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Grand Prix Sydney
Day 1 Coverage

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  • by Pip Foweraker
    Saturday, 9:02 p.m.
    Grand Prix Sydney Undefeated Decklists

  • by Pip Foweraker
    Round 8 Feature Match
    Robert Jackway vs. Tomoharu Saito

  • by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
    Saturday, 8:07 p.m.
    Round 8 : On the Rebound

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Saturday, 7:11 p.m.
    Quick Questions: Which Gatecrash Guild are you most looking forward to playing at the Gatecrash prerelease next weekend?

  • by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
    Saturday, 6:15 p.m.
    Round 7 : Supporting the Guilds of Ravnica

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Saturday, 6:04 p.m.
    Quick Questions: After 3 months of play, what card in Return to Ravnica is still the most underappreciated?

  • by Pip Foweraker
    Round 6 Feature Match
    Daniel Unwin vs. Simon Harnden

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Saturday, 5:33 p.m.
    Quick Questions: In the same vein as last round, what card from Return to Ravnica did you originally think was good, but wouldn't be as happy to play now?

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Saturday, 4:15 p.m.
    Quick Questions: Now that we’ve been playing with Return to Ravnica for 3 months, what RTR card do you think is much better now than you originally thought?

  • by Pip Foweraker
    Round 4 Feature Match
    Hao-Shan Huang vs. Wilfy Horig

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Saturday, 1:53 p.m.
    Which Guild are you now, and has it changed since the start of the season?

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
    Kuo Ejected from Grand Prix Sydney

  • by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
    Saturday, 11:21 a.m.
    Building a Return to Ravnica Sealed Deck with Martin Jůza

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Fact Sheet

 

Saturday, 11:21 a.m. – Building a Return to Ravnica Sealed Deck with Martin Jůza

by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

Martin Jůza has certainly shown the World he's a Mage with which trifling is not advised. With 4 Grand Prix Top 8's in the last year, including a win in Bochum, you'd be hard pressed to pick a better player to give you advice on how to build a Return to Ravnica sealed deck.

When I approached the table, Martin had nothing but frowns for the cards in front of him.


Martin Jůza cannot see anything he likes.

"I don't have anything good," he lied, fanning out some great Rakdos removal and Golgari fixing. "This is good, but it needs a couple of Gatecreeper Vines before I'd want to play it all. Everything costs 3 of more, and if someone kills one of these Axebane Guardians, I'd be..." he faltered, unable to articulate the horrific idea of being just that far behind on the board.

"You want good synergy, rares, and removal," he explained, "and I don't really have that. Most people play Rakdos if they have rares like Pack Rat or Mizzium Mortars, or Azorius splash Red, or Selesnya and Golgari if they have the nuts populate deck."

I asked Martin for some general advice on building sealed decks, and he advocated consistency. "People I playtest with are always asking why I don't splash this, or play that," he laughed, explaining that he'd rather have smooth draws than leave himself open to being stuck with off-color cards in his hand.

"I don't get greedy, that's just how I am."




 

Saturday, 1:30 p.m. – Quo Ejected from Grand Prix Sydney

by Event Coverage Staff

Tzu-Ching Kuo was removed from the venue during Round 3 of Grand Prix Sydney for attempting to buy and sell cards from other players, an act prohibited by Wizards of the Coast and the tournament organizer. Kuo received a warning for buying and selling cards on Friday, and the second occasion during Saturday's Day One resulted in him being removed from the premises. This also ended his participation as a player in the Grand Prix.

Wizards of the Coast encourages players to trade cards with each other at events such as Grand Prix. However, only designated vendors are permitted to buy and sell cards or other game-related products on site. Players are also prohibited from soliciting to buy or sell cards with other players at an offsite location.




 

Saturday, 1:53 p.m. – Quick Hits: Which Guild are you now, and has it changed since the start of the season?

by Pip Foweraker and Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

John-Paul Kelly - "From Azorius to Selesnya."
Jeremy Neeman – "I used to be Rakdos, but Azorius is where it’s at."
Justin Cheung – "Simic, always."
Oliver Oks - "Izzet."
Simon Harnden – "I converted from Golgari to Rakdos, the Red was too much for me!"
Luke Mulcahy – "I was Selesnya, but if I had to pick now, I’m Rakdos."



 

Round 4 Feature Match - Hao-Shan Huang vs. Wilfy Horig

by Pip Foweraker

Straight off a Top 8 at Grand Prix: Singapore last weekend, Huang sat down to battle Horig, a respected Melbourne player. Huang led the action with a Stealer of Secrets, which Horig killed with an Auger Spree. Huang rebuilt with a Cobblebrute, while Horig developed his board with a Rakdos Keyrune.

