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Day 2 Coverage of Grand Prix Buenos Aires 2014

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The letter I!t's the start of Day Two here at Grand Prix Buenos Aires! 128 players have returned today for six more rounds of swiss with their Standard decks.

Among those returning are undefeated players Sergio Ramadan, Mateus Dos Anjos, and the reigning King of the Hill player, Axel Rodriguez, who has not lost a match since earning his place at the King of the Hill table yesterday with his Esper Mid-Range deck. Right behind these players is Hall of Famer Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, who has made an impressive run in Day One with his Esper Control deck.

The highlights from yesterday appear to be the prevalence of Blue Devotion strategies as well as the Esper colors (white-blue-black), but we'll have a more in-depth analysis of the Standard metagame here in Argentina later today to see how the format is shaping up.

Will one of these archetypes remain at the top at the end of the day? Who will take home the trophy from Argentina's largest Grand Prix? Find out today!











 

  • Day 1 Undefeated Decklists

    by Event Coverage Staff


  • Sergio Ramadan – 9-0 – Selesnya Aggro
    Grand Prix Buenos Aires 2014


    Mateus Dos Anjos – 9-0 – Monoblue Devotion
    Grand Prix Buenos Aires 2014




     

  • Round 10 Feature Match – Ivan Argimon (Orzhov Midrange) vs. Axel Rodriguez (Esper Midrange)

    by Mike Rosenberg

  • Ivan Argimon and Axel Rodriguez both smashed through their nine rounds yesterday in brilliant fashion, with both players securing undefeated records at the end of Day One.

    Rodriguez specifically has not let go of his King of the Hill title, maintaining status since earning it in Round 7 yesterday. Would we have a new King of the Hill at the end of this round, or would Rodriguez maintain his place at the feature match area with a win?

    The Decks

    Both Argimon and Rodriguez were sporting midrange strategies. However, while Argimon was playing only Orzhov colors, emphasizing the removal suite black offers alongside powerful white-black creatures such as Blood Baron of Vizkopa, Rodriguez had access to three colors and an emphasis on white specifically with Esper.

    The Games

    The first action from Argimon came from a Thoughtseize on the second turn, revealing a brutal hand from Rodriguez: Hallowed Fountain, Detention Sphere, Ephara, God of the Polis, and three Lyev Skyknights. Argimon settled on discarding Ephara before passing the turn. While Rodriguez's top-decked Brimaz, King of Oreskos would normally be a threatening force in this situation, Devour Flesh quickly cleared the path.

    The cat king did allow Rodriguez to gain some additional life from Devour Flesh, but Rodriguez had plenty of offense, playing one of his Skyknights. Argimon, however, was not deterred by the hand, casting Lifebane Zombie to exile one of the two remaining Skyknights in Rodriguez's hand. The second came down, and Rodriguez's game plan was set.

    Unfortunately for Argimon, nothing more was coming off the top of the deck other than lands. Lifebane Zombie was capable of attacking in, but his final non-land, Desecration Demon, was hit with Rodriguez's Detention Sphere.

    Axel Rodriguez

    While Argimon had two Mutavaults as those lands, allowing him to double-block Rodriguez's Precinct Captain, the glut of lands was too difficult to overcome, sending Argimon to his sideboard for Game 2.

    The first action of the second game came from Rodriguez, who hit Argimon with a second-turn Thoughtseize, revealing Argimon's own un-used Thoughtseize, Devour Flesh, and Doom Blade. Argimon lost his Thoughtseize to Rodriguez's discard spell.

    Rodriguez forced removal spell #1, Doom Blade, with Precinct Captain on the next turn. However, he did not get a chance to bait out any more before Argimon had information, as a freshly drawn Thoughtseize let Argimon see what was going on. Rodriguez revealed Godless Shrine, Hallowed Fountain, Blood Baron of Vizkopa, Brimaz, King of Oreskos, and Far & Away. The Blood Baron immediately ended up in the graveyard.

