gptai12

Coverage of Grand Prix
Taipei 2012 Day 1

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  • Saturday, 12:05 p.m. – Grinders Winning Decklists
    by Chapman Sim

  • Quite surprisingly, none of the winning decklists contained any Pack Rats, indicating that there is still hope for players who are not so fortunate to receive a copy of the pesky rodents in their card pool. Of the players who went 5-0 yesterday, 6 of them were affiliated with Selesnya (mostly with a touch of Golgari for some removal) and 4 of them with Rakdos. Perhaps this is an indication of greater things to come!

    The next best thing after Pack Rats perhaps?













     

  • Saturday, 12:42 p.m. – Quick Question
    by Chapman Sim and Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

  • Which Guild are you?

    Paul Renie: Golgari
    Martin Jůza: Simic
    Yuuya Watanabe: Izzet
    Makihito Mihara: Azorius
    Jackie Lee: Izzet
    Shouta Yasooka: Dimir



     

  • Saturday, 1:42 p.m. – Rubbing Shoulders with the Local Community
    by Chapman Sim

  • Needing just about 70 more players to more than triple the previous turnout in 2008, today is a good day for Taiwanese Magic history. 726 players converged to play Magic, enjoy themselves and meet new (and old) friends. Home to the World Magic Cup Champion Team and Platinum Pro Kuo Tzu Ching, she is no longer an unknown city in a world of professional Magic.

    Jace, Architect of Thought in Traditional Chinese, exclusive to Taiwan and Hong Kong!

    A group of passionate players has fueled the growth of the game rapidly, in part due to the local community website, CardWalker. Jim Jen, who has been playing Magic for over 15 years, says it was tough for local players to keep up with the game on a global scale, in part due to the language barrier. Players have had to scour English and Japanese sites for information, latest deck tech and tournament results. Thus, he decided to create a Chinese website to aid the local community by providing invaluable resources.

    Jim Jen, Grand Prix Taipei 2000 Top 8 competitor and founder of CardWalker

    Jen is a marketing executive by day and manages the local website by night, also often utilizing many precious weekends that could be otherwise devoted to shopping at local malls and night markets for instance. With over 15 years of experience in competitive play, he is often seen as a figurehead in the local community. Aside from Taiwan, CardWalker has made quite a name for itself in mainland China, seeing how their audience is also predominantly Mandarin-speaking.

    In 2012, CardWalker was determined to do more for the Taiwan community. It saw many new players enter the realm, but some left as they had no place to gain a deeper understanding of the game. Thus, CardWalker decided to partner up with a local card shop to hold "Magic School" events, where newer players were able to learn how to pick up the game and be introduced to the various formats (understanding what Vintage, Legacy, Modern, Standard, Booster Draft, Sealed Deck, Commander and Two-Headed Giant is a daunting task for an amateur). Though these workshops, new players to become fully immersed in the mystical land of Magic.

    Just two weeks ago, CardWalker held a tournament to commemorate it's second year since inception which attracted 124 participants, the largest non-Grand Prix event to be held in Taiwan within the last few years, a testament to the Taiwanese's dedication to the game.

    Professional Model and Cosplayer Ashley, and Card Master Games store-owner Wu Junxian (more affectionately known as Gua Gua!)

    One of the most popular stores in Taipei, Card Master Games, has also went one step further to delight the local players to great effect!!! Aside from being one of the designated retailers of the event, they have also engaged in a professional model and cosplayer to dress up as Liliana!

    Taiwan isn't a huge place, but it's enthusiasm for Magic definitely doesn't lose to any other country!




     

  • Round 4 Feature Match – Tzu Ching Kuo vs. Alfred Wang
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

  • There's a time during every Grand Prix, around round 4, where the local players are finally beset by the Professional Magic players. After his single bye, Singapore's Alfred Wang notched up another two wins to come into round 4 at 3-0, where Taiwanese Power-House Tzu Ching Kuo was waiting for him.

    Game one did not go at all well for Wang, his Selesnya deck stalling early on two land, as Kuo quickly detained what little Wang had managed to get onto the table, and his Azorius fliers flew over to finish him off.

    Tzu Ching Kuo detains all who face him.

    Kuo 1 – Wang 0

    Kuo mulliganed in game two, and tried to employ Jace, Architect of Thought to hold back Wang's growing army of Centaurs. When Kuo finally made it to six mana, he summoned a Sphinx of the Chimes, but Wang had an Aerial Predation to even up the match at one game apiece.

    Alfred Wang populates his side of the table.

