gpbei14

Watanabe Does Wonders!

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The letter P!laying in his 20th Grand Prix Top 8, Yuuya Watanabe has triumped over Sherwin Pu in a rather nail-biting final. This win is especially memorable for Watanabe, as it bumps him to his seventh title. This means he now tied in first place with Kai Budde for number of Grand Prix victories, cementing him as the greatest Grand Prix master of all time.

When Esper Control dominated in Cincinnati last week, Watanabe accurately predicted the rise of Boros Burn decks as a trump. The inclusion of the full set of Staff of the Death Magus was not an accident, but a successful metagaming move which paid off handsomely.

After beating Sung Wook-Nam in the Mono Black Devotion mirror, he proceeded to defeat semifinalist Ben Ge and finalist Sherwin Pu in succession, both armed with the fiery and "flame-boyant" Boros Burn deck.

Level 2 judge Ken Sawada should also be ecstatic to be qualified for the next Pro Tour and the remaining players of the star-studded Top 8 comprise of Hall of Famer Shuhei Nakamura, two-time Pro Tour Top 8 competitor Naoki Shimizu, Grand Prix Champion Sung Wook-Nam and local hero Jian Zhong.

The largest event in Mainland China has come to an end and Grand Prix Beijing will be etched in everyone's minds for a long time to come. Watanabe has done wonders again!




Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Shuhei Nakamura   Ken Sawada, 2-1        
8 Ken Sawada   Sherwin Pu, 2-1
       
4 Naoki Shimizu   Sherwin Pu, 2-1   Yuuya Watanabe, 2-1
5 Sherwin Pu    
       
2 Jian Zhong   Ben Ge, 2-1
7 Ben Ge   Yuuya Watanabe, 2-1
       
3 Sung-wook Nam   Yuuya Watanabe, 2-0
6 Yuuya Watanabe    









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EVENT COVERAGE INFORMATION
 1.  Yuuya Watanabe $4,000
 2.  Sherwin Pu $2,700
 3.  Ben Ge $1,500
 4.  Ken Sawada $1,500
 5.  Shuhei Nakamura $1,000
 6.  Jian Zhong $1,000
 7.  Sung Wook Nam $1,000
 8.  Naoki Shimizu $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
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  • Top 8 Decklists

    by Event Coverage Staff

  • Nam Sung-Wook
    Grand Prix Beijing 2014 – Top 8


    Shuhei Nakamura
    Grand Prix Beijing 2014 – Top 8


    Jian Zhong
    Grand Prix Beijing 2014 – Top 8


    Ben Ge
    Grand Prix Beijing 2014 – Top 8


    Sherwin Pu
    Grand Prix Beijing 2014 – Top 8


    Yuuya Watanabe
    Grand Prix Beijing 2014 – Top 8






     

  • Top 8 Profiles

    by Event Coverage Staff


  • Shuhei Nakamura

    Age: 29 + 4
    Hometown: Tokyo, Japan
    Occupation: Pro Magic Player


    What Standard deck are you playing today and why?
    Mono Black Devotion. It is the only solid deck in the field.

    Day 1 Score:
    8-1 (3 byes)

    Day 2 Score:
    5-0-1

    Pro Tour & Previous Grand Prix Top 8s:
    5 Pro Tour Top 8s. I don't remember how many GP Top 8s I have, but more than Pro Tours I think. (*Editor's Note: For your info, its 20.)

    Other Achievements:

    What have you enjoyed most in Beijing over the weekend?
    Not yet, but I will go to the Great Wall tomorrow.

    If you could meet any person from history, who would it be?
    Cao Cao or Julius Caesar.




    Zhong Jian

    Age: 36
    Hometown: Wuhan, China
    Occupation:


    What Standard deck are you playing today and why?
    Boros Burn.

    Day 1 Score:
    7-2

    Day 2 Score:
    6-0

    Pro Tour & Previous Grand Prix Top 8s:
    None

    Other Achievements:
    None

    What have you enjoyed most in Beijing over the weekend?
    All the matches played this weekend.

    If you could meet any person from history, who would it be?
    I don't know.




    Nam Sung-Wook

    Age: 32
    Hometown: South Korea
    Occupation: Student


    What Standard deck are you playing today and why?
    Mono-Black Devotion.It's the best deck.

