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Grand Prix Manila
Day 1 Coverage

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Saturday, 12:03 p.m. – GP Manila Trial Winning Decks

by Event Coverage Staff





 

Round 4 Feature Match – Benson Cohun vs. Shuhei Nakamura

by Pip Foweraker


Benson Cohun won 3 byes last night, taking down a Grand Prix Trial. Who was his first opponent of the weekend? Only one of the End Bosses of Magic, Shuhei Nakamura. Cohun shook his head in disbelief. "This is my 'Welcome to the GP'?"

Game 1

Cohun blasted out of the gates with a trio of Sphere of the Suns. Nakamura used a Birds of Paradise to accelerate into a Blade Splicer and a Borderland Ranger. An Inferno Titan from Cohun killed the Birds of Paradise, the Splicer, and pinged Nakamura. Nakamura had no further action, playing a Cavern of Souls and passing.

Shuhei Nakamura and Benson Cohun

A Whipflare from Cohun was met with a Restoration Angel, Nakamura eking extra value out of his Ranger. Cohun kept up the pressure with a Huntmaster of the Fells, while Nakamura tried for some defence in a Strangleroot Geist. After a turn or two of getting pumelled, Nakamura gave up and headed for his sideboard.

Benson Cohun 1 – Shuhei Nakamura 0

Game 2

Nakamura's early Strangleroot Geist was met with a Pillar of Flame from Cohun. Nakamura continued to lay threats, with a Blade Splicer and another Strangleroot Geist. Cohun answered the assault with a Beast Within, and then a Slagstorm to clear the board.

Nakamura followed up with a Borderland Ranger and a Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, while Cohun had only a Rampant Growth. Nakamura attacked with his duo and summoned an Avacyn's Pilgrim. Cohun continued to accelerate with a Solemn Simulacrum. Both players chipped away at each other's life totals. Cohen found a Pillar of Flame for Thalia, and Nakamura cast an Oblivion Ring on the Solemn Simulacrum, leaving a lonely Avacyn's Pilgrim nibbling away.


Cohun found the first significant threat with a Huntmaster of the Fells. He followed up with a Primeval Titan, fetching that now-familiar pair, Kessig Wolf Run and an Inkmoth Nexus. Nakamura had little on defence and took beats from the Titan for a turn before Cohun added even more pressure with an Inferno Titan. Nakamura flashed in a Restoration Angel, but even the tricksy flier could avail him naught against Cohen's incoming army.

Benson Cohun 2 – Shuhei Nakamura 0




 

Saturday, 3:45 p.m. - Round 4 Quick Questions

by Pip Foweraker and Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw


Other than the deck you're playing today, what deck would you like to see winning this Grand Prix?

Mat Marr - "For Jesse, something with Blood Artist in it."
Ross Schafer - "Something New!"
Ben Swartz - "4-spell Naya"


Yuya Watanabe - "Zombies!"
Martin Juza - "Delver!"
Chapman Sim - "Esper Control"



 

Round 5 Feature Match - Cynic Kim vs. Gene Brumby

by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw


Gene Brumby, a long time and respected member of the New Zealand Magic community, has elected to skip a World Magic Cup Qualifier this weekend to fly out to Manila, and then on to Yokohama next weekend. Brumby's been on his fair share of New Zealand National Teams in the past, and figured it was time to let others have a go.

Cynic Kim was on the South Korean National Team last year, and will be leading them again this year, as the highest Pro Points player.

Game 1

Kim got up in Brumby's face early with a flipped Delver of Secrets, stunting the New Zealander's mana with a Vapor Snag on a Birds of Paradise. Brumby stumbled on his land drops, losing a Mulch to a Mana Leak, and a Huntmaster of the Fells when a Snapcaster Mage brought the counter spell back for an encore. A Lingering Souls only sufficed to keep Brumby alive a few turns longer, before Kim put him down with a Restoration Angel.