    Kuo 1 – Wang 1

    The third game was a much more prolonged affair, with creatures and Counterspells and combat tricks trading all over the place. Wang finally came over the top with a Horncaller's Chant, forcing Kuo to dig for answers with his Jace. Kuo Stab Wound'd one of the Rhinos to try and share some of the damage with his opponent.

    Just as it looked like the crash of Rhinoceroses might do Kuo in, he slammed down an Archon of the Triumvirate, which allowed him to lock up the board and fly over for the match.

    Tzu Ching Kuo defeats Alfred Wang 2-1




     

  • Saturday, 3:51 p.m. – Quick Question
    by Chapman Sim and Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

  • How many players were you expecting here this weekend?

    Shuhei Nakamura: 400 to 500. Not this many!
    Shi Tian Lee: 600, but this turnout is crazy.
    Martin Jůza: 600.
    Hao-Shan Huang: Around 500.
    Tung-Yi Cheng: 500.
    Tzu Ching Kuo: 400. This is a nice surprise.



     

  • Saturday, 6:02 p.m. – Round 5 Quick Feature
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw


  • We were spoilt for choice for feature matches in round 5, so while Martin Jůza battled Jun'ya Iyanaga under the watchful eye of Chapman Sim, 2006 World Champion rode his Pack Rat to a 2-1 victory over Hall of Famer Shuhei Nakamura.




     

  • Saturday, 6:23 p.m. – Through the Ages: Taipei Edition
    by Chapman Sim

  • Taipei is not only home to enchanting night markets, Platinum Pro Kuo Tzu Ching and the 2012 World Magic Cup Champion Team, it has also previously hosted six Grand Prix over the course of Magic's illustrious history. Hop onto our time machine, as we revisit Taipei's humble and distinguished history.


    The year was 1998. A "measly" 194 players participated in the first Grand Prix ever to be held in Taipei, or Taiwan for the matter. Kenichi Fujita had the honor of being crowned the first Grand Prix Taipei Champion. Grand Prix mainstays like Itaru Ishida and Alex Shvartsman were also part of this important milestone.

    Grand Prix Taipei 1998 Top 8
    1) Kenichi Fujita
    2) Iwao Takemasa
    3) Tobey Tamber
    4) Itaru Ishida
    5) Teddy Ng
    6) Kai Cheong Tang
    7) Alex Shvartsman
    8) Miller Tsai


    One year later, Itaru Ishida, Alex Shvartsman and Tobey Tamber (the first Taiwanese player to win a Grand Prix) broke into the Top 8 once again, reasserting the world of their dominance in the region. It would also mark the start of Kuo Tzu Ching's glorious career, as he broke into his first Grand Prix Top 8, trying to keep the trophy on local soil, along with fellow countrymen Jim Jen and Lucifar Sun. In the end, it was Tadayoshi Komiya who emerged victorious with his Necro-Donate combo deck, one of the most powerful and iconic masterpieces in the world of Extended Constructed.

    Grand Prix Taipei 1999
    1) Tadayoshi Komiya
    2) Tsuyoshi Fujita
    3) Alex Shvartsman
    4) Jim Jen
    5) Lucifar Sun
    6) Tzu Ching Kuo
    7) Satoshi Nakamura
    8) Tobey Tamber
     

    In 2001, AlphaBetaUnlimited.com took home the trophy, competing using the format of Invasion Block Limited. Along the way, they had to defeat Team T.T.T. in the semi-finals, which consisted Chen Yu Wang, Dell Sun and "coincidentally" Kuo Tzu Ching and also the Japanese superstar setup, Anchans. Osamu Fujita would later go on to make another two more Top 8s in Taipei! He must really love this city!

    Grand Prix Taipei 2001
    1) AlphaBetaUnlimited.com (Chris Benafel, Daniel Clegg, David Williams)
    2) Anchans (Osamu Fujita, Itaru Ishida, Katsuhiro Mori)
    3) Team T.T.T. (Tzu-Ching Kuo, Chen Yu Wang, Dell Sun)
    4) Dr. no-right (Jack Ho, Yan Chang Lee, Yang Bo Wang)

    2002 marked the first and only Grand Prix that featured an all-Taiwanese playoff. This event was also especially memorable for the local community, since it placed seven Taiwanese in the Top 8, an unprecedented achievement. Chiang Kang Nien had to defeat Pro Tour Barcelona 2001 Top 8 competitor, Albertus Law (the lone non-Taiwanese competitor this event), to reach the finals, but eventually fell to Sheng Hsun Hsia with his funky concoction utilizing Hunting Grounds and Mystic Snake!