    Day 1 Score:
    9 - 0 (3 Byes)

    Day 2 Score:
    4-1-1

    Pro Tour & Previous Grand Prix Top 8s:
    Grand Prix Melbourne 2014 Champion

    Other Achievements:
    World Magic Cup 2013 Team Member of South Korea

    What have you enjoyed most in Beijing over the weekend?
    Enjoying delicious Peking Duck.

    If you could meet any person from history, who would it be?
    None.




    Naoki Shimizu

    Age: 27
    Hometown: Tokyo, Japan
    Occupation: Company employee


    What Standard deck are you playing today and why?
    “Frozen” (Blue Devotion with White). Because its good against Mono Black Devotion.

    Day 1 Score:
    8-1 (2 Byes)

    Day 2 Score:
    4-1-1

    Pro Tour & Previous Grand Prix Top 8s:
    Grand Prix Kyoto 2007. Pro Tour Austin 2009 Top 8. Pro Tour Barcelona 2012 Top 8.

    Other Achievements:
    In Japan, I'm called the “Prince of Simic” because I love to play Blue Green. (Not this time though...)

    What have you enjoyed most in Beijing over the weekend?
    The environment of this fine university.

    If you could meet any person from history, who would it be?
    Abraham Lincoln.




    Sherwin Pu

    Age: 21
    Hometown: Diamond Bar, California, USA
    Occupation: Sidekick


    What Standard deck are you playing today and why?
    Boros Burn without Ash Zealot. I played whatever Vidianto Wijaya played last week.

    Day 1 Score:
    8-1 (2 Byes)

    Day 2 Score:
    3-2-1

    Pro Tour & Previous Grand Prix Top 8s:
    None

    Other Achievements:
    None

    What have you enjoyed most in Beijing over the weekend?
    Meeting new people and practicing my Mandarin.

    If you could meet any person from history, who would it be?
    Friedrich Neitzsche, for no particular reason.




    Yuuya Watanabe

    Age: 25
    Hometown: Machida, Japan
    Occupation: MTG Pro Player with TEAM MINT.


    What Standard deck are you playing today and why?
    Mono Black Devotion. It is the best Standard deck.

    Day 1 Score:
    7-2 (3 Byes)

    Day 2 Score:
    5-0-1

    Pro Tour & Previous Grand Prix Top 8s:
    2 PT. 19 previous GP Top 8s with 6 wins.

    Other Achievements:
    Two-time Player of the Year. Rookie of the Year 2007. Four-times in the National Team.

    What have you enjoyed most in Beijing over the weekend?
    White sky and $160 Taxi.

    If you could meet any person from history, who would it be?
    King Arthur.




    Ge Ben

    Age: 29
    Hometown: Beijing, China
    Occupation: Accountant


    What Standard deck are you playing today and why?
    Boros Burn

    Day 1 Score:
    8-1 (0 Byes)

    Day 2 Score:
    4-1-1

    Pro Tour & Previous Grand Prix Top 8s:
    None

    Other Achievements:
    None

    What have you enjoyed most in Beijing over the weekend?
    Nice party, plus meeting new friends!

    If you could meet any person from history, who would it be?
    None.




    Ken Sawada

    Age: 27
    Hometown: Tokoname-shi, Japan
    Occupation: Farmer


    What Standard deck are you playing today and why?
    Esper Midrange, because my friends told me to.

    Day 1 Score:
    8-1

    Day 2 Score:
    4-1-1

    Pro Tour & Previous Grand Prix Top 8s:
    None.

    Other Achievements:
    None.

    What have you enjoyed most in Beijing over the weekend?
    Many great matches and a great time at the Grand Prix thanks to judges and players!

    If you could meet any person from history, who would it be?
    Han Xin.

    Please come to GP Nagoya, and we will enjoy international Magic!




     

  • Quarterfinals – Ken Sawada vs. Shuhei Nakamura

    by Chapman Sim

  • Game One

    Nakamura was on the play and promptly removed Precinct Captain with Bile Blight, and forced Sawada to discard Ephara, God of the Polis with Thoughtseize.

    However, he was on the receiving end of a blistering assault, fueled by Brimaz, King of Oreskos as well as Lyev Skyknight and Mutavault.

    When Sawada used Ultimate Price to kill Nakamura's Desecration Demon, it felt like he was truly behind. Nakamura did have Hero's Downfall to deal with Brimaz but he was already down to a precarious 5 life.