Game 1

Huang's Cobblebrute attacked unblocked, and he followed up with a Jace, Architect of Thought. Horig had a Mind Rot to knock a Supreme Verdict out of Huang's hand, then finished off the Planeswalker with his Keyrune. Huang took the opportunity to summon a Tower Drake. Horig summoned a Hypersonic Dragon, but was unable to attack effectively, on a perilously low life total.


Huang's Knightly Valor on his Tower Drake made the flier an intimidating threat. Horig tried a Zanikev Locust, which blocked for a turn, but Horig didn't have any other ways to deal with the Drake.

Hao-Shan Huang 1 – Wilfy Horig 0

Game 2

Horig led the second game with the eponymous rodent, Pack Rat. Huang found himself a Tavern Swindler as the Rats stayed at home for a turn.

Huang, keen to apply pressure before being overrun by Rodentus Horribilis, could only attack with his Swindler and summon an Axebane Guardian. Horig declined to block and made another Rat...

A Pack Rats walks into a bar. Then another one. And then it all unfolds with a tedious inevitability...

We're sure that Huang had plays on his 4th and 5th turns, but they were, for all intents and purposes, irrelevant.

Wilfy Horig 1 – Hao-Shan Huang 1

Game 3

Huang too a double mulligan into the decider, and had the first action with a Sewer Shambler. Horig kept pace with an unleashed Gore-House Chainwalker. Huang followed up his Shambler's attack with a Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord, who Horig was quick to Annihilating Fire.

Huang, undeterred, kept attacking with his Shambler and followed with an Ogre Jailbreaker. Horig, to an audible inbreath from the crowd, drew and summoned his Pack Rats with the vital 3 mana spare to protect it. Huang, already behind in resources, struggled to keep up over the next few turns, eventually Packing it in.

Wilfy Horig wins 2-1.




 

Saturday, 4:15 p.m. - Now that we’ve been playing with Return to Ravnica for 3 months, what RTR card do you think is much better now than you originally thought?

by Pip Foweraker and Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

Simon Harnden - "1-drops have grown in value in this format. Rakdos Cackler, Bellows Lizard, and Drainpipe Vermin are all cards I value higher than when RTR came out."
Martin Jůza - "Enchantments in general. Traditionally, enchantments leave you set up to be 2-for-1'd, but this format is much friendlier to creature enchantments. Knightly Valor and Deviant Glee are good examples."
John-Paul Kelly - "Seller of Songbirds"
Dom Lo - "Ethereal Armor."
Luke Mulcahy - "Tempo is increasingly important as the format matures. Common Bond, Giant Growth, and decent 2-drops are all higher picks than previously."
Ross Schafer - "Knightly Valor."



 

Saturday, 5:33 p.m. – Quick Hits: In the same vein as last round, what card from Return to Ravnica did you originally think was good, but wouldn't be as happy to play now?

by Pip Foweraker and Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

Justin Cheung - "Izzet Staticaster."
Stanislav Sifka - "Weak 1 and 2 drops. The defensive cards are too good against them."
Martin Jůza - "Rakdos Shred-Freak."
Anatoli Lightfoot - "6-drops and above don't seem to pull their weight in this format."
Tomoharu Saito - "Teleportal. Outside of Izzet aggro, it's too unreliable."
The Ben Seck - "Gates are overrated, as decks become more linear over time."



 

Round 6 Feature Match - Daniel Unwin vs. Simon Harnden

by Pip Foweraker

Game 1

"He's seen my sideboard, and knows it's better than my maindeck", Harnden confidently told me as he and Unwin sat down. Unwin sadly nodded and led with a Centaur Courser, while Harnden summoned a Daggerdrome Imp. Unwin cast a Chromatic Lantern, while Harnden applied a slow clock with a Lobber Crew, his Imp patiently attacking through the air to nibble away at Unwin's life total.

Unwin summoned a New Prahv Guildmage, while Harnden unleashed a Spawn of Rix Maadi onto the battlefield. Unwin sent it packing with a Voidwielder. Harnden re-cast his Spawn and dropped an Underworld Connections onto a land, which, coupled with the lifegain from the Imp, worked very well for him indeed.

Harnden's sideboard: better than your maindeck.

Unwin tried to keep pace, casting an Azorius Keyrune and passing with a swathe of mana open for shenanigans. Harnden suited up his Imp with a Deviant Glee, and a Traitorous Instincts let him attack fearlessly, his Spawn getting double-blocked and killed. Unwin summoned a Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage and attacked with his creatures, but Harnden's Lobber Crew and a freshly cast Stab Wounds kept Unwin well clear of being able to race effectively.

