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Monlevade Monstrous in Buenos Aires

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The letter T!his isn't the first time that Brazil and Argentina have gone head-to-head in the finals of a Grand Prix. This rivalry has been alive in sports for decades, and it is no surprise to see the same fervor and excitement over a match-up between a Brazilian and an Argentinian culminate in the Finals of Grand Prix Buenos Aires 2014. However, despite Buenos Aires resident Demian Tejo's best efforts to keep the trophy at home, it was ultimately Philippe Monlevade, from Rio de Janeiro, who took home the trophy.

Philippe Monlevade's Jund Monsters deck went on a rampage through the Top 8, where he first dispatched Mateus Dos Anjos and his Mono-Blue Devotion in the Quarterfinals. After that, he battled his way past Hall of Famer and fellow countryman Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa and his Esper Control deck in the Semifinals. It was then that he was paired against Tejo in an electric final match, with Monlevade's Miscutter Hydras leaving Tejo's Mono-Blue Devotion deck out to dry. Monlevade's victory in Buenos Aires marks the second time that Brazil has taken the trophy home from an Argentinian Grand Prix, further fueling this long-standing rivalry between two great nations.

Grand Prix Buenos Aires 2014 was the stage for showing just how passionate the South American Magic community can be. From country rivalries, to team support and a wide representation of South America's finest Magic players, to the record-breaking attendance of 884, it has been an incredible weekend. While it is Monlevade and Brazil that celebrates today, the community in South America continues to expand, and as it does, so does the competition and the chance for Argentina and the rest of South America to shine.




Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Fernando Pietragallo   Demian Tejo, 2-1        
8 Demian Tejo   Demian Tejo, 2-0
       
4 Eduardo Castro   José Echeverría, 2-0   Philippe Monlevade, 2-1
5 José Echeverría    
       
2 Mateus Dos Anjos   Philippe Monlevade, 2-1
7 Philippe Monlevade   Philippe Monlevade, 2-1
       
3 Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa   Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, 2-0
6 Sebastian Martinez    







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EVENT COVERAGE INFORMATION
 1.  Philippe Monlevade $4,000
 2.  Demian Tejo $2,700
 3.  Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa $1,500
 4.  Jose Echeverria $1,500
 5.  Fernando Pietragallo $1,000
 6.  Mateus Dos Anjos $1,000
 7.  Eduardo Castro $1,000
 8.  Sebastian Martinez $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
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  • Top 16 Decklists

    by Event Coverage Staff

  • Adrian Zah's Esper Control
    Standard – Grand Prix Buenos Aires 2014


    Ariel Nagy's Boros Burn
    Standard – Grand Prix Buenos Aires 2014


    Matias Chilperico's Golgari Dredge
    Standard – Grand Prix Buenos Aires 2014


    Lucas Paletta's Boros Burn
    Standard – Grand Prix Buenos Aires 2014



    Jose Velarde Gallegos's W/U Control
    Standard – Grand Prix Buenos Aires 2014


    Julian Prado's Esper Control
    Standard – Grand Prix Buenos Aires 2014


    Hernan Martinez's Mono-Blue Devotion
    Standard – Grand Prix Buenos Aires 2014




     

  • Top 8 Decklists

    by Event Coverage Staff

  • Fernando Pietragallo's Mono-Black Devotion
    Standard – Grand Prix Buenos Aires 2014


    Mateus Dos Anjos's Mono-Blue Devotion
    Standard – Grand Prix Buenos Aires 2014


    Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa's Esper Control
    Standard – Grand Prix Buenos Aires 2014


    Eduardo Castro Saa's Mono-Black Devotion
    Standard – Grand Prix Buenos Aires 2014


    Jose Echeverria's Mono-Blue Devotion
    Standard – Grand Prix Buenos Aires 2014


    Sebastian Martinez Beltrane's B/R Control
    Standard – Grand Prix Buenos Aires 2014



    Demian Tejo's Mono-Blue Devotion
    Standard – Grand Prix Buenos Aires 2014




     

  • Top 8 Profiles

    by Event Coverage Staff


  • Sebastián Martinez

    Hometown: Montevideo
    Occupation: Business administrator


    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    2014 Montevideo’s PTQ

    What deck are you playing this weekend and why?
    Rakdos Control, because I won the PTQ in Montevideo 15 days ago

    How did you prepare for this weekend?
    Testing at home with Pablo Garcia, Matias Ordu, Santiago Rico and Gaston Comptesz

    What card impressed you the most this weekend?
    Rakdos Return

    What is your favorite God from the Theros block?
    Erebos, God of the Dead




    Fernando Pietragallo

    Hometown: Buenos Aires
    Occupation: Systems Analyst


    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    None

    What deck are you playing this weekend and why?
    Mono Black with a red splash; the red allowed me to use cards like Mizzium Mortars and Slaughter Games, which are key-cards for some matches such as Orzhov Control and W/U Control.

