The Final - Marcus Camargo vs. Igor Sousa

Posted in Event Coverage on September 18, 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.

They're going to go to Worlds in San Francisco. They're going to be on the Brazilian National Team. Now they're going to decide who carries the flag, who gets the trophy shot, and who writes a little piece of Magic history for themselves as National Champion.

Game One

After a turn one Birds of Paradise, Camargo had Blade Splicer ahead of schedule on turn two. Sea Gate Oracle was turn three for the man who had just finished two five game sets to get here. The Camargo squad piled in for five damage, dropping Sousa to 11 in double quick time. Sousa knew, thanks to Inquisition of Kozilek, that Camargo was basically out of gas, but there was still a lot of damage on the table. He cast Spellskite, then saw Tectonic Edge keep him low on mana.

In came the team again, Spellskite eating the damage from the 4/4 token. Acidic Slime continued the pressure, and the highly grinding Birthing Pod deck had suddenly become an aggro rush deck of doom. You know what happens to aggro rush decks? They get burned by Wrath effects, like Black Sun's Zenith. Still, Sousa could only cast it for two, so the board wasn't completely clear. It was, however, a much more manageable clock, with the '3/3' token dealing just one a turn, and the Sea Gate Oracle literally powerless.

Sousa cast Jace Beleren. Camargo attacked the Planeswalker, Into the Roil returning it to Sousa's hand, who now had reached six mana, enough for Wurmcoil Engine. That made Camargo halt his attacks. Wurmcoil had no such qualms. Sousa wasn't done, either. Another powerhouse came along right behind it, in the shape of Grave Titan.

Marcus Camargo 

Camargo had Birthing Pod next, turning Sea Gate Oracle into Phyrexian Metamorph into Grave Titan (you still with me, right?) The more the top 8 went on, the more you realized that the innocent-looking Birthing Pod was probably the biggest bomb out there. Titan? Wurmcoil? Huh, try this on for size...

Sousa activated Creeping Tar Pit, dealing the first three damage of the match to Camargo. Llanowar Elves was grist to the Birthing Pod mill, Phantasmal Image becoming another Grave Titan. Have you ever noticed that Magic is an incredible, mind-blowing game? Wondrous, absolutely wondrous.

Camargo attacked with his first Grave Titan, taking him up to six Zombie tokens, all of which were generously provided by Sousa, who was meant to be getting them himself. Wurmcoil Engine blocked and traded, sending Sousa back to his box of tokens for Deathtouch and Lifelink 3/3s. There were now thirteen creatures on the table, almost certainly the most I'd seen all weekend. Thirteen became fourteen as another Wurmcoil Engine hit the table.

Back to Camargo, who cast Birds of Paradise en route for Phantasmal Image via Birthing Pod. Oh look, another Grave Titan, and two more Zombies. Finally Sousa's box was out of Zombies, and that meant we were on to random cards to supply additional Zombies. Seventeen was now the count, eleven to Camargo, six creatures to Sousa, who used an eighteenth - Creeping Tar Pit - as his sole attacker, dropping Camargo to 13 against 19 for Sousa.

Phantasmal Image went away to Birthing Pod. In its place, something even more fearsome than the Grave Titan it had been masquerading as - Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite. Now that really wasn't good for Sousa. He had Go for the Throat for the 4/7, which was a start to his survival. He was still facing Grave Titan and eight Zombies and a 1/1 token. With all his lifelink, he ended the turn on 17. On the backswing, all manner of nonsense occurred. In came two deathtouch 3/3s, two lifelink 3/3s, Creeping Tar Pit, Grave Titan...Sousa got two more Zombies...

I swear, the whole thing was utter, utter carnage, and at the end of it Sousa had emerged with a crazy 1-0 lead.

Camargo 0 - 1 Sousa

Game Two

There were no early fireworks in game two. Plenty of flurries, but no fireworks. The fireworks began with Venser, the Sojourner on turn five from Camargo. He cast Acidic Slime, activated Venser, and set Sousa back to just three mana. Phyrexian Metamorph became Acidic Slime, taking out a Swamp, Venser went to nine loyalty, phasing out the original Acidic Slime, and now Sousa was down to just two mana. Moments later, it was 1-1.

