Day 2 Coverage

Posted in Event Coverage on September 19, 2010


Sunday, 9.07am – Drafting with Rafael Mendonca

by Rich Hagon

(In order to be fair to the players, this piece and the following round seven feature match were withheld from publication overnight. These events did, of course, happen yesterday!)

Confidence can be an awesome things. Just imagine, you've made the top 8 of Nationals four times. You're unbeaten in Standard. You've just 3-0'd your first Draft pod. Only one other player in the room has an unbeaten record. And now you get to draft M11 again. You know, the one you've just annihilated. Then again, things can go wrong fast in draft, so Rafael Mendonca wasn't counting too many chickens as he sat down for the second draft examination of the day.

Rafael Mendonca, passing to good friend Nicolas Damian.

Blinding Mage was an easy first pick, while Unsummon clearly wasn't pick two from a weak pack. Even so, Unsummon? You'd have to feel miserable about that so early. Those first two picks appeared to establish him in blue-white, at least in his mind, since he was able to pick from those two colors throughout the key picks of pack one. Mana Leak, Augury Owl, and a pair of Cloud Elementals represented blue, while an early-draft Squadron Hawk promised backup later, and Excommunicate joined the white. A late Phantom Beast might also make the team.

Into pack two, and a Steel Overseer opened things up, with a second Blinding Mage right behind it. Then came an awkward Armored Ascension, a fantastic card in a heavy white deck, but less optimal in a blue deck with a white component. Still, even +2+2 and flying isn't terrible. Safe Passage, Ice Cage, and Mana Leak were up next, with Glacial Fortress the perfect mana smoother.

Then came the most entertaining moment of the draft. We're used to seeing players slam dunk opening picks. When you get a Grave Titan, or a Baneslayer Angel, or a fourth Traumatize, it's hard not to pump the fist. That doesn't often happen pick eight, but it happened here. Mendonca looked at seven very average cards (think Ornithopter, Nature's Spiral, Fiery Hellhound, Jace's Erasure...) and a card that took him about a tenth of a second to pick with a slam. The card? Pyroclasm. As in the sentence, 'Wow, just look at all my one and two toughness monsters. I'm going to die in a heap of fiery death if anyone has one of those, so you ain't getting one of these bad boys. Ever.' Hence the slam dunk.

In fact, one of the notable features of Mendonca's drafting style was how carefully he chose the late picks that were going to be the worst for him to play against. It's not that Goblin Piker, or Elixir of Immortality, or Goblin Tunneler, would necessarily be good against him. It's just that they would be better against him than anything else left in the booster. Fundamentals at work.

Pack three opened with more awkwardness as the super-white Armored Ascension could have been joined by the super-white Honor of the Pure. The math told him he didn't have enough white to justify it, and took Infantry Veteran instead. I think of picks like this as 'disciplined'. The small child inside wants to splurge white everywhere and take the Honor of the Pure, while the cold, calculating, tax-paying grown-up tells you to play the percentages and take one of the most irritating little cards to play against in the set.

Mendonca and Damian seem happy with the draft.

By the end, Mendonca had put together a solid deck. It wasn't super-powerful – there were no Mind Controls in this one – but he sure wasn't about to 0-3 with it either. And when you've started out at 6-0, confidence can take you a long way.

Feature Match: Round Seven - Rafael Mendonca versus Eduardo Lopes

by Rich Hagon

Only two players remain with a perfect record after six rounds, and now those perfect records get put at risk. If Rafael Mendonca can make it to the top 8, he will have done so for an incredible fifth time. Equally incredibly, he has yet to win a quarter final. That would be the cue for a Marijn Lybaert reference, if the likeable Belgian hadn't spoiled it by winning his Pro Tour Amsterdam quarter final.

Eduardo Lopes

On the other side of the table, Lopes has also been to the top 8, reaching the elimination rounds in 2007.