    Grand Prix Taipei 2002
    1) Sheng Hsun Hsia
    2) Kang Nien Chiang
    3) Joe Yi Xiang Wang
    4) Albertus Law
    5) Morris Song
    6) Wen-Jien Hwang
    7) Chang Ming Tung
    8) Lucifar Sun

    Three years later, the Japanese stormed Taipei mercilessly, placing six players in the Top 8. Seasoned veteran, Osamu Fujita had to defeat Masahiko Morita to capture the title. Both players have a total of 25 Grand Prix Top 8 appearances to their name, and Masahiko Morita continues to hold the record for making the most Grand Prix Top 8s (16) without a Pro Tour Top 8 appearance. Shu Komuro, the semi-finalist in 2005, would later go on to win Grand Prix Taipei 2008!

    Grand Prix Taipei 2005
    1) Osamu Fujita
    2) Masahiko Morita
    3) Jun'ichirou Bandou
    4) Shu Komuro
    5) Tai Chi Huang
    6) Aik Seng Khoo
    7) Masashi Oiso
    8) Masahiro Kuroda


    Osamu Fujita once again broke into the Top 8 again, but fell to eventual winner Shu Komuro, Pro Tour Nagoya 2005, the very last Pro Tour utilizing the format of Rochester Draft. Pro Tour Return to Ravnica semi-finalist, Lee Shi Tian of Team MTG Mint Cardwas also part of the star-studded Top 8 and he is playing today in a bid repeat his previous finish. We wish all competitors good luck!

    Grand Prix Taipei 2008
    1) Shu Komuro
    2) Yoshitaka Nakano
    3) Osamu Fujita
    4) Homg Gi Tsai
    5) Tun Min Huang
    6) Sheng Xiu Jian
    7) Shi Tian Lee
    8) Kang Nien Chiang



     

  • Saturday, 6:44 p.m. – Catching up with the World Magic Cup Champions!
    by Chapman Sim

  • It's been a couple of months since the World Magic Cup came to and end. We have the fortune of gathering the champions, Kuo Tzu Ching, Cheng Tung-Yi and Paul Renie for a quick interview (Ivas Yang was unable to attend due to personal reasons.)


    How has winning the Magic World Cup affected your Magic lifestyle?

    Kuo: I'm very happy that Taiwan is becoming a nation that people pay attention to. I'm still working hard to break the Top 8 of a Pro Tour and also, recently I joined a newly-formed team and I'm very happy to be sponsored by MTG Mint Card.


    Cheng: Nothing much has really changed. I still play Friday Night Magic, Grand Prix Trials and Pro Tour Qualifiers. But my friends do come up to me and they seem more motivated to beat me, and when they do, they feel glad that they took down a World Champ. There was a tournament where there was a bounty placed on our head, and players received boosters if they beat anyone from the Team. Its pretty interesting and engaging that way, but mostly we're the same people, playing at all the usual events.


    Renie: I definitely play a lot more Magic now, and my wife is finally convinced that playing Magic's a great investment! The popularity of Magic within Taiwan has also increased quite a bit, which is a good thing for everyone.

    How has winning the World Cup together changed the relationship between you and your teammates?

    Kuo: Cheng and I were good friends to begin with and often play together at the same store. We got to know Renie and Yang and we've been much closer than before.

    Renie: I'm based in Kaohsiung, so I never really knew Kuo, Cheng or Yang prior to the Magic World Cup. Winning this event together has definitely made us better friends and we now meet up more often to playtest, even though we live in different parts of Taiwan.

    Touché.

    Renie, you're the "youngest" member in terms of experience. When did you start to play Magic and how do you feel earning this accolade so fast?

    Renie: I only picked up Magic after Rise of the Eldrazi was released, so I've only been playing for two years. I feel really lucky, to be competing alongside the best players like Kuo. Some Magic players have been playing for a long time and never had a chance to play on Day 3, so its pretty awesome that I get to compete at such a high-level tournament within such a short period of time.

    What are your aims for this year?

    Kuo: I'm aiming to go Platinum again, of course. I've got a good feeling about this.

    Cheng: For me, I hope I can play more Pro Tours this year. I'm not qualified for Pro Tour Gatecrash but I hope to be for Pro Tour Dragon's Maze.

    Renie: I don't think I will be able to travel to any Grand Prix, except possibly during summer when I get a break. GP Singapore is right before Chinese New Year holidays, so I might not be able to go. But I will be attending Pro Tour Gatecrash. If I do really well in Montreal, I would consider traveling more!




