Grand Prix–Kuala Lumpur: Day 1 Archives

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EVENT COVERAGE

 

  • Saturday, March 13: 10:13a.m. –Grand Prix Trial Winners
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Peamwut Saowarattithada
    Grand Prix: Kuala Lumpur Trial 1 Winner.



    William Atmodihardio
    Grand Prix: Kuala Lumpur Trial 3 Winner.


    Surachaste Boonyasatian
    Grand Prix: Kuala Lumpur Trial 4 Winner.


    Alexander West
    Grand Prix: Kuala Lumpur Trial 5 Winner.


     

  • Saturday, March 13: 11:55a.m. –Round 2: Quick Questions
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • How many hours did it take you to travel to this event?

    Tomoharu Saito:

    "7-8 hours."
    Martin Juza:

    "15."
    Shuuhei Nakamura:

    "2 hours, I was already in Vietnam before this."

    Brian Kibler:

    "It was meant to be 26 hours in the air, but in the end it was well over 30, landing in two additional countries on the way."
    Sam Black:

    "All of them. 40."
    Brian Kowal:

    "I try not to think about that, I avoid thinking about it." (Kowal traveled with Black, so we can't blame him.)
     

  • Saturday, March 13: 1:31p.m. – Round 3: Dealer Discussions
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • While I waited for the three byes to wear off for the feature match contenders, I wandered out into the lobby to have a quick chat with one of the dealers, Zach Lim from AsiaCardsShop.com. He says the card he's sold the most this weekend is Lightning Bolt . He brought 40 with him, and they're all gone. After that, there haven't been any real big sellers, with the Worldwake creature lands having a reasonable turnover, but not much else after that. While this is definitely the biggest Grand Prix turnout in Malaysian history, it seems that most players came prepared with the cards they needed. One thing he was happy about though, was number of Tarmogoyf ‘s he's managed to buy from players here this weekend. So far, he's up to 25, perhaps speculating on the Extended Grand Prix in Yokohama next weekend.

    Not quite the roaring turnover the dealers expected this weekend.
     

  • Feature Match - Round 4: Desmond Ong vs Yuuya Watanabe
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Singapore local Desmond Ong had to be happy with how his tournament was starting out at 3-0 with no byes. That is until his opponent; Player of the Year 2009, Grand Prix Melbourne Champion 2009 and Grand Prix Kobe Champion 2007 Yuuya Watanabe rolled a ten on two d6 and elected to play. Ong missed his third land drop, but got in early with a Putrid Leech , while Watanabe accelerated his mana with double Everflowing Chalice . The Leech was last seen skulking near an Oblivion Ring , but was replaced by a Sprouting Thrinax . A Bloodbraid Elf found another Thrinax, so Watanabe sent the first one on a Path to Exile after drawing a lowly two cards with Mind Spring .

    Another Mind Spring filled up Watanabe's hand while Ong's team took the Player of the Year to 10 life. Ong dropped a Maelstrom Pulse all over Watanabe's Chalices, but then binned his guys to a Day of Judgment . The Replacement Saprolings charged in and dropped Watanabe to 7, and then 6 when he cracked a Scalding Tarn to Essence Scatter another Thrinax. Watanabe summoned Jace, the Mind Sculptor to his side, and Brainstorm ed for an answer. The Saprolings dropped him to 3, but he had the Flashfreeze for the first Blightning . Unfortunately, he only had a hand of six land and a smile for the second.

    Ong 1 – Watanabe 0

    Singapore's Desmond Ong takes Game 1.

    Watanabe had to discard on his second turn in Game 2, but not because he'd missed a land drop, he'd just been on an especially successful Treasure Hunt for five. Ong could only grin with his solitary Savage Lands in play, adding another on his second turn. Ong's turn three Blightning sent a Path to Exile and a Celestial Colonnade to the graveyard to hang with the Jace and two other land Watanabe had binned the turn before. Watanabe summoned a Kor Firewalker , and then lost a Mind Spring to a Duress , leaving a Flashfreeze in hand along with a land and a Baneslayer angel. Watanabe drew another Firewalker off the top and placed it next to the first, leaving his mana open to protect them from any potential Maelstrom Pulse shenanigans.