Mendonca opened with a timely Infantry Veteran turn one, with a turn three Cloud Elemental meeting Condemn from Lopes on turn four. Augury Owl set up forthcoming draws for Mendonca, while Sylvan Ranger ensured the green-white mage Lopes wouldn't soon run out of land. With a 23-15 lead, Mendonca added Air Servant to the battlefield, with Lopes sticking to the ground with Spined Wurm.

Six more flying damage powered through, and Cloud Elemental added to the pressure. Mendonca was happy to take six on the ground, comfortably winning the race in the skies. Mitotic Slime wouldn't change things too much, with Mendonca 17-9 ahead. That became 17-2 ahead when Cloud Elemental and Air Servant attacked, with Infantry Veteran pumping the Elemental.

In piled Lopes, but it was an empty gesture, the air force taking it down for Mendonca.

Rafael Mendonca 1 – 0 Eduardo Lopes.

Mendonca's opening hand was intriguing for game two. Two Plains, two Blinding Mage, Excommunicate, Cloud Elemental, and Air Servant. With an early Island, he could be in great shape. He needed the Blinding Mages early, as Lopes had the optimal turn two Garruk's Companion, with Sylvan Ranger next. The second Blinding Mage came online, with Mendonca adding an Infantry Veteran that would probably be hanging around minding its own business for a while.

At another time, Spined Wurm would have looked good for Lopes, especially as Mendonca had failed to find any blue mana, stuck on three Plains. The game became like pulling teeth, with Lopes trying to get through the double Blinding Mage trap, and Mendonca trying to find blue mana, somewhere, anywhere. He invested his meagre resources in a Steel Overseer, and then spent a turn on Excommunicate for the Spined Wurm. Lopes, however, had brought flying into the equation, with Stormfront Pegasus arriving, joined by the replayed Spined Wurm.

Rafael Mendonca

Finally Mendonca found an Island, setting things up with Augury Owl. Spined Wurm and Garruk's Companion both got tapped down, and Mendonca joked that he was more than happy to trade Augury Owl for Stormfront Pegasus. Lopes declined.

Now mana was flowing for Mendonca, who had five – enough for a Cloud Elemental with double Blinding Mage activation available. Lopes cast Serra Angel, and the awkward game looked set to continue, as befits a 6-0 slugfest at the end of a looooong day one. Condemn took out Steel Overseer. Top tip boys and girls – one of the reasons that green-white can be hard to pull off successfully is that you have so few ways to deal with a Blinding Mage. Let alone two of them. Quadruple Hornet Sting, anyone?

It may have taken 4,000 turns to find blue mana, but those Blinding Mages had bought Mendonca those turns. An army of flyers now confronted Lopes, who also knew that his first two candidates for blocking duty might well be Blinded by the light. It took a few turns more for the death knell to sound, but the turn two-turn three Blinding Mages were more than enough.

Rafael Mendonca 2 – 0 Eduardo Lopes.

Sunday, 10.45am. – A Ton of Rounds, A Ton of Money

by Rich Hagon
Carlos Romão

For the 2002 World Champion Carlos Romão, things didn't go very well on day one. In fact, that's being generous – they were awful. After just one win in five rounds, Romão was done for the weekend. Still, it's been a good year so far for the big guy, with a superb month that saw him make the top 8 of Grand Prix Washington DC, and, even more significantly, win a Magic Online Championship Series. That victory gives him the right to participate in a truly awesome online competition at Worlds in Chiba later this year.

Although Carlos can't now be part of the Brazilian team at Worlds, the workload is still going to be substantial. While all the formats for both real-life and digital versions of Worlds have yet to be announced, the schedule could look something like this:

Day One – Six rounds of Standard. Four rounds of Magic Online Classic format.

Day Two – Six rounds of Draft. Three rounds of Magic Online draft.

Day Three – Six rounds of Extended. Four rounds of Magic Online Standard.

Day Four – Quarter final, semi final, World Championship final, Magic Online semi final, Magic Online Championship final.

