Singapore Nationals 2018

30th June - 1st July 2018

Suntec Convention Centre, Meeting Room 334/335

We’re back and ready to rumble! We had the honour and privilege of hosting the Singapore Nationals for the second time, all to determine the members for Team Singapore for the World Magic Cup in Barcelona, Spain! 213 players gathered at Suntec Convention Center, a good 30 more than last year’s Nationals, ready to battle in Standard and Draft over 2 days. When the dust cleared, only the two finalists would be left standing, having won the right to represent our country for the World Magic Cup. Unlike last year where we were among the last batch of countries to hold Nationals, this year we were in the first batch, and that means that as of this writing, the captain of Team Singapore who will join our two finalists has not been decided. Whomever it is, our best wishes go with Team Singapore and we’re cheering for your victory!

By now, the banlist update is out, and we all know that Goblin Chainwhirler is in fact not banned from Standard as many had hoped it would. Truly, our metagame data supports this decision from Wizards, as there was truly a wide range of archetypes all converging at the Standard portion of the event. Before we launch into a deeper analysis though, here is a brief metagame snapshot compiled from the event.

While Goblin Chainwhirler still wins the battle for representation (to nobody’s surprise), we are far from the days of being oppressed by a singular overpowered deck (cough cough Cawblade cough cough). As Wizards alluded to in their banlist update, the metagame is adapting to swallow Chainwhirler and knock it off its high horse, and as observed from the Top 8 decklists, that was indeed accomplished.

From the observations of the metagame, the players were well and truly ready to combat the chain whirling menace. Esper Control, largely touted as the non-Chainwhirler deck with the best matchup against Chainwhirler, was our most-represented deck variant after Mono-Red. The sheer combination of powerful and/or efficient removal from black, combined with Teferi’s usual Blue-White shell that we have come to know and love, is a force to be reckoned with, and is making Chainwhirler-haters truly happy that Teferi decided to join the dark side. Teferi has even teamed up with the Scarab God to put down the red decks, proving once and for all that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. There is also a certain schadenfreude in using the Scarab God to use one’s Chainwhirlers against them, and while our extremely well-mannered and professional players did not stoop to the level of cackling maniacally whenever this happened, we would not have been surprised either if it had.

Stompy decks have returned with a vengeance, splashing colours from all across the colour pie to combat Chainwhirler. Excellent blockers combined with more varied options provided by the splash colour were finally able to put up a strong fight against the mountain decks, as some months before this, HazoRed variants were bullying Stompy decks all around the world. One really surprising variant that we didn’t expect to see was the Stompy Variant with the red splash, which has almost no defense to speak of except blockers. However, we witnessed the game where the deck’s opponent went from 20 to 0 in one attack, as his combat math predictions did not account for a hungry Elder Dinosaur with haste (thank you Regisaur Alpha). Truly, some games observed with Stompy decks really awaken your inner Timmy.

Despite much deliberation throughout the week as to whether or not the God-Pharaoh’s Gift deck that took down GP Singapore was the real deal or just a fluke, ultimately our players played it safe and while GPG decks were still our 5th highest represented broad archetype, the individual variant numbers were pretty low considering that the UW variant won GP Singapore literally a week before. Perhaps all the chatter about GPG was part of a convoluted psychological battle to make the mountain decks swap out their Lightning Strikes and Unlicensed Disintegrations for more Abrades and weaken their main deck against other decks. There was actually quite a great deal of maindeck Abrades spotted in the mountain decks, which is enough to make any tinfoil hat conspirator go nuts. Perhaps this was one of the factors that led to a decrease in performance of the mountain decks. The proof is in the decklists, as they say. (Ok fine, “they” never said that.)

Without dedicated video coverage, it is difficult to provide a detailed account of the Draft portion, but with the release of Core Set 2019 just on the horizon, perhaps it is for the best. However, we still do have a Top 3 Epic Moments from the Draft portion we would like to share.

You know the feeling where you open a draft pack, flip to the back and think you’ve already won? How about the absolutely insane draft pod on Day 1 that saw 2 Karns, Lyra Dawnbringer, a foil Phyrexian Scriptures and a Goblin Chainwhirler all opened in one pod? We would also like to make a shoutout to the brave soul (you know who you are) who picked Mox Amber early and then took that as a sign to play 5C Legends. Your efforts have been recorded for posterity, as we may never get a bait card like Mox Amber ever again in the immediate future. And for our third Epic Moment, there is only a paraphrased quote which should be all you need – “Yeah actually I passed the third Icy Manipulator otherwise I not enough creatures.” All of you are truly ge bu max.