    When Ong ended his fifth turn without play, Watanabe took out a Savage Lands with a Tectonic Edge , before dropping Ong to 10 with the Firewalkers and tapping out for a Baneslayer Angel . Ong killed it with a pair of Lightning Bolt s. Watanabe tapped out for another Angel, and Ong killed that with a Maelstrom Pulse . Watanabe drew a third Angel off the top and slammed it into play. Ong made a Broodmate Dragon and friend, but they could block exactly zero of Watanabe's attackers, and they were on to Game 3.

    Ong 1 – Watanabe 1

    Player of the Year Yuuya Watanabe plans ahead with Halimar Depths.

    Ong's turn three Thrinax fell to a snap Flashfreeze , but his second caused Watanabe to pause, shifting in his chair, before spending a second Flashfreeze on that one too. Missing his fourth land drop, Ong tried for a third Thrinax, this time landing it while Watanabe simply summoned a Baneslayer Angel . Ong found his fourth land and aimed a Maelstrom Pulse at the Angel. Watanabe replaced the Angel with another, this time with two mana open to help protect it. Ong pointed a decidedly non-red Doom Blade at the Angel, scoring a second hit as the Thrinax dropped Watanabe to 14. A Leech joined the Thrinax, and a Bloodbraid Elf pointed a Maelstrom Pulse at an Everflowing Chalice , before succumbing itself to a Cancel . The Leech and the Thrinax charged in, the Leech taking a Path to Exile and Watanabe falling to 11.

    Watanabe summoned a third Baneslayer Angel, this time with Cancel mana up. A Bloodbraid Elf went digging for an answer, but only found a Blightning. Watanabe Flashfroze it anyway, before climbing back up to 16 with the Angel and passing the turn back with nine mana open. Ong pondered his play, and went for another Doom Blade, again taking down the Angel. Tectonic Edge destroyed a Raging Ravine while a Celestial Colonnade blocked and killed the Bloodbraid Elf. Watanabe cast an Everflowing Chalice for 3 and cracked a Scalding Tarn, dropping to twelve and receiving a warning for fetching a Plains instead of an Island, before activating his Celestial Colonnade and attacking Ong down to 8. With no cards left in hand, Watanabe could only watch as the Thrinax in turn, dropped him to 9. The Colonnade again attacked, Ong falling to 4. When Watanabe sent his land in for the last bite, Ong showed the Deathmark stuck in his hand, and offered the handshake with a grin.

    Yuuya Watanabe defeats Desmond Ong 2 – 1.

     

  • Saturday, March 13: 4:10p.m. – Round 5: Quick Questions
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • What is the best card in Standard??

    Makihito Mihara:

    "Bloodbraid Elf."
    Alex West:

    "Jace, the Mind Sculptor, with honorable mention going to Basilisk Collar."
    Sam Black:

    "Knight of the Reliquary."

    Kazuya Mitamura:

    "Lightning Bolt."
    Brian Kowal:

    "Everflowing Chalice."
    Martin Juza:

    "Mind Spring, not close."
     

  • Saturday, March 13: 4:21p.m. – A Quick Glimpse at Round 5: Sam Black vs Shouta Yasooka
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Meanwhile, Japan's Shouta Yasooka was battling USA's Sam Black in the feature match area. Yasooka's Jund deck took Game 1, overpowering Black's Counter-less White/Blue control deck, something many of the Americans playing this weekend had opted to play. Game 2 looked equally bad for Black, who was under pressure early and often. Eventually, Yasooka appeared to run out of steam, while Black climbed back into the game with Knight of the White Orchid leading into an Everflowing Chalice for two into a Martial Coup for seven followed by a Mind Spring for seven. Without batting an eyelid, Yasooka cleared the Soldiers from the battlefield with a Maelstrom Pulse, and then Bloodbraid Elf'd up a Goblin Ruinblaster to finish Black off before he could untap and take control of the game.

    Sam Black tapping a great deal of mana.

    Shouta Yasooka defeats Sam Black 2 – 0

     

  • Saturday, March 13: 5:12p.m. – Round 6: Surachaste Boonyasatian vs Yian Hsiang Chye
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • While these names may seem unfamiliar to most of you out there, I recognized them as I'd typed out their desklists from the GP Trials Yesterday. Both Surachaste Boonyasatian from Thailand and Yian Hsiang Chye from Malaysia managed to win three byes yesterday playing Mythic Bant, and somehow they were both coming into this round on 13 points. Considering I would have thought draws were relatively rare for the Mythic deck, I asked them both how they ended up with their draws.