     

  • Round 5 Feature Match – Jun'ya Iyanaga vs. Martin Jůza
    by Chapman Sim

  • Calm and composed, Jun'ya Iyanaga's soft-spoken demeanor and humble appearance does not seem to be the intimidating, until you realize that he was our previous World Champion back in 2011. Boisterous Martin Jůza, fresh off his repeated victory in Bochum (increasing his Grand Prix Top 8 count to fourteen) has also won his first round and has found himself seated opposite Jun'ya Iyanaga.

    Both players did not have a chance to play against each other during the Player Championships but they did rub shoulders at Pro Tour Return to Ravnica. Jůza triumphed over Iyanaga in the Modern portion last month and the World Champion would seek to exact vengeance this time. Jůza was clearly excited to win the die roll and opted to begin, but had to mulligan his opening seven.

    Game One

    Both players opened with Guildgates (Jůza's Izzet, Iyanaga's Golgari). Jůza dropped Plains to summon Keening Apparition, prompting Iyanaga to decide whether to cast Thrill-Kill Assassin or Grisly Salvage.

    He decided to go for the instant instead, Corpsejack Menace, binning Zanikev Locust, before untapping and attacking with a hasty Dreg Mangler. Jůza suppressed it temporarily with Soulsworn Spirit, but Iyanaga replied with Corpsejack Menace, which was looking very scary with the locust in the graveyard, ready to be scavenged for 6 +1/+1 counters.


    Lobber Crew was neither effective against a 9/9 Dreg Mangler, nor a 4/4 Corpsejack Menace and Jůza was forced to take a huge hit. He gang-blocked with both his two-powered creatures to prevent any further counter-doubling shenanigans. Passing the turn without any play, Jůza was planning on cushioning his life total and refilling his hand with Sphinx's Revelation but that didn't stop the Japanese player from sending his 9/9 monster into the red zone. A subsequent Korozda Monitor and Thrill-Kill Assassin from Iyanaga convinced Jůza it was time to move on.

    Jun'ya Iyanaga 1 – Martin Jůza 0

    Game Two

    Jůza opted to draw this time, possibly indicating a different game plan. Both players played nothing but defenders during the first three turns. Jůza was the owner of both Doorkeeper and Lobber Crew, while Iyanaga developed his mana with Axebane Guardian.

    Korozda Monitor was effectively nullified by both the blockers, so Iyanaga reinforced with Golgari Longlegs. Hussar Patrol jumped out at the end of Jůza's fourth turn, but that could not stop Jůza from losing 5 life to Mr. Longlegs. He undid two of that damage by casting Sphinx's Revelation, netting two cards in the process.


    When Jůza pointed Explosive Impact at the 5/4 during combat, Iyanaga trumped with Chorus of Might, effectively canceling the burn spell while halving his opponent's life total. Jůza was now at 8 life, while Iyanaga was at 12.

    Jůza's Azorius Arrester declined to lock down Mr. Longlegs, preferring to disable Axebane Guardian so he could sneak in for 2 damage with Hussar Patrol. Mizzium Mortars dealt with the huge insect finally, and it would seem like Iyanaga was in danger of getting killed by Lobber Crew Iyanaga tried to win fast, and proceeded to clear his hand, summoning both unleashed Grim Roustabout and Thrill-Kill Assassin. However, a second Patrol Hussar ensured Jůza's survival, before he could finish off Iyanaga with an unleashed Chaos Imps.

    Jun'ya Iyanaga 1 – Martin Jůza 1

    Game Three

    Jůza's first play of Hover Barrier was the perfect target for Iyanaga's Stab Wound. Over the course of the next few turns, he summoned Centaur's Herald (and transforming it), Dreg Mangler and Corpsejack Menace, but continued to pass turns without any effects, as the Stab Wound ticked away, now for the fifth time already.

    Down to just ten life, Jůza could feel that his time was short and cleared the board with Mizzium Mortars, but that did not aid in alleviating his now almost caustic wound. Cyclonic Rift undid Iyanaga's board for the second time this game (including the crucial Stab Wound), while Jůza flooded his own side with Tower Drake and Concordia Pegasus, to go alongside his Izzet Keyrune and Hussar Patrol).

    When Jůza tried to dig for a solution with Izzet Keyrune, Iyanaga crisped it with Street Spasm. After all, he only needed to stay alive for just two more turns, seeing that Jůza was down to his last four life. A resummoned Golgari Longlegs, in conjunction with Rogue's Passage sealed the deal for the Japanese player. Stab Wound claims yet another victim.

    Jun'ya Iyanaga 2 – Martin Jůza 1




     

  • Round 6 Feature Match – Nick Wong vs. Tomoharu Saito
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

  • Fresh off of his Top 8 in Grand Prix Shanghai earlier this year, Nick Wong is looking to build on his solid history in the Asia-Pacific region. Fresh off of an 18 month suspension that kept him out of the Magic Hall of Fame, Tomoharu Saito is looking to build a more respectable reputation to match his once fearsome one.