    How did you prepare for this weekend?
    We’ve been testing for long times with my group of friends, although this past week was really intense!

    What card impressed you the most this weekend?
    Lifebane Zombie; was a change in my deck replacing Nightveil Specter after being told repeatedly by my friends.

    What is your favorite God from the Theros block?
    Definetely Erebos!




    Demian Tejo


    Hometown: Buenos Aires


    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    Win MTGMulligan.Net Open

    What deck are you playing this weekend and why?
    Mono Blue, because it’s a versatile deck, which can adapt to different matches and be more aggressive or more controllish.

    How did you prepare for this weekend?
    I did not prepare much after Born of the Gods’s release. I’ve heard the excellent advise from Mariano Quiroga and that was most of it.

    What card impressed you the most this weekend?
    Thassa, God of the Sea

    What is your favorite God from the Theros block?
    Really?




    José Luis Echeverria Paredes

    Hometown:Santiago, Chile
    Occupation:Commercial Engineer


    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    Top 8 GP Santiago 2001 (13 years ago!), 9th PT YokohamaSome PTQ, and Nationals Top 8s

    What deck are you playing this weekend and why?
    Mono Blue, I like the deck

    How did you prepare for this weekend?
    A few days playing with “Yiyi” and “PZ” so friends, much fun, very thanks, wow

    What card impressed you the most this weekend?
    None

    What is your favorite God from the Theros block?
    None, I hate Magic cards.




    Paul Vitor Damo da Rosa

    Hometown:Porto Alegre, Brazil
    Occupation:Player, writer for www.channelfireball.com


    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    3 PT Top8s

    What deck are you playing this weekend and why?
    Esper . It’s the deck I’ve played the most and I didn’t feel comfortable with anything else

    How did you prepare for this weekend?
    I played Magic Online for a week to try different cards, but I didn’t practice much with Esper specifically because I’ve played it in my memory previous tournaments.

    What card impressed you the most this weekend?
    My 1 maindeck Revoke Existence was very good for me but the best was probably Detention Sphere.

    What is your favorite God from the Theros block?
    Thassa!




    Philippe Sadde Monlevade

    Hometown:Volta Redodnda, Rio de Janeiro
    Occupation:Restaurant’s owner


    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    Journey into Nyx PTQ Top 8, GP Santiago Top 32

    What deck are you playing this weekend and why?
    I’m playing Jund Monsters, because after hard training was the best game game ope of standard

    How did you prepare for this weekend?
    I played like a hundred games with Enzo Real and Zé Dantas helped to fix the deck until I felt comfortable with it.

    What card impressed you the most this weekend?
    Stormbreath Dragon

    What is your favorite God from the Theros block?
    Xenagos, God of Revels




    Eduardo Ignacio Jesús Castro Saa

    Hometown:Santiago, Chile
    Occupation:Public Accountant


    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    Mendoza 2009 PTQ Top 8, 2013 MTG Open Chile Winner, 2014 MTG Open Chile Top 8

    What deck are you playing this weekend and why?
    Mono Black, because it was the deck that local store, Rivendel el Concilio, lent me to play with

    How did you prepare for this weekend?
    I picked the deck one month ago to make top8 at the 2014 MTG Open Chile, and since I don’t play that much, I decided to play the same deck here.

    What card impressed you the most this weekend?
    Deathrite Shaman in round 13. Wasn’t it banned? Hahhaha!

    What is your favorite God from the Theros block?
    Thassa




    Mateus Andrade dos Anjos

    Hometown:Porto Alegre, Brazil
    Occupation:Student


    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    Day 2 at Pro Tour Austin ‘09. Also have a MTG Youtube Channel called “tortdmtg”

    What deck are you playing this weekend and why?
    Mono Blue Devotion. I thought there would be a lot of monster decks (both RG and Jund) and that would hate the controls out.