    Brimaz was hit with another Doom Blade, and Argimon's Mutavault began taking two point chunks out of Rodriguez's life total. After another draw, it was clear that Rodriguez was out of threats, but not answers. Desecration Demon was immediately hit with Dark Betrayal. When Argimon drew Blood Baron of Vizkopa, things started to get worse for Rodriguez, as Argimon also had Mutavault at the ready to sacrifice to Rodriguez's in-hand Far & Away. A second Blood Baron of Vizkopa was more than enough to earn Argimon the win in the second game.

    Rodriguez had the advantage in the third game, attacking for 2 with Precinct Captain before Argimon had mana for his Hero's Downfalls. However, that advantage quickly dissipated when it Rodriguez passed without a land or any color of mana other than white. He did have an Imposing Sovereign on the third turn, as well as a replacement Precinct Captain, but he lost both Captains to Hero's Downfalls on sequential turns.

    Ivan Argimon

    Worse yet, while he found a third land, he still only had blue and white, missing the critical black mana that he needed to cast Thoughtseize. Brimaz, King of Oreskos from Rodriguez immediately met a third Hero's Downfall. Argimon had a Thoughtseize of his own, leaving Rodriguez's alongside Ephara, God of the Polis and Detention Sphere in favor of discarding a second Brimaz.

    However, Rodriguez was not out of the game yet. While Argimon was sitting on two Blood Baron of Vizkopas in his hand, he lacked the fifth land to cast either for multiple turns, instead having to stem bleeding with removal while his hand was stalled up from a lack of lands. The attacks from the Precinct Captain token and Imposing Sovereign were beginning to add up, and when Rodriguez found a Thoughtseize of his own, he saw what the problem was.

    After multiple turns, it was Rodriguez who found a fifth land, black mana, and a Blood Baron of Vizkopa in play, which closed the door on Argimon's chance to take a game which, if he had found a fifth land, would have been over.

    Rodriguez, despite the odds being against him, has retained his king of the hill status.

    Argimon 1 – Rodriguez 2




     

  • Saturday, 11:08 a.m. – Day 2 Metagame Breakdown

    by Nate Price

  • Esper Control 20
    Monoblue Devotion 16
    Monoblack Devotion 15
    Jund Monsters 12
    Boros Burn 9
    Orzhov Midrange 9
    Uw Devotion 8
    RG Monsters 6
    WU Control 5
    Esper Midrange 4
    Selesnya Aggro 3
    Br Devotion 3
    Bw Devotion 3
    Monoblack Aggro 2
    Red Aggro 2
    Rw Devotion 2
    Bant Control 1
    Boros Aggro 1
    BR Control 1
    Bu Devotion 1
    Golgari Dredge 1
    Gr Devotion 1
    Jund Midrange 1
    Rg Devotion 1
    White Weenie 1

    Taking a look at how the Day 2 field shaped up, there are a few things that were as expected, and a few big surprises.

    First, let's look at the things that are pretty much as we thought they would be. First off, Esper Control is clearly the biggest deck of the tournament. It was very apparent from walking around yesterday during the early rounds that Esper was going to be big, and it didn't disappoint, with the Control variant of the deck handily taking the top spot, while the Midrange version of the deck went undefeated yesterday in the hands of our Goleador del Torneo Axel Rodriguez. Combined, Esper decks tied for the most played archetype in the field, sharing the spot with a bit of a surprise contender: Blue Devotion.


    It was clear from the outset of the tournament that Blue Devotion decks were going to be among the top five most-played decks in the field, but in no way did I think that they would be this effective. It speaks to the power and consistency of the deck that the Monoblue and Uw variants of the deck would combine to share the top spot on the table with Esper, yesterday's clear frontrunner. Interestingly, though the Uw variant appeared to have more love in the tournament, it was the Monoblue version that ended up taking top honors within the archetype, making it the second-most played distinct deck in Day 2. While the Monoblue version of the deck is the clear victor within the archetype for this event, there is a clear upswing in the Uw version that mirrors what we've been seeing in recent live and online Standard events. It would be no surprise if this variant of the deck continues to advance strongly, as it gives the deck a tremendous amount of play against the large number of Doom Blade decks in the field.