By my reckoning, that's thirty four high-level, high-pressure matches in four days. Just imagine if you had to squeeze six team rounds into that as well. One thing's for sure: there's not going to be a lot of down time for Romão. And what's his view, as he starts preparing for that massive gaming effort in Japan?

Romão wins Worlds in 2002.

'I genuinely think this is going to be the real breakout year for Magic Online players. Obviously, everyone is aware of Brad Nelson, who, as fffreak became famous online before he made the leap to real-life success. But there are a lot of really good players online, and it's going to be incredibly tough to win the Online Championships. Here in Brazil we have a lot of really talented online players – we have the first two players in the Online Player of the Year Race – and I think we're going to see them come to the fore at the Pro Tour very soon.'

And what about that incredibly taxing schedule, that could see him criss-cross formats through four dizzying days of gaming?

'For a chance at $75,000, I'm willing to play a LOT of Magic' he says, with his trademark smile.

Sunday, 11.52am – Yum Yum Yum

by Rich Hagon

I'm a picky eater. That's why I'm so thin. Well, ok, I am indeed a picky eater, but in reality, that's why I'm not so thin. And Brazilian steakhouses weren't designed to help me lose weight. On Friday night, I had the opportunity to visit one of these fine establishments in the company of not one, but two, Brazilian Pro Tour Champions, together with possible winners of the future.

The first thing to remember about the Brazilian steakhouse is to start small. There is a salad bar with literally dozens of exotic options, plus soups, goulash, bread, cheese, cold meats. Trust your uncle Rich, if meat is your thing then this is the correct salad course:

Yep, half a crouton and a smidgeon of cheese to wash it down with. Next come all sorts of tasty little appetizers, direct to the table. I'm still not completely convinced that everything in this little parcel was meat, but it sure tasted like it, and that's the important thing.

Then it's down to the real reason you go to these places – endless meat. It's like Endless Love, but without Lionel Ritchie. Don't be alarmed by this next picture. Although Pedro Motta (left) and Jonathan Melamed (right) look as though they're about to be served some chicken, in reality they're about to be carved into tiny pieces by the knife-wielding maniac in the middle. So that's all right then.

It's important not to be too zealous about the 100% meat vibe. After all, some food groups have Honorary Meat status. Take Polenta, for example.

This is basically deep-fried, er, Stuff. But because it's deep-fried, God won't mind if you grant it Honorary Meat status, and eat the living daylights out of it.

The restaurant operates a 'traffic light' system. Whether it's 'sim, por favor' or 'yes please', the message is the same in any language: 'Please render me incapable of walking for the next three days.'

An argument ensued over exactly what these things were. Were they deep-fried mozarella? Deep-fried provolone? Deep-fried edam? I took no part in this debate. I had quickly discovered the fundamental point: It's cheese. Deep-fried. Deep-fried cheese. Stop talking, and start eating.

To be honest, as a true meat lover, I thought I'd probably tried everything a dead chicken has to offer. Apparently not. As the next knife-wielding maniac hoved into view, I discovered the joy of chicken heart. Not still beating, but you can't have everything.

Eventually of course, the fun has to stop. Whilst I freely acknowledge that Carlos Romão has probably had some experience at putting away this kind of thing, I was devastated to discover that the vastly-smaller-than-me Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa was still going. He'd had a huge salad. And appetizers. He'd had the breads, and the soups, and the goulash, and the deep-fried everything. And he was still going. What was this, his weekly meal?

Quite possibly. He still had room for all these, as they say...

I'd had an amazing evening, and anyone who tells you that Brazilians are warm and friendly are 100% right. Here's the team:

Clockwise: Rafael Coqueiro, Carlos Romão, Guilherme Vieira, Pedro Motta, Jonathan Melamed, Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, Felipe Pellegrini.

How much food had I got through? Well, let's put it like this. When I went in, I was wearing a Medium t-shirt. When I left, it was XXXL...