    How did you prepare for this weekend?
    A lot of theory discussion with Matherus Akio “Sandoiche”, Guilherme “Indio” Barcelos, and Eduardo “Shooter” Borges. Also, playing FNM at Dice Hobby store.

    What card impressed you the most this weekend?
    Prognostic Sphinx!

    What is your favorite God from the Theros block?
    Thassa




     

  • Quarterfinals - Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa (Esper Control) vs. Sebastian Martinez (BR Control)

    by Nate Price

  • Considering the way Brazilian Hall of Famer Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa has been running lately, this Top 8 had to mean a lot to him. He has had quite a rough streak as of late, something which has certainly been affecting his confidence. Still, making a Top 8 here at Buenos Aires, in front of a legion of Brazilian players, has to have perked him up some. His opponent, Uruguays's Sebastian Martinez, has been on the opposite run recently. After finding his deck on a random Magic Twitch.tv stream, he picked it up, won a PTQ with the deck, and has managed to make it all the way to the Top 8 here, just across la Rio de la Plata. One more win would mean a qualification for Pro Tour Magic 2015 in Portland, but he was going to have to fight through one of the strongest players in the history of the game to get it. Fortunately for him, he had done just that in Round 14, defeating Damo da Rosa to eventually earn his place in the Top 8.

    The Decks

    Damo da Rosa has chosen to go with Esper Control for Grand Prix Buenos Aires, no big surprise given his history with the deck. Still, he has been disillusioned with it in recent weeks, as he has said that it feels like he can never seem to win with the deck, but can't ever seem to beat it when he plays against it. If his Top 8 appearance is any indication, it appears that he and the deck have hashed out their differences, as he stands ready to try for his second Grand Prix title.


    Martinez, meanwhile, found his deck in an unlikely place: winning a random US local tournament on Twitch.tv. After falling enamored with this powerful BR Control deck, he used it to win a PTQ, ensuring himself a spot at Pro Tour Journey to Nyx, and has managed to fight through a very difficult field to make his first Grand Prix Top 8!

    The Games

    Martinez jumped out to an early lead against his neighbor to the north. The combined efforts of a Mutavault and Lifebane Zombie dropped Damo da Rosa all the way down to 7, all the while keeping more or less perfect information on the contents of Damo da Rosa's hand. Before the death blow could come, Damo da Rosa managed to piece together a Detention Sphere, Last Breath, and his own Mutavault to completely neuter Martinez's attack. The most thrilling moment of the game came just two turns later, after Damo da Rosa had scryed a card to the top of his deck with Temple of Deceit. Martinez made an attempt to cast Rakdos's Return, tapping out to try and clear Damo da Rosa's hand. The Brazilian Hall of Famer calmly tapped all but two of his mana to cast Sphinx's Revelation for three, drawing into the Syncopate that he had placed on top of his deck, which he promptly cast with his remaining two mana.


    It was the turning point of the game. A series of Detention Spheres locked up any additional attempts at threats, and a Sphinx's Revelation for six completely filled up Damo da Rosa's hand. When Jace, Architect of Thought, came down and snagged him an Ætherling, Martinez conceded.

    After a very good, back-and-forth, first game, the second game was quite a letdown. It had a spark of excitement after Damo da Rosa's fourth-turn Jace revealed an Ætherling, which Martinez promptly stripped with Slaughter Games. From that point, however, Martinez's deck was significantly less than cooperating. Jace kept netting Damo da Rosa more cards of value, while Martinez's deck appeared to have a fixation with Blood Crypt. Eventually, Elspeth, Sun's Herald, hit the table, and Martinez still had yet to find a spell. Saddened that he couldn't qualify for his second consecutive Pro Tour, Martinez can still take away the fact that he is the current leader for his home Uruguay, making him the east frontrunner for captain of the Uruguayan national team. As for Damo da Rosa, he didn't need the qualification he gets for making the Semifinals, but the confidence boost would certainly go a long way, as he appeared to play his cards perfectly, making his win look easy.




     

  • Quarterfinal Round-Up

    by Mike Rosenberg

  • While Nate Price has the full story on the match between Hall of Famer Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa and Sebastian Martinez, here is a recap of what went on in the other Quarterfinal matches.

