Grand-Prix Sao Paulo: Day 1 Blog

Posted in Event Coverage on June 13, 2009

By Wizards of the Coast

EVENT COVERAGE

  • by Bill Stark
    Feature Match: Round 9
    Gaudenis Vidugiris (Faeries) Versus Marcos Paulo de Jesus (Black-White Kithkin)
  • by Nate Price
    Blog: Saturday, 22:30
    Live from Sao Paulo, It's Saturday Night!
  • by Nate Price
    Feature Match: Round 8
    Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa (Faeries) vs. Victor Rossini (B/W tokens)
  • by Bill Stark
    Blog: Saturday, 20:34
    It Pays to do Your Homework
  • by Bill Stark
    Feature Match: Round 7
    Raphael Levy (Doran) Versus Manuel Bucher (Elementals)
  • by Nate Price
    Blog: Saturday, 17:50
    Playing the Field
  • by Nate Price
    Feature Match: Round 6
    Willy Edel (B/G Elves) vs. Eduardo Sella (5-color Cascade)
  • by Bill Stark
    Blog: Saturday, 17:30
    Putting the Super in Super FNM
  • by Bill Stark
    Feature Match: Round 5
    Manuel Bucher (Elementals) Versus Paulo Martinello (Black-Green Elves)
  • by Nate Price
    Blog: Saturday, 14:02
    Bem Vindos Ao Brasil!
  • by Nate Price
    Feature Match: Round 4
    Leonardo Labrunna (Kithkin) vs. Antti Malin (Elves)
  • by Bill Stark
    Blog: Saturday, 13:02
    From the Dealer's Booth
  • by Bill Stark
    Feature Match: Round 3
    Diego Ostrovich Versus Guilherme Fonseca
  • by Bill Stark
    Blog: Saturday, 10:52
    South America Versus the World
  • by Bill Stark
    Feature:
    Grand Prix Trial Winning Decklists
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Fact Sheet

Saturday, 9:48 a.m. -- Feature: Grand Prix Trial Winning Decklists

by Bill Stark

You want decklists? We got decklists. Here are the Grand Prix Trial winning decklists from Friday night.

Felipe Pinheire

 

Ijante Scuporito

 

Joao Dutra

 

Danico Safoe

 

Nicholas Damian

 

Bruno Rizzo

 

Letorio Beralol

 

Rafael Rermaciro

 

Mauro Betschart

 

Andre Frarico

 

Leonardo Barros

 

Vinicious March

 

Marcelo Horne Mattos

 

Pedro Pereira Jr.

 

Felipe Alberto

Blog: 10:52 South America Versus the World

by Bill Stark

It is a theme that runs through nearly every Magic tournament in the world: the battle between local players fighting to defend a Premier level event title on their home turf from the visiting pros looking to pillage said turf for Pro Points and prize dollars. The tale will be told again in Sao Paolo as the local Brazilian players try to fight off visitors from as far away as Europe and the United States and as close as neighboring countries. Making the story even more interesting are national rivalries, as players saw last year during Grand Prix-Buenos Aires, between Argentinean, Brazilian, Chilean, and other playgroups from South America. While fighting for their own national pride, those competing players will be working together to keep the title of Grand Prix-Sao Paolo champion on their home continent of South America, and out of the hands of the pros who traveled from off-continent to claim the trophy for themselves.

So who should you be keeping an eye on? The biggest names in South American Magic center around a contingent of Brazilian players, recognizable names like Willy Edel, Paulo Vitor Dama Da Rosa, and former world champion Carlos Romao. An old time Argentinian pro, Diego Ostrovich, is also making a return appearance to the Grand Prix stage after last competing in Buenos Aires one year ago. Newcomer Luiz de Michielli, who narrowly missed a Top 8 at Worlds 2008, will be a new face helping Brazil to keep the title both in-country as well as on-continent.

South American Players (L-R): Luiz, Diego, Paulo Vitor Damo de Rosa, Romao, EdelSouth American Players (L-R): Juza, Zatlkaj, Levy, Bucher, Malin

So who are the big names here to steal the title for themselves? Certainly some stiff competition in the form of Hall of Famer Raphael Levy, reigning World Champion Antti Malin, Pro Tour Berlin Top 8 competitors Martin Juza and Matej Zatlkaj, and top level pro and world traveler Manuel Bucher. Between the group they possess hundreds of Pro Points life time, and threaten to dream-crush the hundreds of Brazilian and South American hopefuls looking forward to keeping their Grand Prix title on home soil.

