SEMIFINAL 2 - CHRISTAIN DI SILVESTRO VS. LUIS NAVAS

Posted in Event Coverage on November 7, 2013

By Blake Rasmussen

Blake is the content manager for DailyMTG.com, making him the one you should email if you have thoughts on the website, good or less good (or not good). He's a longtime coverage reporter and hasn't turned down a game of Magic in any format ever.

I’m not going to say I called it, but I kind of called it. Luis Navas, playing in his first Grand Prix, is now qualified for the Pro Tour. And he owes much of that qualification to this guy:

Fact / Fiction

Fact // Fiction

Fire / Ice

Fire & Ice

Fire // Ice

You remember Marauder from 1) Passing it at your local draft, 2) Getting crushed by it out of someone’s aggressive Black draft deck, 3) Ari Lax’s Pro Tour deck, 4) Nowhere else because it’s Mogis’s Marauder.

Christian di Silvestro was also something of a novice, having put up at Chilean Nationals in the past, but never on a stage this big. And now he was facing a matchup that was decidedly not in his favor, as Navas had been crushing Mono Blue decks all weekend long.

And now both of them were qualified for the Pro Tour. But there was still a ton on the line, including money, a trophy, and only a small amount of national pride (both players are Chilean).

Game 1

Di Silvestro put being on the play to good use, curving Judge’s Familiar into [autocard]Frostburn Weird and [autocard]Tidebinder Mage to lock down an otherwise strong start by Navas. A second [autocard]Frostburn Weird pretty much put the brakes on Navas’ first three turns and left Di Silvestro at a healthy 18 life.

Cristian di Silvestro

If Navas had his way, di Silvestro would have been much, much lower at this point.</p> <p>But that doesn’t mean the Rakdos mage was out of tricks. [autocard]Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch quickly became the biggest, baddest creature on the table as soon as it hit play running. And though di Silvestro had an impressive team of blockers, Navas was holding Mogis’s Marauders to potentially make him pay for holding back.

Aware he was in quite the race, di Silvestro didn’t even bother holding back, especially after Master of Waves gave him a whopping nine tokens.

But Navas had an answer for that as well, as [autocard]Doom Blade took out di Silvestro’s “trump” card and all of the Elementals alongside it. That turn of events left the Blue player, well, blue, and thumping the top of his deck looking for an answer to the pressure he suddenly faced.

Instead he found an Island.

That left the door open for Navas to resolve a second [autocard]Xathrid Necromancer, which, in turn, led to four zombies and a very, though not quite fully, lethal attack the next turn. Navas did have a Nightveil to block one incoming intimidating Zombie, but he still dropped to just two life.

Di Silvestro, needing a Master of Waves, flipped the top of his library onto the table only to find…another [autocard]Nightveil Specter.

Game 2

It appeared di Silvestro was starting strong. A pair of [autocard]Cloudfin Raptor to kick things off looked dangerous, they looked like they could grow quickly and out of hand if given the chance. It appeared di Silvestro could counter aggression with aggression.

Instead, the [autocard]Cloudfin Raptors sat there, stranded by a lack of Blue mana. Di Silvestro had kept a single Island and two Mutavaults, but failed to find a second Island for several turns. By then, he was already at 15 life facing a bevy of two-powered creatures. And while Thassa was better than nothing, it couldn’t block anything without any minions to devote to her cause.

Eventually the [autocard]Cloudfin Raptors died, but that only stalled for time until di Silvestro found his fourth land—and the [autocard]Domestication needed to, hopefully, turn the tide. He used it to steal a [autocard]Xathrid Necromancer and up his Devotion, threatening to turn on Thassa.

Meanwhile, Navas was running out of gas. He had drawn six lands, an unusually high number for his 22 land deck.

Luis Navas

However, he was able to put those lands to good use, as the one card he had left after the initial onslaught was [autocard]Mizzium Mortars. But, instead of using it immediately, he held it patiently and waited for di Silvestro to commit more to the board, even as the Rakdos Mage’s own forces dwindled to nearly nothing. It’s not like a Devotion deck can sit on its heels and not play [autocard]Nightveil Specter when it draws it.

And when Navas did pull the trigger on [autocard]Mizzium Mortars, it not only cleared the way, but turned off Devotion to Thassa and let him attack di Silvestro to five life.

However, he himself was at a precarious six life thanks to Thassa attacks when di Silvestro had intermittent Devotion over the past several turns. And when Master of Waves and two Elementals hit the battlefield, it looked like we’d have a photo finish.

And that it was. Facing a lethal attack the following turn, Navas needed something to deal just two damage off the top of his library, as he was holding Lightning Strike in hand.

He drew for his turn, surveyed the table, asked how many card di Silvestro had in hand and calmly tapped four mana.

Two Lightning Strikes and the rookie from Chile was onto the finals.

Navas 2 – di Silvestro 0

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