    Fernando Pietragallo vs. Demian Tejo

    Pietragallo's removal stifled any early offerings from Tejo, leaving the Mono-Blue Devotion player with two Cloudfin Raptors at 0/1 while Pietragallo mounted an offense. Out of desperation, Tejo woke up Mutavault and aimed Rapid Hybridization at it to try and evolve his creatures. However, Bile Blight shut that plan down, cementing Pietragallo's lead. Tejo found a reprieve in a freshly drawn Master of Waves, which helped turn the tides, buying Tejo a chance and a much needed breather. When Pietragallo was unable to force through any damage with his opponent at 1, Tejo was able to surmount a big enough offense to steal away the first game.

    Fernando Pietragallo and Demian Tejo

    The second game was all about Pack Rat on Pietragallo's side, allowing him to overpower anything Tejo had when it was also backed with a little removal.

    While Pietragallo once again had Pack Rat in the third game, it did not come until the fourth turn. It was too late, as Tejo's draw gave him some two power Cloudfin Raptors, and a Bident of Thassa threatened to close the door on Pietragallo's chance at the Semifinals. Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx also ensured Tejo would be casting the majority of those cards he was drawing, leaving Pietragallo out of options. After a few turns, Pietragallo congratulated Tejo on his win.

    Demian Tejo defeats Fernando Pietragallo 2-1 and advances to the Semifinals!


    Eduardo Castro vs. Jose Echeverria

    Master of Waves allowed Echeverria to overrun Castro in the first game despite early pressure, including removal and a Nightveil Specter, fueled by Underworld Connections. The life swing from a Gray Merchant of Asphodel made the game close however, and Echeverria was left to send in his whole team, including two 3/2 Mutavaults courtesy of Master of Waves. While a second Gray Merchant of Asphodel ensured he was not dead, a second Master of Waves from Echeverria and a flying creature too big for Castro to surpass locked Game 1 up for Echeverria.

    Eduardo Castro and Jose Echeverria

    The second game was all about the Bident of Thassa for Echeverria, who was able to get his flying creatures through to draw a ton of cards. The avalance of card draw to come left Castro without any options, giving the game and match to Echeverria.

    Jose Echeverria defeats Eduardo Castro 2-1 and advances to the Semifinals!


    Maetus Dos Anjos vs. Philippe Monlevade

    Monlevade had the upper hand with an active Domri Rade and Xenagos, the Reveler in Game 1, while Dos Anjos had a Thassa, God of the Sea and the Bident of Thassa. Unfortunately for Dos Anjos, that was about all that was going on for him for most of the game. Master of Waves turned things around in a big way for Dos Anjos though, giving him a form of card draw with his tokens. However, when Domri Rade finally found Polukranos, the World Eather for Monlevade, the game turned back to grim for Dos Anjos. What comeback Dos Anjos mounted disappeared as the World Eater ate the Master of Waves. While an unfortunate attack from Monlevade and a second Master of Waves off the top bought Dos Anjos some time, it was not enough to defeat Monlevade's overwhelming board.

    Mateus Dos Anjos and Philippe Monlevade

    The second game went to Dos Anjos, who was able to use Nightveil Specter to control the spells that Monlevade would be drawing, courtesy of information provided by Courser of Kruphix. This let him deny a Mizzium Motars for Monlevade, and when nothing further was coming in time, Monlevade moved to a third game.

    Monlevade had his early lead in the third game with a first-turn Elvish Mystic. Scavenging Ooze followed, and then a third turn Polukranos, World Eater hit the table. However, Dos Anjos had Cyclonic Rift to buy him a reprieve, and Dissolve to shut down the legendary hydra on its attempted re-appearance. Doom Blade from Monlevade let him dispose of Master of Waves, and the Scavenging Ooze suddenly became a threat as it feasted on all of the creatures that had ended up in the graveyard during the previous turns. While Tidebinder Mage locked down the Ooze, giving Dos Anjos a chance to drop Bident of Thassa in play, Vraska the Unseen off the top gave Monlevade the upper hand again, destroying the Tidebinder and freeing the Scavenging Ooze. While a second Master of Waves from Don Anjos ensured he was not dead, he was unable to deal with Vraska, who ticked up to three loyalty and then dispensed of the second Master of Waves...

    ...right after he cast Reaper of the Wilds. The scry triggers found Monlevade something he actually wanted, and when another Master of Waves did not come to buy Dos Anjos some time, he offered the handshake.