    "I won Game 1 against Naya," Boonyasatian explained, "but then Game 2 we both gained heaps of life, and it went on for quite a while before I eventually lost. We didn't have much time for Game 3." Chye nodded in agreement, "In playtesting the match I was playing, I found I often lost if I overcommitted, so I tried to play conservatively." It turned out he played a little too conservatively.

    Both players started Game 1 with fetch lands into turn one Noble Hierarchs. Boonyasatian turned his into a second turn Rhox War Monk, while Chye's draw was more explosive, summoning both a Lotus Cobra and a Knight of the Reliquary on his second turn. Boonyasatian added a Stirring Wildwood and a Birds of Paradise to his team, and attacked for four, while Chye summoned a War Monk of his own, and attacked back for 3 with his Cobra. Boonyasatian could only play a land and end on his fourth turn, while Chye's Knight of the Reliquary went to work filling his Graveyard with land. Chye summoned another War Monk, his first one taking back the life Boonyasatian's had taken from him.

    After much deliberation, Boonyasatian finally summoned a Rafiq of the Many and sent his Birds of Paradise in for 4, before summoning another Birds. "Handsize?" Chye asked, again getting another two lands into his Graveyard at the end of Boonyasatian's turn. "You're on 14?" Chye confirmed, as he searched out his lands, laughing "The card I needed was on the top." He slowly drew his card for the turn and pumped his fist. "You shuffled it back to the top! Mind Control your Rafiq?" Chye then played a Sejiri Steppe, giving his now 8/8 Knight of the Reliquary protection from green. Boonyasatian could only scoop up his cards and reach for his sideboard.

    Chye 1 – Boonyasatian 0

    Yian Hsiang Chye eyes up his opponents hand.

    Boonyasatian again started the game with a turn one Noble Hierarch, into a Knight of the Reliquary, while Chye was slower out of the gate this time, his first play a Lotus Cobra on turn two. Boonyasatian Summoned another Hierarch, sending his first in for two, before playing a Celestial Colonnade. Chye made up for lost time, using a Misty Rainforest to enable a third turn Baneslayer Angel. Boonyasatian untapped and pondered his options. "Is this coming to your side of the table?" Chye asked with a smile, pointing to his Angel. Boonyasatian instead sent it to the bottom of Chye's library with a Bant Charm, before summoning a third Hierarch and sending the first one in for 3. His Angel gone, Chye could only play a Colonnade and a Hierarch of his own and pass it back, throwing a Bant Charm of his own at Boonyasatian's Knight of the Reliquary when he tapped it to search up yet another land. Boonyasatian again attacked for 3 with a Hierarch, before summoning his own Baneslayer Angel. Chye wasted no time in stealing it with a Mind Control, only to see Boonyasatian cast a Jace, the Mind Sculptor, returning his wayward Angel to his hand.

    Chye sent his Cobra in at Jace, but one of Boonyasatian's Hierarchs valiantly jumped in the way. Chye then summoned a Knight of the Reliquary and passed the turn back. Boonyasatian cast a Mind Control of his own to take the Knight, giving him a sizeable blocker with which to defend his Planeswalker. After some thought, Chye summoned Rafiq of the Many, and sent his Birds of Paradise in to take down Jace. Boonyasatian returned fire with his Celestial Collonade for six, thanks to his two remaining Hierarchs. Chye Summoned a Baneslayer Angel and passed the turn back, his life total 2 to Boonyasatian's 12. Boonyasatian Bant Charmed the Angel, untapped and searched out a Sejiri Steppe, to send his Hierarch past Chye's team to even the match at one each.

    Chye 1 – Boonyasatian 1

    Surachaste Boonyasatian surveys the lifetotals.