    Entering round 5 with a loss each, both Saito and Wong had allied themselves with the Izzet Guild. Saito unleashed an early Gore-House Chainwalker, which quickly bounced off Wong's Doorkeeper. Wong Cancel'd Saito's Cobblebrute, but he followed that up with a Runewing, which hung back to defend against Wong's Izzet Keyrune.

    Saito topped up his hand with a Thoughtflare, and when Wong went to summon a Skyline Predator, Saito broke its back with an Essence Backlash, marking the first lifetotal change of the match. Wong summoned a Chainwalker of his own, and a Voidwielder bounced the Runewing for a turn. Saito replayed his Runewing, and a pair of Rakdos Shred-Freaks, emptying his hand.

    Wong attacked with his Keyrune, and Saito accepted the trade with one of his Freaks. Wong then summoned an Azor's Elocutors. Saito's Runewing disrupted their filibusting for a turn, until Wong sent them in Pursuit of Flight.

    Nick Wong tries to filibust his way to victory.

    Saito unleashed a Bloodfray Giant, and a turn later, pronounced an Inaction Injunction on the Elocutors, also detaining the Voidwielder with an Isperia's Skywatch, leaving Wong with only the Doorkeeper on defence. Saito attacked with the 5/4 Giant, 2/2 Runewing, 2/1 Shred-Freak, a 3/3 Splatter Thug, and the 3/2 Chainwalker, dropping Wong to just 3 life.

    Wong's Rakdos Guildgate allowed him to Dreadbore the Skywatch, but he couldn't soak up enough damage from Saito's next attack, and was left reaching for his sideboard.

    Saito 1 – Wong 0

    Wong mulliganed twice in game two, and was under attack from a Shred-Freak almost immediately. Wong threw away a Skyline Predator to dig for gas with his Viashino Racketeer, while Saito pushed through 2 more damage with an Inaction Injunction. Wong played a Rakdos Keyrune, and managed to trade his Racketeer for the Shred-Freak when it came in the following turn. Saito again unleashed a Bloodfray Giant.

    Wong bought a turn with a Voidwielder, but the Giant was simply replaced by a Batterhorn, destroying the Keyrune. Wong summoned a Splatter Thug, but kept it on the leash, while Saito again unleashed his Giant, before playing a second Inaction Injunction on the Thug to push 4 damage past the 'Wielder.

    Tomoharu Saito detains everything in his way.

    Facing a pair of sizeable monsters, Wong could only pass back his turn with 6 mana untapped and the 'Weilder and Thug standing between himself and a battering. Saito happily summoned his Isperia's Skywatch, again detaining the Thug, and attacked Wong down to 3 life for the second time this match. Wong drew his card for the turn, and used it to scoop up his permanents.

    Saito 2 – Wong 0




     

  • Round 6 Feature Match – Sam Lau vs. Albertus Law
    by Chapman Sim

  • Albertus Law and Sam Lau have been playing Magic for a really long time, for almost two decades now. Long enough that the newer players may not even know who they are. At the peak of their careers, Albertus broke into the Top 8 of two Grand Prix (winning Grand Prix Singapore 2001) and a Pro Tour all in the same season, while Sam is the proud owner of three champion trophies (claiming Grand Prix Singapore 2000 and two Singapore Nationals titles).

    Both have taken a step back from Magic owing to their devotion to their careers but remain well-respected (and a little feared), especially within the Singaporean and Malaysian community.

    Game One

    Albertus was forced to keep a one-lander after mulliganing down to six. Sam opened with Precinct Captain and Sunspire Griffin, and proceeded flood the board with three 1/1 Soldier tokens. Albertus' deck failed to produce a second and third land in time and was quickly overrun by the time he managed to cast Hover Barrier and Lobber Crew.

    "That wasn't a very interesting game actually," commented Sam. I couldn't have agreed more.

    Sam Lau 1 – Albertus Law 0

    Albertus Law

    Game Two

    Albertus was ready with Syncopate to stop Precinct Captain, while both players matched Sunspire Griffins. Tower Drake was able to push two damage at the expense of tapping two Plains, but Albertus would rather leave his mana untapped to represent a trick. Sam gummed up the board further with Hover Barrier, causing a boring stalemale.

    Albertus tried to break that monotony by playing a Swamp and casting Stab Wound, a sideboarded card which came in for this mirror match but Sam quickly undid that with Dramatic Rescue. Albertus shrugged and showed Sam a second copy and once again Lau undid that with Voidwielder on his own Hover Barrier, bringing back the game to a slow crawl.

