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The Gods Have Spoken in São Paulo!

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The letter W!ith Iroas, God of Victory, on their side, it was little surprise that Tulio Jaudy, Guilherme Merjan, and Carlos dos Santos Esteves would emerge victorious in the Finals of Grand Prix São Paulo. After being unable to attend Pro Tour Journey into Nyx due to visa issues, Jaudy has secured a second crack at a Pro Tour with this victory, but this time, he will be traveling with two friends by his side.

Jaudy, Merjan, and Esteves had the blessings of not just Iroas, but also those of Keranos, God of Storms. With two gods on their side, they could do no wrong. Up against Cezar Choji, Eduardo dos Santos Vieira, and Marcos Santiago Brandt, the draft and finals seemed to go completely in favor of the gods' chosen. Esteves's match against Choji was bogged down incredibly early and didn't look to be finishing anytime soon. While they slogged through the dregs, Jaudy swiftly dismantled Brandt, first thanks to Iroas and then again with a Sigiled Skink/Flamespeaker Adept combination. With that match in hand, Merjan was able to take his hilariously overpowered Blue/Red deck and ram Arbiter of the Ideal, Shipbreaker Kraken, and Keranos, God of Storms, down Vieira's throat until he conceded the match and the title.

The competition was tough all weekend long, as some of the best and brightest of Latin America joined forces to try and take home the title, but in the end, Jaudy, Merjan, and Esteves stood tall above them all. Not even the likes of Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, Willy Edel, and Allison Abe could stop them. Neither could the powerful Argentinean team of Nicolas de Nicola, Sebastian Pozzo, and Javier Luna. Nor could the American trio of Stephen Berrios, Armando Bulnes, and Ian Farnung. No, in the end, the gods chose Jaudy, Merjan, and Esteves to undergo their ordeal, and they judged them worthy of being called champions.

Congratulations to Tulio Jaudy, Guilherme Merjan, and Carlos dos Santos Esteves, Champions of Grand Prix São Paulo 2014!



Semifinals Finals Champion
1 Choji/Vieira/Santiago Choji/Vieira/Santiago, 2-0
4 Bulnes/Berrios/Farnung Esteves/Merjan/Jaudy, 2-0
2 Esteves/Merjan/Jaudy Esteves/Merjan/Jaudy, 2-0
3 Berthoud/Cortez/Perez












EVENT COVERAGE INFORMATION

  • by Nate Price and Josh Bennett
    Top 5 Cards

  • by Josh Bennett
    Finals
    Choji/Brandt/Vieira vs. Esteves/Merjan/Jaudy

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Sunday, 9:00 p.m.
    Final Draft Decklists

  • by Nate Price
    Semifinals
    Esteves/Jaudy/Merjan vs. Perez/Berthoud/Cortez

  • by Josh Bennett
    Semifinals
    Choji/Brandt/Vieira vs. Bulnes/Berrios/Farnung

  • by Nate Price
    Sunday, 7:00 p.m.
    Top 4 Draft with Tulio Jaudy

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 4
    Profiles

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 2 Blog
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 1 Blog
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Fact Sheet
 1.  Carlos Alexandre Dos Santos Esteves, Guilherme Merjan, Tulio Jaudy $8,100
 2.  Marcos Paulo Santiago Brandt, Eduardo dos Santos Vieira, Cezar H. Choji $5,400
 3.  Walter Perez, Paulo Ricardo Cortez, Lucas Esper Berthoud $3,000
 4.  Ian Thomas Farnung, Stephen Berrios, Armando Bulnes $3,000
Pairings Results Standings
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  • Top 4 – Profiles

    by Event Coverage Staff


  • Carlos Alexandre Dos Santos Esteves, Guilherme Merjan, Tulio Jaudy


    Carlos Alexandre Dos Santos Esteves

    Age: 25
    Hometown: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Occupation: MTGO Grinder (_Batutinha)

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Many Top 8's in PTQs and WMCQs / Played PT Philadelphia

    Why did you team up with your teammates?
    They are my good friends.

    What colors was your first Sealed Deck, what was your record with it, and what was your best card?
    Blue-Green, went 6-1-1. The best card was Kiora's Follower

    What colors was your second Sealed Deck, what was your record with it, and what was your best card?
    Red-Green, went 4-0-1. Best card was Xenagos, God of Revels.

    What would winning the Grand Prix mean to you?
    Getting back to the Pro Tour and travelling with my teammates and friends from other countries.




    Guilherme Merjan

    Age: 24
    Hometown: São Paulo, Brazil
    Occupation: Salesman at LET'S COLLECT store

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Top 16 PT San Juan 2010 / Top 64 PT Seattle 2012 / Top 4 Brazillian Nationals 2012

    Why did you team up with your teammates?
    I chose two deserving dudes.

    What colors was your first Sealed Deck, what was your record with it, and what was your best card?
    7-1-0 with Black-White, just one rare, but two Gray Merchant of Asphodel.

    What colors was your second Sealed Deck, what was your record with it, and what was your best card?
    3-2-0 with Black-White. This time just one Gray Merchant.

    What would winning the Grand Prix mean to you?
    My efforts being rewarded.




    Tulio Jaudy

    Age: 28
    Hometown: Cuiaba, Brazil
    Occupation: Federal Employee

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    11 PTQ Top 8's, 1 win with a Shambleshark Standard deck. Top 32 at three GPs, Top 9 at one Nationals.