    Speaking of Doom Blade, the third-most played deck in the field is the longtime specter of Standard: Black Devotion. If you combine the four Black Devotion variants, they have only one fewer deck in attendance than either Esper or Blue Devotion, which is a bit surprising considering the relative downswing that the deck has been experiencing in recent weeks. Still, with the deck taking down the most recent Standard Grand Prix in Melbourne, it is clear that the deck is still as powerful as ever. Unlike the other two decks, however, there is clearly a wider evolution of the Black Devotion deck than either of them. There are three offshoots of the deck that have appeared here in Buenos Aires, each adding a second color to bolster the traditional core of the deck. The most-played of these variants was the white version, which adds Blood Baron of Vizkopa, followed closely by the red version featuring Rakdos's Return. Only one person opted to dip into blue, providing access to Far // Away in the maindeck and Notion Thief out of the sideboard. Still, despite access to these extra colors, easily the most-played version of the deck was the tried and true stock Monoblack Devotion list. After all, if it's good enough to win a Grand Prix a mere two weeks ago, it's certainly good enough to win another.


    Occupying the fourth slot on the list is one of the biggest movers in the world of live Standard recently: Jund Monsters. Jund Monsters and its predecessor, RG Monsters, combine to make up an impressive portion of the field. It is clear that this deck is one where the evolution has taken precedence over of the original deck, as Jund has eclipsed the number of players opting for the base RG version. Part of the reason for this is the sheer power that access to black provides the deck. With the addition of Born of the Gods, the deck gets Temple of Malice to aid its mana base, allowing it to cast Dreadbore and Reaper of the Wilds. In a field filled with Supreme Verdict, Planeswalkers, and targeted removal, these spells are incredible. Dreadbore serves double duty, killing many of Standard's biggest threats and Planeswalkers with ease. Reaper, on the other hand, survives most of the big removal spells in the format, either due to having a high toughness or the ability to gain hexproof. It is also incredible against Supreme Verdict. While it doesn't survive it, all of the scry triggers allow you to dig through your deck for a perfect follow-up to the mass removal spell, say...Stormbreath Dragon. This deck is clearly on the rise, and it should be incredibly well-positioned if Hallowed Fountain are expected to be as prevalent as they are here in Buenos Aires.


    The last deck I'd like to mention from this breakdown comes in at the number five slot. If you'd asked me yesterday, I would have assumed that this slot would have been taken by one of the number of Red Devotion decks seen littering the room yesterday. After all, the deck is exceptional against Control decks, and the field was rife with them. Yet today, only two of them managed to survive the gauntlet. Instead, the fifth most-played deck in Day 2 is an even better choice for the tournament, and likely one of the best-positioned decks in Standard right now: Boros Burn. The deck just wreaks havoc with Hallowed Fountain decks, providing a clock that is much faster than the Control decks can really deal with, as well as Skullcrack to deal with potential lifegain. Born of the Gods added Searing Blood, which gives the deck game against creature-based strategies. The one weakness of the deck is that it is virtually dead to one of the most-powerful cards in the second-most played deck in the field: Master of Waves. Other than Chained to the Rocks, there is very little that can be done to stop to Master once it hits play, and many a Burn player found themselves succumbing to Blue Devotion this weekend. In addition, Willy Edel pointed out that many more people are running cards like Fiendslayer Paladin and Archangel of Thune due to Boros Burn's recent online success. These cards are extremely bad for Boros Burn, so if the trend continues, you can expect the deck to fall out of favor.

