Sunday, 10:50 a.m. - Meet the Brazilian National Team
by Blake Rasmussen
There can be a great deal of pride at South American Grands Prix. Just last year, when Brazilian Igor Silva Pinto won Grand Prix Santiago, both the Chileans and Brazilians showed their passion as their fellow countrymen marched into the Top 8 and, for Brazil, to the title.
Both countries will have another chance to show their national pride at next month's World Magic Cup, pitting teams from around the world against one another for bragging rights for the next year (plus some pretty sweet prizes).
As hosts of Grand Prix Sao Paulo, the entire Brazilian national team is in attendance this weekend, including team captain Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, who won that right by having the most pro points of any of his countrymen.
Working with Damo da Rosa to catapult Team Brazil to the top of the Magic world are three World Magic Qualifier Winners who may not have their captain's resume, but do seem long on talent.
Juliano Souza is a Magic Online grinder who goes by the name BABONES online, but in real life Souza has tasted the Pro Tour on two occasions. He played at Worlds in 2011, finishing 116th (just above Reid Duke and just below Shaheen Soorani), and also at Pro Tour Dark Ascension. He says playing for the national team is something special.
"I get to play with Paulo, one of the best players in the world and one of my idols," he said. "So it's like a dream."
"He's definitely the leader."
Souza may be being slightly modest fellow teammate Elton Carneiro called Juliano the "second best player in Brazil," behind Damo da Rosa.
Souza said the team has been in contact online so far, talking about their plans for the WMC since they all live so far apart. For his part, Souza hopes to represent the team playing Standard or Block, the formats he says he is best at.
He said his hope is that Team Brazil makes the Top 4 of the World Magic Qualifier, which would qualify him for Pro Tour Return to Ravnica, for which he is not yet qualified.
Souza thinks the team has a shot to do just that, even in the face of powerful teams like the United States and Belgium.
"We're not favorites," he said. "But I think we're fine."
Victor Fernando Silva
Victor Fernando Silva will be playing in his first pro-style event if he makes it to the World Magic Cup.
Yes, that's if.
Silva, apparently, has been having some Visa issues trying to get into the United States for the tournament. He had the same issue when he won the Pokemon National Championship in 2006 and was unable to compete in the World Championships.
As of now, Silva still plans to attend. He has another Visa interview on Monday and is hopeful he'll have his shot to compete with the world's best. His WMCQ win was his first major tournament win after playing for the last four years. And he piloted Solar Flare to his qualifying slot, by no means an easy deck to pilot.
And if this Magic thing falls through, he certainly gets to fall back on a career being a professional nice guy. When I asked him if he had anything to add at the end of the interview he had just one thing.
"To my mother I want to say thank you, because she has supported me all this time," Siva said.
By his own admission, Elton Carneiro is likely the novice of the group, winning the WMCQ in his first attempt at a big event.
But what a debut it was.
Playing UW Delver, Carneiro snatched the third qualifying slot for the Brazilian Team, which, he said, made him "very surprised and very happy."
Carneiro gushed about his teammates, praising Damo da Rosa and Souza for their skill (Carneiro called them the first and second best players in Brazil) and says he thinks the team is great. He said he thinks Silva has a different way to look at the game, which adds to the team, and an expertise in Modern that will be helpful.
He also said he has been practicing in Limited, a format where he said he had the most room to grow.
"I'm focusing on draft because I believe the other players will have great results," he said, adding that he considers his talents to lie in Standard.
It will also be Carneiro's first time traveling to the United States.
Brazilian Team Captain Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa
By the time the World Magic Cup rolls round, it is quite possible we'll be referring to the Brazilian team captain as "Hall of Famer Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa." In his first year on the ballot, Damo da Rosa has garnered tons of support from the voting community, and his resume certainly stands head and shoulders above almost everyone who has ever played the game.
So it seems a little silly to "introduce" Damo da Rosa, but we did talk with him about the team, the tournament and how he feels about his chances.
Damo da Rosa said he and the team had already started talking online, though actual playtesting is almost impossible since they all live so far away from one another. He said they plan to arrive the Tuesday before the tournament and do some testing then.
He pointed to the American and Belgian teams as tough squads that Brazil would have to go through to hoist the trophy.
You can follow Damo da Rosa and the entire Brazilian team, plus every other squad from around the globe at the World Magic Cup Aug. 17-19 right here on dailymtg.com.
Round 10 Feature Match: Lucas Andrade vs Guilherme Vieira
by Josh Bennett
Andrade won the roll and chose to play, but made no play on his first four lands. Vieira, meanwhile, summoned Wind Drake, attacked, then played a turn-four Divination. Andrade took out the Drake with Essence Drain, but Vieira replaced it with Welkin Tern. Andrade cast Archaeomancer, getting back his Essence Drain.