Good times.

Feature Match: Round Nine - Willy Edel versus Paulo Ricardo diniz Kai Mota

by Rich Hagon

At six wins and two losses, the winner here will have a good shot at the top 8 once we head back to Standard for the final three rounds. The loser will be at the point where a keen interest in the tiebreak standings starts to occur.

Paulo Ricardo diniz Kai Mota

Paulo has only played at one Nationals before, in 2006, where he made the top half of the field. Needless to say, he's doing rather better this time. As for his opponent, it's safe to say he has a rather fuller career history. Three successive Pro Tour top 8s.

Mota opened with Llanowar Elves, and, ever the Pro, Edel had Hornet Sting to stunt the mana producer. Nature's Spiral returned the Elves to hand for Mota, while Edel had another solid turn two play with Garruk's Companion. It was clear that Mota was all about the mana acceleration early, as he used turn three to Cultivate, allowing Edel to deal the first damage of the match with Garruk's Companion.

Five mana meant Armored Cancrix for Mota, while Edel activated a Forest with Awakener Druid, before he too laid Llanowar Elves. While Edel appeared to be mono-green, Mota was definitely blue-green, casting Foresee, and being happy to draw two of the four cards he saw. Down came his initial Llanowar Elves once more, and it was back to Edel, who used his 1/1 to power out Spined Wurm. That Wurm was trumped, however, by Mota's version – a 7/7 trampling Duskdale Wurm.

Settling in for the long game, Edel had Garruk's Packleader, which could generate decent card advantage over time. Mota's version of the long game involved emptying his hand, with Crystal Ball, Brindle Boar, and Warlord's Axe hitting play. That wouldn't break a stall, and nor would a second Spined Wurm from Edel.

Setting your Stall out.

Mota's next play, a Prized Unicorn, had stall-breaker written all over it.

Acidic Slime nuked Edel's 4/5 Forest, and Mota looked at the math of a Unicorn-fuelled beating, but passed. The thing was, Edel was most certainly NOT mono-green. He had a hand full of red cards, and if he could only find a red source of mana, that Prized Unicorn could turn into a disgusting blowout against Mota. But – and there's always a but – Edel still had no red.

Back to Mota, back to crunching the numbers. He added Sacred Wolf to the team, and passed once more.

Edel....found his red source.

Mota equipped the Duskdale Wurm with Warlord's Axe....I could hardly bear to watch...carcrash Magic....Mota attacked with everything, and Edel used Lightning Bolt on the Prized Unicorn. You know how combat favors the blocking team? Well, Edel still had to trade Spined Wurm and Garruk's Companion for the Duskdale Wurm, but Garruk's Packleader got to eat Sacred Wolf, Spined Wurm offed Armored Cancrix, Acidic Slime traded for a pair of 1/1s, and, after a lot fo deep breaths, Edel had Spined Wurm and Garruk's Packleader against Brindle Boar and Llanowar Elves, albeit with Warlord's Axe and Crystal Ball to offer Mota artifact help.


With Volcanic Strength on the Packleader, Edel was able to attack for eleven, dropping Mota to just six. At least Brindle Boar could bring him some breathing room. Diminish on the Packleader didn't allow Llanowar Elves to trade – the Packleader was still a 3/3 thanks to Volcanic Strength – and Mota was still digging for answers. Was a 6/6 Protean Hydra such an answer? Well, it traded two-for-one at least, but it wasn't about to deliver total shenanigans.

With Crystal Ball helping along, Mota found Greater Basilisk, and then Sylvan Ranger, prompting Edel to ask whether Mota even had any land left to find! The Axe landed on the Basilisk, and attacked Edel for six, leaving the scores at seven to six. Chandra's Outrage killed the Ranger, dropping Mota to four, but Edel had nothing on the battlefield to get in the way. Another six came through with the Basilisk, and Mota added insurance with Birds of Paradise, finishing the turn with Sorceror's Strongbox.