    Why did you team up with your teammates?
    I got dismissed by my previous teammates, then logged on to Facebook two hours later and there was their invitation for me.

    What colors was your first Sealed Deck, what was your record with it, and what was your best card?
    Red-White, 7-1. Stormbreath Dragon was the best card, though Purphoros, God of the Forge was close.

    What colors was your second Sealed Deck, what was your record with it, and what was your best card?
    Blue-White, 2-3. LAUNCH THE FLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!!!!!!!!!

    What would winning the Grand Prix mean to you?
    Everything. I couldn't attend PT Journey into Nyx due to my visa being denied and Wizards has not confirmed passing my invite to Portland, so it would be me taking it with my own hands... and my teammates' hands.




    Ian Thomas Farnung, Stephen Berrios, Armando Bulnes


    Armando Bulnes

    Age: 28
    Hometown: Chicago, USA
    Occupation: Travelling Philosopher

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Made Day 2 at PT Worldwake, that's pretty much it.

    Why did you team up with your teammates?
    Both are great friends as well as great players.

    What colors was your first Sealed Deck, what was your record with it, and what was your best card?
    Green-Red. My best card was 2 copies of Revel of the Fallen God. I went 7-1 with it.

    What colors was your second Sealed Deck, what was your record with it, and what was your best card?
    Blue-Red. Went 3-1-1, my best card was Keranos, God of Storms

    What would winning the Grand Prix mean to you?
    A milestone in my Magic career.




    Stephen Berrios

    Age: 29
    Hometown: Chicago, USA
    Occupation: Attorney

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Oasis Draft Champion

    Why did you team up with your teammates?
    They are my good friends, also Coke Can and White Devil are insane.

    What colors was your first Sealed Deck, what was your record with it, and what was your best card?
    Mono-Black splashing White for Banishing Light and Scholar of Athreos. 4-2-2. Best card was Servant of Tymaret.

    What colors was your second Sealed Deck, what was your record with it, and what was your best card?
    Green-Black. Best card was Nessian Wilds Ravager. I went 3-1-1.

    What would winning the Grand Prix mean to you?
    A good finish to a great vacation.




    Ian Thomas Farnung

    Age: 36
    Hometown: Madison, WI, USA
    Occupation: Boneshredder

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    GenCon Grand Melee Champion. Possibly largest personal Magic collection.

    Why did you team up with your teammates?
    Because they are about that life.

    What colors was your first Sealed Deck, what was your record with it, and what was your best card?
    Blue-White with Fabled Hero. I went 7-1

    What colors was your second Sealed Deck, what was your record with it, and what was your best card?
    Blue-White with Fabled Hero. I went 2-1-2

    What would winning the Grand Prix mean to you?
    Breaking even. P.S. Hi Mom




    Walter Perez, Paulo Ricardo Cortez, Lucas Esper Berthoud


    Lucas Esper Berthoud

    Age: 28
    Hometown: Taubate, Brazil
    Occupation: Lawyer

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    2007 National Champion, a couple PT money Finishes

    Why did you team up with your teammates?
    Paulo decided to play Magic and won a PTQ. I couldn't let him go alone! Walter as a third member was a natural choice since he was available.

    What colors was your first Sealed Deck, what was your record with it, and what was your best card?
    Black-Red. I went 8-0. I didn't have any bombs, but the Red vanilla guys (Borderland Minotaur and Cyclops of One-Eyed Pass) were pseudo-bombs for closing games after removing blockers.

    What colors was your second Sealed Deck, what was your record with it, and what was your best card?
    Blue-Black controllish. I went 2-3. Servant of Tymaret was my best card.

    What would winning the Grand Prix mean to you?
    Winning in my home country with my friends would mean the world to me.




    Paulo Ricardo Cortez

    Age: 24
    Hometown: Taubate, Brazil
    Occupation: Student

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Top 50 Pro Tour Austin 2009

    Why did you team up with your teammates?
    Just got back to the game and decided to invite some old friends to play with me. Also because they are some of the best players I know.

    What colors was your first Sealed Deck, what was your record with it, and what was your best card?
    Red-White. I think I went 6-2. My best card was Gods Willing.

    What colors was your second Sealed Deck, what was your record with it, and what was your best card?
    Red-White. I think I went 2-3. My best card was probably Ornitharch.

    What would winning the Grand Prix mean to you?
    A lot! Playing Magic again after 4 years off and Top 4'ing this GP is like living the dream again. It would be even better playing at the PT with my FRIENDS. (I already have an invite, first tournament after coming back was the PTQ last month, and I won!)




    Walter Perez

    Age: 28
    Hometown: Cachoeirinha, Brazil
    Occupation: Psychologist

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Attended PT Kobe and PT Geneva

    Why did you team up with your teammates?
    I had a team like two months ago, but they had to work this weekend. Then, Paulo asked for Berthoud and I to team with him, which was an amazing gathering.

    What colors was your first Sealed Deck, what was your record with it, and what was your best card?
    Blue-Green 5-0 and three matches unfinished. Golden Hind was my best card.

    What colors was your second Sealed Deck, what was your record with it, and what was your best card?
    Blue-Green 5-0. Prophet of Kruphix was my best card.