Vieira added Knight of Glory to his board and hit. Andrade continued to hit land drops and took care of the Tern with Essence Drain. Vieira hit for another three with the Knight and played Archaeomancer for Divination. Now he was ahead both on the board and on cards. Encrust from Andrade wasn't the best way to deal with the Knight of Glory, but it would have to do. He added Watercourser and passed. Vieira played his Divination and passed.
Andrade swung in with his Watercourser and pumped it once it got through, but Vieira was ready with Divine Verdict. Vieira swung with his Archaeomancer, boosted by the Knight. Andrade blocked with his own, and got it back with Unsummon. He untapped and replayed it, immediately casting the Essence Drain on Vieira's lowly 1/2. Vieira replaced it with Griffin Protector. Andrade drew and passed.
Vieira hit for three and went for Arctic Aven, but Andrade had Essence Scatter. He untapped, Encrusted the Protector and played a Scroll Thief, looking very dangerous against Vieira's lack of blockers. Vieira could only manage an Aven Squire. It was just a feint, though. He had a second Divine Verdict for the Thief. Andrade could only replace it with Fog Bank.
Now Vieira seemed ready to go on the offensive. Oblivion Ring took out the Fog Bank and Ajani's Sunstriker gave him more on the board. His Squire started to beat in for three. Andrade could do nothing but watch his life total fall. Vieira had nothing to add to the board but it didn't seem to matter. Harbor Bandit from Andrade couldn't stop the aerial assault. They traded hits, and on Vieira's next attack, Andrade tried to ambush with Faerie Invaders. Vieira frowned and thought briefly, then played Downpour to push through the damage, leaving Andrade at 6.
Both playes thinking deeply.
Andrade untapped, and calmly peeled what can only be described as "a good one": Spelltwine, copying Essence Drain and Divination. That killed the Squire, and the Sunstriker traded with the Faerie Invaders. Now it was Andrade who was rolling, and his next draw of Liliana's Shade sped things up considerably. Vieira's last hope was a Water Courser to chump for a turn, but Essence Scatter gave Andrade the game.
Andrade 1 - Vieira 0
Vieira chose to play, and watched as Andrade's Augur of Bolas missed. Vieira stocked up with Divination and passed. Andrade was stuck on four islands and made no play. Vieira summoned first Griffin Protector and then Attended Knight. Andrade finally hit a swamp, and took care of the Griffin with Essence Drain. Vieira hit with his knight and token, and played Divine Verdict on the Augur as it blocked.
Fortune was smiling on Andrade, though. He plucked his sixth land for another backbreaking Spelltwine on Essence Drain and Divination, leaving Vieira with just a 1/1 token in play. He made an Arctic Aven and passed. Andrade summoned Archaeomancer with the intention of getting back Spelltwine, but both Spelltwine and the copied spells are exiled. A quick judge call and he was left with a valueless Archaeoamncer in play.
That was good news for Vieira, who was holding Clone and got back his Divine Verdict. Andrade was forced to walk his Faerie Invaders into it. He untapped and played Augur of Bolas, getting an Essence Scatter. Now it was Vieira's turn to play into a known thread, sacrificing Attended Knight to try to resolve Welkin Tern, but Andrade had a second Essence Scatter. Vieira continued to soar overhead and steal life.
Andrade drew Scroll Thief, played it, and immediately cast Sleep. Vieira passed a blank turn and watched as Andrade hit him and drew an extra card. Fog Bank put a stop to Vieira's Arctic Aven. Vieira's deck had abandoned him, giving him only lands. A turn later, he found Knight of Glory, but Andrade continued to go one better, bouncing Archaeomancer with Unsummon at end of turn. That let him get another round of Sleep in.
Vieira continued to play lands and watch as Andrade pulled ahead. First Liliana's Shade, then Harbor Serpent. One hit with the Serpent brought him to seven. Finally, his deck coughed up an Archaeomancer for Divine Verdict. Andrade gamely traded his Harbor Serpent for it. They were at a standstill. Vieira drew Aven Squire. Andrade found Ring of Evos Isle and started beefing up his Scroll Thief.
Vieira attacked with Arctic Aven and Aven Squire. Andrade cast Murder on the Arctic Aven and Vieira decided to pin all his hopes on the air war by Rewinding it. It wasn't much of a clock, but it might be enough. Andrade dismissed those aspirations by drawing and casting Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis. Between that and the Ring, it was a short trip to victory.
Lucas Andrade defeats Guilherme Vieira 2-0
Sunday, 12:39 p.m. - Drafting with Juliano Souza
by Blake Rasmussen
Brazilian national team member Juliano Souza came one round away from perfection yesterday, dropping just his final round to slip slightly to 8-1.
But that performance still earned him a slot at table one and a good start to a possible run at the Top 8. So we followed his first draft to get both a sense of how Magic 2013 drafts and how Souza approaches the format.