    Sam Lau

    That was until Albertus resolved Isperia's Skywatch and Knightly Valor in succession, creating an overpowering air force. Fortunately for Sam, he was able to reset the board with Supreme Verdict, and add a threat of his own, in the form of Skymark Roc.

    After that, he proceeded to summon two Vassal Souls, which Albertus deftly answerered with Detention Sphere, but all Sam had to do was add another Vassal Soul and Sunspire Griffin to seal up the game.

    Sam Lau 2 – Albertus Law 0

    *owing to similar last names, both players' first names have been used in this Featured Match for easier reading.




     

  • Round 7 Feature Match – Huang Hao-shan vs. Moriya Toshihiko
    by Chapman Sim

  • Game One

    Both decks were pretty aggressive but if I had to choose, I'd give the edge to Huang, who started with triple Dead Revelers, all unleashed and usually very scary.

    Not sure if really intimidating...


    However, Moriya was able to survive with a counteractive opening (which comprised Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage, Eyes in the Sky, Knightly Valor and Golgari Longlegs). Once the Japanese player had managed to stick two four-toughness creatures on the board, it rendered the trio of Dead Revelers useless because Huang didn't have a combat trick. Since they couldn't block, Moriya simply marched in for the win over two turns, while leaving some tokens behind as sacrificial lambs.


    Huang 0 – Moriya 1


    Game Two

    Huang was forced to mulligan down to six and sought to steal a win with Pack Rats. Moriya wasn't having any of that, and quickly pointed Abrupt Decay at the rodents before they could procreate.

    Centaur's Herald eventually evolved into a 3/3 Centaur token, but Huang was able to stop it with Sluiceway Scorpion. Moriya reloaded with Towering Indrik and Golgari Longlegs, and Huang seemed to be in trouble. Severely flooded, he stared at six lands on the battlefield, and two more in his hand, and decided to make a 5/5 with his final card (Slime Molding), emptying his sleeve of tricks.


    Moriya seemed to think the token was irrelevant and swung with both his creatures anyway. Sensing a trick, Huang declined to block and hoped to draw some gas. If he had blocked right there, he would be left with nothing on board and practically left with no other survival options.

    His decisions seem to be founded by sheer willpower and his prayers were answered. When Moriya tried Ultimate Price, Huang was able to punish him by recreating the token and exiling Golgari Longlegs with a freshly peeled Trostani's Judgment.

    Huang proceeded to rip Knightly Valor off the top, and it would seem like the tides had turned. A third successive topdeck in the form of Daggerdrome Imp (enhanced by re-utilizing the fallen Sluiceway Scorpion) ensured that Huang would be winning this race for sure.

    Huang 1 – Moriya Toshihiko 1

    Game Three

    Huang was stuck on four forests, but was able to make two 3/3 Centaurs, thanks to a pair of Centaur's Heralds. Moriya, on the other hand, was stuck on two lands, a Swamp and a Forest, and was forced to discard an awkward Sunspire Griffin but he did receive Korozda Guildmage within the next two turns.

    Hao-shan was quick to capitalize on the situation and quickly recruited Dead Reveler and Sluiceway Scorpion. By the time Moriya could draw his fourth land to call forth Towering Indrik, he was down to just six lowly life. Huang further pressed the attack with a second copy of Dead Reveler, unleashing this one as well.

    Moriya was not without a plan and he was blessed to draw a fifth land to execute it. Using Common Bond and Ultimate Price, he was able to reduce Huang's board to a single Centaur token, while maintaining a 4/6 "Giant Spider" on the board, stabilizing the situation.

    The back-breaker and game-ender arrived two turns later. Angel of Serenity made its appearance and wiped away Huang's board. Long story short, it's usually kind of hard to come back after facing this powerful mythic rare.

    Moriya defeats Huang and is now at 6-1, while he sends Huang into the elimination bracket, and possibly the gallows.

    Nasty or nice? It really depends which side you are on!

    Huang 1 – Moriya Toshihiko 2




     

  • Saturday, 7:15 a.m. – Deck Construction with Lee Shi Tian
    by Chapman Sim

  • Grand Prix Birmingham 2008 Champ and more recently Pro Tour Return to Ravnica Semifinalist is here at Taipei, ready to follow-up his recent finish with (hopefully) another trophy.


    "I'm so dead," giggled Lee, as he sat down and fanned through his card pool. It seems that his best "bomb" was Grave Betrayal, which caused me to cringe on the inside. "I don't think I have any other choice other than Golgari splashing some red, its not like I have other real options."