At least Edel had Plummet for the Birds of Paradise, meaning Sylvan Ranger, while not what Edel wanted, would at least buy him a turn. Mota failed to pick the lock on Sorceror's Strongbox, but it didn't matter. Without the aid of a Crystal Ball, Edel found land on top of his deck, and a marathon game one was at an end.

Edel 0 – 1 Mota

Willy Edel

Edel needed help after a mulligan to six. He found it with Llanowar Elves and Sylvan Ranger, effectively avoiding mana issues. As we entered the mid-game, Mota had Greater Basilisk and Acidic Slime, while Edel had a Yavimaya Wurm, which he elected to trade for the Basilisk. His Spined Wurm followup looked good, while Mota added Sacred Wolf and Prized Unicorn to the table.

Having played both Yavimaya Wurm and Spined Wurm, Garruk's Packleader probably wasn't as potent as Edle would have liked. Nature's Spiral brought the Greater Basilisk back for Mota, leaving Edel no effective attack. He nodded dispiritedly when Mota found Crystal Ball, the card that had effectively won him the first game. Spined Wurm traded for the Basilisk, but trades were fine for Mota, who would outdraw Edel in a protracted struggle.

Knowing this, Edel aimed Lava Axe at Mota's head, which saw Mota at eight. It wasn't long, though, before defence was the order of the day, as Mota ran out Duskdale Wurm. As things stood, a Prized Unicorn-led attack would be lethal. Shiv's Embrace on Llanowar Elves dropped Mota to five, but, as long as he saw it, the win was on the battlefield.

He saw it.

Willy Edel 0 – 2 Paulo Ricardo diniz Kai Mota

Sunday, 12.05pm – Spot the Pro

by Rich Hagon

One of my favorite things about travelling with Magic is the moment when you find a Magic player in an unexpected spot, doing something completely different. Example: Walking around Carrefour supermarket the day before Worlds 2006 in Paris, I turn a corner (dog food) into an aisle (frozen meat counter), and there, before my very eyes, are the complete Brazilian team! They too were busy discovering the joy of 5 litre bottles of soda for very little money, and all the bread you can eat. (For the French, a choice between a baguette and a beautiful woman is a really tough metagame call. Bless them.)

Here at Brazilian Nationals, however, there are some faces that you really wouldn't expect to see. At a Magic event? Sure. At this particular Magic event? Very, very strange.

(Please note: Reading this piece without a keen sense of irony could seriously damage your world view. Reader discretion advised.)

At Pro Tour Amsterdam last month, Michael Jacob was busy taking his Grixis Control deck all the way to the semi finals. I had no idea what he was doing at Brazilian Nationals, but there he was...

Michael Jacob. At Brazil Nationals. Possibly.

Sam Black joined Michael Jacob and Paul Cheon to become team World Champions in 2008. I knew that Sam was a talented player, and I knew that he was a talented writer, but I had no idea he was also a Judge...

Sam Black. At Brazil Nationals. Allegedly.

Whilst it's great to spot one pro, the prize definitely has to go to my final snapshot. Not one, not two, but three great Magic players, all gathered together at Brazilian Nationals 2010. On the right, it's Pro Tour Honolulu 2006 Champion Mark Herberholz. On his left, it's US Pro Ben Lundquist. And, lurking in the background, none other than Pro Tour Yokohama 2007 Champion, Guillaume Wafo-Tapa. Now what on Earth were they all doing?

Mark Herberholz. Ben Lundquist. Guillaume Wafo-Tapa. All at Brazil Nationals. Seriously.

Probably getting ready to team draft against PV, Willy, and Carlos. Obviously.

Feature Match: Round Ten - Nicolas Damian versus Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

by Rich Hagon
Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

Back in Standard, da Rosa was quickly back to mana issues. Seven cards, gone. Six cards, gone. Five cards, a single Swamp, and that's it. He found Raging Ravine on turn three, while Damian had all the mana in the world, with Sejiri Steppe, Island, two Forests, Noble Hierarch, Birds of Paradise...