Table one for the first draft of the day. Juliano Souza is in blue on the left.
In the first pack, Souza had a choice between Talrand's Invocation, Captain's Call and a Serra Avenger. He flicked the fliers back and forth a bit before finally settling on the Blue sorcery.
He then followed it up with what would prove to be a fateful Oblivion Ring, choosing it over Sentinel Spider and Faerie Invaders. I say it was a fateful choice, because his next door neighbor had passed the strong removal spell in favor of a Captain of the Watch, meaning Souza and he would be battling over White.
Souza then received several strong White cards to put him fully in the color, as Aven Squire and Rhox Faithmender both entered his pile.
Souza later explained that he had originally planned to avoid White, since after seeing how popular it was yesterday he thought it might be best to pass the Serra Avenger and Captain's Call to put his neighbor in White. But when he was passed Oblivion Ring, Souza shifted his thinking and decided he could possibly cut White and then take Blue cards in pack two. The Aven Squire and Rhox Faithmender solidified that plan in his mind.
He followed up with a Master of Arms in a fairly empty pack, reasoning that, since Master of Arms was very, very good, it was possible Red was wide open to his right. It also let him hedge a little bit if he opened something like a Krenko, Mob Boss in the second pack.
He didn't end up getting much more Red after that, but it did cause him to consider a Mogg Flunkies over Crusader of Odric. But when he figured that Flunkies is terrible with Exalted, he passed on it for the White beater, a card he said was very good for him in sealed.
Rounding out the pack he picked up a Scroll Thief and a few tricks and sideboard cards.
In pack two he took an Angelic Benediction first over Faerie Invaders, then followed up with a Divination and a Fog Bank, passing on Battleflight Eagle, Crusader of Odric, Divine Verdict and Captain's Call to take the wall.
Unsummon, Encrust and a Chronomaton were fairly unexciting middle picks, and the only real choice he had to make was the Chronomaton over a Battleflight Eagle, a card he seemed unexcited about.
From there he picked up a Tricks of the Trade, a Show of Valor and a Watercourser before being passed the Captain's Call he had passed for the Fog Bank.
At this point he was pretty light on creatures.
"I had very few creatures, so I made a rule. If it was a creature, I was going to take it," he said.
He took that to heart in pack two, taking an Aven Squire first and a Captain's Call second. Unbeknownst to him, even though he was getting white cards, he was still being cut. His neighbor – the one who took Captain of the Watch – was busy picking Serra Angel and Griffin Protector in the meantime.
That left Souza picking Serra Avatar, Divination, War Falcon and a Downpour for a string of unexciting picks, though he did have the soldiers to back up the Falcon.
From there the pickings were fairly slim, especially for creatures. Guardians of Akrasa was the last creature he received, and he was forced to take a string of Unsummon, Safe Passage and an assortment of cards in other colors.
Here's the deck he put together.
Grand Prix Sao Paulo 2012 - Draft
I asked him about Tricks of the Trade after he had assembled the list, as most players tend to shy away from enchantments that open them up to two for ones, but he pointed to several combos the card opened him up to. One hit with Scroll Thief, for example, and the Tricks paid for themselves, and putting it on a Rhox Faithmender could make racing impossible for his opponent.
He was also happy with the variety in his sideboard. He figured Negate would come in fairly often, and Harbor Serpent would be good against opposing Blue decks. Rain of Blades could counter Tormented Souls and Downpour could be used to clear the way or hold back aggressive starts.
After building it, Souza said he wasn't blown away by his deck, but thought it was at least a 2-1 deck, or possibly 3-0 "with some luck." He said he feels like he's short one Aven Squire of it being where he would like it to be.
As of this writing, Souza is 1-1 in the first two rounds of the draft, keeping him on track for his 2-1 prediction.
Round 11 Feature Match - Luiz Henrique De Lima vs. Daniel Fior
by Blake Rasmussen
Daniel Fior is one of those names that scratches at the back of your head with a tingly "that guy seems familiar but I don't know why" vibe. In this instance, it's because Fior is one of the few players in the room ever to play in a Grand Prix Top 8.
"20 years ago," Fior said before the match, recalling his lone Top 8 in Grand Prix Mexico City. It wasn't quite 20 years ago, but 2005 was quite some time ago. Still, he was one of the few in the room who could claim anything close.
Luiz Henrique De Lima also could claim something unique – he was the last remaining undefeated played after his Liliana/Ajani concoction ran roughshod over the field yesterday. A win this round would shorten the distance between him and his first Top 8 considerably.
Both players were pairing a second color with Black, a fact De Lima attributed to Black's strength as the best color in the set. He had paired his Black cards with White ones, while Fior had a ton of Green creatures backing up his removal.