    Lyev Skynight and Mutavault mopped things up and both players reached for their sideboards.


    Ken Sawada assembles a formidable army, championed by Brimaz, King of Oreskos.

    Ken Sawada 1 - Shuhei Nakamura 0

    Game Two

    Sawada was on the back-foot this time, facing Turn 2 Pack Rat and Turn 4 Desecration Demon from Nakamura. It seemed like Nakamura was ready to retaliate, using Ultimate Price to destroy Precinct Captain, and Thoughtseize to remove Ephara, God of the Polis once again.

    Despite the resistance, Sawada proceeded to bolster his army with Brimaz, King of Oreskos and Keening Apparition. However, those were not effective solutions to a Desecration Demon, and Sawada was forced to sacrifice his smaller creatures just to keep the demon tapped, and himself alive. Bear in mind that the number of rats were also multiplying as we speak.

    With the life totals at 13 to 7 in Nakamura's favor, Obzedat, Ghost Council arrived too late to make a difference.

    Shuhei Nakamura equalizes the score with Pack Rat and Desecration Demon.

    Ken Sawada 1 - Shuhei Nakamura 1

    Game Three

    Game Three was close to perfect for Sawada. He had Thoughtseize to deny Nakamura of his trusty Pack Rat and proceeded to assemble an army of Soldier of the Pantheon, Lyev Skyknight and Brimaz, King of Oreskos.

    Nakamura draw of 5 Swamp, Pack Rat and Devour Flesh was not sufficient to beat Sawada's nearly perfect draw and congratulated Sawada in making the Top 4. Leaving Brimaz, King of Oreskos unanswered really did him in.

    Ken Sawada 2 - Shuhei Nakamura 1


    Ken Sawada advances to the semifinals, thanks to the help of Brimaz, King of Oreskos.




     

  • Quarterfinals – Sung-Wook Nam Vs Yuuya Watanabe

    by Pip Foweraker

  • Nam began with a Thoughtseize, taking Watanabe's Underworld Connections. He followed up with a Pack Rats which was promptly killed with a Devour Flesh. Watanabe tried a Duress, nabbing himself a Hero's Downfall, then followed up with a Pack Rats. Nam tried a Nightveil Spectre, but Watanabe was having none of that nonsense and offed it in short order.

    Nam pushed on with the disruption with a Thoughtseize, then both players summoned Desecration Demons, who dutifully glared at each other through the skies. Watanabe started using Rat Pack tokens to tap down Nam's Desecration Demon, knocking the GP:Melbourne champion down to dangerously low life. Nam pondered his options. With a Mutavault and 3 other lands on the board, he could stave off the Demon for a turn if necessary. He attacked, knocking Watanabe to 13, then summoned a second Demon and passed.

    Nam considers some triggers

    Watanabe drew his card for the turn and settled in for a good consideration. He only needed to punch through for 6 damage, but Nam had a lethal amount of damage on the board and had mana open to activate a Mutavault if necessary.

    Watanabe moved to combat and set the Demon triggers on the stack. Nam sacrificed his Mutavault to tap down Watanabe's Demon, and before attackers, Watanabe cast a Devour Flesh to take out one of Nam's Demons, leaving them with one apiece, Watanabe still up a Pack Rat.

    Nam attacked through the air for 7, then summoned a Gray Merchant of Asphodel, putting the life totals at 15-2, his favour. Watanabe went to combat on his turn and Nam declined to do anything with Watanabe's Demon trigger, letting him crash through the air for 7 (8-2). Nam knocked the top of his library and drew an Underworld Connections, which he cast before moving to combat. Watanabe created a Pack Rat token, but fed his Mutavault to the Demon trigger, leaving him with just enough cards and mana to spawn more Pack Rats. Nam looked to the top of his deck but couldn't draw anything in time, as both players headed to their sideboards after a tense first game.

    Yuuya Watanabe 1 - Sung-Wook Nam 0

    Game 2

    A Thoughtseize from Watanabe stripped Nam of an underworld connections, and a follow-up Duress on the second turn took another one, but Watanabe failed to play a second land. Intrigued, Nam tried a Thoughtseize of his own and Watanabe spread a hand full of Underworld Connections, a Bile Blight, and another pair of Thoughtseizes.