    Philippe Monlevade defeats Mateus Dos Anjos 2-1 and advances to the Semifinals!




     

  • Semifinals - Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa (Esper Control) vs. Phillipe Monlevade (Jund Monsters)

    by Nate Price

  • Brazil has always been the dominant force in South American Magic, and it has always had a particular stranglehold on events in Buenos Aires. This Semifinal match between Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, from Porto Allegre, and Phillipe Monlevade. from Rio de Janeiro, ensures that, once again, there will be a Brazilian player vying for the title of Grand Prix Buenos Aires Champion.

    The Decks

    Damo da Rosa opted to play his trusty standby, Esper Control, and has had a very impressive run with the deck. He had praised the strength of Detention Sphere prior to beginning this Semifinal match, and it was very likely that it would come into play in a major way.


    One reason for this is the power of Monlevade's Planeswalkers. His Jund Monsters deck is running more than the standard number of prime targets for Detention Sphere, with Vraska the Unseen joining Domri Rade and both versions of Xenagos. In addition to these permanent threats, Monlevade also has access to the very powerful Stormbreath Dragon, providing a hasty threat that can be difficult for the Esper Control deck to deal with.

    The Games

    Damo da Rosa held the first game in a vice grip from the word go. He had answers to the first three threats that Monlevade tried to play, keeping the way more or less clear for a sixth-turn Elspeth, Sun's Champion. The one threat that Monlevade was able to keep in play actually did more harm than good. His Courser of Kruphix revealed five non-land cards in a row, providing himself no benefit, and giving Damo da Rosa more free information.

    Elspeth did her job, protecting herself with tokens and even dispatching of a Reaper of the Wilds before Damo da Rosa cleared the board with Supreme Verdict. Now denied any threats at all, Monlevade watched helplessly as Damo da Rosa filled his hand up with Sphinx's Revelation and took over the game with Elspeth. It only took a few turns for the number of tokens to exceed Monlevade's patience, and he picked up his cards.


    The second game provided an example of the power of haste creatures in this matchup. Damo da Rosa locked things up nicely in the early stages of the game, using Pithing Needle to shut down Domri Rade and Supreme Verdict to keep the board clear. Onto an empty board, Monlevade managed to throw two Stormbreath Dragons and two copies of Xenagos, the Reveler. Each of the first three met an untimely death in turn, but not before doing their damage. With Damo da Rosa at 4 life and his own board clear, Monlevade made a Satyr token with his Xenagos before playing Vraska the Unseen, using her ability to destroy the Detention Sphere locking down the other Xenagos. It came into play, giving him another attacker, and making a very elegant lethal board position. Damo da Rosa shrugged and packed things up for the final game.

    In that final game, it looked like Damo da Rosa had the huge lead early. His second-turn Blind Obedience would have done wonders in the previous game, preventing the massive amount of hasty damage he took. It managed to do that in this game, preventing Xenagos, Stormbreath Dragon, Mistcutter Hydra, and the like from ever reaching his life total. Damo da Rosa even had all four copies of his important Detention Sphere to destroy the threats before they could hurt him. Unfortunately for Damo da Rosa, he also drew only four of his lands, keeping him from being able to do anything but react. He took a massive hit to Supreme Verdict away a Ruric Thar, the Unbowed, and Monlevade was able to capitalize. He got another Stormbreath Dragon into play, this time surviving the torrent of removal. When it went monstrous on the next turn, it did a massive amount of damage to the mana-screwed Damo da Rosa. That, plus the increase in power, was enough to make the Dragon lethal, sending Phillipe Monlevade to the Finals!




     

  • Final – Philippe Monlevade vs. Demian Tejo

    by Mike Rosenberg

  • It's here. The rivalry. This long-time feud is beginning to bubble to the surface.

    On one side, the Brazilian flag, and many of Philippe Monlevade's buddies and Brazilian compatriots are rooting him on.

    On the other side, the hometown hero from Buenos Aires, being rooted on by the locals in hopes of keeping the Grand Prix trophy at home in Argentina.

    After a brief dispute on where in the diamond-aligned tables the match would take place – with each side wanting the match to be closer to them – a neutral party (ie: a judge from neither country) moved all tables out of the way, leaving a sole table in the center of the circle/arena, surrounded by onlookers supporting one of two outcomes:

    -a win for Demian Tejo, and a trophy for Buenos Aires

    -a win for Philippe Monlevade, and a trophy for Brazil, the second one that Brazil claimed from Argentina's Grand Prix

    With a shuffle, and a quick study of both players' decks, the two got underway...

