Grand Prix-Kuala Lumpur
Ryan Soh vs. Wai Au Yong
This semifinal match was best two out of three with no time limit.
Fresh off his quarterfinal victory over Counter-Sliver, Ryan Soh (Games Castle, Team Turbo Man) faced a fellow Games Castle player Wai Au Yong who was playing another Counter-Sliver deck. Soh looked confident that he could win this match as well. Both players wore their Games Castle T-shirt, with the motto, "Be afraid, be very afraid."
Wai started off with a Flood Plain and Soh started off with a first-turn Duress. Soh chose the Demonic Consultation, leaving Wai with a Duress. Wai drew and played his own Duress, choosing to remove another Duress from Soh's hand (leaving him with Mana Vault, Dark Ritual and Demonic Consultation).
Both players played land for several turns until Wai played a Hibernation Sliver. The next turn, Soh played two Mana Vaults. Wai played another Hibernation Sliver and attacked with the first Sliver. Soh then played two Dark Ritual and Consulted for a Duress (it was his 8th card). Soh used the Duress to remove a Force of Will from Wai's hand (leaving him with a Demonic Consultation). Soh then announced he was playing Necropotence. Wai asked him to wait and decided to used Demonic Consultation for a Counterspell (after looking through Soh's discard pile and having Soh remark, "I haven't lost any Force of Will yet." The first Counterspell was 11 cards into Wai's deck and he used it to Counter the Necropotence.
The next turn was important for Soh, he played Illusions of Grandeur and Donate, giving the Illusions of Grandeur to Wai. He told Wai with a smile, "You need a Swords to Plowshares now." Wai payed the upkeep for a few turns then conceeded.
Result - Soh 1, Wai 0
During sideboarding, Soh grimaced and said, "In come all of the evil cards. We built this deck to beat Necro-Donate." Both of the players were aware of what each other would be sideboarding and both players had worked on the Counter-Sliver deck to have a chance to beat Necro-Donate after sideboarding.
Wai sideboarded out 2 Muscle Slivers, an Acidic Sliver and a Demonic Consultation. He brought in 2 Annul, 1 Seal of Removal and 1 Erase.
Soh sideboarded exactly as he did for his quarterfinal match against Counter-Sliver (see the coverage of the quarterfinals).
Neither chose to mulligan. player Soh's opening hand contained 2 Necropotence, Vampiric Tutor, Duress, Illusions of Gandeur and 2 lands. His first draw was an Unmask. This was a great start for a Necro-Donate deck. Wai's opening hand contained Muscle Sliver, Crystalline Sliver, Seal of Removal and land.
Soh's first action was to Duress the Seal of Removal from Wai's hand. Wai drew his own Duress and played it immediately. Wai shook his head sadly when he saw Soh's hand, which contained 2 Necropotence, Vampiric Tutor, Unmask and Illusions of Grandeur. Soh only had two land in play, and smartly advised Mai to choose the Vampiric Tutor so that he could not Tutor for a Dark Ritual and cast Necropotence. Wai considered quite a long time as Soh made some comments, "I'm serious you should take the Vampiric Tutor!" he said, "I made a mistake, I should have used the Vampiric Tutor to get a Dark Ritual in response to the Duress."
In the end, Wai choose the Illusions of Grandeur instead of the Vampiric Tutor. Soh seemed surprised at this, but Wai knew his deck best and made the decision based on this information.
At the end of Wai's turn, Soh indeed used his Vampiric Tutor to get a Dark Ritual and play Necropotence on his turn. Soh used Necropotence to draw 14 cards, putting him at 2 life. Unfortunately for Soh, he did not draw Illusions of Grandeur, but he did draw Demonic Consultation. On Soh's next turn he played Mana Vault and played Illusions of Grandeur. Wai tried to Counterspell the Illusions of Grandeur, but Soh played Force of Will to stop him. The Illusions came into play and Soh used Necropotence to draw 15 cards, putting him at 6 life, but putting another Force of Will in Soh's hand as a safety measure.
Wai drew and passed. Soh gave Wai the Illusions of Grandeur using Donate and Wai conceeded after Soh showed him the Force of Will in his hand.
Result Soh 2, Wai 0.
Ryan Soh advanced to the finals.