So who will come out on top? Check back all weekend long on magicthegathering.com to find out!

Round 3 Feature Match: Diego Ostrovich Versus Guilherme Fonseca

by Bill Stark

Diego Ostrovich entered Round 3 of Grand Prix-Sao Paolo after spending the first round of the day with a bye and winning his second. He is one of the people responsible for first putting South American Magic on the map. With a Top 8 performance during a late 90s World Championships, he demonstrated years ago that players from the continent could win, could win in multiple formats, and could be champions (a fact Brazilian Carlos Romao made real when he won the World Championship in that same Top 8). Across from Diego sat his opponent, Guilherme Fonseca. The young Brazilian had a Grand Prix Top 8 on his resume as well as a National Team appearance I 2007. The match would not only be a duel between a relative newcomer in Fonseca against an established member of the professional old guard, but a battle of national pride between Argentina (Ostrovich) and Brazil (Fonseca).

Diego Ostrovich brought Green-White Tokens to the table.Both players started on mulligans, and it was a Wren's Run Vanquisher from Guilherme Fonseca that was the first creature to hit the board. The 3/3 was soon joined by a Putrid Leech while Diego Ostrovich built up his Green-White Tokens manabase. He finally made a move on board position with his fourth land drop as he cast Spectral Procession. The 1/1s were quickly answered by Maelstrom Pulse from Guilherme.

Wilt-Leaf Liege from Ostrovich traded for Fonseca's Putrid Leech, but the Brazilian was winning the race as he put the totals 18-7 in his favor with a Kitchen Finks. Diego tried to crawl back into things with a Cloudgoat Ranger, but the 3/3 Ranger died to Nameless Inversion before getting to block, and Ostrovich fell to 1 from his opponent's attack rather than chump block with his tokens. It was a risky ploy, but the Argentinean had two Windbrisk Heights on the board. After attacking back with his Kithkin tokens, Diego played free copies of Spectral Procession and Cloudgoat Ranger, cluttering the board with chump blockers for his opponent's team, and putting himself right back in the swing of things provided Guilherme didn't topdeck a Profane Command.

Instead, it was Ostrovich with a monstrous topdeck. After surviving Fonseca's counter attack with chump blocks that saw him lose a minimal amount of creatures, he counted up some totals, then flopped Overrun onto the board. With his massive army of tokens, the sorcery was a shockingly lethal win for Diego seemingly out of nowhere! Guilherme shook his head in surprise, then picked up his sideboard for the second game.

Diego Ostrovich 1, Guilherme Fonseca 0

Guilherme Fonseca wasted no time coming out of the gates against his opponent, playing Putrid Leech on the second turn, followed by Loxodon Warhammer on his third. That led to an equip the following turn, and an attack that put Diego Ostrovich to 9. Ostrovich didn't seem concerned about the Leech, attacking with three Spirit tokens he had created from a third-turn Spectral Procession. He simply cracked back with his team, activating Windbrisk Heights to put Windborn Muse into play.

Guilherme Fonseca of Brazil tries to make good with BG Elves.The 2/3 forced Guilherme to use most of his mana to attack and, after no blockers were declared, he attempted to pump his Putrid Leech. Ostrovich allowed it to resolve, then used Path to Exile to kill the creature. Fonseca didn't have enough mana left to play anything for the turn, and was forced to pass back to Ostrovich, falling behind in the board in doing so. In an attempt to catch up, the Brazilian played Llanowar Elves and Kitchen Finks upon receiving the turn back, but Diego quickly followed a Cloudgoat Ranger with Ajani Goldmane. The powerful planeswalker pumped Diego's team considerably and, despite being at 15 life, the token hordes were too much for Guilherme Fonseca, who conceded the match.

Diego Ostrovich 2, Guilherme Fonseca 0

Blog: 13:02 – From the Dealer's Booth

by Bill Stark

A quick way to keep tabs on the metagame for any big event is to stop by the dealer booths to see what cards have been hot and hard to keep in stock. The coverage team spoke with both Eduardo Bongiovanni and Andrew Stokinger to find out what players feel will give them the biggest edge this weekend.

Eduardo Bongiovanni of Domain Magic.

