Deck Tech - Drafting with Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

Posted in Event Coverage on September 17, 2011

By Rich Hagon

Rich Hagon combines a deep knowledge of the players of the Pro Tour with a passionate love of the game. He's a regular commentator for Pro Tour and Grand Prix live video coverage, and is the official Pro Tour Statistician. He has been covering Magic events since 2006.

Having turned 2-2 into 4-2 by the end of the first draft, the perennial Player of the Year contender da Rosa knew that a really good draft would see him in decent shape to make the top 8 in pursuit of a third National title.

He opened with Throne of Empires, the kind of card that makes casual players everywhere think 'get all three, get all three' and players like PV think 'I can get a 1/1 every turn with this'. Gorehorn Minotaurs was next, followed by Æther Adept and Belltower Sphinx. In truth there's not much more to report from the first booster, which finished with a distinct feeling that all had not gone well. All the cards that had rounded out the pack were likely useless to Paulo, barring a radical switch (Vastwood Gorger into green, or Drifting Shade wanting a huge push to black).

One pack down, two to go

Fear not, Paulo fans around the world. Things started to come together very nicely in pack two. Obviously you expect to find some decent picks early, so - although good - Incinerate, Shock, and Ponder weren't anything to get excited about. You're meant to be getting solid playables there, or even better, big fat juicy bombs. What made things get good in a hurry were the mid- and late picks. Incinerate at five. Phantasmal Bear six. Fling seven. Suddenly a blue-red aggro deck was coming together. Lightning Elemental next, then another Phantasmal Bear.

Now we're at pick ten, and you're really not expecting much. Act of Treason in an aggro deck? That'll do nicely. Now we're at pick eleven, and you're really not expecting much. Act of Treason in an aggro deck? That'll do nicely too.

On the left, Incinerate. On the right, Gideon Jura!

On we went to pack three, and for what seemed like the umpteenth time in the draft Paulo found a Merfolk Looter that he just couldn't justify taking. He thought about Phantasmal Dragon, made a mental note about the Sengir Vampire in the pack, and then took Incinerate. Goblin Fireslinger was next, and then another Merfolk Looter went begging when he took Azure Mage. Bonebreaker Giant, Phantasmal Dragon, and Belltower Sphinx were all going to make his deck, and it wasn't until he was forced to take an Armored Warhorse that he 'missed' on a pick, but that was already pick eight. There was still time to steal away a Peregrine Griffin, and then happily take - finally - a Merfolk Looter that had come all the way back round to him pick nine.

When you think about great players, you naturally assume that they're going to be playing all kinds of cards that you wouldn't think of. Pros don't burn people's faces off. Pros don't cast Lightning Elemental and then Fling them in your face. Pros don't go Incinerate you, Incinerate you, Shock you, good game.

This one does. This one will, because this one wants a third National title, Pro Points, and a Player of the Year Title.

Time to burninate...

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