    Both players joked about how they didn't want a draw as they shuffled up for the decider, with less than 15 minutes left on the clock. Chye threw away his opening seven, leading with a Colonnade while Boonyasatian summoned a Birds of Paradise. Chye had a second turn Lotus Cobra, but it didn't power anything out on his third turn, only attacking for 2. "It's gotta earn its price-tag somehow," Chye laughed. Boonyasatian summoned a Knight of the Reliquary, but Chye found the land he needed to promptly Mind Control it. Boonyasatian summoned another Knight, but Chye used his misappropriated Knight to power out another Mind Control. Boonyasatian could only shake his head, playing a land and ending his turn. Chye team continued to generate mana, summoning Rafiq of the Many and sending the Cobra in to drop Boonyasatian to 4 life. Boonyasatian summoned a Baneslayer Angel, and Chye simply pointed to his stolen Knights, "give one Protection for White?" And Boonyasatian picked up his Knights with a shake of his head.

    Yian Hsiang Chye defeats Surachaste Boonyasatian 2 – 1

     

  • Saturday, March 13: 6:23p.m. – Round 7: Brian Kibler vs Terry Soh
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • I wasn't going to cover the feature match this round, as I had plenty of stuff I still needed to type up. There have been very few Name on Name matches so far, short of Shouta Yasooka vs Sam Black in round five. This round I spoilt for choice with Yasooka again, vs Makihito Mihara, or Brian Kibler vs Terry Soh. I threw the latter into the feature match pit and sat down to catch up with my work. Ten seconds later, I gave up and relocated to the feature match table. I had been hearing about the White/Blue control deck the Americans had gotten from Martin Juza (via Michal Hebky) featuring 4x Mind Spring and 4x Martial Coup, and wanted to see it in action.

    Kibler started with a Mulligan, while Soh summoned a second turn Scute Mob. "That guy's just not particularly scary just yet," Kibler laughed, dropping a Spreading Seas on Soh's Raging Ravine. The Scute Mob continued to attack for 1, as Kibler cast a Fieldmist Borderpost for its alternate cost of 1WU. Soh finally made a second threat, a 4/4 Knight of the Reliquary. Kibler ramped out a land with a Knight of the White Orchid, before dispatching Soh's Knight with an Oblivion Ring. With four lands in play for his Scute Mob, Soh summoned a Borderland Ranger and played a Plains before passing the turn back. Kibler drew way ahead of his mulligan with a Mind Spring for five. Soh's Scute Mob grew to a 5/5 and swung in, crushing Kibler's Knight of White Orchid. Soh then cast Ajani Vengeant, tapping down a Glacial Fortress, only to see Kibler wipe the board with a Martial Coup for five. Soh recovered with a Baneslayer Angel, but Kibler bounced that with Jace, the Mind Sculptor, his Soldiers rushing in to destroy Ajani. Soh tried to attack back with a Surprise Bloodbraid Elf, but Kibler had the Path to Exile to protect his Planeswalker.

    Terry Soh increases the worth of his Scute Mob.

    Kibler again refilled with another Mind Spring for five, Soh's board position looking smaller and smaller by the minute. Kibler Brainstormed with Jace, and summoned a Baneslayer Angel of his own. Soh again searched for answers with a Bloodbraid Elf, but missed, finding a Basilisk Collar. Instead he sent the Baneslayer on a Journey to Nowhere from his hand (still had that, huh?) Kibler tapped all of his mana and slapped another Martial Coup on the table, "for eleven!" he announced. "I think that's Game 1," Soh replied with a smile, collecting his permanents. "That's good, I don't think I had enough (Mark) Herberholz tokens for that one," Kibler laughed as the players reached for their sideboards.

    Kibler 1 – Soh 0

    Brian Kibler casts Mind Spring for five.

    Soh lead Game 2 with a Stirring Wildwood, into a turn two Sejiri Steppe (eww) and a Noble Hierarch. Kibler made an Everflowing Chalice for one, while Soh filled out his mana requirements with a Borderland Ranger, before attacking for 1 with his Hierarch. "Those are once again," Kibler jested, "beats I can handle," dropping to 19. Kibler continued to build his mana with a Knight of the White Orchid, and hiding it from Ajani Vengeant's Lightning Helix with a Path to Exile. Soh's Ranger attacked Kibler to 15. Unfazed, Kibler untapped and summoned a Baneslayer Angel. Spreading Seas then neutralized the Stirring Wildwood, and the Baneslayer topped Kibler back up to 20. Soh attacked back with his Ranger before spilling a Wild Nacatl and a Scute Mob onto the table with the help of a Ranger of Eos. "I will summon five more Herberholz's," Kibler announced, with a Martial Coup for five. Soh recovered from the Coup with a Knight of the Reliquary, but Kibler had the Oblivion Ring for that as well. After a couple of turns of Kibler turning Herberholz's sideways, the match was over.