    The Games

    ...and both immediately began shuffling up for a mulligan.

    Well, at least this match between two rival countries will be starting on some equal footing. Six cards a piece is a lot more fair than six cards to seven card.

    Despite going second, it was Tejo who was first onto the board with a first-turn Cloudfin Raptor, followed by two Judge's Familiars to evolve the Raptor and attack for 1. The Raptor immediately went down to Dreadbore when Monlevade untapped and played a land (a precaution against the Judge's Familiars), not wanting the flying creature to get any bigger. Tejo had no additions to his board on the next turn, holding back with a Cyclonic Rift at the ready.

    Monlevade drew and then cast Courser of Kruphix, not finding a free land but getting some life-gain off the Courser from the land he played from hand. Tejo untapped and locked down the 2/4 creature with Tidebinder Mage, attacking for 2. When Monlevade drew for his turn, he found a land on top, which he played. Stormbreath Dragon followed, attacking in for 4 before Monlevade passed back. Tejo added a Cloudfin Raptor to his board before attacking in with his creatures, passing back and content to take another 4 from the dragon on the next turn, along with 2 from a token made by Monlevade's freshly cast Xenagos, the Reveler.

    Philippe Monlevade

    Tejo, who was sitting on Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, found a Bident of Thassa on top, which he cast, attacking in with his two Judge's Familiars and drawing two cards. Monlevade played one of his shock lands untapped, going to seven lands total, made a token with Xenagos, then went into his attacks. Cloudfin Raptor jumped in front of the Stormbreath Dragon, saving Tejo from potentially more than 4 damage. Monlevade passed back, waiting to go monstrous.

    When Tejo sent in his three remaining creatures, Monlevade activated his Stormbreath Dragon. In response, Tejo used Nykthos to generate an overloaded Cyclonic Rift, sending all non-land cards back to Monlevade's hand.

    Now down on board, it was time for Monlevade to rebuild. Two Courser of Kruphixes allowed Monlevade to net 2 life off the land that he got from the top of his deck. It revealed Ghor-Clan Rampager, a card that represented lethal damage with Stormbreath Dragon if Monlevade would be given the opportunity.

    Demian Tejo

    Nykthos generated six mana for Tejo, who cast Thassa, God of the Sea, giving his Tidebinder Mage unblockable with its effect. He sent his creatures in, drawing three cards and casting Master of Waves.

    "You're at 6 life, right?" confirmed Monlevade.

    Tejo nodded.

    Monlevade quickly untapped and cast Stormbreath Dragon, using the Ghor-Clan Rampager that was waiting on top to push through for 9 damage, sending the two to the second game, and the Brazilian side of the room into a roar of applause, the two sides hanging at the side of their respective corners, waiting for their representative to take the trophy.

    This, by the way, is quite possibly the coolest aspect of a Latin American Grand Prix: the camaraderie, rivalry, and the support all the way through to the Finals for their hometown heroes. The tension and pressure of not only winning the Grand Prix, but also in wanting to not let their countrymen down, was getting to the players, as a friend of Monlevade brought him some paper towels to dry the sweat off of his head and hands.

    The two players kept their hands, and then they were off into the second game.

    Tejo led with Cloudfin Raptor, evolving it with Tidebinder Mage and attacking for 1. Frostburn Weird made the Raptor a 2/3, and attacks put Monlevade to 15. The Brazilian, meanwhile, only had Forests and a Courser of Kruphix on the third turn, while Tejo had a brutal hand of two Master of Waves at the ready.

    Philippe Monlevade

    An attack with Cloudfin Raptor and Frostburn Weird from Tejo warranted no blocks from Monlevade, as he fell to 12 and nodded to the Master of Waves that followed. He took 2, then gained 1, from an untapped Overgrown Tomb, as Golgari Charm wiped away the Master of Waves and its minions.

    A Mutavault activation from Tejo eluded to him sending his whole team. While Monlevade was able to take out the Tidebinder Mage, three pumps on Frostburn Weird dropped Monlevade to 3. Vraska the Unseen came down and took out the Cloudfin Raptor (the land bringing Monlevade up to 4), and suddenly the Brazilian had some breathing room. A Mutavault activation from Tejo and an attack with it and Frostburn Weird warranted a block with Courser on the Weird, dropping Monlevade to 2, as Master of Waves #2 came down. Monlevade untapped and cast Polukranos, World Eater, played a land (going to 3), and passed back.