    What would winning the Grand Prix mean to you?
    It would mean a lot, both for the title and to go back to a Pro Tour.




    Marcos Paulo Santiago Brandt, Eduardo dos Santos Vieira, Cezar H. Choji


    Cezar H. Choji

    Age: 33
    Hometown: Lagoa Vermelha, Brazil
    Occupation: MD - Orthopedist

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Top 4 Brazilian Nationals 2010

    Why did you team up with your teammates?
    They are old friends. I used to live in Londrina, trolling them when they were little kids. I'm still doing it.

    What colors was your first Sealed Deck, what was your record with it, and what was your best card?
    Green-Blue. I lost almost all my games but I trusted my teammates and they managed to get us 7-2.

    What colors was your second Sealed Deck, what was your record with it, and what was your best card?
    Green-Blue. Best card was Island. Won all my matches because my teammates won fast.

    What would winning the Grand Prix mean to you?
    A good result before retiring from Magic.




    Eduardo dos Santos Vieira

    Age: 24
    Hometown: Londrina, Brazil
    Occupation: GRINDER MOBA (L1X0)

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Top 4 at GP Denver 2011

    Why did you team up with your teammates?
    Marcos is an old friend, and Cezar was my teammate at Worlds 2010.

    What colors was your first Sealed Deck, what was your record with it, and what was your best card?
    Black-White. I went 7-1. My best card was Dictate of Erebos.

    What colors was your second Sealed Deck, what was your record with it, and what was your best card?
    Blue-White. I went 4-0-1. My best card was Wingsteed Rider.

    What would winning the Grand Prix mean to you?
    Getting to go back to the PT.




    Marcos Paulo Santiago Brandt

    Age: 25
    Hometown: Londrina, Brazil
    Occupation: Truck Salesman

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Winner: National Qualifier 2007

    Why did you team up with your teammates?
    They are old friends.

    What colors was your first Sealed Deck, what was your record with it, and what was your best card?
    White-Red. I went 6-2. My best card was Anax and Cymede.

    What colors was your second Sealed Deck, what was your record with it, and what was your best card?
    Black-Red. I went 4-0-1. My best card was Fated Conflagration.

    What would winning the Grand Prix mean to you?
    It would be the start of my professional career.




     

  • Sunday, 7:00 p.m. – Top 4 Draft with Tulio Jaudy

    by Nate Price

  • The letter A! little over two weeks ago, Tulio Jaudy was set and ready to attend Pro Tour Journey to Nyx, marking a hard-fought return to the Pro Tour. When he found out that his visa application to the US had been rejected, those plans came crashing down. While he was trying hard to find a way to get his qualification transferred to Pro Tour Magic 2014 in hopes that his next visa application would be successful, he had never really counted on trying to get qualified for Portland the old-fashioned way.

    "I suppose this will do, too," he joked on his way to his Top 4 draft table. Here alongside his teammates Carlos dos Santos Esteves, better known as _batutinha, the Magic Online end-boss, and Guilherme Merjan, Jaudy has a chance to just flat-out win an invite to Portland. Still, there is one more team to defeat if he and his teammates are going to grab their invitations, and they are also quite skilled players. Lucas Esper Berthoud, Paulo Ricardo Cortez, and Walter Perez are three old-school Brazilian Magic players with Pro Tour experience, and we've seen just how good some of the old guard can be in team events. Think Hron/Hayne/Hoaen and Longo/Phillipps/Berger. It's going to be a tough road, and it all begins with a successful three-on-three draft.


    Both teams would love the qualification for Pro Tour Magic 2014, but only one will come away with it.

    Jaudy took his place between Perez and Cortez and cracked his first pack. After a quick thumb through the pack, it was clear that there was only one option for Jaudy: Setessan Tactics. The insanely unfair rare can almost single-handedly win games, making it an easy selection. To follow that up, Jaudy had a more complex decision, and one that would set the pace for the rest of the draft: Riddle of Lightning or Sigiled Skink? Jaudy answered the riddle with a Riddle of his own, adding the powerful, yet expensive, burn spell to his pile. From there, his draft took a decidedly aggressive turn. Satyr Hoplite and a pair of Sigiled Skinks gave him an unusually low curve for a prospective Green/Red deck, and he recognized and embraced this.

    "Most of the Green/Red decks you see are the bigger ramp decks," he told me while constructing his deck. "The way the cards were coming for me, though, I was in a much better spot to draft an aggressive deck. I committed to it and made a few picks in the draft with that specifically in mind."

    After a reasonable first pack, his second pack offered a good amount of support to a burgeoning aggressive Red/Green deck. He opened and took a Pheres-Band Tromper, a little less than pleased to have to pass Kiora, the Crashing Wave. But he was rewarded for his efforts in the first pack with two copies of Bolt of Keranos and three copies of Fearsome Temper, an ideal card in this low-cost, aggressive take on Red/Green.

    One thing that he was noticeably missing, however, were enough bodies to support his creature enhancers. As great as Fearsome Temper is, it's pretty terrible if it's rotting in hand because of a lack of creatures. While Jaudy looked to remedy this hole in his deck in the third pack, the gods of Theros apparently had other ideas. His open in the final pack was one of the most abysmal packs I've ever seen for a Red/Green drafter. That said, it was an incredible pack for a Black/Blue drafter. Lash of the Whip, Omenspeaker, Shipwreck Singer, Erebos's Emissary, and the powerful Prognostic Sphinx all make fantastic additions to a good Black/Blue control deck. Unfortunately for Jaudy, the options for Green/Red were hilariously limited. He ended up with a Portent of Betrayal out of the pack, which isn't that bad in his aggressive deck, but it's still nowhere near as good as the other cards in his pack.