Kim 1 – Brumby 0

Cynic Kim Ponders his play. Get it? Because he, you know, cast... Ponder... I'll shaddup now.

Game 2

This time it was Brumby's turn to come screaming out of the gates, with an Avacyn's Pilgrim, a Birds of Paradise, and a Faithless Looting, discarding an Unburial Rites and a Craterhoof Behemoth. Kim Pondered on his first turn, but failed to play anything but land after that.

Brumby punched a Thrun, the Last Troll past the Mana Leak he assumed Kim was holding, which joined the Pilgrim in knocking Kim down to 13. Brumby continued to fill up his graveyard with a Mulch and a Faithless Looting, before summoning a second Pilgrim.

Kim played his fourth land, and finally made a Phantasmal Image of Thrun, causing them both to wink out of existence with a tiny popping sound. He followed up with a Gut Shot on one of Brumby's Pilgrims, carefully continuing to represent a Mana Leak for the Unburial Rites in Brumby's graveyard.

Brumby flashed back a Faithless Looting, but Kim Mana Leaked the Huntmaster of the Fells that followed it. Brumby still had an Unburial Rites in his graveyard, and now had a Kessig Wolf Run in play, to make his small mana critters considerably more dangerous. Kim again passed the turn back without play. Brumby flashed back his second Looting, discarding a pair of lands, before playing the last card in hand, a Mulch, finding two more land, and binning a second Craterhoof Behemoth. Kim summoned a Restoration Angel at the end of Brumby's turn, and finally attacked.

Brumby untapped, and drew a Primeval Titan off the top of his deck, fetching two Gavony Townships. Kim pointed a Vapor Snag at the Titan at the end of Brumby's turn, and summoned a Snapcaster Mage to flash back the Gut Shot at the remaining Pilgrim, leaving him with just a Birds of Paradise to Kim's Angel and Snapcaster.

Kim attacked for 5, dropping Brumby to 11 to his 9. Brumby again summoned his Titan, this time just finding a pair of innocuous mana-tapping lands. He then flashed back Unburial Rites targeting Elesh Norn, but Kim had another Snapcaster Mage to Mana Leak it. Brumby had one card left in hand, and all of his non-Titan permanents were tapped. Kim went over the possibilities in his head, before summoning Tamiyo, the Moon Sage, and tapping down the Titan. The Snapcasters attacked for 4, putting Brumby to 7, but the Angel stayed back.

Brumby counted his lands, before slamming down another Unburial Rites, bringing a pair of Craterhoof Behemoths back from the dead. The huge beasts High-Fived each other in Buddy Cop Film fashion as they stormed into the attack phase, along with their wise-crackin' token comic relief character, the Birds of Paradise, for a total of 28 damage.

Gene Brumby has news for Cynic Kim. 28 damage worth of Bad News.

Kim 1 – Brumby 1

Game 3

Both players mulliganed to four in the deciding game. Brumby had the first play with a Mulch, sending an Unburial Rites to the bin, but no tasty reanimation targets to match it. Kim summoned a Snapcaster at the end of Brumby's second turn, attacked for 2, and played a Sword of War and Peace. Brumby played a third land, and passed. The Snapcaster took up the blade, viciously cutting Brumby for a total of 8 damage, dropping him to 10. He then Pondered, and ended without a fourth land.

Brumby did have a fourth land, and cast an Avacyn's Pilgrim. Kim attacked again, and Brumby fell to 3. Brumby untapped, and drew his card and tanked. He had an Acidic Slime in hand, but didn't have the second Green mana he needed to cast it. He considered flashing back Unburial Rites on the Birds of Paradise, but instead passed back the turn. Kim played a fifth land and summoned Tamiyo. The Planeswalker tapped down the Pilgrim, and the Mage delivered the killing blow.

