Round 11: Feature Match - Carlos Romão vs. Leonardo Labruna

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.

Two rounds to go, and for both these players it's the last chance. At 7-3, a draw is no use to either of them, while two wins would put them into the tiebreak mix for the top 8. Romão is known around the

Game One

Romão began with Halimar Depths in his Pyromancer Ascension deck, opposite Creeping Tar Pit for Labruna, playing blue-black control. Labruna was probably going to say 'go' a lot in this one. He was happy to let Romão cast Preordain, and a followup Ponder. Four turns, four lands, four 'go' from Labruna.

Don't worry, I'll let you know if anything exciting happens...

Romão cast Visions of Beyond unopposed. Both players laid some lands. Some more lands. At seven mana, Romão cast Call to Mind, which was met with Mana Leak. Romão could pay, but chose not to. Enthralling stuff, right? Wait, here's a highlight reel: Labruna not laying a land.

Leonardo Labruna

Romão cast Pyromancer Ascension, this time paying for the Mana Leak from Labruna. At that point the Ascension resolved, which was fine with Labruna, who was waiting to use Into the Roil with Kicker to send it away. That send Romão into the tank, but eventually he took the Pyromancer Ascension back to hand.

Labruna cast Inquistion of Kozilek, seeing two Mana Leak,Burst Lightning, Into the Roil, Pyromancer Ascenison, and Call to Mind in Romão's hand. The Pyromancer Ascension went away, and Labruna attacked with Creeping Tar Pit. That's the great thing about the blue-black deck, the lands get you unless you do something about it, there's no need for big tap-out spells to get the job done.

Romão cast Call to Mind, targeting Preordain. That resolved, as did the Preordain. Labruna cast Consecrated Sphinx, knowing that he would lose a counterspell war by two Mana Leaks to one. He didn't care, since he was trying to get Wurmcoil Engine the following turn. He also knew Romão had Into the Roil for that. Romão cast Pyromancer Ascension, but that too met Into the Roil going the other way. No wonder there were no non-land permanents on the table.

Labruna tried again, this time with Grave Titan, and this resolved. Even an Into the Roil wouldn't be the value now for Romão. He cast Burst Lightning with Kicker and then a Lightning Bolt to kill the Titan, but still faced two 2/2 Zombies. He recast his Pyromancer Ascension, and passed. Despise from Labruna showed Burst Lightning, Mana Leak, and Into the Roil. He cast Surgical Extraction, Romão responding with Into the Roil to bounce/destroy a Zombie token. His Into the Roils then went away forever.

On we went, in a game that was becoming really absorbing to a large crowd. Labruna tried again for his Wurmcoil Engine, this time with three mana available to pay for the Mana Leak which Romão cast anyway. With Labruna tapped out, Romão could pull the trigger. Burst Lightning with Kicker plus a Lightning Bolt, both fed through the Pyromancer Ascension machine, sent Labruna from twenty to zero in a single orgy of damage.

It had started out slowly, but it ended with fireworks.

Romão 1 - 0 Labruna

Carlos Romão in action

Game Two

Let's try an experiment. I'll start with an update after five turns, how about that?

...

Hi, welcome back to turn five, where Labruna has just cast Jace Beleren successfully, and Inquisition of Kozilek. That Jace has now just died to Burst Lightning from Romão, but the first five turns were all about Ponders and Preordains and Gitaxian Probes. Honestly, you didn't miss much...

Romão landed Pyromancer Ascension, then Labruna cast Ratchet Bomb, quickly getting it to two counters. He cast yet another Jace Beleren, his fourth of the game! With Ratchet Bomb sitting at two, that was an issue for Romão. Surgical Extraction from Labruna named Mana Leak, which unsurprisingly Romão aimed Mana Leak at. Then Labruna, having chosen not to pay, cast Memoricide, with Romão responding by casting Deceiver Exarch. Mana Leak from Labruna prevented that, leaving Labruna to name Deceiver Exarch for his Memoricide. Ratchet Bomb blew up Pyromancer Ascension, and Labruna was now in complete control. Six mana meant Grave Titan, and this time Romão wasn't ready to deal with it. Call to Mind brought back Preordain, but it achieved nothing. Game three was just around the corner.

Romão 1 - 1 Labruna

Ready for Game 3

Game Three

Labruna had to mulligan to six, keeping two Doom Blade, Flashfreeze, and Ratchet Bomb, plus two land, knowledge that Romão also had thanks to Gitaxian Probe. He cast Pyromancer Ascension, with Labruna replying as expected with Ratchet Bomb. Duress met Negate from Romão, Labruna blowing up Ratchet Bomb.

Then the phone rang.

To the sounds of the Imperial Death March from 'Star Wars', Romão nonchalantly pulled the phone from his pocket, pointed at it to indicate the music, and then pointed at himself. Leonardo Labruna, I am your own personal Death Star...

The deck-sifting went on for Romão, Call to Mind getting back Negate. Labruna was stuck on four lands, not helped by that opening mulligan. Pyromancer Ascension met Flashfreeze. Romão of course had the Negate he'd just got back, but Labruna had a second Flashfreeze. Pyromancer Ascension failed to resolve. Labruna made another Ratchet Bomb, and he was still fighting hard. For all the cards Romão had seen, he just couldn't get a Pyromancer Ascension to stick.

Inquisition of Kozilek from Labruna saw Romão respond with Visions of Beyond, before revealing Lightning Bolt, Bust Lightning, Splinter Twin, Mana Leak, and Island. Mana Leak went away. Now we were back into draw-go mode, both players laying lands. Labruna found Jace Beleren, cast it, and drew a card, knowing it would die to Burst Lightning. Preordain found another Jace for Labruna, and this time it was left alone by Romão.

At end of the following turn, Romão attempted Deceiver Exarch, which resolved, and then cleared out both Jace Beleren and Ratchet Bomb. Labruna cast Surgical Extraction, which Romão was ready for with Dispel. Inquisition of Kozilek met Mana Leak, which Labruna was happy to pay, still with six mana open. Romão cast Lightning Bolt, then Visions of Beyond, into another Visions of Beyond, which resolved again. Finally Labruna got to resolve his Inquisition, seeing Splinter Twin, Splinter Twin, Mana Leak, Negate, Call to Mind, two land. Romão lost his Mana Leak, and Labruna, with the way clear, cast Grave Titan.

Could Romão craft an epic turn before Titan action got out of hand? Call to Mind got Visions of Beyond. Visions of Beyond left him five mana to play with. Island was used on Preordain, the cards going to the bottom. He played a fresh Island, taking him back to five mana. Island - Ponder. Pyromancer Ascension...

Back to Labruna, who now had all his mana available, and it was a lot of mana. A lot. Grave Titan plus two Zombies attacked, two more arriving on the scene. Romão was down to three as time was called on the round. This was the end right here. Eight blue mana, three red mana, a Pyromancer Ascension with no counters, a handful of cards, an opponent with tons of mana open, and a dual World Champion one turn from elimination.

Showtime.

Preordain. One counter on the Ascension. Cards sent to the bottom.
Ponder. Second counter on the Ascension. Cards sent to the bottom.
Nine mana left, six blue, three red.
Three blue - Call to Mind...
...meeting Mana Leak.

Game over.

Carlos Romão 1 - 2 Leonardo Labruna

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