Grand Prix São Paulo 2017 Day One Highlights

Posted in Event Coverage on August 12, 2017

By Chapman Sim

Exactly 1,200 players from around the Latin America Geo-Region gathered in São Paulo to compete in Modern Constructed, with Hour of Devastation in the mix! After nine rounds of Modern action, only 328 players remain. Before we watch Day Two unravel and unfold, let's check out the highlights of Day One!

You Wouldn't Get This From Any Other Guy

Never had someone been such a dominant force in all of South America. Going to the World Championship at the tender age of 14, 1st-ranked Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa displayed early signs of promise and talent. To transform into a household name was unsurprising for a man of his stature. Give and take, Damo da Rosa's career spanned around 15 years and he showed no signs of slowing down.


1st-ranked Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa at Pro Tour Hour of Devastation

You might think that Damo da Rosa had already done it all when he was elected into the Pro Tour Hall of Fame in 2012 , but he continued to dazzle the world by winning both Pro Tour Hour of Devastation and 2016 - 17 Player of the Year titles on the same weekend. Up till last month, no South American player had ever claimed the Player of the Year title and Damo da Rosa's victory also made him the tenth person to win multiple Pro Tours. Never had the debate of whether he might be the second player been so heated. Going up to twelve Pro Tour Top 8s, he surpassed Kai Budde in terms of number of Pro Tour Top 8s, while he trailed Jon Finkel by four. To be even part of this well-natured controversy was simply a testament and affirmation of Damo da Rosa's long list of accomplishments.

Let it be known that Damo da Rosa's path to Magic mastery took the total effort of his heart, mind, and soul working together in tandem. You have to realise that the road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same but it is important to understand that success comes after failure. Down to the wire, Damo da Rosa had only victory in his mind. Never for a second did he think of giving up, not even when he faced lethal damage in elimination rounds at Kyoto.


Damo da Rosa kicked off the 2017 - 18 season with a 7-2 start in Day One.

Going forward, Damo da Rosa had big goals for the upcoming season. To prepare for the upcoming World Magic Cup and the World Championship, his work began today at Grand Prix Sao Paulo where he got in some practice for Modern, while trying his very best to defend his victory from Grand Prix Sao Paulo 2015. Run for the money, at the very least.

Around the same time tomorrow, we'll see if Damo da Rosa had managed to break into the Top 8. And, if he does, Damo da Rosa will be nothing less than the hot favourite to win it all. Desert or no desert, Damo da Rosa can still work wonders, and he will be the most heavily-watched player this weekend. You just need to stay tuned!

Momir Basic: Paper Edition

The term "format" simply refers to different ways of playing Magic . With so many ways to play such as Standard, Booster Draft, Commander, you'll be surprised to find that there are even more ways to play Magic than you can imagine. Today, in Sao Paulo, we discovered a bunch of Magic enthusiasts trying their hand at Momir Basic - on paper!

While not all 9,000 creatures were represented, the beauty of this casual format is that the biggest barrier to entry (aside from multicoloured card protectors) is proactivity!

Owning your own Momir Basic "Cube" is not difficult, and it can begin from a forgotten stash of old cards or recent commons and/or uncommons. You can pretty much play with whatever you have on hand and then supplement the card pool as you go along. Your group of friends might have some cards they don't need and decide to pool resources together. Like a Cube, you can even design your Momir Basic "Cube" around certain themes, such as Pauper, Tribal, or even based around a particular plane you like!

The point is, the Brazilians are having fun and we don't think you should be missing out!

Bring Your Ladies (And Your Babies)!

When it comes to games, it has traditionally been the men's playground. However, just because it was the norm decades ago does not mean that it is necessarily the same today. Even the Olympics started out as an all-male sporting event, but fast-forward to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, it was the first Olympics where every participating country included female athletes. The clashing dynamics between the sexes cannot be resolved overnight, nor will our gaming venues be suddenly occupied by an equal number of ladies.

However, if anything, the truth is... gamer boys - in general - enjoy having gamer girls around them. It may not always be as obvious as the elephant in the room but the modern generation of Magic players are embracing the influx of ladies.


Delver of Secrets working his charm on two Lilianas.

On August 3, Brian David-Marshall shared the story of Tina Dahl's first-time experience at the Pro Tour. Together with Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir Champion Martin Dang (her boyfriend), they headed for the Grand Prix and Pro Tour in Kyoto, followed by a two-week traverse around Japan.

Due to the Pro Tour's exclusivity, there will be millions of players who will never get this opportunity, men and women included. If you think girls can't compete at the highest level of Magic, I implore you to think twice. Thrice, actually. There were three female competitors at Pro Tour Hour of Devastation.


Melissa DeTora and Maria Bartholdi making Magic history.

Also, at Grand Prix Minneapolis 2017 last week, Magic history was made when Melissa DeTora was paired with Maria Bartholdi in the booth, making it the first time two women were paired together in both coverage commentator slots, as described in Michael Major's article published only yesterday.

With the rapid rise of technology and accessibility to games, just as many females play games as males as reported and statisticized by numerous credible sources. Gamers come in all ages, from all backgrounds.

Taking the example of Meggie Fornazari, she had been playing Magic for a long time and was not much less of a Magic enthusiast than you are. Currently in the process of completing her doctorate in Translation, she found some time to dress up as Liliana Vess and even took part in a Two-Headed Giant tournament with her husband, Volnei.