    Boros Burn
    Grand Prix Buenos Aires 2014




     

  • Round 11 Feature Match – Mauro Capello (Esper Control) vs. Sebastian Martinez (BR Control)

    by Nate Price

  • With two losses, Mauro Capello and Sebastian Martinez found themselves in a tight spot heading into this Round 11 Feature Match. While a third loss is not a guarantee that they will fall out of Top 8 contention, it is likely that only one or two players at 12-3 will sneak in. In addition, a Top 64 performance will likely cement Sebastian Martinez's spot as the top Uruguayan player, something he will be able to defend at Pro Tour Journey to Nyx in a couple of months.

    The Decks

    Capello's deck is one of the most common sights around the room and easily the most-played deck in the tournament: Esper Control. Still, there are a few interesting wrinkles in his build that provide him a bit of an advantage over the other Esper decks in the field. First, he has access to Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver, which provides a great threat against the mass of Hallowed Fountain decks in the field. Second, he has taken a cue from the WU Control decks that have been popular as of late, adding an Elixir of Immortality to his deck, giving his spells a little more life. He also has access to Fated Retribution, perfect for destroying opposing Planeswalkers.

    Mauro Capello

    As for Martinez, he is playing one of the more unique decks in the room: BR Control. Between Dreadbore, Thoughtseize, Rakdos's Return, and Chandra, Pyromaster, Martinez's deck seems like a nightmare for all of the Hallowed Fountain decks in the field, Capello's included. Unlike the Br Devotion decks, this deck opts out of playing the Gray Merchant of Asphodels and Underworld Connections of the Black Devotion decks, opting for a stronger red presence with Anger of the Gods, Stormbreath Dragon, and Chandra, Pyromaster. Martinez found this deck while surfing Twitch, watching it crush a US store event. He then used it to demolish a PTQ and knew that it was going to be perfect for this weekend.

    The Games

    Martinez appeared to be in control from the outset of the first game, stripping a Jace, Architect of Thought, from Capello's hand and keeping Ashiok at bay with Dreadbore. The first real haymaker came when he found a window to resolve a Chandra, Pyromaster. Thanks to Chandra's +0 effect, Martinez was able to build up a fairly large advantage, hitting cards like Lifebane Zombie and Rakdos Keyrune. Capello tried to equalize things with Jace, Architect of Thought, but a massive Rakdos's Return killed Jace and left Capello without a hand. It is rare to see Esper Control behind on cards, but Martinez's card advantage simply manhandled Capello. Eventually, Stormbreath Dragon finished off the defenseless Capello.

    Sebastian Martinez

    Martinez set the tone once again for the second game, but this time it was Capello who wrested control. Syncopate and Supreme Verdict took care of Martinez's early Desecration Demons, keeping the board clear for Elspeth, Sun's Champion. Capello had a Supreme Verdict to once again clear out Martinez's attempts to mount an offense, keeping Elspeth nice and safe. Capello had the clear board advantage, but took complete control of the game when h cast Sphinx's Revelation for five with an empty hand. At that point, Martinez was gassed, allowing Capello's Soldier tokens and Mutavault to easily attack for the win.

    The final game opened with a flurry of disruption from Martinez, setting the tone early. He tipped his plan by taking Syncopate and Blood Baron of Vizkopa, leaving a pair of Jaces in Capella's hand. Right after the first one came down, Martinez locked them up with a Pithing Needle. Still, Capella looked to be in good position with a pair of Sphinx's Revelation in his hand. At least until Martinez dropped a sideboarded Sire of Insanity onto the table. Capello had nothing to stop it, watching as his pair of Revelations hit the graveyard. It didn't take much more than that for Martinez to attack and end the match, moving to a sturdy 9-2.


    1 Sebastian Martinez Beltrane – BR Control
    Grand Prix Buenos Aires 2014




     

  • Round 12 Feature Match – Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa (Esper Control) vs. Sergio Ramadan (Selesnya Aggro)

    by Mike Rosenberg

  • Hall of Famer Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa has maintained his momentum from yesterday's 8-1 finish today with wins in the first two rounds of Day Two. His opponent, Ramadan, has also performed impressively all weekend, only suffering one loss in the first round of today's play the whole weekend.