    Packing Rats like there's no tomorrow.

    Watanabe hissed out some long-held tension as he managed to draw his second and third consecutive lands, having fairly completely stripped Nam of plays in the interim. Nam threw a Nightveil Spectre onto the battlefield before Watanabe killed it with a Bile Blight. Nam had a second Spectre, which Watanabe offed with his Hero's Downfall. Nam, bemused, shook his head as he started to fall behind on lands, unusual against an opponent who had kept a 1-lander.

    The players went back and forth with threats and answers for a few cycles, Watanabe relentlessly drawing ahead as he loaded up his second Underworld Connections and cast an Erebos, putting Nam on a fiendish clock. Nam couldn't keep pace, and extended his hand a turn later.

    After the game, Watanabe reconstructed his opener - triple Thoughtseize, Bile Blight, Swamp, double Underworld Connections. The players back-and-forthed over whether the hand was keepable, but after confirming Watanabe was running 25 land, Nam agreed the keep was reasonable.

    Yuuya Watanabe 2 - Sung-Wook Nam 0




     

  • Quarterfinals – Sherwin Pu vs. Naoki Shimizu

    by Chapman Sim

  • Game One

    Pu was able to fling a plethora of burn at Shimizu before Ephara, God of the Polis and Master of Waves could seal the game for Shimizu. A combination of Skullcrack, Searing Blood, Lightning Strike and Warleader's Helix, coupled with some early damage from Mutavault brought the game to a speedy end.

    Sherwin Pu was able to outrace Master of Waves to clinch Game One.

    Sherwin Pu 1 – Naoki Shimizu 0

    Game Two

    A pair of Shocks dealt with a pair of unfriendly Judge's Familiar and Chained to the Rocks kept Shimizu's Nightveil Specter from attacking.

    However, Shimizu was ready with Detention Sphere to grant it freedom once again. An attack from the specter granted Shimizu one of his opponent's Mutavaults.

    Now that Pu was on the defensive, he was forced to point Magma Jet at Mutavault but Shimizu stopped it with a timely Dissolve, thus maintaining his creature count.

    Pu was in serious trouble right now. Down to just 7 life, not only did he need to stay alive, he still had to find a way to deal 18 damage to Shimizu.

    With his Chandra's Phoenix tapped down with Tidebinder Mage, Pu wondered if he could still win this one. The idea seemed far-fetched and even though he was holding on to Boros Charm, it seemed like a futile attempt.

    Chandra was behind Naoki Shimizu, but most certainly not on his side.

    Sherwin Pu 1 – Naoki Shimizu 1

    Game Three

    After taking a mulligan, Pu went for the long game and tried to preserve his life total by killing Judge's Familiar and Tidebinder Mage with a pair of Shocks.

    His moves were not without reason and were part of a grand plan. Holding on to two Mutavaults, Pu had a dependable way to dish out damage, so he had no qualms pointing burn at Shimizu's creatures rather than at his head.

    One of the manlands went in for two damage, and then two more. A second Mutavault joined in the fun and reduced Shimizu to 12.

    Intent on clearing the path for both Mutavaults, Pu struck Nightveil Specter with lightning and reduced Shimizu to 8 life. If Pu had burn of any variety, it would put Shimizu in a truly terrible position.

    Desperate to put up some blockers, he cast Tidebinder Mage and then enchanted it with Domestication. While this was a really odd play, it gave Shimizu sufficient Devotion to awake Thassa, God of the Sea.

    Pu made use of the window that Shimizu was tapped out to cast both halves of Toil // Trouble. This allowed him to draw two cards, while lowering Shimizu to 6 life. A second Toil // Trouble (forcing Shimizu to draw 2 cards) prompted Shimizu to extend his hand.

    Sherwin Pu 2 – Naoki Shimizu 0

    Double Double, Toil & Trouble, mostly for Naoki Shimizu.

    Sherwin Pu defeats Naoki Shimizu and advances to the semifinals!




     

  • Semifinals – Ben Ge vs. Yuuya Watanabe

    by Chapman Sim

  • It was not an easy path for Ben Ge but he should be rejoicing in the knowledge that he was now qualified for the next Pro Tour in Portland. After dispatching fellow countryman Zhong Jian in the Boros Burn mirror, he hoped that his winning streak would continue

    However, a Japanese Juggernaut was in his way. Playing in his TWENTIETH Grand Prix Top 8, Watanabe would most certainly like to win this one, because a victory here would put him at 7 Grand Prix victories, tying him with German Juggernaut Kai Budde.