Cynic Kim defeats Gene Brumby 2-1




 

Round 6 Feature Match - Martin Juza vs. Hironbu Sugaya

by Pip Foweraker


Hironobu Sugaya and Martin Juza sat down at the feature match table and reminisced about old times. The last time the two played was in Japan, at Nagoya. One of the best things about doing coverage is seeing old competitors try and puzzle out just which corner of the world they last hung out in. Sugaya has had a good track record in Manila, winning the Block Constructed GP in 2008. Juza's resume is longer than space allows, so, instead, we turn our attention to the match at hand...

Game 1

Juza led with a Birds of Paradise. Sugaya made the unusual play of casting two spells before playing a mana source, a Gut Shot to take out the Birds and a Gitaxian Probe to scope out the shape of the game ahead. He followed with a Delver of Secrets. Juza had a Blade Splicer, which died to a Gut Shot but left the Golem sitting on the battlefield.

Juza's off to an early lead.

Juza cast Bonfire of the Damned on the Delver, which was countered by a Mana Leak. Juza summoned a Huntmaster of the Fells, while Sugaya had a Geist of Saint Traft, which was happy to block the incoming Huntmaster. Juza had a second to follow up, and Sugaya was out of blockers and options.

Martin Juza 1 – Hironobu Sugaya 0

Game 2

Juza mulliganed to 6 and pondered long and hard before finally keeping. A Birds of Paradise took a Gut Shot, but Thalia, Guardian of Thraben resolved unhindered. A second Gut Shot took out the troublesome legend, but Juza had no follow-up play. Sugaya calmly laid his fourth land and passed, Juza doing the same, and then both players repeated themselves, lands accumulating but little action.

Sugaya tried a Gitaxian Probe, showing Juza's hand to be a Bonfire of the Damned and a whole lot more lands. Emboldened, Sugaya's Geist of Saint Traft hit the battlefield. Equipped with a Sword of War and Peace, the Saint crashed in.

Juza tried an Avacyn's Pilgrim to block for a turn. Sugaya flashed in a Snapcaster Mage to flashback a Gut Shot, but Juza pumped his Pilgrim with a Gavony Township. Undaunted, Sugaya had a secondSnapcaster mage for his remaining Gut Shot, clearing the way for a lethal attack. On to game 3!

Hironobu Sugaya 1 – Martin Juza 1

Game 3

Juza began play with a Birds of Paradise and a Borderland Ranger, while Sugaya spent his first two turns Pondering into a Delver of Secrets. Juza cast a Restoration Angel in his main phase to cycle through his Borderland Ranger. Sugaya flipped his Delver and Vapor Snagged the Angel, allowing him to punch through in the air unblocked.

Sugaya attacked again with his Insectile Aberration, leaving Juza to ponder how he intended on dealing with the Angel they both knew he had. Eventually, Juza summoned the Angel, both players smiling as Sugaya flashed a Mana Leak. On his turn, Juza played a Gavony Township and attacked with a team of Avacyn's Pilgrim, his Birds, and the Ranger. Sugaya took the damage and kept attacking with his Aberration. A Bonfire of the Damned took Sugaya to 8.

When Juza attacked, Sugaya had a Snapcaster Mage into a Vapor Snare to try and dam the assault. A second SnapcasterPondered into a Geist of Saint Traft, but Juza kept growing his pair of Pilgrims and the Birds to monstrous proportions.

Juza attacked, and both Snapcaster Mages blocked one of the Pilgrims, dropping Sugaya to 5. On the return attack, the Geist was blocked and killed, but the accompanying Angel token got through to knock Juza to 5 as well. Sugaya summoned a lonely-looking Delver of Secrets, with a pair of Moorland Haunts standing by.

Sugaya top decks a win from Juza in Round 6

Juza launched one more attack, with Sugaya creating a blocker and falling to a precarious 2, Sugaya making another Spirit at the end of Juza's turn. Sugaya's Delver flipped on his upkeep, revealing a Thought Scour. Juza attacked with his entire team, and Sugaya revealed the draw from the Scour: a Restoration Angel kept his his Delver alive after blockers, leaving Sugaya with precisely one turn to deal 5 damage to Juza.