    The Decks

    Damo da Rosa was playing a deck that was suited to his comfort zone: Esper Control. Powerful non-creature spells and counters have always been what he enjoys most, and if the deck is good, why not sleeve it up?

    Segio Ramadan earned his 9-0 record on the back of Selesnya Aggro, a deck capable of generating some powerful early threats and backing that up with instant-speed creatures like Boon Satyr and Advent of the Wurm.

    The Games

    Ramadan led off quickly with Fleecemane Lion, while Damo da Rosa spent the early turns on scry lands. Ramadan did not let up pressure, attacking for 3 and following that with Loxodon Smiter. Damo da Rosa would find himself at 10 before being able to cast Supreme Verdict, a particularly uncomfortable position to be in against Selesnya's instant-speed threats.

    The Verdict swept the board, but Ramadam did not miss a beat, end-stepping a Boon Satyr and knocking Damo da Rosa to 6. Elvish Mystic gave Ramadan another creature, and passed again with mana up. Damo da Rosa unleashed his second Supreme Verdict, and Ramadan replaced his creatures with a 2/2 vigilance token courtesy of Selesnya Charm. Banisher Priest and Scavenging Ooze gave Ramadan a new board, but his hand was empty and he would have troubles against a third sweeper.

    Hall of Famer Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

    However, Damo da Rosa was fresh out of those, having spent the last two turns clearing the table. Detention Sphere and Last Breath let Damo da Rosa clear away all but the Banisher Priest, and Sphinx's Revelation on the next turn got him to the late game that his deck desired, albeit at a scant 4 life. A Doom Blade on Banisher Priest and Sphinx's Revelation for two made that 6 on the next turn, and Elspeth, Sun's Champion all but sealed the deal, wrapping things up with three plus one activations and an ultimate to give him the first game.

    Ramadan's start for the second game was a brutal one, with a second-turn Voice of Resurgence threatening to force Damo da Rosa to play by his rules. It was particularly daunting given the counters in Damo da Rosa's hand, and the situation was made far worse when Ramadan attempted a second Voice of Resurgence, which would join hiss in-play Voice as well as his Skylasher, which came down at the end of Damo da Rosa's third turn. Damo da Rosa had to go for the Syncopate, unable to deal with two of the Dragon's Maze mythic.

    But then, Ramadan didn't make a token with his in-play Voice of Resurgence.

    When Ramadan passed the turn, Damo da Rosa let out a breath of relief, immediately untapping to cast Jace, Architect of Thought, which made Ramadan's offense significantly less daunting.

    Sergio Ramadan

    Detention Sphere made quick work of the Voice of Resurgence, and Elspeth, Sun's Champion gave Damo da Rosa an immediate lead. All of this happened as Ramadan was stuck on three lands. Ramadan wasn't done yet, end-stepping a Boon Satyr and attacking Damo da Rosa, who was sitting at 8. Damo da Rosa threw two tokens at Boon Satyr and one at Skylasher, taking out the Satyr, but losing his Elspeth to Glare of Heresy.

    However, all this time, Jace had been ticking up towards his ultimate. A Sphinx's Revelation for three found Damo da Rosa a Doom Blade, which allowed Damo da Rosa to keep up Syncopate and removal to ensure his Jace's ultimate. When the Architect of Thought hit the graveyard, it fetched up Damo da Rosa's Ætherling and Ramadan's Advent of the Wurm, netting Damo da Rosa some sizable offense, despite losing the wurm token to Selesnya Charm.

    Mistcutter Hydra was a surprise for Damo da Rosa when a Thoughtseize revealed that his path to victory was clear, but Ætherling makes racing particularly daunting. It continued to take chunks out of Ramadan's life total, and then blinked out to make way for Supreme Verdict for the Mistcutter Hydra. Another Mistcutter off the top would not do it for Ramadan at that point, as the Ætherling represented lethal on the next turn. He offered the handshake after casting it.