    Game One

    Ge answered Lifebane Zombie with Searing Blood, but didn't have Chained to the Rocks for Desecration Demon. He was forced to ram Chandra's Phoenix into it, before finishing of the 6/6 flyer with Warleader's Helix.

    Now the he was relieved of pressure, Ge was able to slowly unleash an assortment of burn spells at the Japanese Player. Magma Jet was first, followed by Boros Charm, and then a second copy.

    Watanabe was down to one life in the blink of an eye and Chandra's Phoenix threatened to end things there and then. Watanabe prayed for the best as he tried to win with Pack Rat, killing Chandra's Phoenix with Hero's Downfall.

    A brief glimpse of hope shimmered in the distance for Watanabe, when he buffed his life total with Gray Merchant of Asphodel, putting him a comfortable 6 life.

    Well, not for very long though. Ge was ready with Searing Blood to kill one of the Pack Rats and a third Boros Charm prompted Watanabe to reach for his sideboard.

    Triple Boros Charms lead Ben Ge to victory.

    Ben Ge 1 – Yuuya Watanabe 0

    Game Two

    Already estimating Boros Burn to be popular this weekend, Watanabe was fully prepared for his matchup and swiftly brought in the full set of Staff of the Death Magus.

    The Chinese audience gasped when it made an appearance on Turn 3, because it was obvious that the artifact would spell eventual doom for Ge.

    Underworld Connections resolved, gaining Watanabe one life. Swamp entered play, gaining Watanabe one life. Duress stripped away Assemble the Legion, gaining Watanabe one life. Bile Blight killed an opposing Ash Zealot, gaining Watanabe one life.

    Well, you get the idea. Essentially, every card, other than his non-basics, would trigger the Staff.

    Gray Merchant of Asphodel was next, restoring Watanabe to a healthy 20. A second Gray Merchant of Asphodel later and the audience were getting bored. When Watanabe cast a second Staff of the Death Magus and then a third one, I could have sworn some of them even fell asleep.

    With every black spell and Swamp now upgraded to a Healing Salve, there was no way that Ge would be winning this one. If Watanabe doesn't clinch this game, I promise to gobble up my Mac Book Air, seasoned with any condiment of Riccardo's (Head Judge of Grand Prix Beijing) choice.


    Ben Ge 1 – Yuuya Watanabe 1

    Game Three

    Game three was almost as brutal as the last, except that it was much quicker. Watanabe proceeded to cast THREE Staff of the Death Magus on turns three through five.

    A pair of Duresses put him at a positive life total, while removing Assemble the Legion, Lightning Strike and any of Ge's winning chances. A trio of Pack Rats completed the match, sending Watanabe to the finals.

    Ben Ge 1 – Yuuya Watanabe 2

    Yuuya Watanabe does his maths... Yup, we think he is still Alive & Well.

    Triple Staff of the Death Magus sends Yuuya Watanabe to the finals of Grand Prix Beijing!




     

  • Semifinals – Ken Sawada vs. Sherwin Pu

    by Pip Foweraker

  • Pu and Sawada faced off in the first round of Day 2, where, according to Sawada, Pu crushed him 'Most rapidly'. Sawada headed into the semifinals hoping to avoid the same fate, but acknowledged the matchup was an uphill one.

    Game 1

    Sawada led things off with a Soldier of the Pantheon, which Pu Magma Jetted. Sawada followed up with a Brimaz, while Pu had a Trouble for 6. Pu tried to mount some pressure with a Chandra's Phoenix, but Sawada had a Detention Sphere for it. A Magma Jet and Searing Blood took care of the Brimaz, but Sawada had a second to mount more pressure on Pu.

    Sawada contemplates a fiery end for his creatures

    He followed up with a Keening Apparition and a Precinct Captain. Su raised an eyebrow and emptied his hand of Skullcrack and Lightning Surge at Sawada's dome, dropping him to 3, then flipped the top card of his deck over. A Searing Blood did quite nicely, netting Pu the first game.