Slowly, carefully, Sugaya looked at the top card of his library. It wasn't a sorcery. It wasn't an instant. It was, in fact, an artifact.

Runechanter's Pike carries Sugaya to victory!

Hironobu Sugaya 2 – Martin Juza 1




 

Saturday, 5:31 p.m. - Round 7 Quick Questions

by Pip Foweraker and Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw


What is the best card in your deck against Delver Decks?

Hironobu Sugaya – "Restoration Angel"
Cynic Kim – "Gut Shot"
Tzu Ching Kuo – "Mental Misstep"


YuHao-Shan Huang – "Delver of Secrets"
Shuhei Nakamura – "Geist-Honored Monk"
Martin Juza – "Cavern of Souls"



 

Round 8 Feature Match - Terry Soh vs. Gerald Camangon

by Pip Foweraker


Terry Soh, Invitational winner, Malaysian team member and all-round Mage of Augury sat down to battle Gerald Camangon, who made Top 8 of GP: Manila in 2010 and is on this year's Philippines nationals team.

Game 1

Camangon led the first game with a Gravecrawler and followed it with a Blood Artist. Soh Dismembered the Artist. Camangon tried a Geralf's Messenger, but Soh had a Mana Leak. A Gitaxian Probe revealed Go for the Throat, 2x Diregraf Captain, and Phantasmal Image, all stranded in hand without Camangon having access to a blue source. Emboldened, Soh used his opportunity to Ponder into a Snapcaster Mage, recycling his Ponder to shuffle and dig for more answers.

The Gravecrawler attacked into Snapcaster, who obligingly blocked. Camangon's second Gravecrawler for Camangon re-grew the first one.

Camangon's Zombies: Everyday they shufflin'

Soh cast another Snapcaster Mage during his main phase, cycling a Gitaxian Probe to net himself another card. Soh cast a Vapor Snag on one Gravecrawler, giving Camangon an opportunity to Go for the Throat Soh's Snapcaster. Soh tried for a Restoration Angel now that the Go for the Throat had been dealt with, but Camangon had a Doom Blade and a follow-up Mortarpod, leaving Soh on 3 life with few options.

A second Restoration Angel wasn't enough to stop Camangon's Gravecrawlers from recycling each other through the Mortarpod. Who'd have thought that being environmentally responsible could win you games of Magic?

Geraldn Camangon 1 – Terry Soh 0

Game 2

Soh began aggressively with a Delver of Secrets, for which Camangon had a Tragic Slip. Camangon then summoned a pair of Gravecrawlers, putting significant pressure onto Soh to muster a defence. Muster he did, with a Blade Splicer outsizing the pair of zombies.

Camangon liked the Blade Splicer so much that he made his own, a Phyrexian Metamorph taking to like a robot in disguise. Soh had an Oblivion Ring for one of Camangon's Gravecrawlers, and a Vapor Snag for his Golem token. Camangon grew his army with a Diregraf Ghoul, a third Gravecrawler, and a Fume Spitter to keep Soh in check.

Soh cast a Sword of War and Peace and then moved to equip it to his Blade Splicer. Camangon sacrificed his Fume Spitter in response to kill the 1/1, raising the eyebrows of a few spectators at what seemed to be an on-board trick. Soh shrugged and passed.

Soh's fighting back to a third game


Camangon had his own Sword of War and Peace, which he equipped to his Diregraf Ghoul. Soh's spirit token was unable to block as the Ghoul sailed in for a punitive 5 damage. Soh and Camangon set about racing each other, Camangon's Gravecrawlers facing down Soh's Spirit tokens. With the Spirits unable to block any creature equipped with a Sword of War and Peace, Camangon looked set to win the race.

Such was not to be, though, as a Divine Offering tilted things decidedly in Soh's favour in the nick of time. With his equipment unopposed, Soh won the right to head to a third game to decide the match.

