At the beginning of the weekend, speculation was rampant about the eventual results of GP Buenos Aires. Dave Williams said Steve OMS would win, Alex Shvartsman said Mike Pustilnik would win, and none of the Latin Americans were willing to concede that the Americans had a chance of taking a tourney that was being held on their turf.
In one of the most wide open fields the Extended format as ever seen, more than a dozen archetypes were considered to be just as viable as the next, and in the end, one happy, fun-loving Mexican left them all in his dust.
Hugo Araiza, recently and infectiously dubbed "Ocho" has won GP Buenos Aires. Surpassing American stars and Latin American hobbyists alike, it was the 27 year old from Mexico City to led the tourney the whole way, playing his Pandeburst deck to a 10-0 start before breezing through the finals.
Perhaps the even bigger story here was the performance of the Americans. Expecting themselves to dominate, not one US Native was able to crack the Top 8, with Mike Pustilnik and his Trix deck coming closest with a 9th place finish. Alex Shvartsman played for the Top 8 in the final round of the swiss, but even the King of the GP couldn't prevail, with his Hatred deck disappointing.
Also important to note is how successful the beatdown strategy was here. While Araiza played Replenish, half of the top 64 played aggressive beatdown decks, with Counter-Sliver being he most popular of them all. The top 64 featured mono color decks of all five colors, five color decks and even some fun decks including Auratog Survival and Welkin-Weenie.
Held in downtown Buenos Aires' Centrol Cultural Borges, the tournament attracted 314 players which, considering that GP Florence was also happening this weekend, has to be considered a success. With players from Argentina, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Mexico, the US and New Zealand, it featured an international field, and gave the South Americans the rare opportunity to experience big time tourney play. Expect the result of this success to be a huge turnout at GP Rio de Janeiro, being held in March 2001. We'll be there to bring you all the details, and we hope you enjoyed following BA's progress as much as we enjoyed bringing it to you. Goodbye from Buenos Aires