Reigning Rookie of the year Masashi Oiso blazed through the Swiss this weekend finishing at the top of the standings. Having proven himself before with a top 8 appearance at PT Yokohama 2004, which incidentally also was a Booster Draft event, he made waves later in the season again by clinching another top 8 at PT New Orleans with an Extended Tinker deck. An accomplished player in both constructed and limited, Oiso made his entry into this Grand Prix's elimination rounds seem almost like a walk in the park.
Tan Chuen Hwa
After 4 GP top 16s in the APAC region, Tan Chuen Hwa Michael of Malaysia finally managed this weekend to secure his 1st Grand Prix Top 8 appearance this weekend in Hong Kong. One of Malaysia's top players for a long time, he has it on his agenda to take the title.
With enough game in him to back up his talk, smart-mouthed Gabe Walls is making this a sequel to his top 8 at GP Oakland, where he also proved adept at the MMD booster draft format. For all those who need an introduction to his resume, Walls has also finished 2nd at US Nationals and made a top 8 at Worlds all within the past year.
Modest and unassuming, Osawa Takuya is the other Japanese Player in this top 8. His 1st time in the Grand Prix reaching the single elimination rounds, Takuya has earned himself a shot to become another big Japanese name on the competitive circuit, a list that has been growing extremely long over the past year.
Pro Tour Veteran Olivier Ruel made his presence felt this weekend as a kind of warning shot to the players at GP Sendai, which he will also be attending. Cruising smoothly into the top 8, this wacky Frenchman looks like he is simply following up on his limited top 4 performance at PT Amsterdam. After a bad weekend in Kobe last week, Olivier is all ready to take another GP title although it would be his first individual trophy.
Singapore's Steven Tan went through the swiss with ease this weekend, only losing his 1st match in round 11. A player who is new to the international top 8 scene, his always confident demeanor has been quite intimidating this weekend. Just ask anyone along the trail of fallen opponents he has left in his wake.
Hungry for more Grand Prix prize money, Terry Soh follows up his performance from a year ago at GP Singapore when he lost in the finals to Mikael Polgary of Sweden. Terry is a student from Malaysia and is also incidentally the teammate of Tan Chuen Hwa and brother to reigning Malaysian National Champion Joe Soh. A regular Magic Online drafter, he has kept himself well prepared for this Grand Prix.
Hwang has for a long time been simply one of those faces from Taiwan who is seen occasionally at Pro Tour and Grand Prix stops. Well all that ends today as this Jolly Giant finally gets his own shot at fame in the top 8 of this GP. The Taiwanese have regularly placed well in APAC events, and this weekend is apparently no exception.