Fior kicked things off with a Timberpack Wolf while De Lima looked to get busy with a Servant of Nefarox into Angelic Benediction. Fior had the Murder to keep his life total intact, then followed up with an Arbor Elf, which promptly died to Crippling Blight.
Fior did him one better with a Garruk's Packleader and Sentinel Spider. The Packleader fell to a Divine Verdict, but not before it had drawn off the Spider.
De Lima kept the removal coming with an Essence Train to take out the Timberpack Wolf. Disentomb returned the Packleader, which drew a card the following turn off Xathrid Gorgon before trading with a Giant Scorpion.
But for every removal spell or defensive card De Lima managed, Fior seemed to have yet another monster waiting in the wings. Mwonvuli Beast Tracker was next in line, searching up a Spiked Baloth.
Captain's Call gave De Lima some breathing room with a line of potential chump blockers waiting to step in front of Fior's bestiary.
But Fior was ready. He used Rise from the Grave to, once again, bring back Garruk's Packleader. His barrage of card advantage and beasts was beating De Lima black and blue, and when an Attended Knight wearing a Mark of the Vampire met a very Public Execution, De Lima was quick to concede.
Fior 1 – De Lima 0
Both players stayed at seven cards to start the second game, but De Lima unbalanced that equation slightly with a second turn Ravenous Rats, which Fior met with a Timberpack Wolf once again.
Fior Murdered a Griffin Protector to clear the way for Bloodhunter Bat, but that only opened the door to De Lima's Serra Angel on turn five.
It turns out that Murder would come to haunt Fior.
That didn't, however, stop Fior from attacking the next turn, representing a trick. Mind Rot cleared away two cards, but Mark of the Vampire on Serra Angel swung the race very much in De Lima's favor.
To compensate, Fior used Mwonvuli Beast Tracker to find a Sentinel Spider and, hopefully, stem the beats. Serra Angel got in again for "one million" Fior said, marking his life total down to 9 and De Lima's up to 22.
Daniel Fior soon regretted using his Murder on a creature that was not a 9/7 flying, vigilant, lifelinking Angel.
Essence Drain, however, cleared out the Bat and took out the double-blocking option, shooting De lima all the way up to 31 life on the attack.
Rise from the Grave put the double block option back on the table, regrowing Bloodhunter Bat. Not willing to make that trade, De Lima simply passed.
Shaking his head and looking at his creatures, Fior agonized over an attack.
"Tight race," he said, eventually just sending in a 2/2 to bluff a trick.
De Lima, though was wearing his tricks on his sleeve. Dark Favor made the Serra Angel a 9/7, and Fior was forced to chump block with his Bloodhunter Bat. But he wasn't gaining any traction with his attacks, even if his bluffs were successful, as De Lima's life total climbed to 40.
That was enough for Fior.
De Lima 1 – Fior 1
Fior, interestingly, chose to draw in the third game, but was set back the card by Ravenous Rats anyway.
After the match he explained how attritiony the game felt (we're going to pretend attritiony is a word, despite it being autocorrected every time I type it), and that putting De Lima on the play meant his Mind Rot was more likely to catch any bombs De Lima might draw.
But Fior showed he was ready to play his Mind Rot early, forcing De Lima to pitch two cards. De Lima calmly dropped two lands in his graveyard and played a Griffin Protector followed by Duress.
Duress revealed Murder, Prey Upon, Public Execution and Bloodhunter Bad.
"Ok now," said De Lima, sighing while he discarded Murder. "I'm going to need a psychic."
Meanwhile a Timberpack Wolf was joined by a brother, and the 3/3s started attacking. But then Fior made a key mistake he lamented after the game (foreshadowing!). Prey Upon and a Wolf ate the Griffin Protector, but then Fior attacked with his second Timberpack Wolf, which De Lima was happy to trade with his Zombie Goliath. With one Wolf dead, the other shrunk to a 2/2 and, thanks to Prey Upon, had two damage already on it.
Bloodhunter Bat set Fior up to defend himself after losing his wolf pack, but De Lima kept coming, wasting no time attacking into the bat with Attended Knight, Battleflight Eagle and the Knight's token. Divine Verdict kept the way clear of a Sentinel Spider, and Fior found himself at just six life while De Lima played Essence Drain to let one of his creatures trade with a second Sentinel Spider.
Then De Lima drew his sixth land to cast Captain of the Watch.
Black and White cards have been very good to Luiz Henrique De Lima this weekend.
Fior, despite his deep sigh after seeing the six-drop, made quite the game of it. The Captain faced a Public Execution and a token died to Prey Upon. Garruk's Packleader even gave him a way to start rebuilding his board.
But De Lima had found his trump in Serra Angel again. With no way to kill it and without enough creatures to gang tackle it, Fior soon succumbed to the vigilant 4/4, keeping De Lima's record pristine through 11 rounds.