That lot fed Garruk Wildspeaker. Not good for da Rosa. Primeval Titan was up next for Damian, and even when Paulo had a Terminate, Damian was ready with Mana Leak. Maelstrom Pulse finally got rid of the Titan, but a comeback from here was going to be really unlikely, as Garruk was at ultimate loyalty, and Damian had plenty of creatures. He also had Mana Leak for a second Maelstrom Pulse. Then he had lethal damage. Then he was 1-0 up.

Nicolas Damian 1 – 0 Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

With reluctance, da Rosa kept his opening seven. He opened on turn two Putrid Leech, which met Celestial Purge. Mana built for both players, until Damian unleashed Vengevine. That met Bituminous Blast, Cascading into a free Putrid Leech for da Rosa, who by now had Bloodbraid Elf in play, whiffing on the Cascade.

Nicolas Damian

For the second time in the game, Celestial Purge was ready for the Putrid Leech, failing to get aggressive. What did change things were a pair of five casting cost bombs. Da Rosa had Sarkhan the Mad, delivering 5/5 flying goodness, while Damian also had 5/5 flying goodness, this time a Baneslayer Angel. He returned Vengevine to play, leaving da Rosa to successfully cast Maelstrom Pulse, something he'd failed to do in game one. The Baneslayer was gone.

Both players were assembling an army, not least in the land department, where da Rosa had double Raging Ravine against Damian's double Celestial Colonnade. Knight of the Reliquary looked a threat from Damian, so da Rosa efficiently dispatched it with Terminate. A third Putrid Leech wasn't exciting in itself, but it did convert nicely into a 5/5 flyer. You know, the things that tend to win games. A lot.

Soon after, that's what happened.

Nicolas Damian 1 – 1 Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

Mulligan time again for da Rosa. Still, his six were pretty good. Turn one was spent eliminating a Birds of Paradise, which Damian replaced with Fauna Shaman. Damian seemed content to leave the Shaman unactivated, preferring to run out Lotus Cobra and then Knight of the Reliquary. Da Rosa built with Sprouting Thrinax and then Bloodbraid Elf, neatly Cascading into Terminate for the Knight of the Reliquary.

Those Sovereigns could be priceless for Damian

Out came Sovereigns of Lost Alara from Damian. Ouch. Eldrazi Conscription on the Lotus Cobra. Super-ouch. Da Rosa was at just five life. Damian was at thirteen. Was this the end of the line? Five mana meant Slave of Bolas, stealing the Lotus Cobra. When it attacked, Damian was able to sacrifice his own Eldrazi Conscription to its Annihilator clause!

Damian restocked with Knight of the Reliquary, then passed. He had just one card in hand, but da Rosa was still under severe threat. A second Slave of Bolas stole Knight of the Reliquary, while Damian continued to use that turn two Fauna Shaman to seek out Vengevines. Da Rosa used Maelstrom Pulse on the Knight of the Reliquary. Both players were now into topdeck Magic, Damian at thirteen, da Rosa at just four. The Pro Tour Champion attacked with a pair of Sprouting Thrinax, aware that four was a perilous position indeed. Three damage got through, and da Rosa made three 1/1s. Damian activated Celestial Colonnade, in theory for the win, but da Rosa had the Bituminous Blast answer, even if Cascading into Pyroclasm wasn't something he wanted to do.

Da Rosa activated his Raging Ravine, and swung for the fences. Three 1/1 Saprolings, Sprouting Thrinax, Raging Ravine, Bloodbraid Elf, all went in search of Damian's ten life. He avoided death by Lightning Bolt, with Paulo aiming it at his own remaining Thrinax to stay alive. It was just four life each now, and da Rosa was fighting for his tournament life. Facing a huge army across the battlefield, Damian couldn't find the killing blow.