Camargo 1 - 1 Sousa

Game Three

Sousa, looking to avoid a repeat of game two, opened with Inquisition of Kozilek, taking Spellskite, and Disfigure killing Birds of Paradise. Camargo had Sylvok Replica, which attacked for one. Birthing Pod? Not this time, as Sousa had Flashfreeze. He didn't have an answer for Venser, the Sojourner, however. Venser ticked upwards to seven loyalty, although Camargo wasn't doing anything useful with it, simply bouncing Sylvok Replica each turn. Venser went right down to one loyalty, going ultimate.

Igor Sousa 

Inquisition of Kozilek revealed Phyrexian Metamorph, Devout Lightcaster, and a land. The Devout Lightcaster hit the graveyard. Camarga drew into Acidic Slime, which killed two land, a Mystifying Maze and Drowned Catacombs. Venser went to three to phase out the Acidic Slime, which at least Sousa was able to deny with a well-timed and much-needed Go for the Throat. He still had to pass though. Now Camargo cast Sea Gate Oracle, killing Darkslick Shores. Birthing Pod found Flashfreeze in the way, but Sousa was down to three mana again.

Solemn Simulacrum was next for Camargo, taking Sousa down to just two mana. Venser went to nine loyalty, Solemn Simulacrum returned, finding Camargo yet another land, which can only have felt wretched on Sousa's side of the board. Camargo attacked for three, then created a second Emblem. That's Venser, ultimate, twice. Sun Titan got rid of two of Sousa's remaining three mana, and it was time for game four.

Camargo 2 - 1 Sousa

Game Four

Sylvan Ranger, Sylvok Replica, Phyrexian Metamorph, and three land. That's what Sousa saw with Inquisition of Kozilek after Camargo had mulliganed to six. The Sylvan Ranger put him down to five cards. Inquisition number two took away Sylvok Replica. Birds of Paradise came off the top for Camargo, with Perordain sending one to the top, and one to the bottom. What was on the top was Venser, the Sojourner. He cast Spellskite then passed, reluctant to try for his Planeswalker straihgt away.

Doom Blade destroyed the Spellskite, with Sousa passing the turn with no other play. Camargo went for Venser. Venser resolved. Camargo took a giant step towards the title. Sousa wasn't done, casting Consecrated Sphinx. At end of turn, Camargo used Tectonic Edge to blow up Drowned Catacombs. He cast Phyrexian Metamorph, turning it into a Consecrated Sphinx of his own. Venser went to seven loyalty, and it was back to Sousa.

We now went into the fun and frolics of double Consecrated Sphinx draw steps. It was somehow appropriate that a day that had seen just about every type of situation would find itself deep into 'I draw, you draw two, I draw two for your first two, I draw two, you draw two for my first one, I draw nine off your first three' (I've started making this up, but you get the idea.) At the end of it all, Camargo had eight cards in hand, Sousa four hundred and sixty two. (I made that up as well, but once again the flavor is spot on).

Finally, some action. Dismember and Disfigure killed the Phyrexian Metamorph masquerading as a Consecrated Sphinx. Birds of Paradise bit the dust to a second Disfigure. Consecrated Sphinx hit Venser down to three loyalty, and Inquisition of Kozilek took away Preordain, still leaving Camargo with a full seven. It was a good bet that Sousa's discard would take a while...

Solemn Simulacrum resolved. It would thin Camargo's library, but wouldn't get in the way of the Sphinx that Sousa was relying on to kill Venser. Two more mana for Viridian Emissary found more land for Camargo. Venser went back up to five loyalty, just about out of range of the Consecrated Sphinx. Sousa cast three Preordain before attacking Venser down to one loyalty with his Sphinx.

Back to Camargo. Birthing Pod? Flashfreeze. Well, Sousa had done a lot of digging. Venser went back to three loyalty, Solemn Simulacrum netting Camargo another free land out of his deck when it reappeared at end of turn. Camargo was 19-12 ahead in the race, but of course Sousa was annihilating him in terms of cards. Venser, finally, gone to the Sphinx. Despise saw Devout Lightcaster, Sun Titan, Acidic Slime, and Wurmcoil Engine. The artifact went away.