    When Tejo sent in all but his Master of Waves, Monlevade had nothing and shuffled up for the third and final game of the main event.

    And with that, the Argentinian crowd applauded, chanting for their countryman to win.

    The third game, however, did not start out well for the Buenos Aires resident, who had to mulligan to six cards. Tejo looked at his second hand: Judge's Familiar, Tidebinder Mage, Cyclonic Rift, Master of Waves, and two Islands. He kept, and found a Cloudfin Raptor for a turn one play instead of his other options. Monlevade had a speedy start as well, with a second-turn Sylvan Caryatid, falling to 18 from a Blood Crypt.

    Demian Tejo

    Courser of Kruphix followed, gaining Monlevade 1 life when he played his Temple of Abandon from hand (leaving Mistcutter Hydra on top). Tidebinder Mage followed, clearing away the Courser as a future blocker, and evolving the Ratpr for Tejo's attack. Monlevade quickly untapped, dropped a Blood Crypt untapped, and cast Mistcutter Hydra for 4, beginning his assault.

    Frostburn Weird made the Cloudfin Raptor a 3 power attacks, as it and Tejo's other two attacking creatures dropped Monlevade to 8. Monlevade thought before casting his second Mistcutter Hydra, this one for three, giving him two creatures that Tejo had little say in stopping. The bigger one was sent in, dropping Tejo to 12, while the other one was left back to block.

    When Tejo just sent in his flying creatures, Ultimate Price was aimed at the Cloudfin Raptor, prompting Tejo to counter it with his Judge's Familiar. Monlevade fell to 6, while he kept swinging in with the big Mistcutter Hydra, sending Tejo to 8. Scavenging Ooze followed, giving Monlevade more life and breathing room.

    When Tejo had nothing more than a Tiderbinder Mage on the next turn, locking down the Ooze, it became clear that his only out was Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, which would let him overload the Cyclonic Rift in his hand.

    After an attack from the 4/4 Hydra, Tejo fell to 4. He drew.

    Another Cyclonic Rift.

    Without a way to stop protection from blue, Tejo sent in his whole team. Monlevade made blocks to ensure he would not die, Tejo extended the hand.

    Congratulations to Philippe Monlevade, Grand Prix Buenos Aires 2014 Champion!



     

  • Top 5 Cards

    by Nate Price & Mike Rosenberg



  • 5. Brimaz, King of Oreskos

    One of the most aggresively costed cards in Born of the Gods, it was only a matter of time before the big kitty found a home. Fighting against a tide of Monoblue Devotion and Esper Control, Brimaz powered decks like longtime Goleador del Torneo Axel Rodriguez's Esper Midrange deck and the pair of Selesnya Aggro decks that remained in Top 8 contention to the end. El Rey is incredibly strong against Thassa and her ilk, and, when paired with Precinct Captain, can provide one of the quickest ways to defeat Esper Control in the format. In addition, Brimaz works wonders against any of the creature-based decks in the format, from Jund Monsters to any of the various aggro decks players brought to bear here in Buenos Aires.

    While he may not have quite made it into the Top 8, Brimaz certainly made his presence felt throughout Saturday and Sunday. Considering the success of the white-based creature decks towards the end of the weekend, I would not be surprised in the slightest to see Brimaz ascend the throne at a major event in the future.





    4. Dreadbore

    One of the newest kids on the block is Jund Monsters, an evolution of the R/G Monsters archetype that appeared first at Pro Tour Theros. Since then, the deck has fallen in and out of favor as it struggled to deal with the dominant Mono-Blue and Mono-Black Devotion decks. Things have gotten a little better since the addition of Born of the Gods, which gave the deck Courser of Kruphix and better mana. Now, the newest incarnation of the deck takes this evolution one step further, picking up black for a few important cards.

    Probably the most important of these two cards is Dreadbore. An incredible removal spell, Dreadbore just simply kills many of the threats that the other removal spells the deck has access to simply can't. It's quick enough to catch Pack Rat, it kills Desecration Demon, and it is capable of shutting down Planeswalkers, all without having to resort to Hero's Downfall and the double black requirement. It has lent a dimension to the deck that it didn't have before, and is one of the major reasons that Jund Monsters was able to make such a big impact this weekend.