    Why couldn't you be a Stormbreath Dragon?

    The next pack marked one of the most interesting sets of decisions of the draft. After the soul-crushing previous pack, his hopes were lifted by a pack containing Nessian Asp, Titan's Strength, and Feral Invocation. On raw power level, the Asp is leagues ahead of the Invocation, but Jaudy chose to go with the three-drop aura.

    "I went with the Invocation because of the two-drops I had drafted at that point," he told me after the draft. "I was committed to the aggressive build, and I wasn't as pleased with the Asp in that deck as I would have been if this were a ramp deck. I also thought I could get the Titan's Strength back. It turns out that I was right."

    Not only did the Strength come back, but, curiously enough, the Asp did, as well. Given the choice between the two, Jaudy stuck to his guns and took the Strength.

    After the draft, with his deck laid out, it was clear that Jaudy was still a bit light on creatures, with only twelve to pick up his numerous auras. That left him lamenting one pick in particular.

    "I wish I had taken the Bronze Sable over the Spark Jolt late in the Theros," he said looking at his deck. "I would have loved the extra creature."

    After looking over his team's deck, though, he felt a little better about their chances in the Semifinals.

    "They can carry me," he laughed.


    Seeing his teammates decks definitely brought a bit of a smile to Jaudy's face.

    Guilherme Merjan's Black/Blue deck was a beautiful creation. In addition to a Pain Seer/Disciple of Deceit/Springleaf Drum engine a la Team Revolution's Block Constructed deck from Pro Tour Journey into Nyx, Merjan had a massive suite of removal including a Dictate of Erebos. At the back end of everything was the potentially game-breaking Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver. While Ashiok can occasionally be difficult to get value out of, a deck with that much removal seemed like a perfect home for the Planeswalker.

    Carlos dos Santos Esteves had an equally interesting Blue/Green deck. Already having professed to be a fan of Kiora's Follower, it was no surprise to see a pair of the powerful uncommon resting in his deck. What was strange was that they weren't surrounded by a mountain of fat to accelerate into. Instead, Esteves had what looked like two dozen two drops to go along with a few pump and bounce spells. He was looking to hit hard and early with Swordwise Centaurs and Bassara Tower Archers, keeping the path clear with Voyage's End and Sea God's Revenge.




     

  • Semifinals – Choji/Brandt/Vieira vs. Bulnes/Berrios/Farnung

    by Josh Bennett

  • The Players

    It's a battle for national pride on this side of the bracket. Defending the honor of Brazil is the team of Cezar Choji, Marcus Paulo Santiago Brandt, and Eduardo dos Santos Vieira. Choji is one of the old guard, hoping to get one last shot at the brass ring. His teammates are up-and-comers looking to breakthrough to the Pro Tour scene.

    They'll face stiff competition from the visiting team from Chicago, USA. Armando Bulnes, Stephen Berrios, and Ian Farnung are a trio of ringers who have managed to turn a week's vacation in paradise into a shot at big money and a seat at the Pro Tour.

    The decks broke down like this:

    Choji: Red-White Hyper-Aggro
    Brandt: Mono-Green
    Vieira: Black-Blue Control

    Bulnes: White-Blue Heroic
    Farnung: Black-White Control
    Berrios: Green-Red Ramp


    The Matches

    C-Seat: Vieira vs. Berrios

    Game one started out strangely, as the only offense on either side of the table was a lone Baleful Eidolon from Vieira. They played out lands until Berrios started landing threats. First Stoneshock Giant, then Sedge Scorpion. The Giant fell to Sip of Hemlock and was replaced by Pheres-Band Thunderhoof. Vieira tried to get something going with Dreadbringer Lampads and then Abhorrent Overlord, but Berrios was ready. Fall of the Hammer let the Thunderhoof kill the Lampads, then he untapped and devoured the Overlord with Time to Eat.

    Still, Vieira fought to stay in the game. His Harpy tokens gave him time to build up a force of Erebos's Emissary and a 5/5 Squelching Leeches. These he gave a Grisly Transformation to start pressuring Berrios. Berrios summoned Arbor Colossus and then went for a big play with a bestowed Noble Quarry, but Vieira stopped it with a timely Retraction Helix. Then he untapped and dropped Sudden Storm on Berrios's only two blockers, and before he knew what was happening Berrios had taken lethal!


    Berrios had a faster start in the second game, chaining Sedge Scorpion into Golden Hind into Peregrination. Unfortunately for him, he was short on things to do with all that mana. When Vieira spent his third turn attacking with Returned Phalanx, Berrios gave his Scorpion a Fearsome Temper and hit back for five. Vieira's Pin to the Earth was just what the doctor ordered, and though Berrios was able to kill Thassa's Emissary before it could start drawing cards for the enemy, he couldn't find any gas of his own. Vieira summoned a motley crew of beaters and capped it off with an Abhorrent Overlord. Berrios's deck got in a last dagger by giving him Arbor Colossus when it was already too late.