I believe many will agree that this experience or special bond is an enviable one, to be able to share Magic: The Gathering with your significant other and/or loved ones. Luiz Michielli, one of the tournament organisers this weekend, further demonstrated just how blissful it is to not only be surrounded by Magic, but also friends and family.

In the world of Magic, we talk about Magic cards, mechanics, artwork, and its accompanying pop culture as though we talk about everyday topics, such as TV, food, or the news. We even have our own memes, inside jokes, and a celebrity grapevine. While I cannot guarantee that there are no bad apples in any given community, the point is we do have a zero tolerance policy on unsporting conduct and/or harassment, which means that every Magic tournament should be a safe haven for anyone. Regardless of gender, we should treat our opponent just like any other respectable Magic player. We may have beat around the bush a little, but these little stories deliver a common message.

It honestly doesn't matter if you're a good player, or a bad player, or a boy, or a girl. What's most important is that we're all good people who speak the same language and can truly appreciate a good Diabolic Tutor reenactment.


Fornazari and Brazil Community Manager Carolina Moraes, and of course Liliana and Chandra.

The Promising Hour of Promise

Going into this weekend, it looked like Grixis Shadow, Abzan Company, and various Eldrazi decks were among the top three most popular decks. However, Red-Green ramp strategies have also surged in popularity, both in Birmingham as well as Sao Paulo. Aside from being a relatively-straightforward deck to pilot, it was also capable of unstoppable wins. Today, numerous players showed up with a new twist on an old favourite, Titan Shift.


Carlos Alexandre dos Santos Esteves, or "_Batutinha_" on Magic Online

Known as "_Batutinha_" on Magic Online, Carlos Alexandre dos Santos Esteves had long been one of the greatest influencers in the digital world. Often posting strong results in Premier Events or Dailies, Santos Esteves always had a keen eye on the evolving metagame. Essentially, what the deck tries to do is to use ramp spells such as Farseek, Sakura-Tribe Elder, and Search for Tomorrow, to accelerate into Primeval Titan or to arrive at seven or eight lands to cast a game-winning Scapeshift. Because he also had Summoner's Pact, this opened up his sideboard to a few singleton options, such that he could access them as though he had multiple copies!

To further supplement that plan, Santos Esteves added Hour of Promise, perhaps one of the most promising cards from Hour of Devastation. To see a five-costed card make an appearance in Modern was an uncommon sight. Since it can search for any land, you could always grab a pair of Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle. From that point, barring pesky Spreading Seas, Tectonic Edges, or Ghost Quarters, it will be easy to close the game when every Mountain you play is worth six damage.

Pro Tour Hall of Famer Willy Edel might not be competing this weekend (he's running the show!), but he weighed in and agreed that it was the real deal. "Hour of Promise is like a Primeval Titan for five mana. However, you can cast Hour of Promise on turn three, something you could never do with Primeval Titan. With Prismatic Omen, turn-four kills are also possible. It's definitely quite good!"

Oh, I forgot one important detail. Santos Esteves went 9-0 today!

Guilherme Lundgren's Grixis Shadow

Grand Prix São Paulo 2017 – Day One

Danilo Ramos Mopesto's Grixis Shadow

Grand Prix São Paulo 2017 – Day One

Carlos Alexander Esteves's Titan Shift

Grand Prix São Paulo 2017 – Day One

Day One's 9-0 Players

Of the 1,200 players, only three survived Day One with the perfect 9-0 record. Although we will be seeing more of them tomorrow, let's take a few minutes to get to know them.


From left: Guilherme Lundgren, Danilo Ramos Mopesto, and Carlos Alexandre dos Santos Esteves

The first player, Guilherme Lundgren is from Recife, Pernambuco and this was his second Grand Prix. A Grixis-player at heart, he started playing Grixis Delver when Kolaghan's Command was printed. Since then, he moved on to Grixis Control and pretty much stuck to the same colors ever since. Due to his busy schedule, he had to step away from the game for over six months.

"The first time I played at a Grand Prix was in Porto Alegre in 2015. It was also Modern Constructed. I didn't make Day Two that time, so I am definitely happy to go 9-0 today. In fact, I only started playing less than a month ago. I did some research and I was happy to find out that I had most of the components to build one of the strongest decks. Plus, I have experience with the Grixis staples so I decided to come with Grixis Shadow".

The second player, Danilo Ramos Mopesto was also piloting Grixis Shadow, and arrived from Londrina, Paraná. Playtesting with eight other players for a few days, Ramos Mopesto's card choices were only finalised yesterday.

"I arrived on Monday and I stayed at Thiago Saporito's place. We're really close friends and we've played a couple of Team Grand Prix together. In fact, Thiago was 8-0 and could have been undefeated together with me if he didn't lose Round 9. Paulo (Vitor Damo da Rosa) arrived yesterday and we spent some time discussing our lists and sideboard plan. In the end, I went with the exact 75 as he is playing today. I feel really good about the list, especially when I am playing the same deck as Paulo."

Just as Ramos Mopesto was sharing his story with me, Carlos Alexandre dos Santos Esteves showed up next to us. It turned out that Santos Esteves was part of Ramos Modesto's squad who practiced together! While we can't spill the beans just yet, we will definitely share with you their decklists at the end of Day Two! For now, let's head for our bedposts and we'll see you again tomorrow!

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