    Brian Kibler defeats Terry Soh 2 – 0

     

  • Saturday, March 13: 6:14p.m. – Round 7: Quick Questions
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • What is the best deck in Standard?

    Brian Kibler:

    "I think it's Blue/White, but it's probably Jund."
    Shuuhei Nakamura:

    "Jund."
    Alex West:

    "White/Blue Control, hands down."

    Yuuya Watanabe:

    "Jund."
    Tomoharu Saito:

    "There's no 'best' deck."
    Makihito Mihara::

    "Jund."
     

  • Saturday, March 13: 7:38p.m. – Round 8: Mulligan or no?
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • I decided to ask a few of the better known and more successful players to whip out an opening hand for us, and discuss whether or not they'd mulligan or keep it. I promise you, all hands were taken from shuffled decks, and none of them were set up.

    Pro Tour Honolulu champion Kazuya Mitamura drew a perfect opener for his Boss Naya deck:
    Terramorphic Expanse
    Arid Mesa
    Wild Nacatl
    Noble Hierarch
    Lightning Bolt
    Bloodbraid Elf
    Ajani Vengeant
    "Keep!" he declared emphatically. We barely managed to get the photo taken before he was flipping cards off the top of his deck to see just how good his draw was.

    Kazuya Mitamura

    Martin Juza of the Czech Republic had a more questionable draw with his Counter-less White/Blue control deck.
    Celestial Colonnade
    Plains
    Knight of the White Orchid
    Knight of the White Orchid
    Spreading Seas
    Mind Spring
    Mind Spring
    "Definitely keep. I'd even miss land drops happily to trigger the Knights, they're that good. And I think the Spreading Seas will help me find what I need to Get There with the Mind Springs."

    Martin Juza

    Invitational Winner Terry Soh, and recently, Top 4 at Worlds 2009 had a bit of a risky hand:
    Terramorphic Expanse
    Arid Mesa
    Stoneforge Mystic
    Knight of the Reliquary
    Oblivion Ring
    Bloodbraid Elf
    Bloodbraid Elf
    "I'd keep this on the play and the draw, Expanse always gets Forest," Soh said. It may be light on land, but one more is all it would take to power up the Knight of the Reliquary, and the Stoneforge Mystic can fetch a Basilisk Collar to buy time until he finds it, if need be.

    Terry Soh

    Last year's GP Singapore Champion, Tomoharu Saito's mono red deck delivered a tasty keeper.
    Mountain
    Mountain
    Teetering Peaks
    Hellspark Elemental
    Hellspark Elemental
    Searing Blaze
    Searing Blaze
    But not the best draw he could hope for, he confided. "It's not a perfect draw if it doesn't have Goblin Guide," he explained with a smile.

    So we didn't have any mulligans there, but I guess when you're these guys, good opening hands are what make the world go around.

    Tomoharu Saito

     

  • Saturday, March 13: 7:59p.m. – A Quick Glimpse at Round 8: Jamie San Juan vs Kurt Porter
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • 8 year-old Kurt Porter gradually became the talk of the tournament today. Son of James Porter: Grand Prix Manila Champion 2006, Kurt started the day without byes, but promptly got off to a 3-0 start anyway. From there he dropped two rounds, but battled back to be 5-2 going into the last round. With little else in the way of feature matches, I figured I’d give the little beater some time in the spot light.

    Kurt Porter knows no fear. I don’t think they’ve covered that one in school just yet.

    Porter lost Game 1 in the Jund mirror against Jamie San Juan, also of the Philippines, eliciting a rowdy but good natured booing from the huge crowd assembled around the feature match table. Game 2, Porter drew a great opening hand with both Blightning and Goblin Ruinblaster to take the matched to the decider, the crowd cheering all the way. In the final game, it was San Juan’s turn to take early control of the game, hitting Porter early with a Blightning. Porter binned a seemingly crucial Terminate to the Blightning, keeping Garruk Wildspeaker and Broodmate Dragon. Two turns later, the Dragons hit the table, and Porter rode them to victory and day two. The cheering was so loud, you’d think the 8 year-old had just won the whole event, and who knows? He may yet do just that.

    The crowd watch on with bated breath.

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