo for this event. With both ingenious players playing an almost identical 75, naturally a great crowd has gathered to watch this battle of epic proportions.

    Game One

    Both players opened with Delvers which each clash with opposing Gut Shots. The flurry of exchanges continued when Snapcasters and flashbacked Gut Shots kept the board empty. Watanabe was the first to turn up the heat though. He baited Kuo's Mana Leak using Invisible Stalker, then laid his fifth land to slam down Geist of Saint Traft. A Dungeon Geist on the next turn sealed up the deal, ending game one with exceeding speed.

    Kuo 0 - Watanabe 1

    Game Two

    Both players started with opposing Delvers again but Watanabe's was the first to flip. Kuo was not to be outdone and managed to successfully resolve Geist of Saint Traft. Watanabe had a copy of his own to kill the opposing one.

    When Watanabe tried Surgical Extraction on Kuo's Geist, Kuo responded by using Surgical Extraction of his own to fizzle Watanabe's copy, in order to protect the remaining Geist from his hand. Kuo naturally drops it into play on his next turn.

    Kuo fights back to take the second game of this match.

    To keep himself alive, Yuuya Watanabe used Vapor Snag to return the Insectile Abberation, then flashing out Snapcaster to rebuy the very same instant, this time using it on an Angel token.

    At the end of his line with no cards in his hand, Watanabe topdecks Ponder (causing Delver to transform), looks at the three cards, shuffles them away, then savagely rips Geist off the top to negate his opponent's copy.

    After that, he peels Phantasmal Image to duplicate an Insect, then rips Moorland Haunt off the top, pointing to the five creatures in his graveyard, indicating that he had plenty of blockers. Kuo slumped in his seat for a second, but was re-energized when he Pondered into Snapcaster Mage, flashing back Vapor Snag for the win, not giving Watanabe any time to rebuild his board.

    Kuo 1 - Watanabe 1

    Game Three

    Kuo opens with Delver and Invisible Stalker, while Watanabe used Ponder to set up his turn two Delver. The Delver never got a chance to flip, since it met with Gut Shot. Watanabe's Geist of Saint Traft was dispatched by Kuo's Phantasmal Image, but Watanabe was ready with a second copy.

    The exciting race continued, as the Invisible Stalker and Insectile Abberation (from Kuo's end) continued to exchange blows with Watanabe's Geist of Saint Traft. Both players were grasping onto each other throats (metaphorically), as the final revels of the battle crept close. Kuo was down to 6 and Watanabe was at 7.

    Yuuya advances once more to the semi-finals.

    Kuo overturned everything, using Phantasmal Image to kill Watanabe's copy and then resolving a copy of his own. But Watanabe had the last laugh when he mirrored Kuo's every move. Revealing his own Phantasmal Image to kill Kuo's Geist of Saint Traft, the slammed down his own Geist, then put his hand today in silent prayer, to the amusement of the crowd.

    When Geist attacked, Kuo shoved all his remaining creatures in front of it, restoring peace and serenity to the board. That didn't last long though. Watanabe used Ponder to draw into Delver, then flipping it via Gut Shot to claim the match in front of a roaring crowd.

    Kuo 1 - Watanabe 2



     

  • Semifinal - Yuuya Watanabe vs. Sutti Lee
    by Pip Foweraker

  • Watanabe, tired from one of his epic road trips (This seems to happen a lot when he Top 8's GP's), struggled to stay awake whilst reading through Lee's decklist. Lee, excited to be playing, graciously gave his opponent a few minutes of relaxation.

    At the table opposite, Chao Lu scooped fellow countryman Xin Sui into the finals, as Sui needed the extra points to clinch his invitation to the WMC. A refreshingly gentlemanly Top 4 commenced with Lee summoning a turn 1 Delver of Secrets. After it flipped out and started beating down on Watanabe, Lee tried for a Ponder, which was Mana Leaked. Watanabe summoned an Invisible Stalker, but Lee had a Leak of his own.

    Sutti Lee

    Watanabe summoned his own Delver of Secrets and used a Moorland Haunt to create a token. Lee had a Vapor Snag for the token and tried a Gut Shot on Watanabe's Delver of Secrets, which resolved. With an Insectile Aberration relentlessly flying over, Watanabe was on the ropes as his life total fell to 4.

    He created another Spirit, then played and equipped a Runechanter's Pike to it. Lee attacked with an unflipped Delver and his Insect. Lee had a Mutagenic Growth to try and kill Watanabe's first striking blocker, but Watanabe had a Growth of his own. He stabilised on 1 life, then windmill-slammed an Invisible Stalker and a Geist of Saint Traft.

    Lee frowned.

    "I feel like there were a lot of mistakes there, all mine."

    He shrugged and played a Sword of War and Peace. Watanabe had a Snapcaster Mage into a Mana Leak to keep the sword off the table, swinging for lethal on the next turn.

    Yuuya Watanabe 1 – Sutti Lee 0

    Watanabe's first ply was a Runechanter's Pike, which Lee Mana Leaked. Lee counterattacked with a Geist of Saint Traft, and Watanabe let it sit on the battlefield for the briefest second before Phantasmal Image'ing it away, then following up with a Delver of Secrets. Lee played a Timely Reinforcements, netting himself some 1/1's.

    Watanabe played and equipped a second Runechanter's Pike to his Delver, then used a Gut Shot to take down one of Lee's incoming Soldier tokens. Watanabe's Vapor Snag took out another token, and the Delver swung on in, every utility instant adding to the threat of the Pike. A post-combat Geist of Saint Traft left Lee's position looking increasingly precarious.