If da Rosa goes on to make the top 8 here, or just generate some Pro Points from the weekend, he'll certainly look back on this as an incredible match that contributed to his successes this year.

Nicolas Damian 1 – 2 Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

Sunday, 1.28pm – Judge!

by Rich Hagon

Nationals isn't only a time for players to get together from around the country. It's also an extremely important annual meet for the Judging community. When it isn't always easy to hook up, Nationals becomes a test for Judges just as much for the players, since many Judges will be looking forward to taking their next Level exam at the event.

A hard-working squad of fourteen have been assembled to handle the event this weekend, and, judging (sorry) by the way things have gone, I'd say they've done a great job, under the leadership of Head Judge Rafael dei Svaldi, a Level 3 from Brazil. From eight in the morning until midnight, these fourteen have done what it takes to keep things going, and keep things going fairly too. Let's meet the team...

Left to Right:
Diego Reynaldo Zarate. Level 1, Brazil, Judging for 3 months.
Helio Veiga do Amaral. Level 1, Brazil, 18 months.
Carlos Rangon. Level 2, Brazil, 12 years.
Andre Brito. Level 1, Brazil, 6 years.
Bruno Santos. Brazil, Level 1, 3 years.
Rodrigo Gimenez. Brazil, Level 1, 4 years.
Thales Bittencourt. Brazil, Level 3, 5 years.
Alejandro Raggio. Argentina, Level 3, 11 years.
Rafael dei Svaldi. Brazil, Level 3, 12 years.
Felipe Alberto. Brazil, Level 1, 3 years.
Paulo Jose Meira da Silva. Brazil, Level 1, 1 year.
Mauro Thibes. Brazil, testing for Level 1, 6 months.
Caue Hattori. Brazil, Level 1, 4 years.
Max Minato. Brazil, testing for Level 1, 2 years.

That's more than sixty five years of experience between them! We wish them good luck in their Judging career, and thank them for a smoothly run event, with a lot of smiles. Thanks guys!

Sunday 2.15pm – Focusing on Willy Edel

by Rich Hagon

All good Magic players know how important it is to focus. When you're a great Magic player, you have this quality all the time, the ability to cut everything else away, and just look at the next attack, the next block, the next counterspell.

Willy Edel has focus.

Raala Pumba, Charleston 2006

For two years he was the scourge of the Pro Tour, making the top 8 in three successive events. His run began alongside teammates Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa and Celso Zampere Jnr, when the trio made the final of Pro Tour Charleston in 2006, before being bested by a Japanese team that included new Hall of Famer Tomoharu Saito. Then it was off to Kobe, where Edel narrowly lost to the German Jan-Moritz Merkel in the final. The year changed, but the results didn't. At Geneva, opening the 2007 season, Edel once again showed his Limited prowess. So what's been happening since then?

'I had two amazing years. At the end of 2008, Worlds was a really exciting tournament, where we managed to come third in the team competition. Then 2009 started badly. I had to skip Kuala Lumpur, and my wife was ill for some months before Honolulu. I jumped on a plane completely unprepared, and of course I did badly. Austin was also bad for me – although I suppose making day two and being in the top 100 isn't that bad. Then came Worlds in Rome. I made a critical mistake against Naoki Shimizu, and I knew then that I wasn't going to get the record to be a Pro for 2010. It was a sad moment.'

So what has he been doing in 2010?

'I've been focusing on my business, As you can probably guess, it's a Magic website. It's been steadily growing over the last year, and I now have two friends working for me. It's going very well.'

Edel is travelling to North America for the Grand Prix in Toronto and Nashville, knowing that a top 16 finish at either will qualify him for Pro Tour Paris in 2011. Plus, a good performance should see him qualify for Worlds in Chiba on ranking. Can we expect a return to the Pro Tour sometime soon?

'To be honest, when I lost in Rome, I felt like I probably didn't deserve to be a Magic Pro any more. But now?'

His face lights up.

'My business is healthy, my wife is healthy, it's time to focus on Magic again!'