Eduardo, whose store Domain is helping to staff and run Grand Prix-Sao Paolo, picked his top sellers quickly. “Maelstrom Pulse, Snakeform, Boggart Ram-Gang, and Windborn Muse.”

Andy Stokinger of Over the Edge Games.

Former Magic pro Andrew Stokinger, an American whose fluency in Portuguese and Spanish no doubt have come in handy this weekend, manned the booth for his company OverTheEdgeGames.com. He filled us in on the hottest cards he hadn't anticipated. “Definitely Snakeform, Winborn Muse, Paladain en-Vec, and Everlasting Torment have been surprise hits this weekend.”

Snakeform is a card that has been used as an answer for Chameleon Colossus in mirror matches like Black-Green Elves, where traditional methods of answering creatures have come in black form (think Maelstrom Pulse) leaving them defenseless to the 4/4 monstrosity. Windborn Muse is a possible mirror match edge for Tokens decks, allowing them to attack freely while forcing their opponents to pay for the same pleasure. Of course, any deck playing white could benefit from the Tenth Edition 2/3, so perhaps we'll see the flavor-of-the-moment hit the table for Reveillark, Kithkin, and Boat Brew players.

Round 4 Feature Match – Leonardo Labrunna (Kithkin) vs. Antti Malin (Elves)

by Nate Price

Antti Malin is the current World Champion of Magic. The man who drew the lucky straw of having to play him fresh off of his three byes was Leonardo Labrunna, who sports his 3-0 record via winning a Grand Prix Trial. Both players are playing highly explosive decks, with Labrunna's creatures building over a couple of turns, while Malin's Elf deck tries to literally go from zero to sixty creatures in one turn.

Malin had to mulligan to five and was obviously displeased when Labrunna led off with a Goldmeadow Stalwart into Knight of Meadowgrain. Malin had a decent start for a five-carder. He followed a first-turn Llanowar Elf with a Thoughtseize, stealing a Spectral Procession from a hand also featuring a Cloudgoat Ranger, Path to Exile, and Ajani Goldmane. He then played a Mosswort bridge, hiding away a Ranger of Eos.

“Ten power, right,” Labrunna asked him?

“Yep, just need nine more,” Malin replied with a smile.

Antti Malin: Enough power to activate Mosswort Bridge by himself.

Unfortunately for Malin, Labrunna hadn't slowed down. He played a freshly drawn Knight of Meadowgrain to his side before dropping Malin to twelve. Malin simply added a Devoted Druid to his side and passed. Labrunna sent his kithkin across to halve Malin's life total. In addition, he used a Path of Exile to clear away Malin's Devoted Druid during his upkeep, denying him the mana during his main phase. Malin just shrugged and started searching for his land. After finding it, he played one for his turn and dropped a Ranger of Eos into play. The Ruel-wannabe snagged him a Nettle Sentinel and Heritage Druid to begin setting up his combo.

In order to play the Ranger, Malin had to take a point of damage from a Brushland. After taking it to the face from Labrunna's army, Malin sat at an always precarious one life. With a glum look on his face, Malin sighed, “Not sure how I'm going to win this.”

Apparently, his plan involved issuing a Primal Command to go up to eight life and search for Nettle Sentinel. This bought him the requisite breathing room to get through the next turn. Labrunna finally found a fourth land for his Ajani Goldmane, but it was a Windbrisk Heights, so the big kitty would have to wait a turn to lend a paw.

Malin thought for a while. Eventually, he chose to Commune with Nature, taking and playing a Heritage Druid. This let him float seven mana and play a Regal Force for six cards. After playing one more Nettle Sentinel, he chose to activate his Mosswort Bridge to play a Ranger of Eos, getting another copy of each of his combo pieces. A few elves and a ton of mana later, Malin played Primal Command to return Labrunna's freshly played Heights and search for some goodies of his own. Before he could decide what, though, Labrunna picked up his cards saying, “Game 2, Game 2.”

He may not have been sure how he was going to win in, but Malin sure made it look like a guaranteed outcome. The game would have been significantly different, though, had Labrunna not been unable to play Ajani for three consecutive turns. Larger than average Knights of Meadowgrain would have surely done the Finnish champion in.