    Damo da Rosa 2 – Ramadan 0




     

  • Round 13 Feature Match – Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa (Esper Control) vs. Mateus Dos Anjos (Mono-Blue Devotion)

    by Mike Rosenberg

  • Hall of Famer Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa has been putting up a very impressive showing with Esper Control all weekend, his deck far from unfamiliar to those following Standard right now. If you need some cliff notes, check out the last feature match for an example of how this deck operates.

    Mateus Dos Anjos, however, is the sole undefeated player of the event, having just come off of yet another win to ensure his lead in the event as well as his status as King of the Hill. His deck, Mono-Blue Devotion, is one of the top most played decks of the weekend, ranked only below Esper Control in terms of the number people playing the archetype on Day Two.

    The Round 13 Feature Match featured a juggernaut Hall of Fame player versus the last undefeated player in the tournament.

    A win from Dos Anjos guarantees his place in the Top 8. A win from Damo da Rosa however still leaves both players in a good chance for a Top 8 finish assuming either can avoid a pair-down in the next round. Would it be Dos Anjos who will guarantee Top 8 play, or will Damo da Rosa come closer to locking up his second Grand Prix Top 8 in the last two months?

    The Games

    Dos Anjos was first on the board with Tidebinder Mage. Damo da Rosa was hitting his land drops, but was lacking something very important in play: white mana. Syncopate bought him some breathing room on a second Tidebinder Mage, and a Godless Shrine gave him white mana producing land #1 needed to cast Supreme Verdict. What he had not revealed to Dos Anjos however was that the second Godless Shrine was in hand.

    Hall of Famer Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

    Dissolve stopped Master of Waves from hitting play, and Damo da Rosa was content to play his Godless Shrine tapped on the next turn. With Dos Anjos's primary offense stifled, Damo da Rosa's sixth-turn Elspeth, Sun's Champion threatened to take over the game. Worse for Dos Anjos was that it forced him to commit creatures to the field, feeding extra cards into Damo da Rosa's Supreme Verdict. Jace, Architect of Thought solidified his planeswalker one-two punch, and when nothing miraculous was awaiting on top of Dos Anjo's deck, he called it quits on Game 1.

    The second game did not start out on a high note for Dos Anjos, who had to mulligan to six for the second game. He had redundant Thassa, God of the Seas in his second hand however, which would let him fight through multiple ways to exile the God. This is what happened, with Thassa #1 having its Existence Revoked. Damo da Rosa took the opportunity to cast Jace, Architect of Thought and minus it for cards while Dos Anjos was stumbling on offense, with Dos Anjos having no Mutavaults to threaten Jace and few options for making Thassa into a creature.

    Mateus Dos Anjos

    Judge's Familiar attacked Jace down to one loyalty, and Prognostic Sphinx ensured a Supreme Verdict on Damo da Rosa's next turn. Master of Waves gave Dos Anjos something to attack with, at least until Damo da Rosa pointed a Doom Blade at it on upkeep. A Last Breath took out Dos Anjos's second copy of Master of Waves, and without any real action going on, Damo da Rosa felt safe to tap out for Ætherling.

    A Nightveil Specter off the top for Dos Anjos ensured his Thassa could finish off Jace, but Damo da Rosa replaced it with another, sending it to two loyalty and finding Elspeth, Sun's Champion. It came down alongside Pithing Needle on the next turn, the artifact locking down Thassa's effect. Nothing came for Dos Anjos in the next few turns, as he quickly succumbed to Ætherling's attacks while being unable to punch through Elspeth's tokens.

    This win has also de-throned Dos Anjos from his undefeated record, making the Brazilian Hall of Famer the new King of the Hill!

    Damo da Rosa 2 – Dos Anjos 0




     

  • Sunday, 1:07 p.m. – Grand Prix Bueno Aires 2014 – A Mini-Photo Essay

    by Mike Rosenberg

  • Over the course of the weekend, we have seen some great things in or around the tournament venue for Grand Prix Buenos Aires. It seemed only appropriate to archive these sights in a little overview. While this photo essay isn't going to quite the extent as the Pro Tours do, when Pro Tour photographer Craig Gibson is on site and at the ready, this will at least be able to provide a small glimpse into the fun and excitement of Agentina's largest Grand Prix if you were unable to attend.