An attack with his Daggerdrome Imp met a Trostani's Judgment from Unwin. Post-combat, Harnden cast aStab Wounds to finish off Unwin's remaining life total.

"You didn't even play good cards", laughed Unwin as he riffled through his sideboard.

Simon Harnden 1 – Daniel Unwin 0

Game 2

A Thrill-Kill Assassin from Harnden was met with an Abrupt Decay from Unwin. Harnden's follow-up Splatter Thug and Viashino Racketeer were matched by a Chromatic Lantern and a Golgari Decoy.

Unwin finds the Golgari quite Charming.

Unwin used a Golgari Charm to finish off Harnden's Racketeer. "See, I can kill a Pack Rat", Unwin pointed out. Harnden tapped two mana and summoned... A Daggerdrome Imp.

Not the Rat Unwin was looking for. He didn't seem to mind as he attacked with his Golgari Decoy, forcing Harnden to throw his Imp into the graveyard in disgust. A post-combat Risen Sanctuary drove them to a decider, Harnden shaking his head at his mistake.

Daniel Unwin 1 – Simon Harnden 1

Game 3

While shuffling, Unwin and Harnden deliberated the best way Unwin's deck had of dealing with a Turn 2 Pack Rat. After listing their outs (the two are friends, and had discussed their decks before the match), this is exactly what happened. Harnden led with the Rat, and Unwin's Abrupt Decay could only be played a turn too late thanks to a hindering Transguild Promenade.

Unwin ramped into a Martial Law to try and stop the bleeding, but the swarm proved too much.

Simon Harnden 2 – Daniel Unwin 1




 

Saturday, 6:04 p.m. – After 3 months of play, what card in Return to Ravnica is still the most underappreciated?

by Pip Foweraker and Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

Stanislav Sifka - "Axebane Guardian."
Hao-Shan Huang - "Druid’s Deliverance."
Martin Jůza - "Grisly Salvage."
John-Paul Kelly - "Bazaar Krovod."
Anatoli Lightfoot - "Overload cards like Dynacharge and Downsize."
Dom Lo - "Teleportal"
Luke Mulcahy - "Minotaur Aggressor."
Shuhei Nakamura - "Rootborn Defenses."
Jeremy Neeman - "Chorus of Might."
Aaron Nicastri - "Korozda Guildmage"
Oliver Oks - "Giant Growth."
James Zhang - "Dispel."



 

Saturday, 6:15 p.m. – Round 7 : Supporting the Guilds of Ravnica

by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

Players like to express themselves in many different ways, and about many different things. Here are a few of the players here this weekend who have chosen to support their favourite Guilds of Ravnica in some way or another.


Jake Paton has been concocting various experiments today on his stylish Izzet playmat.


Traci Seaton has been rocking this Savra, Queen of the Golgari deckbox ever since a close friend brought it back from Japan for her birthday back at the end of 2005. Ok, I admit it, the close friend was me.


Cameron Chen has been protecting his cards from the harsh realities of tabletop gaming with these beautiful Selesnya card sleeves.


When not plotting and scheming behind the scenes, James Collette begrudgingly showed his true colors today with his brand new Dimir playmat. He did suggest that perhaps he should hold it backwards for the photo, like a true Dimir mage would.


Corey Hill has a Boros tattoo. Yes, an actual will-not-scrub-off Tattoo. I think it's safe to say you do not love your guild quite as much as Corey loves his. And no, I wouldn't suggest you fight him about that either.


And then there's the sexiest coverage team you'll see all weekend, Pip and myself with our sweet Guilds of Ravnica t-shirts. Yes, that feeling you're experiencing right now is jealousy.




 

Saturday, 7:11 p.m. – Quick Questions: Which Gatecrash Guild are you most looking forward to playing at the Gatecrash prerelease next weekend?

by Pip Foweraker and Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

Gene Brumby - "Probably all 5, but Gruul is the correct choice in every format."
Shuhei Nakamura – "Orzhov. It’s my guild."
Jeremy Neeman – "Dimir."
Aaron Nicastri - "Orzhov, get me to the grind!"
Ross Schafer – "Gruul."
Ivan Schroder – "Simic."



 

Saturday, 8:07 p.m. – Round 8 : On the Rebound

by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

In the past, we've done a good job of bringing you all of the Main Event Action (at least, I like to think we've done a good job) but you'd be mistaken if you thought that was the only thing going on at a Grand Prix.