With our 12 Swiss rounds out of the way, we finally had our Top 8 showdown on Sunday evening with a pretty diverse Top 8 as you will soon see. When the dust settled, when the goblin screams had died down, when the projector had gone on standby, when the cards had finally stopped being flicked, we had Tan Chin Heng and Kong Chong Teng as our finalists for Nationals, and the members of Team Singapore! Our heartiest congratulations to both of you, and we’ll be cheering for you along with our to-be-decided Captain for the World Magic Cup in December!

1st Place – Tan Chin Heng

 

What deck did you play this weekend for the Standard portion?

Mono-Green Stompy (splash black)

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

Ghalta. All the red decks have very few outs to a resolved Ghalta.

Also, I didn’t want to play BR.

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly

well this weekend, and why?

Shapers’ Sanctuary. Most decks would board in a bunch of

removal spells, and they cannot keep up with the card advantage

[you get] when this is in play.

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

Not drawing Llanowar Elves in my starting hand.

What deck did you draft for the 2 drafts this weekend?

WB Historic and UW Historic.

Which card would you say performed the best in your draft deck(s), that you would never play in any Constructed deck?

D’Avenant Trapper. Had 3 in my first deck and 1 in my second. Makes good blocks impossible for the opponent.

Any shoutouts you would like to make?

Shoutout to Team Hareruya Hariraya

Is there anything you would like to say to Team Singapore?

No, but I hope I’m in it! (Editor’s Note: And you totally are! Congratulations!)

Lastly, is there anything you would like to say to Goblin Chainwhirler?

We are not on talking terms.

G(b) Stompy – Main Deck

12x Forest
4x Blooming Marsh
4x Woodland Cemetery
4x Hashep Oasis

4x Llanowar Elves
4x Greenbelt Rampager
4x Scrapheap Scrounger
4x Thrashing Brontodon
4x Steel Leaf Champion
3x Rhonas the Indomitable
4x Ghalta, Primal Hunger

4x Blossoming Defense

4x Heart of Kiran
1x Skysovereign, Consul Flagship

Sideboard

3x Nissa, Vital Force
3x Deathgorge Scavenger
3x Hour of Glory
2x Lifecrafter’s Bestiary
1x Crushing Canopy
1x Shapers’ Sanctuary
2x Aethersphere Harvester

2nd Place – Kong Chong Teng

What deck did you play this weekend for the Standard portion?

Red Black Aggro

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

Hazoret the Fervent. It’s why you win.

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly

well this weekend, and why?

Duress and Doomfall as I met a lot more control decks this week

as opposed to during the GP.

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting

this deck?

Hitting the right number of land drops.

What deck did you draft for the 2 drafts this weekend?

UR Wizards + U splash BR spells.

Which card would you say performed the best in your draft deck(s), that you would never play in any Constructed deck?

Blink of an Eye. Although it’s played in UW Control [in Standard].

Any shoutouts you would like to make?

Thanks to all my friends for their kind support and advice during the GP/Nationals and the preparation.

Is there anything you would like to say to Team Singapore?

N/A.

Lastly, is there anything you would like to say to Goblin Chainwhirler?

It’s a “fair” card.

BR Aggro – Main Deck

4x Canyon Slough
4x Dragonskull Summit
2x Aether Hub
14x Mountain
1x Swamp

4x Goblin Chainwhirler
4x Scrapheap Scrounger
2x Kari Zev, Skyship Raider
4x Bomat Courier
3x Hazoret the Fervent
2x Soul-Scar Mage
2x Ahn-Crop Crasher
2x Pia Nalaar
2x Glorybringer

2x Abrade
2x Lightning Strike
1x Unlicensed Disintegration
1x Cut//Ribbons

2x Chandra, Torch of Defiance

2x Heart of Kiran

Sideboard

2x Doomfall
1x Abrade
2x Rekindling Phoenix
2x Magma Spray
1x Glorybringer
2x Chandra’s Defeat
1x Unlicensed Disintegration
1x Chandra, Torch of Defiance
3x Duress

3rd Place – Albertus Law

What deck did you play this weekend for the Standard portion?

Grixis Energy

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

The Scarab God, because you usually win when you get to use it

against other creature decks.

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well

this weekend, and why?

No card in particular.

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

Surviving against the aggro decks.

What deck did you draft for the 2 drafts this weekend?

Jeskai Control and 4-colour green.

Which card would you say performed the best in your draft deck(s), that you would never play in any Constructed deck?

Thorn Elemental.

Any shoutouts you would like to make?

Team Gamersaurus Rex for playtesting Standard Constructed with me for the past one month.

Is there anything you would like to say to Team Singapore?

Best wishes and get a great finish at WMC!