    His white cards included a duo of Sunspire Griffins, Arrest and Avenging Arrow, but that was about it. Other noteworthy cards included Knightly Valor (which Antonino De Rosa believes to be the most underrated card in the format) and Seller of Songbirds, but neither are good reasons to delve into white. His blue cards were similarly lackluster and were insufficient to provide for either an aggressive strategy, nor a controllish one.

    Lee (member of newly-formed Team MTG Mint Card) explained to me that he usually starts by pulling out all the removal he had. That included two copies of Explosive Impact, Auger Spree and Ultimate Price. If he dipped into green, he would receive Aerial Predation, to go alongside his Corpsejack Menace. He seemed pretty satisfied with his suite of removal, but cringed when he proceeded to examine his mana curve.

    Unfortunately for Lee, his one and two drops were terrible. He couldn't reliably cast Ash Zealot, and Rakdos Cackler didn't help him if he wanted to block. He was unable to splash for his double Goblin Electromancers. In a word, disastrous. His strategy was to attempt to stay alive, in order to take over in the late game. Currently sitting at 3-2, he would need Lady Luck to shine upon him if he wished to advance into Day Two.

    Lee Shi Tian (Sealed Pool)
    Grand Prix Taipei 2012
    Land (2)

    Artifact (2) White (12) Blue (12) Black (14) Red (9) Green (11) Gold (16)
    AzoriusGolgariIzzetSelesnyaRakdos
    1 Fall of the Gavel 1 Corpsejack Menace 1 Chemister's Trick 1 Call of the Conclave 1 Auger Spree
    1 New Prahv Guildmage 1 Grisly Salvage 2 Goblin Electromancer 1 Coursers' Accord 1 Skull Rend
    2 Search Warrant 1 Sluiceway Scorpion 1 Teleportal  
      1 Treasured Find  

    Hybrid (6)





     

  • Saturday, 7:19 p.m. – Quick Question
    by Chapman Sim and Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

  • What is the most underrated card in Return to Ravnica Sealed?

    Paul Renie: Mind Rot
    Tzu Ching Kuo: Chemister's Trick
    Yuuya Watanabe: Axebane Guardian
    Shi Tian Lee: Traitorous Instinct
    Antonino De Rosa: Knightly Valor
    Shuhei Nakamura: Rootborn Defenses



     

  • Round 8 Feature Match – Antonino De Rosa vs. Yong Han Choo
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

  • Antonino De Rosa is certainly a familiar name to Magic players of old, with 1 Pro Tour Top 8, and 11 Grand Prix Top 8's. De Rosa often finds himself out and about in the Asia-Pacific region for work, and has been seen battling in the local Grand Prix events a few times over the last couple of years.

    De Rosa's opponent Yong Han Choo is no slouch himself. While he has only 1 Grand Prix Top 8, he finished in the Top 4 of Pro Tour Hollywood in 2008.

    "Is your deck good?" De Rosa asked as they shuffled, "mine is kinda kooky, all of my wins have been 2-1, with 2 or 3 life left."

    "It's just normal," was all Choo could reply, with a smile.


    Yong Han Choo is not just a token feature match recipient.

    Both players traded cards in the early game, with De Rosa Arresting Choo's Korozda Guildmage, and declaring Martial Law as the dust cleared. But Choo wasn't done, summoning an Axebane Guardian that allowed him to summon a Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage.

    De Rosa's Martial Law was stuck tying up a Golgari Decoy, while a Voidwielder nullified a 7/7 Ooze Token spat out by a Slime Molding. However, De Rosa had no way to stop the Guildmage, which happily made Centaur after Centaur until Choo dropped a Collective Blessing on the table.

    "Oh, your deck is normal! De Rosa cried out, as he scooped up his cards, "such a good liar."

    "No, it's..." Choo tried to reply

    "It's ok man, I still like you," De Rosa assured, "even though you lied to me."

    Antonino De Rosa is unimpressed with Choo's idea of "normal".


    Choo began game two by smashing a Keening Apparition through a Hussar Patrol with a Selesnya Charm, before summoning his trusty Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage. Abrupt Decay took down De Rosa's Frostburn Weird, but his Skymark Roc was hungrily eying up Choo's army of 2/2's.

    Did I say 2/2's? I meant 5/5's as Choo again made a Collective Blessing. De Rosa could only shake his head as he summoned an Isperia's Skywatch. It was no surprise to anyone watching that De Rosa's 3/3 fliers were no match for a pair of 5/5's and an endless supply of 6/6 Centaurs.

