MOCS Competitor Bruno Dias tagged two of his fellow Magic Online mavens to join him for this weekend's event: Hugo da Costa, a workhorse with peerless focus, and Paulo Cabral, a grinder who worked his way up from pauper.
Sitting at 2-2, you could forgive Dias for expecting to face some soft competition. Unfortunately for him, he found himself sitting across from none other than former World Champion Carlos Romao. Magic has been a low priority for the big man for some time now, but he couldn't resist the call of this tournament. He teamed up with a couple of other greybeards, Sergio Martins and Matheus Chaud, both of whom could be found at the top of the National Championship leaderboard back in the day. "These guys are like me," said Romao with a laugh, "good players from awhile ago who had to stop playing so much Magic and get on with life."
The decks were as follows:
A) Romao - Green-Blue
B) Martins - Black-White Aggro
C) Chaud - Red-Blue Control
A) Dias - Green-Blue
B) da Costa - Black-Blue Control
C) Cabral - White-Red Aggro
Left side, bottom to top: Romao, Martins, Chaud
Right side, bottom to top: Dias, da Costa, Cabral
A-Seat: Carlos Romao vs. Bruno Dias
Despite both players being stuck on only three lands, this match opened with a buildup of small creatures. Dias had a Nessian Courser and tried to best Romao's Nyxborn Wolf in combat with Feral Invocation. Savage Surge from Romao made it an even trade. Dias was first to hit a fourth land and immediately summoned Eidolon of Blossoms. Romao found his fourth behind him, but made no play. Dias fifth land was on time and he added Nessian Asp to his side of the board, outclassing Romao's flashed-in Cloaked Siren.
Things went quickly downhill for Romao as Dias summoned Prophet of Kruphix, and proceeded to make very good use of his extra mana, bestowing Nyxborn Triton as an instant-speed cantrip. Archetype of Imagination followed, and that was more than enough to convince Romao to head to the next game.
B-Seat: Sergio Martins vs Hugo da Costa
The B's were mired in aerial conflict. Da Costa had Pharika's Chosen to hold the ground and was going overhead with War-Wing Siren enchanted with Spiteful Returned. Martins was returning fire with Eagle of the Watch, but was losing the race. Nyx Infusion slowed da Costa's clock, and then Supply Line Cranes hit play for Martins. Now da Costa had to hold back, only to see Martins remove the Siren entirely. At just three life, da Costa ripped the swamp he needed to Sip of Hemlock the Cranes, leaving only the Eagle on offense. Martins pounded his deck but found only land. He gamely knocked da Costa to 1 life and passed. Da Costa aimed Asphyxiate at it, and it resolved. Soon da Costa was bestowing Erebos's Emissary and attacking for the win.
The second game was much less of a nailbiter. Martins had no immediate answer for a midgame War-Wing Siren suited up with Nighthowler, and that didn't afford him many turns to find it. Da Costa had given his team the first win.
C-Seat: Matheus Chaud vs Paulo Cabral
Chaud was slow off the blocks in the first game and that was just how Cabral had drawn it up in practice. He was quickly down to the single digits against an army of Red and White creatures. Chaud was finally able to summon his bigger creatures, but unfortunately for him, Cabral had tricks in reserve. Worse, Cabral couldn't manage to field two creatures on a given turn. He was overwhelmed by sheer numbers.
The second game was more of the same. When you have to play a defensive Minotaur Skullcleaver, you know you're in trouble. Cabral rolled out a curve of Satyr Hoplite, Eidolon of the Great Revel, and then Harvestguard Alseids. Chaud summoned Chorus of the Tides, but Fall of the Hammer took them out and grew the Hoplite, and Ajani's Presence traded for the Skullcleaver. From there, Cabral was able to press the advantage to victory. Chaud's last desperate move was playing Hour of Need on Cabral's two creatures to Fog an attack. He checked his next card then extended the hand in defeat.
Dias/da Costa/Cabral 2 - Romao/Martins/Chaud 0
While all this had been going on, Romao had been doing his best to dance around Dias. He'd managed to steal Bow of Nylea with Daring Thief, and then copied Dias's Prophet of Kruphix with Artisan of Forms. Dias seemed to have an advantage on board, but the Bow was making things complicated. When the news came that the match had already been decided, both players seemed relieved that they wouldn't have to wrack their brains trying to figure the game out.