De Lima 2 – Fior 1
Round 12 Feature Match - Paulo Sante vs. Victor Fernando Silva
by Blake Rasmussen
Victor Fernando Silva is poised to make a splash at the World Magic Cup this summer a part of Team Brazil, under the inspired captaincy of Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa. He presents a contrast to his opponent, Paulo Sante, who is playing his first Grand Prix. Day 2'ing your first time out is no small feat, and Sante spent last night drafting M13, trying to cram every ounce of preparation. It seems to have paid off - both he and Silva are 2-0 on the day.
The match started on a sour note, with Sante going down to five cards before keeping. His Krenko's Command was undone by Silva's Flames of the Firebrand, and Giant Scorpion could do nothing against Silva's Bladetusk Boar. He had no play on four land. Silva hit for three and added Goblin Battle Jester to the table.
Sante hoped Fire Elemental would be enough to keep Silva off his back. Silva passed with five mana open. Sante killed the Boar with Essence Drain and hit for five. Silva flashed in Faerie Invaders, then untapped and Encrusted the helpless Fire Elemental. He even had a Goblin Arsonist to stun the Giant Scorpion, hitting for a total of five damage. Sante had Zombie Goliath, but nothing to deal with the 3/3 flier sailing overhead.
Paulo Sante vs. Victor Fernando Silva
Silva added Rummaging Goblin to his team and passed. Sante played the Staff of Nin and killed the Rummaging Goblin, then hit for four with Goliath. The life totals stood eleven to ten in his favor. Silva was sitting on a wealth of removal, though. Searing Spear took care of the Goliath and stunned the Scorpion again. Encrust locked the Staff down, though it could still draw cards. Silva's attack left Sante at five.
Sante needed the goods, but even with the Staff he found only lands. He fell to two from the Invaders, and died shortly thereafter.
Silva 1 - Sante 0
Silva was first on the board with a turn-three Scroll Thief. Sante summoned Liliana's Specter on turn four. Flames of the Firebrand kicked it to the curb and Silva scored a card with his Thief. He had to be feeling good about the situation, an empty board, holding Searing Spear for Sante's next play. Unfortunately for him, Sante held Mindclaw Shaman and completely turned the tables, killing the Scroll Thief and revealing a hand of Bladetusk Boar, Watercourser, Fire Elemental. Switcheroo, and island.
Silva, with only one mountain, played Watercourser. Sante continued to assault his hand. First Ravenous Rats caught the Fire Elemental, then Mind Rot forced him to make more hard choices. He ditched Switcheroo and Bladetusk Boar. He was able to hit for four with the Watercourser, but Sante hit back for three and played Krenko's Command. Silva swung again, and Sante chumped with a goblin. Silva didn't like it, but he Encrusted Mindclaw Shaman to get ahead.
Victor Fernando Silva
Sante busted out Essence Drain for the Watercourser. That left Silva with nothing, and his draws weren't helping matters. Zombie Goliath hit play on the other side of the table, soon joined by Staff of Nin. Another Encrust took care of the Goliath but Silva's life was fading away. Sante shut the door with a last attack and Chandra's Fury.
Silva 1 - Sante 1
Silva chose to draw for the deciding game, and now it was his turn to mulligan. He thought hard before staying on his six. Sante got out Giant Scorpion and Ravenous Rats (catching a mountain). Silva had no play on four and watched as Sante added Bladetusk Boar to his team. That played right into his Flames of the Firebrand, which also snagged the Rats.
Sante prayed for land but missed. Silva played Fire Elemental, and Sante was ready with Murder, but he had nothing to deal with Fire Elementals number two and three. The Giant Scorpion fell to Searing Spear the next turn, and two big attacks ended the game in a hurry.
Paulo Sante defeats Victor Fernando Silva 2-1
Sunday, 2:49 p.m. - M13 Draft with Carlos and Willy
by Josh Bennett
M13 draft is still in its infancy. To try to get a grasp on the format, I decided to talk to the local experts. In between rounds, I managed to grab hold of both Pro Tour fixture Willy Edel and Carlos Romao, the former World Champion turned Magic Online End Boss. They took me on a five-minute crash-course of the format as they see it.
Edel took the reins to start. "As far as archetypes, I think there are fewer than people think. Fewer good ones anyways. Black-White Exalted is very powerful, that one everyone knows." To Edel, it is the backbone of the format, the starting point that influences everything else. Romao agreed. "You always have to worry about that deck. Green-White is terrible because it cannot deal with creatures that don't attack or block. Fog Bank is an incredibly powerful card because it just shuts the deck off."
"The thing about black," continued Edel, "it's not just the best color. It's that almost all of its commons are playable. In the others you have a lot of filler, but black's filler is still pretty good. You can do a lot with it. You can even make a sort of black-white tokens deck, using cards like Bloodthrone Vampire and Battleflight Eagle that will come to you late."