Lastly, is there anything you would like to say to Goblin Chainwhirler?

You are too good!

Grixis Energy – Main Deck

4x Aether Hub
4x Canyon Slough
3x Dragonskull Summit
3x Drowned Catacomb
3x Fetid Pools
1x Field of Ruin
2x Island
2x Mountain
3x Sulfur Falls
1x Swamp

4x Glint-Sleeve Siphoner
3x Whirler Virtuoso
3x The Scarab God
2x Torrential Gearhulk

2x Fatal Push
4x Abrade
2x Essence Scatter
2x Harnessed Lightning
3x Supreme Will
4x Vraska’s Contempt
1x Commit//Memory

1x Arguel’s Blood Fast//Temple of Aclazotz

1x Chandra, Torch of Defiance
2x Liliana, Death’s Majesty

Sideboard

3x Chandra’s Defeat
3x Duress
1x Arguel’s Blood Fast//Temple of Aclazotz
3x Negate
1x Chandra, Torch of Defiance
1x Angrath, the Flame-Chained
1x Torrential Gearhulk
2x Jace’s Defeat

4th Place – Denny Dunsford

What deck did you play this weekend for the Standard portion?

Stampy [sic]

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

Llanowar Elves sets up ‘best’ T2/T3.

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well

this weekend, and why?

Resilient Khenra – force through Scrapheap through Chainwhirler,

and [enables] quick Ghaltas.

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

Soul-Scar into Chainwhirler.

What deck did you draft for the 2 drafts this weekend?

UW Aggro and WB.

Which card would you say performed the best in your draft deck(s), that you would never play in any Constructed deck?

Forebear’s Blade.

Any shoutouts you would like to make?

Christian Wijaya – lent me the red deck I didn’t use.
Bryan Ong – bought lunch.

Is there anything you would like to say to Team Singapore?

Precision beats power, timing beats speed.

Lastly, is there anything you would like to say to Goblin Chainwhirler?

BYE!!

G(b) Stompy – Main Deck

13x Forest
3x Hashep Oasis
4x Woodland Cemetery
4x Blooming Marsh

4x Llanowar Elves
3x Greenbelt Rampager
4x Resilient Khenra
4x Scrapheap Scrounger
4x Steel Leaf Champion
3x Thrashing Brontodon
2x Rhonas the Indomitable
3x Ghalta, Primal Hunger

4x Blossoming Defense

3x Heart of Kiran
2x Skysovereign, Consul Flagship

Sideboard

2x Aethersphere Harvester
3x Hour of Glory
1x Deathgorge Scavenger
1x Silent Gravestone
2x Crushing Canopy
2x Lifecrafter’s Bestiary
1x Vraska, Relic Seeker
2x Nissa, Vital Force
1x Thrashing Brontodon

Top 8 – Soh Weng Heng

What deck did you play this weekend for the Standard portion?

Sultai Midrange

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

Carnage Tyrant, because most control matchup players have no

solution against it.

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well

this weekend, and why?

Gifted Aetherborn.

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

My blue mana source.

What deck did you draft for the 2 drafts this weekend?

BG Stompy 3-0, and Red White aggro 3-0.

Which card would you say performed the best in your draft deck(s), that you would never play in any Constructed deck?

N/A.

Any shoutouts you would like to make?

Games Haven booster packs. They allowed me to crack Karn, Lyra and all the good rares/mythics for my draft deck.

Is there anything you would like to say to Team Singapore?

All the best for 2018.

Lastly, is there anything you would like to say to Goblin Chainwhirler?

Thanks for helping me go 3-0 in my Day 2 draft.

Sultai Midrange – Main Deck

4x Aether Hub
4x Blooming Marsh
4x Fetid Pools
3x Forest
3x Hinterland Harbor
1x Island
3x Swamp
3x Woodland Cemetery

4x Glint-Sleeve Siphoner
4x Servant of the Conduit
4x Champion of Wits
3x Thrashing Brontodon
2x Gonti, Lord of Luxury
2x Ravenous Chupacabra
3x The Scarab God

4x Fatal Push
2x Cast Down
4x Vraska’s Contempt

2x Liliana, Death’s Majesty
1x Vraska, Relic Seeker

Sideboard

3x Duress
3x Carnage Tyrant
3x Negate
2x Essence Scatter
3x Gifted Aetherborn
1x Torrential Gearhulk

Top 8 – Jason Loh

What deck did you play this weekend for the Standard portion?

BR Aggro

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

Kelvin Chew “Ragavan”/ “Thopter”/ “Elemental” tokens.

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well

this weekend, and why?

Nil. Lousy deck.

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this

deck?

Nil. Brainless deck.

What deck did you draft for the 2 drafts this weekend?

