Grand Prix-Kuala Lumpur
Wei Ren Khoo vs. Tishen Tham
This quarterfinal matched up two team-mates, but that doesn't mean they weren't prepared. Wei Ren Khoo brought an Enlightened WW deck with many Protection from Black creatures. Tishen Tham played a control Necropotence deck with Phyrexian Negators in it, probably for a faster kill against Necro-Donate. In his sideboard were Gloom, Spinning Darkness, another Masticore and even Massacre. Combined with the power of Necropotence, he was favored to win.
Khoo's initial hand had no white mana sources in it, so he mulliganed into Mox Diamond, Wasteland, Cursed Scroll and some creatures, which he kept. Without another land, he just played Mox Diamond and Cursed Scroll. Tham Unmasked with Duress (he took Khoo's best creature, White Knight), and ritualled out Necropotence: The ideal Necro hand. He paid four life to 16.
Khoo drew a Plains to stay in the game, and played Soltari Priest. Tham played a land, and drew three more cards. Khoo chose not to play a second creature, since all those in his hand would just have let Contagion kill two cards. Tham then pitched Dark Ritual to Unmask, a very strange decision since that deck depends on Corrupt, Drain Life and Masticore to win. Normally you really want your Dark Rituals, especially after Necropotence hits the table. He played Phyrexian Negator and paid four more life. Khoo attacked Tham down to five and played a Warrior En-Kor he just drew. Tham played a Swamp, Demonic Consulted for Contagion in his main phase (instead of attacking first; if he doesn't get blocked he can look at more cards before having to consult, if he blocks he killed a creature that would otherwise not have blocked), and cast the Contagion with Dark Ritual. He paid two life down to three. Khoo then played Soltari Priest. Tham Duressed away Enlightened Tutor and Drained the Priest for one, then attacked Khoo down to ten and Necroed down to one. His hand had nothing. When Khoo played Longbow Archer, Tham's only hope was to act as if he had another creature and attack, hoping for a block. Deciding it wasn't worth bothering, he didn't attack and the Cursed Scroll killed him when Khoo drew his third mana.
Tham's sideboard had great hate cards, and they all came in: Massacre, Masticore, Disk, Gloom. However, he took out his Phyrexian Negators and a Demonic Consultation, in addition to other trimming of cards. What should have come out were Corrupt and Drain Life. This matchup depends on Tham killing Khoo's creatures with free spells and Masticore; Drain Life and Corrupt, especially Corrupt, are often too slow. With the amount of better creature kill (and shadow creatures) in the matchup, Negator becomes amazing. Regardless, the sideboard was really strong. He started game two with Unmask, taking Cursed Scroll and leaving two lands and a Mox Diamond but no creatures. Tham drew White Knight and played it. Tham cast Demonic Consultation for Dark Ritual during Khoo's end step, again a little early since he had a spare mana next turn and could draw a Ritual. He used the Ritual to cast Necropotence. Khoo attacked for two, and cast a topdecked Tithe for two basic lands on Tham's turn. Tham played another land and drew four cards. Khoo attacked for two more and played Ivory Mask. Tham then chose to play Gloom before Nevinyrral's Disk, even though he knew what Khoo's draws had been and the Disk was going to blow up the Gloom; it was just a misplay and he realized it quickly. A Gloomed turn later he had Disk out, and Khoo topdecked Seal of Cleansing! He cast it for five, and then Tham pointed out that it cost three mana to activate under Gloom. Because of that, it just got Disked away. An Unmask took Swords over Worship (which was sideboarded in), and he used Necropotence to go to two before it died. Khoo did nothing the next turn, and Tham Drained Khoo to get back to six. Khoo played Worship. Tham drew Demonic Consultation, and after finding three Necropotence and no Masticores out of game he went for Masticore and cast it. The Masticore went all the way.
The third game, Khoo opened with Mother of Runes, which Tham Contagioned so it couldn't become active. Khoo then played Soltari Monk. Tham used Consultation to get Dark Ritual and cast Gloom. On his next turn he cast Necropotence. On his fourth turn he cast Masticore. Khoo tried to cast a Seal of Cleansing for five mana, but Tham played a second Masticore and combined with a Drain Life that finished off the match.