Terry Soh 1 – Gerald Camangon 1

Game 3

Soh started off Game 3 with a Delver, while Camangon had a pair of Gravecrawlers to start off the deciding game. Soh whiffed on his upkeep, but used a Ponder to set up for a more impressive turn 3. Ratchet Bomb from Camangon undid all of Soh's good works, leaving flipping the Delver a risky proposition indeed. He chose to do so regardless, telegraphing either a Vapor Snag or a heady confidence. Stoic as ever, Soh's face betrayed nothing.

Camangon had an elegant answer to Soh's stoicism: send in all his Zombies. Camangon bashed, then summoned a Geralf's Messenger while Soh was tapped tapped out. Soh, on 10 and with an unpleasant-looking horde of zombies facing him down, attacked with his Insectile Aberration. Cameron nonchalantly took the damage and swung back.

Soh tapped out to flash in in a Restoration Angel. In response, Camangon blew his Ratchet Bomb and spent a Go for the Throat to clear a path, leaving Soh defenceless against his zombie warm. That was enough to clinch the game.

Gerald Camangon 2 – Terry Soh 1




 

Saturday, 6:27 p.m. - Round 8 Quick Questions

by Pip Foweraker and Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw


What M13 card are you most excited about?

Tzu Ching Kuo – "Ajani, Caller of the Pride."
Martin Juza – "Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker"
Yuya Watanabe - "Worldfire!"


Shuhei Nakamura – "Rancor"
Mat Marr – "Odric, Master Tactician. It’s the Vexing Devil of this set."
James Porter – "Sublime Archangel"



 

Round 9 Feature Match - Charles Law vs. Yuya Watanabe

by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw


Charles Law has not had much success in the Magic World, but he's off to a good start today. "7-1, not bad for not having any byes!" he joked as they shuffled. His opponent was none other than Yuya Watanabe.

Yuya, he wins GP's. He wins them a lot. Most recently GP Kuala Lumpur, GP Shanghai and GP Pittsburgh. If Law wants to keep winning, he's gonna need to take down an End Boss like Yuya sooner rather than later.

Game 1

Law won the die roll and kept, while Watanabe threw away his 7, keeping 6 after much frowning, sighing, and slouching in his chair.

Law summoned a Gravecrawler, while Watanabe took a look at Law's hand with a Gitaxian Probe, revealing: Mortarpod, Phyrexian Metamorph, Blood Artist, a land, and a Diregraf Ghoul. Law left them face up on the table so that Watanabe didn't have to write anything down.

Watanabe ended his second turn with two lands open. Law drew and played a new Mortarpod, and Watanabe chided him with a laugh, pointing at the one he still had in the face up part of his hand. Law attacked, and used the 'Pod to take down the surprise Snapcaster Mage Watanabe summoned in the middle of combat. However, Law had not found a third land.

Watanabe summoned a Geist of St Traft, while Law summoned a Blood Artist, and attacked Watanabe down to 10. The Geist attacked back, dropping Law to 14, while Watanabe played a fourth land and passed back the turn.

Charles Law is a Pod Person. Mostly Birthing Pods and Mortarpods.

Law tried to cast his second Mortarpod, but Watanabe dropped to 7 to Gut Shot the Blood Artist in response. Law declined to attack for fear of a Restoration Angel, so Watanabe cranked out a 1/1 Spirit Token out of his Moorland Haunt instead. Watanabe again attacked with his Geist. The Gravecrawler tried to trade with it, but Watanabe hadn't been kidding when he represented the Angel the turn before, and the Geist was whisked to safety.

Still stuck on two land, and unable to attack through the Angel, Law summoned a Fume Spitter and passed back the turn.

Watanabe played and equipped a Runechanter's Pike to his Geist, and attacked with it. Law blocked it with his Fume Spitter, and threw a -1/-1 counter at the Angel. Watanabe then tapped the rest of his mana to move the Pike to his Angel. Law drew for the turn, but didn't find a third land for the Metamorph languishing in his hand, and he scooped up his cards.