    In addition to the place it found in Jund, Dreadbore was an incredibly important card in Sebastian Martinez's B/R Control deck. Adding yet one more way to stifle the sea of Esper Control and Jund Monsters decks and their Planeswalkers, Dreadbore was a key element of Martinez's path to the Top 8, though it eventually failed him against Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa and his Elspeth, Sun's Champion.





    3. Detention Sphere

    Yo dawg.

    Detention Sphere has been absolutely everywhere this weekend. Whether it's detaining Elspeth, Sun's Champion, or Elspeth, Sun's Champion, it provides the most versatile removal in the format, answering almost every threat Standard has to offer. Most notable in the Esper Control deck, the most-played deck in Day 2, Detention Sphere was also one of the major reasons that many players made the transition from Monoblue Devotion to Uw Devotion. Between those two and the WU Control decks in the room, it would be unsurprising if Detention Sphere was one of the most-played cards on the weekend, as it is virtually never found in a deck with less than four. And considering the relative equality of Standard right now, its utter versatility makes it a chase card in the format right now.

    But don't just take my word for it. Hall of Famer Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa put it best.

    "While I think that Revoke Existence has been the most surprisingly good card for me this weekend, there's no question that Detention Sphere has been the best. It is an answer to all of the cards that your deck wouldn't have answers to normally, like Thassa, God of the Sea, and Planeswalkers. Against cards like them, Sphere is very powerful, and against anything else, it's still just a great removal spell. It is one of those cards that is either absurdly good or just plain good. Sounds like a good card to me."





    2. Master of Waves

    One of the most impressive decks in Grand Prix Buenos Aires didn't manage to make it through to Top 8, but its presence could still be felt in the decks that did make it through. All of the Blue Devotion decks that made it to Top 8 can thank the Boros Burn decks that were left behind for helping them get there.

    Wait, what?

    Incredibly potent at keeping the Esper Control decks that littered the room under control, Boros Burn shaped the field such that the Blue Devotion decks had an easier path to victory. In addition to that, the Boros decks had one serious weakness that resided in the Blue decks: Master of Waves. Virtually unkillable in that match-up, the only reliable ways for the Burn decks to deal with the Master once he hit the table were the meager copies of Chained to the Rocks they had, or a potential trade with Mutavault, which was unlikely to happen. Basically, once the Master was out, the only real path to victory was to try and kill the Blue player first, and racing Master of Waves is laughably difficult to do.

    It has been said numerous times before, but Master of Waves produces a mind-numbing amount of power for a relatively small investment. The black-based decks and Supreme Verdict-based decks are fairly strong at dealing with the Master, but it is a situation where if they don't remove it effectively immediately, it will win the game. It is a must-kill threat with an inherently fast clock, and it happened to be one of the best-positioned cards for the field in this tournament. It's an easy inclusion in the Top 5 cards of the weekend.





    1. Polukranos, World Eater

    It is impossible not to say nice things about Polukranos. First off, it is hilariously large for four mana. Considering the number of Elvish Mystics and Sylvan Caryatids in the format, this 5/5 monster is often seen hitting the table as early as turn three. Once there, Polukranos kills people fast. It doesn't take too many swings before this massive body is able to get the job done. It even provides an impressive two mana symbols for the various Devotion outlets that Jund and RG Monsters have at their disposal.

    Yet even with all of this, its most important feature has to be the monstrous trigger itself. The third most-played deck in Day Two of Grand Prix Buenos Aires was Mono-Blue Devotion. Capable of easily killing most of the creatures in the deck, the true power of the trigger can be seen when dealing with Master of Waves. The Master is already easily one of the Top 5 cards of the weekend, and Polukranos is one of the only ways that the Monsters decks have to deal with him. It is able to do what Domri Rade, Mizzium Mortars, Dreadbore, and Anger of the Gods cannot, and it can do it at instant speed. This trigger played a large part in Phillipe Monlevade's Quarterfinals against Mateus Dos Anjos, helping clear out Master of Waves and his Elemental army at crucial times to secure his advancement to the Semifinals, and ultimately paving the way to his Grand Prix victory.

    As long as Monsters and Blue Devotion are decks, Polukranos will be a major player in Standard.






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