    Sherwin Pu 1 - Ken Sawada 0

    Sawada started the second game with a pair of Soldier of the Pantheons. One of them was promptly Shocked, but Sawada had a Lyev Skyknight to keep things ticking along. Pu summoned a Satyr Firedancer, which was a too-juicy target for Sawada's Detention Sphere to resist. Pu had a Magma Jet for the Skyknight.

    Sawada attacked with his Soldier, drawing a Lightning Surge from Pu. Sawada followed up with a Imposing Sovereign, who got Chained to the Rocks. Sawada played a tapped Watery Grave and passed, Doom Blading Pu's Mutavault when it attacked. A Whip of Erebos from Sawada was met with a Boros Charm, knocking Sawada to 12 but putting Pu on a clock against the pending lifegain.

    Sawada tried an attack with his Mutavault, which was burned before it could connect. He summoned a Precinct Captain, which Pu Chained to the Rocks. Sawada, indefatigable, used his Whip or Erebos to return a Soldier, which Pu shot before passing on his turn. Sawada tried th esame thing again the following turn, and Pu had another Magma Jet to again keep Sawada's life total from rising.

    Sawada finally connected with his Skyknight, going to 15. Sawada destroyed the Chained to the Rocks holding his Precinct Captain captive, and when Pu went to burn it, he flashed a Negate to keep the token generator alive. Pu's back was to the wall with the active Whip on the board, but he tried again with a Lightning Surge and took out the Captain. Sawada simply used his Whip to reanimate it, Pu using a Skullcrack to stop the lifegain trigger.

    Pu, fighting a losing battle, visibly slumped when Sawada summoned a Blood Baron of Vizkopa. He drew a Blind Obedience what was likely a turn too late. A Warleader's Helix wasn't enough to deal with the Baron, and although Pu played a tight defensive game for several turns, it wasn't enough to deal with Sawada's relentless life advantage.

    Ken Sawada 1 - Sherwin Pu 1

    Pu led with a Mutavault, cracking in at Sawada on his second turn. Sawada had only lands, taking 4 points of damage before dropping an untapped watery grave to summon a Sin Collector. Pu spread a hand of Magma Jet, Shock, Boros Charm, Blind Obedience and Warleader's Helix, Sawada picking the Magma Jet.

    Pu's only problem is figuring out which burn spell to cast first.

    Pu shocked the Sin Collector before heading in with his Mutavault. Sawada summoned a Brimaz, but was on a lowly 12 life. Pu elected to ignore the powerful legend and try to race him with burn. The equation changed a little when Sawada summoned a Ghost Council of Orzhova, but Pu was committed. He threw his Helix, a Lightning Surge and a Boros Charm at Sawada to knock him to 1, rising to 3 when the Ghost Council came back in. Sawada attacked for 10, but had nothing relevant post-combat to keep him out of Boros Charm range.

    Sherwin Pu 2 - Ken Sawada 1




     

  • Finals – Sherwin Pu vs. Yuuya Watanabe

    by Chapman Sim

  • As mentioned earlier, a victory for Yuuya Watanabe here will cement him as the greatest Grand Prix master to have ever existed in the game's history. A win here will mark Watanabe's 7th victory, tying him with the legendary Kai Budde.

    Sherwin Pu was not about to go down without a fight and seems to be in a favorable position. After all, his Boros Burn deck has been wrecking havoc in Beijing all weekend and Mono Black Devotion should have been within his metagame projection.

    Game One

    Pu was ready with Magma Jet to deal with Watanabe's Pack Rat before we could see it multiply. Searing Blood seemed like the perfect answer to Lifebane Zombie.

    Desecration Demon would prove to be problematic since it was difficult to remove without Chained to the Rocks. Pu took one hit, going to 14, but an end of turn Warleader's Helix restored his life to 18.

    Watanabe presented Duress, causing Pu to exclaim with mid amusement, "wow, maindeck!" It removed Skullcrack, paving the way for any future Gray Merchants of Asphodel.

    Watanabe had no intent of winning that way though, as he activated both his Mutavault and charged into the red zone along with the demon, reducing Pu from 18 to 8 in one fell swoop. When Pu tried to tap down Desecration Demon by sacrificing Mutavault, Watanabe put an end to that plan using Hero's Downfall.

    Since Watanabe was at 9 life himself, he declined to attack with Mutavault, because his opponent's Searing Blood would potentially put him in danger zone. Playing it safe, he decided to spend two turns attacking with Desecration Demon instead.

