Me, my story, my journey
Hello everyone! My name is Gino Lee!
I am very honoured to be given a chance to write an article for Dueller’s Point. In this article, I’ll be sharing with you a little bit of myself, my history as a MTG player, a heads up of our upcoming team (Team DP), and also my little trip to the most recent RPTQ.
A small introduction
Let’s begin! Once again, my name is Gino, 25 years of age and working in SEA Aquarium as a facilitator/educator, so if some day you saw me just come over to say hi! I’ve played MTG for about 10 years. I still remembered the first booster I opened is Champions of Kamigawa where I opened a Cranial Extraction, the most expensive card of the set at that time (beginner luck huh!), and the very first pre-release I participated in is Future Sight, held in Expo if I’m not wrong. I was introduced this game by my good buddy Shawn Neo, whom is also the cousin of our wonderful boss of DP - Kwok Siang and Kwok Yang. I was a avid player of Raw Deal when he introduced MTG to me. I am very glad I chose to switch to MTG (Raw Deal stopped printing shortly after). Through my course of the game, I met many amazing players and friends which leads to my next topic – Team DP.
Team DP is an upcoming team with great motivation to storm into the competitive scene. We hope to place ourselves in the regional map and of course internationally. Our recent achievement is our team member Ray Wee storming through to the Top 8 of GP SG (you can read the article by WOTC below *insert link*). We strive to be able to reach the level of MTGMINT (Our Asian wonders and role model) and of course not to forget, most importantly to be wonderful friends throughout our life. The team roster will be up soon as we are still handling our logistics.
Prelude to RPTQ
Alright, now is the time to share my little journey to RPTQ Milwaukee. In the past, qualifying for the Pro Tour is much easier (probably?), just by winning the Pro Tour Qualifiers you are given the invitation for the Pro Tour. Right now, players have to go through winning the Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifiers, then Top 4-ing the RPTQ to get the invitation. From a different viewpoint, it is a good change as there are more chances to win a PPTQ now (approx. 14 shops hosting the current PPTQ 2016), and the RPTQ gives us a chance to play and learn from our neighbouring players.
I’ve forgotten how many shops hosted PPTQ Milwaukee, I joined and failed at the one DP hosted (>.<) and when it comes down to the final shop hosting, which is Games Forge, I decided to give it one final shot. I’m a very picky person over deck choices as there are a number of decks that does not suit my style of play (E.g. Control, Combo, etc.) I also have this little habit of not following the meta-game (LOL). Due to this, I pondered till 2am on the day of the tournament and finally made up my mind to play BR Dragons, a deck that not many players will expect to face. I felt that it was a good choice among the many GR Dragons and Atarka Red decks around at that point of time and I watched the videos by StarCityGames to get a rough idea of how the deck works as I did not have any chances to practice playing due to the burden of work.
On the day of the PPTQ itself it was 5 Rounds PPTQ. I went 3-0, then double ID to get 11 points need for a Top 8 placing. During the Quarter finals, I was playing against Atarka Red which was a relatively bad match up for me. Fortunately a timely Radiant Fountain increased my life total and that won me my game.
In the Semis, I faced Fabien Li from MTGMINT, a well-respected player. I was lucky and he had some bad draws and I won the game. In the finals, it was another MTGMINT player standing in my way, Ryan Luo, an excellent player in which I managed to win.
RPTQ – Taiwan
So there I went, to Taipei for the RPTQ on 4th July. It was indeed a fascinating sight to see all those professional players lining up for registration. The RPTQ is a sealed tournament but I did not practice much, just a couple of recap of the cards available in Fate Reforged and Dragons of Tarkir. I read an article by Terry Soh of MTGMINT (http://www.mtgmintcard.com/articles/writers/terry-soh/eating-well-for-that-extra-edge), saying that keeping yourself hydrated after every game is essential to keep your mind fresh. I followed, and indeed it works!
Alright, for those who are wondering what kind of pool I received, I didn’t take photo of the pool itself but it is the following that I felt that a ‘bomb’ inside the pool – Thunderbreak Regent, Yasova Dragonclaw, Shaman of the Great Hunt.
I believe DTK Sealed is a format that is advantageous if there are ‘bombs’ available. Looking at mine… Can’t do too badly right?
Indeed! In the first three rounds out of seven rounds I went 3-0 with Thunderbreak Regent with some combat tricks here and there.
Round 4 came and I was paired against a fellow Singaporean Mark Tan and I lost. In the fifth round it was another Singaporean Gino Varella (same English name as me!) and I won to make the current score 4-1. All I needed was 3 points off my next game so I can ID and make it to the Top 8.
At the beginning of Round 6, I was called to the Featured Match. Somehow intuitively, I had a feeling that I will lose the game which will be proven correct.
Game one was won my me using Press the Advantage to swing 10 points of damage across for lethal. Game 2 he sideboarded the entire deck, switching from GW to UB. He won when I ran out of gas. Game 3 he sideboarded back to GW.
I was on the play and kept a hand which consisted of 5 lands, a pump spell, and Reach of Shadows. I didn’t want to mulligan and I thought to myself that whether I can make it or not it depends on fate. He casted a 2-drop and 3-drop on turn 2 and 3 respectively and I had no plays. I was punished further for keeping a bad hand when he casted a Surrak Dragonclaw and swung me for 10 damage. I spent my whole Turn 5 casting a Reach of Shadows on Surrak. I was on 4 or 5 life the following turn. I finally drew a Yasova Dragonclaw (first for the day) and had to use it for defence. I was down to 2 life the following turn and he cast a Center Soul for the win. 4-2 for me.
I received feedback that on the live streaming website that I was playing too slow… (Well, yes because I don’t want to make any mistakes and I’m not very familiar with the format). Before the final game, I checked my standings; it appears that even if I were to win the final game, I would only be able to get an overall 9th placing, which was rather depressing. Unfortunately I lost my final game as well with an overall result of 4-3.
Nonetheless, I felt satisfied to have such as breakthrough after playing Magic for 10 years.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my girlfriend for her continuous support and encouragement, and accompanying me to this wonderful trip. I’ve really learnt a lot and I believe I will get stronger.
I also wish to Congratulate Mark Tan, Jeffrey Chan, and Kelvin Chew for getting the invitation for Pro Tour!
Do remember to check your decklist when joining Competitive REL tournaments make sure it tallies with the exact number of cards in your deck (Yes, Danny Seet I am citing you as an example)
Alright, I’m quite long-winded as this is my first article so bear with me. So yea, I believe everyone has a history, everyone has an aim or goal in mind, whether it relates to MTG or not. As for me, I hope I can stand at the Pro Tour stage some day and have a good moment playing with the pros from all over the world. Regardless, I believe perseverance is the key, commitment as well, watch replays, test decks, read articles, I’m sure you will be able to pick up something along the way and realise your own dream. You can also read Fabien Li’s article on MTGMINT (http://www.mtgmintcard.com/articles/writers/fabien-li/singapore-sling-the-3-ps-of-magic). I believe every player had a fall somewhere throughout their journey, every player had a not-so-good luck in games before even for the pros; just persevere, today might not be the day, tomorrow might be, you’ll never know. Keep trying and striving. All the best to you!
We will be posting more articles along the way, like deck techs, match reports, event reports, etc. Not to forget, feel free to come down to DP for some wonderful game of Magic and also, drop me comments if you had any feedbacks. Thank you once again, hope to see you soon and have a great day ahead!!