Watanabe 1 – Law 0

Game 2

Watanabe again mulliganed away his opening hand, and Pondered on turn one. Law's first play was a Cavern of Souls on Zombies, and a Mortarpod. Watanabe only played a land on his second turn, but Law's third turn Geralf's Messenger arrived uncontested. Watanabe Thought Scoured himself, knocking a Geist of St Traft and a Restoration Angel into his bin, before finding some Timely Reinforcements. Celestial Purge shot the Messenger, but another one arrived with similar news to the first ("your life total is 2 less. Or, I dunno, brrrrains, or whatever.") Law played a Birthing Pod, and passed it back.

Watanabe paid 2 life to Gut Shot Law's last blocker, the Germ Token sitting in the Mortarpod. Law sacrificed to shoot himself to ensure any future reinforcements would be a little less timely. Watanabe then played and equipped a Runechanter's Pike to one of his Soldiers, and attacking law down to 6. Law attacked back with his Messenger, before upgrading it with the Birthing Pod, finding a Metamorph to copy the now slightly larger Messenger, dragging Watanabe down to 9 life.

Watanabe had 4 lands, and 2 soldiers, one of which was carrying the Pike. The Piker attacked, but it merely splatters a Fume Spitter, who took down the other Soldier. Watanabe then cast a second Timely Reinforcements, but only for the manly half of the card.

The gathered crowd suddenly and collectively sucked in their breath, as Law revealed the Bonfire of the Damned on top of his library. "For 1," he stated. Watanabe's board of 1/1 Reinforcements were suddenly in a great deal of trouble.

Yuya Watanabe is the on the receiving end of a Bonfire of the Damned. Understandably, he does not much care for it.

Watanabe sighed, frowned, and sucked air in through his clenched teeth (presumably so he could continue sighing). A Vapor Snag kept him alive a little longer, but bouncing Geralf's Messengers, well... it has consequences.

Watanabe 1 – Law 1

Game 3

Watanabe began the final game by shuffling away the contents of a Ponder, while Law summoned a Gravecrawler. Watanabe Pondered a second time, and was a little happier with what he found, this time. Law attacked Watanabe to 18, and summoned a Blood Artist. Watanabe summoned a Geist of Saint Traft, but Law had a Geth's Verdict for it, dropping Watanabe to 14. Watanabe was then attended to by some Timely Reinforcements.

Law attacked again, and Watanabe let the Zombie past. Law summoned a Messenger, draining Watanabe down to 16. Watanabe Thought Scour'd himself twice, before paying 2 life to Gitaxian Probe Law, seeing Manic Vandal, Blood Artist, Geth's Verdict, and Birthing Pod. Watanabe attacked with all 3 of his Soldiers, knocking Law to 18, before passing back the turn with four lands untapped.

Law gave thought to Watanabe's untapped mana, before paying 2 life to cast Birthing Pod. Watanabe responded by Celestial Purging Law's Messenger, and Gut Shotting the Blood Artist. Law attacked again with his Crawler, Watanabe falling to 9. Law then fed the Crawler to his Birthing Pod to find a replacement Blood Artist.

Watanabe had two mana left at the end of Law's turn, and could see Law still had another Blood Artist in his hand, along with the Verdict and the Vandal. After some deliberation, and a gentle nudge from the table judge, Watanabe finally summoned a Snapcaster Mage to flashback his Gut Shot on the living Blood Artist, falling to 6, before untapping and playing a Runechanter's Pike and attacking Law down to just 2 life. Law

Watanabe pointed a Celestial Purge at the Blood Artist.

"You drew that, right?" Law asked, with a sigh.

"Yes, a topdeck," Watanabe replied with a grin, before attacking for just enough damage to kill Law.

Yuya Watanabe defeats Charles Law 2-1




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