Leonardo Labrunna 0 – Antti Malin 1

Labrunna started off fast again, this time with a Goldmeadow Stalwart and Figure of Destiny. Malin led with a Nettle Sentinel, which was worth more to him alive than dead and thus wisely chose to stay out of the way of the Stalwart. When he decided to get a little squirrely on the next turn and attack with it, Labrunna chose not to block and pump his Figure, figuring it would be worth more to him later as a 4/4.

Malin added an Elvish Visionary to his elf brigade which was promptly followed by a Manamorphose-powered (so good with the Sentinel/Heritage Druid combo!)Nettle Sentinel. Unfortunately, he didn't have anything to follow that up with. He was forced to block and trade with the Stalwart on the following turn, letting the 4/4 Figure of Destiny knock him to seven. Labrunna reloaded with a second Stalwart and a Knight of Meadowgrain. All Malin had was a Devoted Druid. He was going to need something exceptional, like last game, if he was going to pull this one out.

He started out with the right card, and his Primal Command put him back up to ten life and grabbed him a Heritage Druid which he could potentially use to push for the win on the following turn. Unfortunately for him, Labrunna chose to drop him to two before clearing away Antti's board with a Wrath of God at the cost of his own army.

Labrunna has plenty more troops where those came from.

Malin used a Commune with Nature to attempt to rebuild and got an Elvish Visionary which drew him into a Devoted druid. Labrunna vomited a pair of Figures of Destiny alongside another Knight of Meadowgrain to fill his side out with a trio of lethal creatures.

Malin frowned. He had the pieces, but he didn't seem to have the time. He played a Ranger of Eos with a green mana floating and got himself a Nettle Sentinel and a Heritage Druid. He played both and passed the turn with his Visionary, Sentinel, Ranger, and Heritage Druid untapped. Labrunna attacked with his team. Malin, sitting at two life, had to block everything. He chose to untap his Devoted Druid and use it, the Visionary, and his Ranger of Eos to stand in front of the horde. He even made sure to add a second counter to his Devoted Druid to kill it before the lifelink could trigger from the Knight of Meadowgrain.

Malin was left with a Heritage Druid and a Nettle Sentinel in play and three Regal Forces in hand. All he needed was an Elf of any kind to start dropping the Forces into play. He drew his card and then conceded the game, flashing me his freshly minted quads.

Leonardo Labrunna 1 – Antti Malin 1

Malin started the final game off with a bit of a stumble, but he's proven that his deck can win off of mulligans before. Labrunna tried to cheer him up by pointing out that mulliganning to five has already resulted in a win once, but Malin didn't seem too comforted. He seemed less so when he had no one drop, and Labrunna came crashing down with the ideal Goldmeadow Stalwart into Knight of Meadowgrain opening. A Wizened Cenn before his next attack threatened to end this game early, especially considering that Malin's only creatures were a pair of Elvish Visionaries. He snagged his combo pieces with a Ranger of Eos, but with the addition of a Glorious Anthem, Labrunna's board looked insurmountable.

Thinking of things from Malin's perspective, he had the pieces in hand, and a turn to play with, but he really didn't want to have to lose any elves. He was going to need all the mana he could muster if he was going to stage a coup. After doing some quick combat and mana math, Malin looked like a man resigned to his fate as he ultimately dropped the lone Ranger in front of the Wizened Cenn. He was going to go for it.

The Nettle Sentinel and Heritage Druid came into play first. With the start of the combo assembled, Malin went to work. The first thing he did was cast a Primal Command, getting himself seven life, a Regal Force, and a meek, “oh no,” from Labrunna. A Commune With Nature found him a very important second Nettle Sentinel, and he passed the turn at eleven life, staring down at a pair of 3/3s. Malin chose the safe route and used his now considerably less useful Elvish Visionary to save himself three life in case Labrunna chose to Wrath of God post-combat. When he simply added more creatures to his board, things started to look really good for Malin. At least as good as they can when you're staring down four massive creatures.

A second Ranger of Eos found him a second set of combo pieces which made their way into play amidst a flurry of tapping elves. After Malin had three Sentinels and a pair of Heritage druids in play, he played his last card: the Regal Force he had searched for with the Primal Command. That filled him up to seven cards. He got a few more creatures into play before playing another Regal Force and drawing yet more cards.

Malin gets trigger happy.