    Yuuya Watanabe moves on to the finals.

    Lee found a Revoke Existence for the Pie, but couldn't draw an answer to the Geist, and scooped up his cards. Watanabe warmly thanked his opponent and headed for the finals.

    Yuuya Watanabe 2 – Sutti Lee 0



     

  • Finals - Yuuya Watanabe vs. Sui Xin
    by Chapman Sim

  • When Watanabe made Day Two with the minimum required score, he was close to the bottom of the pack. Against all odds, Watanabe has rattled off five wins during the Swiss portion to draw into the Top 8. Now, after defeating Kuo Tzu Ching and Sutti Lee, he has met Sui Xin in the finals. Both players are one match away from the glittery trophy and shuffled up after congratulating each other with a well-spirited handshake.

    Sui Xin plays in this spirited final.

    Game One

    Watanabe chooses to play first based on his superior Swiss standing, and points Gut Shot at Sui's first turn Birds of Paradise. Sui was undeterred and plopped two more "mana dudes" onto the battlefield.

    Watanabe's unflipped Delver of Secrets and unequipped Invisible Stalker was not quite the clock he had wished for and it gave Sui Xin some time to resolve Garruk Relentless. The menace fought with an unevolved Delver of Secrets, flipping himself in the process.

    Yuuya Watanabe mulls over his next move

    Watanabe used his unblockable 1/1 to chip off a loyalty point from the opposing Planeswalker, then doubled up the assault by summoning a second Invisible Stalker. Upon realization that his new companion (Garruk, the Veil-Cursed) would perish next turn, he decided to sacrifice a Bird to recruit Hero of Bladehold, but Watanabe undid his entire turn with a single Vapor Snag.

    Blade Splicer was Sui's next follow up and Watanabe responded by making a spirit token using Moorland Haunt. After he untapped, he stuck Runechanter's Pike onto Invisible Stalker, threatening to deal the lethal blow within the next two turns. Thankfully, Sui was ready with an Oblivion Ring.

    Sui thought for a moment, then tried Sword of War and Peace. It resolved, and Watanabe sank into deep thought. When Sui tried to attach the sword to Blade Splicer, Watanabe flashed in Snapcaster Mage in response, using Gut Shot to fizzle the ability.

    Vapor Snag on the Golem token cleared the way for another unimpeded attack, as the audience marveled at the way he had recovered from a seemingly impossible hand to beat. When Sui tried to resolve Hero of Bladehold as a blocker, Watanabe calmly flipped over the last card in his hand. It was a Mana Leak that he had held for so very long.

    Sui 0 - Watanabe 1

    Yuuya Watanabe concentrates for his next game

    Game Two

    Sui's Birds of Paradise was snared by Gut Shot once again, but Sui had Strangleroot Geist to turn up the heat. However, Sui's misfortune had cruelly struck him and his deck failed to produce a third land for the next three turns.

    Using this time, Watanabe molded his hand with Thought Scour and Ponder, amassing a monster hand of goodies. Dungeon Geists tried to keep Strangleroot Geist paralyzed but Sui had Dismember for the pesky spirit.

    Sui tries to turn this game around, but Yuuya's hand was too much

    Sadly for him, that play was inconsequential. Watanabe slapped Geist of Saint Traft onto the table, and revealed a hand containing Mana Leak, Snapcaster Mage and Vapor Snag, good enough to take home his fifth Grand Prix title!

    Sui 0 - Watanabe 2

    Congratulations to Yuuya Watanabe, our Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur 2012 Champ!



     

  • Top 5 Cards
    by Pip Foweraker


  • This shrouded legend has put in a spectacular showing over the weekend. Aggressively costed on its own, and able to suit up and carry all manner of equipment, the 4/4 flying Angel tokens are merely icing on the cake. Difficult to answer, many deckbuilders resorted to running Phantasmal Images or their own copies to try and stay ahead of the competition.


    The very definition of a flexible card, Gut Shot has been cropping up in maindecks and sideboards all weekend. With the players cognizant of the power of utility creatures combined with powerful equipment, the ability to kill off a Snapcaster Mage or Strangleroot Geist, even when tapped out, is worth the small price in life.


    Quite possibly the equipment that's put Delver decks and their variants over the edge, Runechanter's Pike is a control mage's dream. Instants like Vapor Snare and Mana Leak, sorceries like Day of Judgment and Ponder... And then getting a secondary bonus by having your creatures pumped offensively with this cheap, powerful equipment? The lure was enough for Grand Prix winner Yuuya Watanabe, and many more will follow in his footsteps.


    The Little Spirit That Could, Strangleroot Geist has been causing headaches for control players the weekend over. It comes down early and fast, and has an Obi-Wan Kenobi approach to being struck down. The messenger leaves opponents squirming on the horns of a dilemma: to kill it, only to have it rise again, more powerful than they could imagine, or to leave it unchecked and turn into a Geist themselves. Expect to see more of this creature in tournaments near you!


    Geralf's Messenger arrived on the scene with an audible thud at Grand Prix: Lille, and the message has been delivered: this Zombie is the real deal. With pseudo-haste from his enters-the-battlefield ability, and Zombies' general reluctance to actually stay in the graveyard, this undying menace is here to stay. Black mages the world over are smiling evilly and working Geralf's Messenger into their brews, and if the idea of watching your opponent's shoulders slump on turn 3 is attractive, you know what to do.



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