    Choji/Brandt/Vieira 1 - Bulnes/Berrios/Farnung 0

    B-Seat: Brandt vs. Farnung

    Brandt accelerated into an early Centaur Battlemaster with Font of Fertility and was soon attacking past Farnung's lowly Scholar of Athreos. Farnung dug with Read the Bones but couldn't find a solution to the monster creatures knocking on his door. Brandt added a pair of Golden Hinds and a Snake of the Golden Grove, and a turn later the first game was over.


    The second game looked more to Farnung's liking. Brandts strike force of Charging Badger and Satyr Grovedancer weren't up to battering down Farnung's defenses. He was given ample time to resolve a pair of Read the Bones, and then started going overhead with Celestial Archon.

    Unfortunately, their game had slowed down, because all eyes had turned to the other remaining match.

    A-Seat: Choji vs. Bunles

    Choji had mulliganed in the first game, but busted out a strong opening of Favored Hoplite into Oreskos Swiftclaw. Bunles first play was a Wingsteed Rider which he traded for the Swiftclaw. The Hoplite got a Dragon Mantle and kept swinging, joined by Vanguard of Brimaz. Bunles summoned Akroan Mastiff and took some more damage. The problem was that Choji kept piling on threats, and every turn that Bunles took to answer one of them brought him lower. Banishing Light stopped Kragma Butcher but he had no way of removing Akroan Line Breaker. He gambled that Choji was out of gas with his one card in hand and tapped down the Favored Hoplite only to learn that it was Rouse the Mob, bringing him to a precarious two life. He had to keep locking down the Hoplite because his deck refused to give him a three-power creature, and two turns later Choji drew Titan Strength to push through the Line Breaker for lethal.

    They shuffled quickly and headed to game two. The pace of this one seemed to favor Bunles. The only early pressure was a lone Impetuous Sunchaser, and as soon as that put on a dragon Mantle it was removed with Excoriate. The troublesome Akroan Line Breaker fell to Dissolve. The board stabilized with just Ill-Tempered Cyclops and 0/4 Lagonna-Band Trailblazer for Choji, and Bunles sitting behind Sigiled Starfish and Breaching Hippocamp, pecking overhead with Eagle of the Watch.


    Bunles added Wingsteed Rider to his board, with just one card left in hand. That spurred Choji to action. On his turn he tapped five and aimed Rage of Purphoros at it. Bunles responded with Triton Tactics, but Choji went one better with Searing Blood. Bunles had his scryfish working but could only ship cards to the bottom. He drew a land and passed back after hitting for two. Choji took a quick consult with his teammates, then tapped six to bestow Ghostblade Eidolon on his Cyclops. Bunles did his best not to slump in his chair. Choji turned the cyclops sideways, and after it went unblocked, shrugged his shoulders and piled on with Rouse the Mob for lethal.

    With a shake of his head, Bunles extended the hand in defeat, and Choji's teammates let out a huge cheer. They were on to the finals!

    Choji/Brandt/Vieira 2 - Bulnes/Berrios/Farnung 0




     

  • Semifinals – Esteves/Jaudy/Merjan vs. Perez/Berthoud/Cortez

    by Nate Price

  • The letter T!here are few things as painful in life as the sting of a missed opportunity. A few weeks ago, Tulio Jaudy was informed that his visa application to the US had been denied, forcing him to miss Pro Tour Journey into Nyx. Here in Latin America, missing a Pro Tour for which you are qualified is a very big deal. There are so few opportunities to get the points needed to make Silver or Gold, so every shot at the Pro Tour counts for so much more. While players in the Canada, the US, or Europe may be playing with thoughts of hitting Platinum or placing in the money on their minds, most of the Latin American players are simply looking for an additional opportunity to play on the Pro Tour. This match marks the final hurdle on Jaudy's way to reclaiming an invitation to the Pro Tour for him and his friends Guilherme Merjan and Carlos dos Santos Esteves.


    From near to far: Perez, Berthoud, and Cortez on the left, and Esteves, Jaudy, and Merjan on the right.

    But their opponents Walter Perez, Paulo Ricardo Cortez, and Lucas Esper Berthoud (what a Magic name!) are no strangers to missed opportunities. Roughly four years ago, Berthoud and Cortez had made good on their opportunities, managing to qualify for all of the Pro Tours and Worlds in one season. Unfortunately, they were never able to make good on their invitations. For Cortez, university commitments prevented him from attending, while the beginning of a new job kept Berthoud away. They both recently returned to the game and have been eager to reclaim their shot at the Pro Tour. To aid them, they enlisted the help of an old Brazilian Nationals acquaintance, Walter Perez, and they stormed their way to an undefeated Day 1 and eventually to this spot in the Top 4.

    The Decks

    Esteves's deck is an incredibly interesting blue/green deck with about seven or eight two-mana creatures, including two each of Kiora's Follower and Bassara Tower Archer. While there are a couple of big beasties for the Followers to ramp into, the deck primarily runs on its aggressive base, using bounce spells and combat tricks to force through the damage in traditional blue/green tempo style.

    His opponent, Walter Perez, has a white/black deck that has the potential to play one of two games. On one hand, cards like Oreskos Swiftclaw and Harvestguard Alseids, of which Perez has two, allow him to take an aggressive early stance. Should the game go late, cards like Scholar of Athreos and the powerful Silence the Believers can turn a bogged-down affair into a one-sided slaughter.