Romao likes to pair black with blue. "You can build a strong dedicated control deck, card advantage, removal, and strong defensive early plays."
Edel wasn't so convinced. "The format is pretty fast, and Divination is slow. I prefer blue-white, fliers beatdown. Faerie Invaders is such a strong common."
So if black, white and blue are the best, where does that leave red and green? They both laughed.
"Green is... not good," said Carlos. "The only green card I like is Rancor. I'd probably take it over Elderscale Wurm." Edel said he might not go quite that far, but agreed on the subject of green overall. "You get decks that are just a bunch of creatures."
"Red's biggest problem," said Carlos, "is that the cards you really want, everyone else is happy to splash. So you just don't see enough of your best cards." Edel even went further. "I don't like red at all. The only common I like is Searing Spear." Carlos disagreed. "You can manage to build some pretty fast goblin decks with Krenko's Summons and Mogg Flunkies, but you can't fight for it."
Carlos and Willy
Any final thoughts?
Romao: "The auras are really powerful. For a long time auras were bad, but these ones I'll play every time, Mark of the Vampire and Tricks of the Trade. They're worth the risk."
Edel: "The mill deck is a trap. For it to work you need something like 9 Mind Sculpts, and even then you still might lose."
Romao: "Yeah I had a chance to second-pick Sands of Delirium but I would never do it. Not only do you need the mill cards, but then you need a bunch of other cards as well. It just never comes together."
Round 13 Feature Match - Willy Edel vs. Thiago Oliveira
by Blake Rasmussen
At 30 points apiece (10-2), both Thiago Oliveira and Brazilian star Willy Edel were on the cusp of the Top 8, but at this point any slipup could send them spinning far out of contention.
Oliveira had a strong Black Red deck with a few bombs, some card draw in the form of Rummaging Goblin and Wild Guess and a plethora of removal.
Edel's draft, meanwhile, had gone a little sour. After a great first pack – complete with two (2!) Master of the Pearl Trident – Edel was cut pretty hard on Blue. His Black Blue deck could play something of a tempo game, but fell short on pure power.
Knight of Infamy led the way for Edel's Black Blue deck chock full of two drops and was immediately met by Searing Spear.
Edel replaced it with a Wind Drake and buffeted his flying force further with a Bloodhunter Bat. With only a Rummaging Goblin to match, Oliveira appeared to be falling behind early. Unsummon on his Firewing Phoenix didn't help.
However, the Rummaging Goblin was working overtime and rummaged his way to a Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis. Suddenly – and harshly – the tide had turned.
Edel still had some fight left in him. The Wind Drake was growing, thanks to a Ring of Evos Isle, and in a few turns it could tussle with Nefarox. But he needed those few turns.
Oliveira wasn't inclined to give them to him. Furnace Whelp, Dragon Hatchling and, worst of all, Vampire Nighthawk gave Oliveira a fearsome flying force.
Now, however, the Wind Drake had finally grown to be 6/6, large enough to tangle with Nefarox.
But Oliveira wasn't falling for it. Instead he attacked with Vampire Nighthawk, a 3/4 thanks to the Grixis overlord, dropping Edel to 7 the next turn, and then 4 and 1 over the next few turns.
Edel milled a few more cards with Vedalken Entrancer to get a look at Oliveira's deck's contents, but otherwise just conceded to the next attack, which was easily lethal.
Edel 0 – Oliveira 1
Edel got off to another quick start in the second game, with a Master of the Pearl Trident facing down two slightly less imposing Krenko's Command tokens. Both the tokens bit the dust after blocking the Merfolk Lord, thanks to Edel's Unsummon.
Edel also had Essence Scatter for the Rummaging Goblin that had caused him so many problems last game, but soon lost his Merfolk lord to Searing Spear.
Between games, Edel had sideboarded a ton of cards, and by the looks of his five Islands and mono-Blue hand – revealed to a Mindclaw Shaman – he had sideboarded out of black and into a slew of Counterspells.
A Welkin Tern traded with a Furnace Whelp, and a Faerie Invaders surprised the Mindclaw Shaman, but things really turned when Oliveira cast Wild Guess to find Vampire Nighthawk.
Edel chose to fight it offensively. He attacked with the Faerie Invaders, offering a trade. Oliveira didn't bite, and even upgraded his air force with Firewing Phoenix. At that point, Edel could only pass as his Faerie Invaders picked up a Ring of Evos Isle.
Meanwhile, the Vampire Nighthawk continued its march...or, I guess, flight...until Oliveira interrupted his attacks to cast Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis.
Except this time, Edel was ready...sort of. Rewind countered the legend, but Edel could only grin sheepishly as Oliveira brought it back with Rise from the Grave.
Oliveira's win brings him one step closer to the top 8
By this point, life totals stood at 22 to 9, and Edel was looking increasingly despondent. His Faerie Invaders had grown to a 7/7 and could take on Nefarox, but first he needed to find a way to stop the Vampire Nighthawk.
