For all of Mono Black’s perceived dominance throughout the weekend, despite its numerical advantage and its multiple appearances on the top tables, it was Mono Blue Devotion that was left standing at the end, with three copies in the Top 8.
Two of those Mono Blue decks just happened to be paired in the first round, as top overall seed Cristian di Silvestro (Valdivia in the standings, but he goes by di Silvestro) was paired against Vilmar Barbosa Destri Junior. Di Silvestro led the standings most of Day 2, but Destri had to win his last round to secure even a chance to make the Top 8. He did so as the only player on 36 points.
But now that he was here, it was anyone’s Top 8 to win.
Cristian di Silvestro
Both players had nearly identical starts, with two drops into Thassa. With Di Silvestro on the play, his Thassa was the first to activate, crashing in for five. Destri returned serve, activating his Thassa with her own Bident before losing Devotion to a Rapid Hybridization.
Both players began to mirror each other’s actions, flooding the board with more and more Blue creatures. It was really only Di Silvestro’s ability to stay ahead on tempo thanks to being on the play that gave him the advantage. Utilizing Thassa’s unblockable ability, Di Silvestro carefully worked on Destri’s life total until he attacked for enough damage to end the game. And when he was able to use a Judge’s Familiar to counter a Cyclonic Rift on his Thassa, he took game one on the back of his tempo advantage.
It was Destri’s turn to start on the play, hopefully, for his sake, reversing the massive advantage Di Silvestro had enjoyed on the play.
Vilmar Barbosa Destri Junior
Di Silvestro, on the other hand, started with a pair of Tidebinder mages and a Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, threatening to go large if left to his own devices. Only the lack of a fourth land really kept him from exploding and dropping his entire hand on the table. Instead he had to “settle” for a Master of Waves and five Elemental tokens.
But Destri had found and activated Jace, Architect of Thought in the meantime to try and stall, but he had no immediate answer for the Master of Waves. Nor did have an answer the following turn. Cyclonic Rift attempted to solve the problem, but a Gainsay kept it at bay.
Destri tried to hold back waves, but Di Silvestro’s Master advantage and the mana gained from Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx left Destri unable to mount a comeback.