    Jaudy's draft was covered here. The end result was an oddly aggressive red/green build, very akin to Esteves's deck. Jaudy has a massive number of great creature enhancers in his deck, including a pair of Fearsome Tempers, Rouse the Mob, and Feral Invocation, but he is a little light on the creatures to carry them. Still, if any of them make it onto Two-Headed Cerberus or one of his two Sigiled Skinks, the game could get out of hand very quickly.

    Berthoud will be the one to have to rein Jaudy in. His white/blue deck is filled with power and a great curve. Battlewise Hoplite and Loyal Pegasus start the curve that goes all the way up to the powerful Prognostic Sphinx. In addition to the Sphinx, Berthoud's deck is also packing the nigh-unbeatable Godsend.

    Unlike his two teammates, Merjan picked himself up a slower control deck. His blue/black creation contains a Springleaf Drum to combo with his Pain Seer and Disciple of Deceit, Dictate of Erebos, and a reasonable amount of removal to help him keep control of the game.

    It was bound to be an interesting matchup against Cortez's black/red deck. Rather than the hyperaggressive black/red Minotaurs deck we've been seeing all weekend, Cortez's deck is more controlling, relying on an absurd amount of removal to keep the board clear while Bladetusk Boar and Erebos's Emissary get the job done.

    The Matches

    Walter Perez (White/Black) vs. Carlos dos Santos Esteves (Blue/Green)

    This match was the first to begin and easily the first to finish. Esteves's two-drops did what they were supposed to do, as a Bassara Tower Archer and Swordwise Centaur ran roughshod over Perez's early game. The only defense he could muster was a Bronze Sable, but it wasn't able to stem the tide of creatures that poured from Esteves's hand onto the table, ending the game in short order.


    Perez just can't quite keep up with the speed of Esteves's blue/green deck.

    The second game was just as one-sided as the first. Esteves once again shot out of the gates with a pair of Bassara Tower Archers, and they beat Perez all the way down to 14 before he played his first creature, a Warchanter of Mogis. Hubris pushed the Minotaur out of the way and let Esteves bash through freely once more. Perez tried to defend himself with a Scholar of Athreos, but a Pheres-Band Thunderhoof and a bestowed Nimbus Naiad were more than enough to push through the remaining damage.

    Paulo Ricardo Cortez (Black/Red) vs. Guilherme Merjan (Blue/Black)

    Merjan was behind early in the first game of this match. Between Bladetusk Boar and Erebos's Emissary, Merjan had his hands full trying to stall for time. Voyage's End and Hubris bought him a few precious turns, but it didn't look like it was going to be enough.

    And then Merjan had a chance to prove how underrated Disciple of Deceit is right now. Thanks to Stratus Walk, Merjan got to effectively tutor every turn thereafter, grabbing the perfect card for each situation. Felhide Minotaur turned into Asphyxiate to kill an Insatiable Harpy. Blood-Toll Harpy turned into an Ashiok, Nightmare Adept. Nyxborn Eidolon turned into a Feast of Dreams. Merjan was slowly crawling back to a semblance of control.


    Merjan's Disciple of Deceit helps him crawl back into his match against Cortez.

    Still, there was one element that he couldn't account for: the Bladetusk Boar. Inexorably, the Boar took three-point chunks out of Merjan's life total. By the time he found a Lash of the Whip to kill it, the damage was done. He was now low enough for Forgeborn Oreads to finish the job the Boar had nearly taken to completion, ruining a perfectly good comeback story.

    The second game once again showcased the Disciple, with Merjan using it in conjunction with Springleaf Drum to turn a Drown in Sorrow into an Ashiok on an otherwise empty board. Cortez held a handful of red cards and four-drop black cards, but only three Swamps in play. He fortunately drew a Mountain after a one-turn stumble, allowing him to start unloading. He was already way behind and desperately trying to make up ground. First, Disciple of Phenax took Hubris from Merjan. Bladetusk Boar came next. The whole while, Ashiok was happily munching on his library. Merjan was clearly in the driver's seat in this game, but it never ended up mattering because...

    Lucas Esper Berthoud (White/Blue) vs. Tulio Jaudy (Red/Green)

    This match was playing faster. At first it looked like this match may end up in the same manner as Esteves's, but for the other side. Jaudy's deck failed to cough up any creatures with which he could defend himself, and a Battlewise Hoplite/Loyal Pegasus combo proved more than enough to put Jaudy out of his misery.


    I'm sorry, Prognostic Sphinx, but your services won't be needed this game.

    In the second game, however, Berthoud's draw slowed down while Jaudy's sped up. Oakenheart Dryads, Two-headed Cerberus, and Flurry of Horns gave Jaudy an impressive army, forcing Berthoud to take up a defensive posture. Supply-Line Cranes, Floodtide Serpent, and Stonewise Fortifier were enough to hold things off for the moment, but a massive Rouse the Mob destroyed Berthoud's team and left him at a meager 4 life. Another attack got through for two more. Though Berthoud refilled his board with a number of creatures, Jaudy simply aimed a Bolt of Keranos at his face to finish things off.