    A Grand Prix tends to bring out some phenomenal Magic cosplay work, and these two amazing cosplayers are no exception, making some remarkable portrayals of Chandra Nalaar and Liliana Vess.

    Another thing that comes out of these events is some great fan shirt work. These two were sporting some Magic pride with custom-made shirts based off a classic phrase.

    It looks like the beast has already been unleashed.

    The Grand Prix Buenos Aires 2014 judge staff, ready to go to work...

    ...or they're ready for a judge dog pile.

    Yo dawg, I hear you like Detention Spheres...

    Seriously, dawg, I hear you like Detention Spheres...

    Peru's Magic team in attendance, excited to compete here this weekend.

    Chile's Magic scene also came out in force, just one of many teams representing their country in one of South America's Grand Prix main events.

    Step outside the tournament venue, and this is the kind of weather you're going to enjoy. While rain dampened things a bit on Friday, the weather and the park outside the venue has been gorgeous both yesterday and today.

    Perhaps one of the biggest stories to come out of this weekend has been Hall of Famer Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa's success with Esper Control. Looking to see how he is doing? Just look for the crowd of spectators, and you'll find him...somewhere in there.



     

  • Sunday, 2:11 p.m. – View from the Top – Picture Edition!

    by Nate Price

  • There are only two rounds of play remaining before the cut to the Top 8 here in Buenos Aires, and we're starting to get a very clear picture of the decks that we are going to be seeing battling it out in the elimination rounds. Quite a few clear pictures, in fact! Here they are:

    It should be no surprise that we'll likely see an Esper Control deck, if not multiple, in the Top 8. It was easily the most played deck of the tournament and had the highest number of players make Day 2.

    In fact, one of them might be piloted by our current Goleador del Torneo, Hall of Famer Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa! Let's take a close look at what he's up against...

    Uh oh, this looks like Sebastian Martinez's BR Control deck. This deck might be the best deck in the field against Esper Control. Still, PV is PV, so never count him out.

    Esper Control really is all around. Here we see it near the top of the standings, fighting against one of the other breakout decks of the tournament: Jund Monsters. Is that an Underworld Cerberus?!

    Here it is again, this time battling against old-school RG Monsters. Because who needs Dreadbore and Reaper of the Wilds anyway?

    Now here's a matchup that we saw a lot of at Pro Tour Theros: Esper Control vs. Monoblue Devotion. I'm pretty sure that the consensus at that event was that Monoblue tends to come out on top...

    But it's not like Control is the only way to play Esper. Here we can see Axel Rodriguez's Esper Midrange deck fighting against Selesnya Aggro, which has been a surprising performer this weekend.

    Here we see Selesnya Aggro again, this time fighting against Monoblue Devotion. Two Pro Tour winning decks fighting it out for superiority...

    Boros Burn was another of the incredibly good choices for this event. It does great against all of the Esper Control decks in the field, but considerably less so against decks like the Monoblue Devotion deck seen here. Stupid Master of Waves...

    And things don't really get much better when the Devotion deck splashes for white. At least there are less targets for Detention Sphere than most of the rest of the decks in the field!

    This one is a little better, though. Jund Monsters is a great deck right now, but the Burn deck is both much faster and disruptive than most of the decks that Jund matches up well against. Still, Courser of Kruphix and Reaper of the Wilds have got some serious booties...

    Those booties do much less work against a deck like UW Control, though. Still, Reaper is a great card to help find the perfect follow up to a Supreme Verdict. How many scry triggers does it take to get to Stormbreath Dragon?

    The final deck vying for a spot in the Top 8 is the Craig Wescoe Special: White Weenie. Fernando Calvo, who spent a good portion of Day 1 as el Goleador, desperately needs to prove that his deck is the superior aggressive deck to escape this Monoblue Devotion deck with a win.



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