UR 2x Icy Manipulators.dec 3-0 and Jund 4x Deathbloom Thallid.dec 2-1

Which card would you say performed the best in your draft deck(s), that you would never play in any Constructed deck?

Icy Manipulator and Jaya’s Immolating Inferno.

Any shoutouts you would like to make?

Taxi Beng for ferrying me to event site both days.

Is there anything you would like to say to Team Singapore?

Don’t pack war with [Kelvin] Chew.

Lastly, is there anything you would like to say to Goblin Chainwhirler?

Good stuff cannot bluff.

BR Aggro – Main Deck

2x Aether Hub
4x Canyon Slough
4x Dragonskull Summit
14x Mountain
1x Swamp

4x Bomat Courier
4x Goblin Chainwhirler
2x Kari Zev, Skyship Raider
4x Scrapheap Scrounger
3x Hazoret the Fervent
2x Pia Nalaar
2x Soul-Scar Mage
2x Glorybringer
2x Rekindling Phoenix

3x Abrade
2x Unlicensed Disintegration

1x Cut//Ribbons

2x Chandra, Torch of Defiance

2x Heart of Kiran

Sideboard

1x Abrade
1x Chandra, Torch of Defiance
1x Rekindling Phoenix
1x Glorybringer
2x Magma Spray
2x Doomfall
3x Duress
4x Chandra’s Defeat

Top 8 – Nicholas Koh

What deck did you play this weekend for the Standard portion?

BR Aggro

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

Goblin Chainwhirler, because it single-handedly took out x/1

creature decks.

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well

this weekend, and why?

Karn, Scion of Urza. In the Red deck mirrors they can’t Chandra’s

Defeat him.

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

I am very prone to mulliganing and am usually quite unlucky at the right times.

What deck did you draft for the 2 drafts this weekend?

Both BW. Went 6-0.

Which card would you say performed the best in your draft deck(s), that you would never play in any Constructed deck?

Kwende, Pride of Femeref. It appears that Rat Colony with Jousting Lance and Kwende is quite good.

Any shoutouts you would like to make?

My teammates at Gamersaurus Rex for the testing and tips.

Is there anything you would like to say to Team Singapore?

All the best for Worlds! Bring the trophy back!

Lastly, is there anything you would like to say to Goblin Chainwhirler?

You are a good card.

BR Aggro – Main Deck

4x Canyon Slough
4x Dragonskull Summit
1x Aether Hub
2x Cinder Barrens
1x Swamp
13x Mountain

3x Soul-Scar Mage
4x Scrapheap Scrounger
2x Kari Zev, Skyship Raider
2x Pia Nalaar
4x Goblin Chainwhirler
4x Rekindling Phoenix
2x Glorybringer

2x Magma Spray
4x Abrade
2x Unlicensed Disintegration
1x Vraska’s Contempt
1x Cut//Ribbons

2x Heart of Kiran

2x Chandra, Torch of Defiance

Sideboard

4x Duress
2x Doomfall
1x Vraska’s Contempt
3x Chandra’s Defeat
2x Siege-Gang Commander
2x Karn, Scion of Urza
1x Angrath, the Flame-Chained

Top 8 – Jonathan Yow

What deck did you play this weekend for the Standard portion?

Esper Control

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

History of Benalia. Did well against both control and aggro shells.

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well

this weekend, and why?

History of Benalia. Added it in the night before and didn’t really get

to try it.

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this

deck?

Fighting aggro Game 1.

What deck did you draft for the 2 drafts this weekend?

UR Wizards and RUG Wizards + Tatyova.

Which card would you say performed the best in your draft deck(s), that you would never play in any Constructed deck?

Tatyova.

Any shoutouts you would like to make?

You guys know who you are.

Is there anything you would like to say to Team Singapore?

All the best at WMC.

Lastly, is there anything you would like to say to Goblin Chainwhirler?

Hi.

Esper Control – Main Deck

4x Fetid Pools
4x Irrigated Farmland
4x Drowned Catacomb
3x Glacial Fortress
4x Isolated Chapel
3x Field of Ruin
1x Swamp
1x Plains
1x Mountain
1x Island

1x The Scarab God
3x Torrential Gearhulk

3x Fatal Push
1x Cast Down
2x Essence Scatter
3x Supreme Will
4x Disallow
3x Vraska’s Contempt
3x Glimmer of Genius
3x Syncopate
1x Negate

2x Search for Azcanta//Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin
2x Cast Out

1x Huatli, Warrior Poet
2x Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

Sideboard

1x Cast Down
2x Essence Extraction
1x Settle the Wreckage
3x Negate
4x Knight of Malice
4x History of Benalia