    The final game of the match showcased exactly what you can do on limited mana. Berthoud's open was very fast, chaining Loyal Pegasus into Oreskos Swiftclaw and Stonewise Fortifier. Jaudy managed to stem the bleeding with a Spark Jolt that he ironically wished wasn't even in his pool to kill the Swiftclaw. Both players were stuck on three lands, but Jaudy was able to use his more efficiently, casting Oakenheart Dryads and Two-Headed Cerberus, the latter of which eventually picked up a Fearsome Temper. With two angry heads facing him down, Berthoud wasn't able to properly defend himself. He was forced to watch his team killed off piecemeal until there was no one left to defend him.

    Esteves/Jaudy/Merjan defeat Perez/Berthoud/Cortez 2-0 to advance to the Finals!




     

  • Sunday, 9:00 p.m. – Final Draft Decklists

    by Event Coverage Staff









  •  

  • Finals – Choji/Brandt/Vieira vs. Esteves/Merjan/Jaudy

    by Josh Bennett

  • The Players

    The finals were an all-Brazil David-versus-Goliath affair. Cezar Choji, Marcus Paulo Santiago Brandt, and Eduardo dos Santos Vieira were your underdogs. They'd fought hard to defeat a team of American ringers in the semifinals, but to get the title they'd face an even greater test. Their finals opponents would have more experience, more preparation, and perhaps worst of all, the fire in the belly that drives one to greatness.

    Anyone who's played in more than a few Magic Online tournaments will recognize the user name "_batutinha". He is the original End Boss. In his everyday life, he's known as Carlos Alexandre dos Santos Esteves, and he and his teammates Guilherme Merjan and Tulio Jaudy were looking for a path back to the Pro Tour. None more so than Jaudy, who'd had to sit out Pro Tour Atlanta due to visa issues. Victory was the only thing on their mind.

    Here's how their draft decks broke down:

    Vieira: Defensive Blue-White
    Choji: Black-Blue Control
    Brandt: Black-White Midrange

    Merjan: Blue-Red Midrange
    Esteves: Blue-Green Midrange
    Jaudy: Red-White Aggro


    The Matches

    B-Seat: Esteves vs. Choji

    The two wasted no time getting down to business, and Choji got an early advantage thanks to Pain Seer. First he cleared a path for it with Nyx Infusion, and then Esteves's replacement creature was Karametra's Acolyte, unable to kill it in combat. Choji continued on the path of the slow blade with Akroan Horse. Esteves summoned an Arbiter of the Ideal that threatened to blow the game wide open, but Choji was ready with Silence the Believers.


    From there, the game ground to a crawl, with Choji building up advantages. Black Oak of Odunos meant his Pain Seer would keep him in cards. His options kept piling up too, so that his turns started to draw out. Esteves looked to his right and saw good news.

    C-Seat: Jaudy vs. Brandt

    When Estevez last looked over, it seemed like Brandt was building a solid defence of a 1/5 Lagonna-Band Trailblazer and Grim Guardian. Now Jaudy was bestowing Mogis's War Hound onto Flamespeaker Adept post-combat to set up the next turn's attack. Jaudy passed an empty turn and pushed his Trailblazer in front of the Adept. They let combat end, and Jaudy pointed Magma Spray at the Trailblazer. Worse for Brandt, he tried to save it with Necrobite, forgetting that the Spray would mean exile instead of destruction. He tried to shore things up with a Servant of Tymaret, but then Jaudy played his trump: Iroas, God of Victory.

    I don't know if you've ever had the pleasure of working with Big Ol' Iroas, but let me assure you, he is a treat. Not even Dictate of Erebos could slow down the tide of Jaudy's forces, and he took the first game.


    The brutality continued into game two, where Jaudy assembled the combo of Sigiled Skink and Flamespeaker Adept. A bestowed Everflame Eidolon meant that Brandt's Grim Guardian couldn't even kill the Skink. Running out of options, Brandt tried an offensive tack, giving the Guardian the Ordeal of Erebos and attacking, but that was only playing right into Jaudy's hands. He hit for another seven damage and summoned Fanatic of Mogis, leaving Brandt at just five life. The Bolt of Keranos in Jaudy's hand made the finish academic.

    Esteves/Merjan/Jaudy 1 - Choji/Brandt/Vieira 0

    In the B Seat, Esteves was still fighting against the closing vice grip of Choji. He turned to his left...

    A-Seat: Merjan vs. Vieira

    The first game had proceeded strangely. Merjan had stumbled on mana and was forced to discard after casting Divination. In the meantime Vieira had summoned Silent Artisan and given it a Nyxborn Shieldmate. This monster attacker was bigger than the small creatures Merjan was playing out, so he soaked a fair bit of damage. Still, after resolving Keranos, God of Storms it looked like he had managed to right the ship.

    He started to assemble an army. Vieira saw the game slipping away from him and went for a desperate plan. With Hubris and Sudden Storm he cleared a path for his attackers, dropping Merjan down to just three life. In his hand he had Gods Willing. If Merjan couldn't field two creatures of different colors, the game would be his. However, Merjan wasn't going to fall into that trap. Borderland Minotaur and Deepwater Hypnotist made sure that the path was blocked, and from there a manifest Keranos made short work of Vieira.