    Yuuya Watanabe does the math and plays it safe to win Game One.

    Sherwin Pu 0 – Yuuya Watanabe 1

    Game Two

    Pu opened with Firedrinker Satyr and delivered a single punch before Doom Blade sent it to the gallows. Chandra's Phoenix seemed like a good replacement and Watanabe's life was dripping away, two by two.

    Watanabe wasted no time using double Duress to relieve him of Boros Charm and Chained to the Rocks, paving the way for Watanabe's Desecration Demon. However, Pu savagely ripped a replacement off the top, locking away the 6/6 flyer.

    Watanabe cushioned his life total with a pair of Gray Merchant of Asphodel, but without other permanents in play, that only gained him a measly 6 life. Twelve life was not a lot when the duo of Chandra's Phoenix was dealing four a turn. The final kick was delivered by Boros Charm.


    Sherwin Pu rises from the ashes and wins Game Two, with the help of a pair of Chandra's Phoenixes.

    Sherwin Pu 1 – Yuuya Watanabe 1

    Game Three

    With the tournament in its final throes, both players looked considerably tense. A Grand Prix title was at stake and every decision was crucial now. But sometimes, you don't get to to make many decisions.

    Watanabe opened with Swamp, Mutavault and Pack Rat.

    Not having drawn any creature removal, Pu could only activate his own Mutavault, dealing two damage.

    Pu watched in horror as Watanabe made a second copy, followed by the third. Toil // Trouble and Boros Charm were not exactly useful in this situation.

    A second Mutavault joined the horde and Watanabe could taste victory.


    "Gee, I came all the way here to lose to Pack Rats." With that, Sherwin Pu extended his hand. Throwing his fists in the air, Watanabe cheered with joy. He had just won his seventh Grand Prix.

    Sherwin Pu 1 – Yuuya Watanabe 2


    Yuuya Watanabe defeats Sherwin Pu 2-1 and wins Grand Prix Beijing! Seventh time's the charm!




     

  • Top 5 Cards

    by Pip Foweraker



  • 5. Temple of Deceit

    Even theoretically mono-coloured decks featured the incredibly powerful scry lands over the course of the weekend. Combining fixing one's mana base with small but incrementally powerful card selection lets players smooth their draws, dig for answers in desperate situations, and access powerful and flexible options from their sideboards. The trade-off in speed has been mitigated by the Return to Ravnica-block duals, and even aggressive decks seem happy to trade a peek into their futures in exchange for a comes-into-play-tapped dual land.





    4. Boros Charm

    If Boros Charm isn't the Mixmaster of the burn player's kitchen, we don't know what is. Not only does it slice and dice, but it comes with built-in safety features that protect your creatures from unwanted Wrath effects. Like all appliances, it does come with a rarely-used 'bonus' mode in the form of double strike, but two out of three abilities for the low, low cost of 2 mana in easy, single-tap instalments is enough to keep players coming back for more.







    3. Erebos, God of the Dead

    There's little about Erebos that's not been said, so let's just recap and move on. He stops your opponents from gaining life - surprisingly relevant in a world dominated by Blood Barons of Vizkopa and Gray Merchants of Asphodel -, he draws you cards in a pinch and he plays very well with others. If he's not in your 75, you might be doing it wrong.









    2. Hidden Strings

    Ken Yukuhiro played one of the most interesting decks of the GP, a U/B heroic deck featuring Tormented Hero, Agent of the Fates and a bevy of tricksy Blue spells, most notably Hidden Strings. Ciphering this powerful sorcery onto a creature let Yukuhiro demolish defences, trigger his heroic creatures regularly, and generally mess with his opponents' game plans. If you've been staring wistfully at Hidden Strings, wist no more and consider shuffling them up at your next FNM.







    1. Staff of the Death Magus

    Another card that caught more than one player by surprise, Yuuya Watanabe used this to great effect in his semifinal matchup, getting three into play in games 2 and 3 against a burn player. The 'lucky charms' cycles that old-school players will recall started with Throne of Bone and friends have been through many iterations, this is definitely one of the most impactful. Gaining life off lands and spells isn't too bad a deal, and as Watanabe-san showed, if you get multiples into play, things can start getting a bit silly.








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