Marlon Avila Gutierrez has gained quite a reputation thanks to his win at Grand Prix Dallas-Fort Worth last December, where he dispatched Hall of Famers in both his Semifinal and Final matches in order to take home the trophy. The Mexico City resident was sporting the play mat from that event in stylish fashion.
His opponent, Armando Mexicano, had one appearance on the Pro Tour when he qualified for Amsterdam back in 2010 via a PTQ. With a 6-0 start, he's looking to make an appearance on the Tour once again.
While Gutierrez was sporting a red-black deck with multiple bestow creatures, Fall of the Hammers, and a copy of Hythonia the Cruel for good measure, Mexicano's green-blue deck was packed with plenty of instant-speed tricks. Most of those tricks also happened to be creatures, such as Boon Satyr.
Gutierrez started off with a mulligan to six on the draw, but regardless was first onto the board with a Burnished Hart on the third turn, with Mexicano's Nessian Courser showing up a turn late on the fourth turn. An attack from the Courser on the next turn got a block and a sacrificed Hart from Gutierrez, and Mexicano followed that attack up with Chorus of the Tides. Searing Blood from Gutierrez quickly roasted the flying creature, and Opaline Unicorn gave Gutierrez a creature to add to his empty board.
Mexicano, however, had a brutal follow-up with Nemesis of Mortals. Gutierrez had a lack of ways to answer the gargantuan creature, and Archetype of Imagination ensured that his team could fly over Gutierrez's Unicorn, regardless of it being bestowed with Erebos's Emissary. Gutierrez looked for an out, bestowing Nyxborn Eidolon on his Unicorn before passing with his now 6/6 creature untapped and two mana open.
Mexicano took the opportunity to cast Fate Foretold on his Nemesis of Mortals, drawing a card. He sent in his team with six mana open, two short to go monstrous. When Gutierrez had Fall of the Hammer on the Archetype before blocks, Mexicano's green monster proceeded to fall headfirst into a 6/6 Opaline Unicorn, giving the Grand Prix Dallas champion a chance, despite being at 6 life.
A bestowed Nimbus Naiad from Mexicano forced another Fall of the Hammer from Gutierrez, stopping the Nessian Courser from getting its enchanted wings. The Unicorn started attacking in as Gutierrez looked to race the flying creature. Ember Swallower gave him another massive threat, and the race was on. Mexicano sent in his flying creature, dropping Gutierrez to 4. Gutierrez sent his two behemoths in, going monstrous with Ember Swallower.
When nothing was waiting for Mexicano on top of his deck, he picked up his cards for the second game.
Gutierrez led off the second game again with a mulligan. This time around, Mexicano had a third-turn play after Gutierrez cast Opaline Unicorn with a Boon Satyr on the fourth turn. The 4/2 creature bashed in, and Mexicano again passed with all of his mana open. Weight of the Underworld disposed of Mexicano's Satyr, but Gutierrez lost his attacking Unicorn to a surprise Horizon Chimera when Mexicano went to block. Arbor Colossus made the game look arbitrary after it came down, and Voyage's End for Hythonia the Cruel sent both players shuffling up for the third game.
Gutierrez was first onto the board with a third-turn Ashiok's Adept, which attacked in unimpeded. Spearpoint Oreid was Gutierrez's follow-up, and Mexicano revealed why he did not expose his Boon Satyr to a potential combat trick when he cast Feral Invocation, swinging in for 6. That Satyr received Stratus Walk on the turn after, allowing it to attack in through the air.
However, Fall of the Hammer, aided by a previously cast Ember Swallower, disposed of Mexicano's aerial assault. Nemesis of Mortals, however, created a road block that Gutierrez could not hurdle past. Erebos's Emissary gave him a potential way to attack through, while Mexicano, relatively safe, took the time to refuel with Divination. Gutierrez sent his team in on the next turn, and Rise to the Challenge shut down Mexicano's blocking Nemesis of Mortals. When Ill-Tempered Cyclops joined Gutierrez's overwhelming board, Mexicano offered the handshake on the next turn.
Gutierrez 2 – Mexicano 1