    Yong Han Choo defeats Antonino De Rosa 2 – 0




     

  • Saturday, 8:03 p.m. – Who Watches the Watchers?
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw


  • Who watches the watchers? I do, I guess, through the viewfinder of my camera. Headed up by level 5 Judge extraordinaire Riccardo Tessitori, our Judge Team this weekend are scorekeeper Clifford Yap, level 3's Aaron Hamer, Christian Gawrilowicz, Edwin Zhang, Joel Bantiles, Monsuporn Lauhaphand, Shing Nien Fong, level 2's Arthur Wu, Glicerio "Serge" Garcia, Haitao Jia, Hajime Fujii, Hans Wang, Hon Ying Lau, Inhwan Kim, Jackky Yang, Ji Li, Jinyi Lim, Khanh Le Thien, Masaru Koide, Ranjesh Ganesan, Sang-Mook Ha, Sashi "c-loco" Kumar Balakrishnan, Sean Roffey, Woosuk Lee, Zhaoben Xu, and level 1's Chih-Hao Tseng, E-Li Sun. Jerry Deng, Jia Lin Wu, Jim Horng, Ken Sawada, and Lin Fu Chien.




     

  • Saturday, 8:36 p.m. – Day 1 Undefeated Sealed Decks
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw






  •  

  • Round 9 Feature Match – Shuhei Nakamura vs. Kuo Tzu Ching
    by Chapman Sim

  • Recently winning Grand Prix Philadelphia and Costa Rica 2012, Shuhei Nakamura is looking to capture just one more Top 8 appearance to finally catch up with Alex Shvartsman, who has been sitting on his twenty one Grand Prix Top 8s for almost a decade now. Kuo had also received an accolade recently, namely the World Magic Cup champion. Both players have impressive resumes but due to some unfortunate mishap, they have ended up in the elimination bracket.

    Game One

    Kuo mulliganed to six but promptly opened with Keening Apparition, then passing his third turn without a third land. Nakamura was blessed with all three of his colors by then, and was able to summon Tower Drake.

    Drawing Plains off the top, Kuo detained the opposing drake with Lyev Skyknight but Nakamura was ready with Izzet Staticaster. He followed up with Knightly Valor (successfully enchanting Tower Drake), prompting Kuo to kill the aura with his lone creature.

    Reduced to an empty board, Kuo could only watch helplessly as he continued to take damage from the Tower Drake and Knight token. When he did find a fourth land, Armory Guard made an appearance, but a second Knightly Valor on the vigilant Knight token (in conjunction with Izzet Staticaster) rendered it ineffective as either a blocker or an attacker.

    Jace, Architect of Thought was Kuo's next move, but an ensuing attack and a blast of Annihilating Fire finished off the powerful Planeswalker. Nakamura forged ahead with Skymark Roc. Kuo could only delay his inevitable death with the "mini-combo" of Azorius Justicar and Faerie Impostor.

    Nakamura 1 – Kuo 0


    Game Two

    Kuo chose to play but before the game could get started, both players decided to switch their initial seven. Kuo's first few plays of New Pravh Guildmage, Azorius Arrester and Precinct Captain were effectively nullified by a singular Frostburn Weird. Kuo could only push minimal damage with an activated Azorius Keyrune.

    Shuhei suited up an unleashed Gore-House Chainwalker with Knightly Valor, but Kuo was ready with Swift Justice, granting him five points of first-striking damage to off the 5/4 Human Warrior. Kuo then summoned Sphinx of the Chimes, but Nakamura replied with Chaos Imp, declining to unleash, clearly preferring the option to trade as opposed to the currently irrelevant trample ability. He could only pray that Kuo's bag of tricks were exhausted, as he attacked with Chaos Imps, before summoning Tower Drake to represent 11 points of flying damage should Kuo dare to counterattack.

    Clearly at the end of his line, Kuo finally accepted Nakamura's trade, then attacking with all his "walking" guys, hoping to bring down some of the fliers which he couldn't block. It worked decently, at least forcing Nakamura to push Tower Drake in front of his Frostburn Weird.


    The flurry of assaults brought Nakamura to just six life, Kuo ten. Drawing Isperia's Skywatch, Kuo was able to shut down the opposing blocker, before swinging with Stealer of Secrets and Azorius Justicar, knocking down Nakamura to just two life.

    Unfortunately, Nakamura's final card was Eyes in the Skies, which enabled him to block all of Kuo's creatures the next turn, while finishing off all of them. Skyline Predator ate up Isperia's Skywatch, two Bird tokens traded with Azorius Justicar, which Frostburn Weird munched up the Stealer of Secrets.

    Kuo Tzu Ching's tournament is over, while Shuhei Nakamura lives to fight another day.

    Nakamura 2 – Kuo 0




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