    If Merjan had any nerves about being one win away from the Championship he didn't show it. He played the second game at a careful pace. Again Vieira had an unorthodox start, this time courtesy of Crystalline Nautilus. Merjan had kept a slower draw and the Nautilus actually connected twice before he found a bestow creature to wipe it off the board. Vieira's other threat was Heliod, but he was stuck on four mana, while Merjan was hitting his drops. Down came another Arbiter of the Ideal, and Vieira could only delay it with Hubris. Merjan decided that wasn't nearly big enough and replaced it with Shipbreaker Kraken. Vieira had no tools to battle this. Before long he was conceding.

    Esteves and his teammates let out a mighty cheer that was immediately echoed by the spectators ringing the match. Another cheer, and then they broke into loud applause as Esteves, Merjan and Jaudy embraced and celebrated, while their friends crashed into the Feature Match area shouting congratulations and slapping them on the back. They had done it.

    Esteves/Merjan/Jaudy 2 - Choji/Brandt/Vieira 0




     

  • Top 5 Cards

    by Nate Price and Josh Bennett



  • 5. Golden Hind

    Green mana ramp decks were the most played deck on Day 1, and Bambi here is one of the big reasons why. Speed kills in limited, and Theros block is no exception. Golden Hind gives you a two-drop that can beat for two if you fancy hiring Nessian Courser on turn three, or jump you straight to powerhouse plays like Polukranos, the World Eater, followed by his good buddy, Arbor "Arbo" Colossus. Coming up in the common slot in a small set means he's going to reliably show up in your pool. Voyaging Satyr may have made a splash in Constructed, but swapping the power and toughness numbers is a huge upgrade in Limited.





    4. Servant of Tymaret

    "My best card has easily been Servant of Tymaret. I did 20 to people multiple times this weekend with just Servant of Tymaret triggers." - Stephen Berrios 2014

    It's true, though. Servant of Tymaret did work this weekend. Regeneration has always been a powerful mechanic in Limited, and Theros block makes it incredibly apparent why. Big creatures kill people fast, and regenerators stop big creatures cold. On top of that, a 1/3 creature for three is an excellent barrier against decks that try to go horizontal rather than vertical. Journey into Nyx introduces even more one-toughness creatures to the format, as well, really helping the Servant to shine.

    Servant of Tymaret is basically the ideal card for a defensive blue/black or white/black deck. You get an excellent defensive creature, capable of stopping big monsters and small minions alike, all while providing an inexorable clock and a way to help recoup any early life lost.





    3. Fearsome Temper

    If the Incredible Hulk has taught me anything, it's that I wouldn't like most people when they're angry, and Fearsome Temper can make anyone angry. One of the absolute best non-bestow auras in the block, Fearsome Temper provides an excellent increase in power for the mana spent, as well as a way to give aggressive decks a little reach in the end game. In both the Day 2 Swiss and eventually the Semifinals, Champion Tulio Jaudy used Fearsome Temper to fantastic effect, pulling victories out of seeming defeats. In the Semifinals in particular, he was able to take a match in which he was mana screwed against an opponent who was assuming control of the game and turn it into a victory because of the power of the Fearsome Temper.

    Don't fear the reaper. Don't fear the beard. Fear the temper.





    2. Rouse the Mob

    Like so many of the Strive cards from Journey Into Nyx, Rouse the Mob's value goes up the more Heroic creatures you have access to. It represents so much sudden damage that its well worth an early pick to set the course for the remainder of your draft. Its power was on display in both of the semifinals matches this weekend. In Jaudy's Semifinal match against Lucas Esper Berthoud, Jaudy strove Rouse the Mob to hit three creatures, including a Two-Headed Cerberus, to effetively Plague Wind Berthoud and drop him to 4 life. Needless to say, Berthoud was unable to recover.

    On the other side of the bracket, Cezar Choji was putting the screws to Armando Bulnes with a streamlined white/red aggro deck. In the first game, Rouse let his Akroan Line Breaker and Vanguard of Brimaz push a ton of damage past Bulnes's defenses and left him dead to any heroic trigger on later turns. In the second game, it was merely the overkill that got the game over with a turn quicker. Bulnes was already in dire straits against an Ill-Tempered Cyclops enchanted with Ghostblade Eidolon. When he let the giant monster through, Choji pulled the trigger on Rouse to end it right there.





    1.

    Iroas, God of Victory AND Keranos, God of Storms

    Like the saying absolutely does not go, "There are no atheists at the Theros Block draft table." This divine duo probably make most players' short list of cards they'd most like to open, and it's easy to see why. Looking at them purely as enchantments, their passive abilities radically alter the progress of a game. Iroas hits play, and suddenly you're priced in to turning all your monsters sideways every single turn, and your opponent is reduced to awkward and inefficient chump blocking. Keranos might take an extra turn to get going, but the effect is no less dramatic. At the absolute worst it will be a personal Howling Mine that draws you through a glut of land. Once it starts hitting spells, however, things go downhill for the opposition fast. The first bolt Keranos fires up almost makes up for the turn lost playing him, and the second one puts you way ahead. All of this was on display in the finals, with both gods bringing games to dramatic conclusions.

    Of course, they have that second ability, the one where they become invincible killing machines as soon as your devotion hits seven, and both of them are good at helping you get there. Iroas keeps your creatures in play. Keranos keeps you fueled up. Take a godly beating once and you won't be missing any chances to pick up late Fade into Antiquities.






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