Redirect kept Searing Spear from killing him when he fell to three life from the attacks, but with only one flier available, Edel simply died when he found no more help on the top of his deck.
Edel 0 – Oliveira 2
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. - M13 Draft archetypes
by Blake Rasmussen
With Magic 2013 draft so new and largely unexplored, we thought we'd run through a number of the archetypes players put together here this weekend. The format is pretty deep, so this list isn't exhaustive, but these certainly represent some of the more popular ways people drafted and built decks.
The lowest hanging fruit, archetype-wise, in M13 is Black-White Exalted. The deck shown above could have even more exalted goodness, but Black-White generally has been a popular and strong choice on the weekend.
When I took this photo, the deck's pilot remarked that his deck was "just a bunch of dudes." And so it was, but much of what Green and White do well in M13 is play some of the best creatures in the format. Getting multiple Timberpack Wolves can be pretty big game, but the real all-star of the archetype is Garruk's Packleader, which can give the deck the extra push it needs when it's "just dudes."
Blue White fliers is seemingly an archetype in every draft format ever, and M13 is no different. Arctic Aven is one of the best cards the format has to offer, and it can usually stall the ground with Captain's Call and Vedalken Entrancer.
But Blue and White can also combine to form a pretty strong control deck. The deck values Essence Scatter a bit higher while also getting good use out of Pillarfield Ox, Guardians of Akrasa and, again, Vedalken Entrancer.
When the full list of M13 was revealed, a lot of Pros wondered if the Mill deck was a real deck or a pipe dream. The verdict is still out, but clearly players are capable of putting it together. The general strength of Vedalken Entrancer gives the archetype some legs, but the sneaky strength of it is just how much better milling seven with Mind Sculpt is than milling five ever was with Tome Scour. Throw in Archaeomancer and suddenly the mill plan becomes very real. It also helps to find Sands of Delirium, which can end things in a hurry.
Green and Red can bring the beats, and Fervor is the centerpiece of this beauty. Bladetusk Boar is one of the best Red creatures, and Green has some of the best creatures period. Searing Spear is Red's marquee common, and while Volcanic Geyser is not Fireball, it's still the Red X-spell of the set.
Honestly, there's nothing particularly synergistic about Red and White. White has Exalted while Red lends itself better to a swarm strategy (see Krenko's Command, Mogg Flunkies), but I wanted to show off this sweet picture anyway. Two Ajani, Caller of the Pride?! Yeesh.
Finally, we come to Black Green. Black has been called by several players this weekend the best color in the set, while Green, as we've noted, has the best creatures. So why not combine them? The marquee combo of these Rock-ish decks, though not seen in this picture, is Mwonvuli Beast Tracker searching up a Vampire Nighthawk.
Round 14 Feature Match - Rafael Mendonca vs Bruno da Fonseca
by Josh Bennett
With just two rounds to go, the promised land of the Top 8 is in sight. Both Rafael Mendonca and Bruno da Fonseca are within a couple wins of that rarefied air. Da Fonseca is playing a tricky blue-white aggro deck. Mendonca is black-red, packed with removal.
Da Fonseca kicked off with Evolving Wilds and searched out an island after Mendonca played swamp and Duty-Bound Dead. He added a plains and Welkin Tern. Mendonca simply hit for one, played a mountain and passed. Da Fonseca hit for two and added Scroll Thief. Mendonca was forced to keep his Dead at home, but at least the Thief wouldn't be getting through. He played Arms Dealer and passed.
Da Fonseca hit for two and added the always-dangerous Arctic Aven to the board. Ideally, Mendonca would have Krenko's Command to fuel his Arms Dealer, but had to settle for Rummaging Goblin. Da Fonseca swung in for five and gained three, then passed with blue mana open. Mendonca made no play. Da Fonseca swung in, and Mendonca rummaged away a swamp, then Murdered the Arctic Aven. Da Fonseca replaced it with another Scroll Thief. Mendonca played Mogg Flunkies and held everyone back.
Now it was time for da Fonseca to make a move. He played Downpour, tapping all Mendonca's creatures except the Flunkies. that cleared a path for his Thieves. Mendonca was forced to throw the Flunkies at one of them to keep the card advantage to a minimum. That tapped him out, but da Fonseca played Encrust on Duty-Bound Dead, forgetting that the aura also shuts down activated abilities.
The play immediately cost him, as Mendonca found Krenko's Command. The Arms Dealer meant that none of da Fonseca's threats were safe. He lost Scroll Thief, then Watercourser, while Mendonca played a Liliana's Shade backed by a healthy number of swamps. It only got one hit in before da Fonseca found another Encrust to stop it, but Mendonca was happy to play the slow game, attacking for just two at a time while keeping the board clear. With only lands coming off the top for da Fonseca, it wasn't long before Mendonca's lowly beaters finished him off.