Camargo again. In came the Viridian Emissary and Solemn Simulacrum. Sousa was down to 8. Camargo spent six mana for Sun Titan. Mana Leak? He could, and did, pay. Second Mana Leak? Now that was a hard counter. Sousa untapped, and cast a Wurmcoil Engine before attacking with Consecrated Sphinx. 15-8 ahead, could Camargo somehow navigate his way to victory, or was this test of stamina headed for a deciding game? Camargo had won his quarter final 3-2, his semi final 3-2, and now he was trying to avoid a third successive game five.

Acidic Slime dealt with the first part of Wurmcoil Engine, triggering the arrival of parts two and three, the ones labelled 'deathtouch' and 'lifelink'. Creeping Tar Pit activated and joined Consecrated Sphinx in the red zone. 8-8. Disfigure destroyed Acidic Slime.

Camargo drew, which yet again meant Sousa drew two. Birthing Pod? Deprive. Not a surprise, since there were less than twenty cards left in Sousa's library. Now he was on the verge of equalizing. He had Consecrated Sphinx and a Creeping Tar Pit. Go for the Throat took out Viridian Emissary, meaning Sousa had lethal.

Camargo 2 - 2 Sousa

Game Five

Six and a half hours had passed since these two had started their top 8 campaigns. Now, however long it took, there could be only one more game. Marcus Pacheco would be going to Worlds. Guilherme Medeiros Merjan would be going to Worlds on the Team. Both these two would be on the team, but one as Champion.

One more push, one more bullying of frayed nerves, tired limbs, sluggish thinking. 10.30 at night, and still this most wondrous and brutal of games continued to ask the most mind-shredding questions of the only two still left standing.

Both players kept seven cards, which was a relief - nobody wants a Final game five decided by mulligans. Spellskite turn two from Camargo was the opening play. His Birds of Paradise were denied by Mental Misstep from Sousa, after a little thought. Inquisition of Kozilek saw Sylvok Replica, Devout Lightcaster, Phyrexian Metamorph, and Tectonic Edge. Bye bye Devout Lightcaster.

Sylvok Replica arrived uneventfully, and began the beats. Tectonic Edge took out Darkslick Shores, attempting to stunt Sousa for mana. He continued to lay land, however. The Sylvok Replica attacked him to 16. Five mana - please sir, may I have Venser, the Sojourner? No, you may not, Mana Leak denying Camargo a huge step towards victory. Next turn, please may I have Birthing Pod? No, you may not, Deprive getting in the way.

Surely a third must-counter threat would be Sousa's undoing. Llanowar Elves from Camargo was not that threat. Six mana for Sousa? Black Sun's Zenith for four, and the board was clear. He had survived Venser, and Birthing Pod, and now saw an empty board. How close was Sousa now to the finish line?

He activated Creeping Tar Pit and attacked, Camargo now at 14. From the top? Sun Titan! It resolved, getting back Spellskite. Unbelievable Magic. Sousa untapped now facing a Titanic threat. He activated two Creeping Tar Pits, and hit with both. Camargo was down to 8 life. Sousa was at 15. What a climax. With Sousa tapped out, Camargo could do what he wanted. He used Tectonic Edge to blow up a Creeping Tar Pit. He cast Phyrexian Metamorph to create a second Sun titan. He attacked Sousa to 9.

Sousa needed a land, and he needed Black Sun's Zenith for six. He passed the turn.

Camargo untapped. He announced his attack. In came two Sun Titans. Sylvok Replica came back, Tectonic Edge took out Creeping Tar Pit. Mystifying Maze kept Sousa alive, but barely. Sun Titan returned Tectonic Edge at end of turn, blowing up Mystifying Maze. Surely Sousa was done?

For one last time, he passed the turn. For one last time, Camargo attacked. For one last time, someone fell to zero life. For one last time, someone emerged victorious, and that man was Marcus Camargo.

Marcus Camargo 3 - 2 Igor Sousa

Congratulations to Marcus Camargo, Brazil National Champion 2011! 

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