About this time, the round ended. While Malin was clearly now in the drivers' seat, his opponent was at 30 life, which Malin now had only two attack steps to blow through. He played some more guys and drew some more cards, essentially getting every creature he wanted into play. I'm not going to lie, at some point, Malin had every card in his deck either in play or in his hand. He may have had a few cards of his opponent's deck, too, I dunno. I kinda lost track. After blacking out for a bit to the tune of “X mana in pool...this trigger resolves...I draw a Brazilian cards...this trigger resolves...” At some point, I realized that Malin was going to win by putting most of Labrunna's permanents on top of his deck before attacking for the win. Labrunna saw this too and promptly conceded. After his concession, the fiercely passionate Brazilian crowd around him broke into a Portuguese football-style song. At this point, Malin leaned into me and asked what was going on. I just smiled back and responded in the only way I knew how.

“Bem vindo ao Brasil.”

Leonardo Labrunna 1 – Antti Malin 2

Blog: 14:02 – Bem Vindos Ao Brasil!

by Nate Price

What do you think of when you hear the country Brazil?

For me, it's soccer, beaches, endless amounts of meat served by men in funny pants, and the country's chief export: gorgeous women. Something else I have come to associate with it, especially apparent after Grand Prix – Buenos Aires last year, is an incredibly rich Magic community. I snagged a couple of minutes with a few of the faces of Brazilian Magic to discuss living and gaming in Brazil.

The last time I sat across the table from Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa in South America, he and a veritable army of Brazilian players had made the trek south to turn Grand Prix-Buenos Aires into an effective home game. This time around, it really is a home game as this Grand Prix is a short flight from his home of Porto Alegre in Rio Grande do Sul.

Usually, I get in a day or two before the event to get acclimated to the environment and have a chance to enjoy myself sightseeing and immersing myself in the local culture. Last year, I went on a whirlwind tour of Buenos Aires with some American compatriots that involved a visit to the leather district and a lesson about the tango.

This year, my flight got cancelled, and I didn't arrive until the middle of round one. Sigh. According to Damo da Rosa, though, I didn't miss a whole lot. “The nightlife here isn't too bad, but Sao Paulo is really a business city...If you want a really good time, you need to head to Rio de Janeiro or to the northeast. That's where all the really beautiful beaches are. Rio's mainly got the tourist stuff.”

We had a fun little moment when I asked him to describe what Brazil is really known for around the world. After all, America is known for it's overweight, abrasive cowboys (not quite sure where that comes from). Paulo didn't even skip a beat before spouting out “Soccer,” which was the first thing I wrote down. Brazil is almost synonymous with soccer, especially if you don't follow it. It takes a lot to be the face of something to people who don't follow that something. Kind of like the Yankees in baseball.

After a bit more though, he came up with the beaches here, which were the second things on my list. As you head to the northwest, near the Caribbean border of Brazil, the beaches get finer and more luscious. It borders on the Amazon and the rainforested areas, so there's a plethora of wildlife in the area as well. It's quite the sight to behold for you nature lovers out there, though I don't recommend going without a guide.

After letting him know he was two for two on my list, a sly smile crept over his face as he said, “I guess women, too.” At this point, I could barely contain my laughter, because it is so true. Adriana Lima. Gisele Bundchen. Something like 7 of the top twenty models in the world come from Brazil. It's like they freaking genetically engineer them here. It was the same way in Argentina last year. All I have to say is that after these two trips, I'm seriously considering moving to South America. It must be something in the water.

When he couldn't come up with anything else, I brought up the churrascaria. “That's my state,” he exclaimed. Apparently, Rio Grande do Sol is one of the birthplaces of the churrascaria style of restaurant that my stomach has come to love and respect. There is a Fogo di Chao within walking distance of our hotel. At least on the way there. I may be too full to walk to the parking lot after leaving. If you don't know what this style of restaurant is, I'm not going to spoil it for you. Let's just say it's like red light/green light. With delicious steak. Yum!

After briefly indulging my stomach, da Rosa pursed his lips and got a far-off look. When he came back to me, he had one more thing that, if Brazil isn't known for, it should be. “There are people from everywhere here. Europeans, Japanese, Americans...You can find anyone here.” Despite this incredible diversity, you will never find a more closely knit group of Magic players than here in Brazil. There are three major groups of players in Brazil: one here in Sao Paulo, one to the south and a last to the north, but they all communicate and cheer each other on. It's a common occurrence after a feature match for calls and songs to echo across the event hall, regardless of the outcome of the match. They have even found reason to celebrate in losing. The energy is palpable.

The one