Mendonca 1 - da Fonseca 0
Game two opened the same way, with da Fonseca's Welkin Tern going overtop a Duty-Bound Dead. He had no play on three, however, and Mendonca had Krenko's Command to match his clock. Da Fonseca attacked but had no play on four mana, nor again on five after Mendonca resolved Giant Scorpion. Mendonca gamely swung in with both Goblins and the Scorpion, and no Faerie Invaders were lying in wait. He added Rummaging Goblin and passed.
Bruno da Fonseca
Still nothing from da Fonseca. He stopped a Mogg Flunkies with Essence Scatter, and finally found a big threat: Harbor Serpent. Mendonca played Arms Dealer and waited. Next came Tricks of the Trade on the Serpent to sneak it through for a whopping eight damage. Mendonca killed the incoming Welkin Tern with a goblin token. Da Fonseca upgraded to Arctic Aven.
Mendonca had no choice but to untap, then throw all his goblins at the two creatures. Da Fonseca was out of gas, having only an Angelic Benediction to add to the board. Mendonca showed him a Vampire Nocturnus and a second Arms Dealer, and that was more than enough.
Rafael Mendonca defeats Bruno da Fonseca 2-0
Sunday, 5:20 p.m. - Liga Magic Seeks to Grow Brazillian Talent
by Josh Bennett
Brazil is in the middle of a Magic boom. Tournament attendance is up. New players are picking up the game. Stores are selling out their first runs of product. Unfortunately, for most players in Brazil there are few opportunities to take their game to the next level.
Liga Magic is aiming to change all that. Organized by Diogo Pires and Valdebrando Rafael and promoted through Brazil's biggest Magic Website - the eponymous Liga Magic - it is a year-long league of tournament play. The idea is to bridge the gap between professional-level play, which is such a rarity, and the much more casual play going on in stores. Give players more opportunities to play at a higher level, and you'll foster a more competitive community.
The League is a series of regular tournaments runs in stores all over Brazil. The focus is on constructed events, but with a lot of variety. Players can choose between standard, Modern, Legacy, even Pauper, so they can dedicate themselves to formats they feel comfortable with. They receive ranking points when they win, and are ranked against those in their own area. And if you're new to competition, you don't need to worry about getting stomped: the league will offer a separate division for novices.
Players will battle the whole year to reach the top of their local leaderboard. Those who do will earn a spot at the a grand invitational tournament that boasts a pool of prizes worth over BR$18,000.
If you're in Brazil and you're looking to step your game up, you'd be advised to check this out. Their webpage will be live soon. Until then, details are available here.
Sunday, 5:47 p.m. - Round 15 Round-Up
by Blake Rasmussen
Round 15 can be an odd mishmash of high tension for the bubble players and sweet relief for the players able to draw their way into the Top 8, and Grand Prix Sao Paulo certainly had its fair share of both.
Luiz Henrique De Lima, the point leader since the end of Day 1, comes in as the top seed, drawing to 40 points in the final round. Rafael Mendonca had the good fortune to get paired up against De Lima at 36 points, guaranteeing him a Top 8 slot as well when he hit 37.
Just below them, Thiago Oliveira and Reinaldo da Silva Jr. were also paired at 36 and could safely draw in, meaning four of the Top 8 were decided before the round was even a minute old.
But that's where things got tricky.
In the feature match area Roberto Edo Junior (34 points) had a win and in against Daniel Fior, who was also virtually guaranteed a Top 8 berth with a win as the 33 pointer with the best tiebreakers. But Fior roared back from a Game 1 loss to Sands of Delirium and took the last two games to sneak into the Top 8 at 36 points.
Next to them, Guido Quintana (36 points) was paired down against Paulo Sante (33 points), but Sante's breakers were good enough to get him into the Top 8 if things fell his way and he won. Unfortunately for Sante, that wasn't to be as Quintana took game one on the back of Garruk, Primal Hunter and Game 2 on the very lethal combination of Sleep and Archaeomancer.
Things got even murkier outside the feature match area. Burno G da Fonseca was at 33 points coming into the round and had the second best tiebreakers to Fior, but lost his match, putting him outside the Top 8 looking in.
With Fonseca and Sante out of the picture, that opened the door for Rodrigo Goncalves dos Sant, who defeated 36-pointer Jose Francisco Silva. Silva still made the cut himself, thanks to his high tiebreakers.
Rodrigo Goncalves dos Sant, left, beat Jose Francisco Silva in Round 15, but both players made the Top 8 with 36 points anyway.
With all of the players on 36 points, that meant someone would be stuck in 9th place, mere percentage points from the big stage. And that player is none other than national team member Juliano Souza, who won the right to 9th place on the back of a 15th round win over Paulo Cesar Frantantonio.