And the world had better watch out, because Edel really knows how to focus.

Sunday 3.29pm – Portugese Poster Time

by Rich Hagon

Most Magic stores have a few Magic posters lining the walls. Most of the time, we don't pay them much attention. But when they're in a foreign language, they suddenly take on a lot more interest. Here are three favorites from around the venue:

First up, I'm prepared to wager – even without the help of a translator – that battle is about to continue. 7th Edition will do that to ya. Am I imagining things, or was that when Serra Angel wasn't just Limited Good, but Constructed Good too?

Second, we have this little offering:

Beyond the fact that there's almost certainly a City of Brass in this picture, I'm not prepared to make any wagers. Suggestions welcome.

And finally, one I can definitely understand:

Yep, that's an invite to the tenth Anniversary of Magic. Don't look now, but the twentieth isn't so very far away.

Top 8 Player profiles

Name: Walter Bruno "Mogg" Latorraca
Age: 28
City: Rio de Janeiro
Occupation: Retailer
How many Nationals played: 12
Best Magic Results: National 2003 top8
What standard deck: Bant
Why did you play it: Because I have all the cards in MOL
Standard Record: 4-1-1
Draft Record: 5-1
Name: Raphael Costa Zaghi
Age: 23
City: São Paulo
Occupation: Marketing analyst
How many Nationals played: 2
Best Magic Results: Top 16 National 2009
What standard deck: Bant
Why did you play it: I felt that was the best deck that I adapted with.
Standard Record: 4-2
Draft Record: 5-1
Name: Enzo Real Ottoni da Cunha
Age: 27
City: Brasília
Occupation: Business Man/DJ
How many Nationals played: 2
Best Magic Results: Top 16 National 2009
What standard deck: UW
Why did you play it: I play for three years and always played and will play with control decks. Blue is the color! Gerard Fabiano from USA and I discussed a lot about the field and my list to the Nationals. Few days before the Nationals I started to test the deck. Control always, that's it!
Standard Record: 4-1-1
Draft Record: 5-1
Name: Daniel "T.T." R Frias
Age: 23
City: São Paulo
Occupation: Avaliable to the market
How many Nationals played: 7
Best Magic Results: Top 8 GP/ won 2 PTQs/ Top8 National
What standard deck: Bant
Why did you play it: Because I've won a ptq with it, it's a good deck and mostly because "Fanfarrão" told me to.
Standard Record: 4-1-1
Draft Record: 5-1
Name: César Hatashi Choji
Age: 30
City: Lagoa Vermelha
Occupation: Medical doctor-orthopedist
How many Nationals played: 3
Best Magic Results: I lost to Fabian last week
What standard deck: Chvila's Red (Mono Red)
Why did you play it: Mana, Bolt
Standard Record: 4-2
Draft Record: 5-1
Name: Robson "Bones" Toneto Junior
Age: 23
City: São Caetano do Sul
Occupation: New Business Manager
How many Nationals played: 4
Best Magic Results: Six PTQs top8
What standard deck: Naya Conscription
Why did you play it: Because I like the versatility of the Naya and the surprise of the Conscription
Standard Record: 4-1-1
Draft Record: 5-1
Name: Eduardo Mendes Lopes
Age: 28
City: Marília
Occupation: Government employee
How many Nationals played: 4
Best Magic Results: Top8 Nationals 2007
What standard deck: Invaster Jund
Why did you play it: I trained a lot with the deck and believed on it because the results I got
Standard Record: 5-1
Draft Record: 4-2
Name: Eduardo "L1X0" Vieira
Age: 21
City: Londrina
Occupation: Student
How many Nationals played: 5
Best Magic Results: Top16 GP Port o Alegre, winner PTQ Austin,
What standard deck: BDW (Bolovo Deck Wins)
Why did you play it: Because I was manipulated. Good deck 3-3
Standard Record: 3-3
Draft Record: 6-0

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