Not everyone can win every round, and we have plenty of other events to keep people entertained. The first event out of the gates was termed "The Rebound Tournament," because if you were ready for that one, you really didn't do well in the main event.

After opening what he considered the worst pool possible and dropping out of the main event, 2008 Grand Prix Auckland Champion Dominic Lo borrowed a Bant Aura deck from 2012 Grand Prix Auckland Top 8 competitor Robert Liu with 5 minutes to spare, and easily crushed everyone else in his way to win the tournament, winning himself free entry to the rest of the Public Events this weekend.

2008 GP Auckland Champion Dom Lo has still got it. At least sometimes.



 

Round 8 Feature Match - Robert Jackway vs. Tomoharu Saito

by Pip Foweraker

Jackway led the action in the final round of Day 1 with a Rakdos Shred-Freak. Saito had a Trestle Troll to slow Jackway down, but a Sewer Shambler looked keen to get around the Troll.

Saito added to his board with a Korozda Monitor. Jackway grew his army with an unleashed Rakdos Cackler and a Rakdos Keyrune. Saito attacked with his Monitor.

The key play of the game came a cycle of attacks later. Saito tried an Assassin's Strike on Jackway's Shambler, but Jackway had a Launch Party in response to take out Saito's Trestle Troll. Jackway untapped, used an Annihilating Fire to take out the Monitor, and swung with his team.

Saito cast a Horncaller's Chant, restocking his board with a pair of 4/4's. A Rogue's Passage on Jackway's Cackler let him get past the obstinate Rhinoceri long enough for an Explosive Impact to finish the job.

Robert Jackway 1 – Tomoharu Saito 0

Robert Jackway

Jackway led the action in the second game with a Rakdos Shred-Freak. This time Saito had a Dreg Mangler, who decided to hang around on Saito's side of the board rather than getting too aggressive.

Jackway had a Rakdos Keyrune, while Saito's Corpsejack Menace was a little more impressive. Jackway attacked anyway, and after Saito's cautious block, a Stab Wounded the Menace to death.

Saito attacked with his Mangler and summoned a Golgari Longlegs, while Jackway had a Daggerdrome Imp to try and keep pace on his side of the board. The Mangler took bite-sized chunks out of Jackway, who raced back through the skies with his Imp.

Jackway piled on the pressure with a Grim Roustabout and a Cobblebrute. Saito's Longlegs and Mangler swung in regardless, and after no tricks from either player, the Longlegs traded with Jackway's Cobblebrute. Post-combat, Saito had a Zanikev Locust to put Jackway's Imp out of action.

Jackway passed without any action. Saito cautiously sent in his Locust, which Jackway took without demur. Post-combat, Saito summoned a Korozda Guildmage, and in response, Jackway killed the Locust with an Explosive Impact. Saito scavenged his Locust onto his Mangler.

On Jackway's turn, he attacked with his Imp and then summoned a Frostburn Weird. Saito passed, and Jackway attacked again with his Imp, nibbling away at Saito's life total. A Splatter Thug joined Jackway's team, while Saito bolstered his with a Courser's Accord.

Jackway took out Saito's Guildmage with a Street Spasm, ruefully noting he was one mana short of killing his entire team. Saito grinned and cast a Trostani's Judgment on Jackway's Grim Roustabout, then attacked with his 6/6 Dreg Mangler.

Jackway took the damage, but when Saito attacked with his entire army the next turn, he was put in a bad position. After blockers, Saito was left with his Mangler and a Centaur – and bolstered his ranks with a Trestle Troll and a Korozda Monitor. Jackway's army had been decimated to a Keyrune and a lonely Frostburn Weird.

A Cyclonic Rift from Jackway temporarily cleared the board, but Saito rebuilt too quickly for Jackway to muster an effective defense.

Tomoharu Saito 1 – Robert Jackway 1

Tomoharu Saito

Game 3

Jackway started the decider by summoning a Frostburn Weird, who mauled Saito until a Dreg Mangler convinced him not to. Stymied, Jackway summoned a Daggerdrome Imp before passing back to Saito, who had his Korozda Guildmage. Jackway and Saito both played creatures and smashed them into each other – but Saito had more tricks, with a pair of Trostani's Judgments and an Eyes in the Skies giving him token advantage over Jackway's R/B creatures.

Jackway was forced onto the defensive by the Judgments, and over several turns, Saito showed that Selesnya's solid beaters have the advantage over Rakdos' aggressive, but fragile, armies.

Tomoharu Saito 2 – Robert Jackway 1




 

Saturday, 9:02 p.m. – Grand Prix Sydney Undefeated Decklists

by Pip Foweraker







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