Semifinal - Guilherme Medeiros Merjan vs. Marcus Camargo

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.

Semi final time then, and the pressure is off, since both these two will be going to Worlds in San Francisco. We already know who one of their team-mates will be, since Marcus Pacheco conceded in the other semi to his friend and fellow traveller Igor Sousa. Pacheco will go to Worlds anyway, and conceded on the basis that his friend Igor is a much better player, and will give Brazil a better chance in the team event. Whether or not Pacheco proposes to try to make the team via the 3rd/4th playoff is unclear.

Game One

Preordain opened the match for Merjan, one of three Blue-Black players to reach the final four. Camargo was the exception, piloting Bant/Pod. He started with Birds of Paradise, with Seachrome Coast leading to Preordain on turn two, with a second Birds of Paradise right behind. Despise revealed Razor Hippogriff, Viridian Corrupter, Phyrexian Metamorph, and two land, with Razor Hippogriff going to the graveyard. Viridian Corrupter arrived next for Camargo, not to kill an artifact, but to begin the beats. Birds of Paradise number three was next. Merjan had Go for the Throat at end of turn to deal with the Viridian Corrupter.

Having untapped, Merjan began a card advantage war with Jace Beleren, drawing him an extra card. Camargo continued to filter through his deck with Preordain, laying Blade Splicer next. The Splicer aimed for Jace, which brought out Doom Blade from Merjan, who wanted to protect his Planeswalker. Sea Gate Oracle was next for Camargo, who was free from the threat of Mana Leak thanks to his many Birds of Paradise.

A second Sea Gate Oracle followed, and Tectonic Edge destroyed Merjan's Mystifying Maze, Jace succumbing to the attacks of Oracles and Blade Splicer token. Wall of Omens drew Camargo a card, and his team battered in once more. Merjan had fallen to nine, and now Sun Titan was coming down for Camargo, fetching back Blade Splicer. At least, that was the plan, but Merjan had Surgical Extraction to prevent it. He was probably going to lose the game, but could at least have another good look at Camargo's deck.

Guilherme Medeiros Merjan 

Doom Blade dealt with the Sun Titan. Three mana meant a fresh version of Jace Beleren, drawing Merjan a card, who knew the Planeswalker would likely die the following turn. Until, that is, he cast Black Sun's Zenith, and totally swept the board! Suddenly it was two cards each, Merjan with Jace in play, and Camargo with nothing. What a turnaround.

Camargo went back to work with Sea Gate Oracle, then replicated an Oracle with Phantasmal Image. Jace drew for Merjan and Camargo, Merjan choosing to send his Planeswalker out of immediate range of the two Sea Gate Oracles (one a Phantasmal Image) across the table. Jace drew Merjan into a Preordain which had nothing useful. Creeping Tar Pit came off the top, and Merjan passed.

When Camargo cast Birthing Pod Merjan forced him to pay three extra with Mana Leak. Having done so, Camargo sacrificed his Phantasmal Image to the Birthing Pod, searching up Solemn Simulacrum, netting him a land. The Birthing Pod shenanigans had begun.

Creeping Tar Pit attacked for Merjan, taking Camargo to 13. He used his Birthing Pod to sacrifice Solemn Simulacrum, heading up the chain to Acidic Slime, which destroyed Creeping Tar Pit. Phyrexian Metamorph was next, becoming an Acidic Slime and destroying a second Creeping Tar Pit. Into the Roil with Kicker sent the Birthing Pod packing, but a lot of damage had been done.

Camargo sent his team in once more, Merjan now down to just two. Birthing Pod came down once more, and Camargo used it to find Wurmcoil Engine. That should have been more than enough, and it was.

Merjan 0 - 1 Camargo

Game Two

A turn two Inquisition of Kozilek found Sun Titan, Birthing Pod, Celestial Purge, Blade Splicer, and three land in Camargo's hand. The Blade Splicer, which had been so good for him in game one, went to the graveyard. Merjan followed with Torpor Orb, Camargo casting Birthing Pod. He added Solemn Simulacrum, then used Birthing Pod to find Razor Hippogriff. That met with Go for the Throat. Acidic Slime was an expensive 2/2, since Torpor Orb prevented it doing anything exciting. It also died to Doom Blade immediately after, Merjan wanting to prevent Camargo from more Birthing Pod action.

Merjan cast Jace Beleren and drew a card, and after Camargo had cast Sea Gate Oracle, Merjan cast Consecrated Sphinx. Now that guy is a beating. Phantasmal Image copied the Sphinx, and met Go for the Throat from Merjan. Inquisition of Kozilek revealed Celestial Purge, Sun Titan, and Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, with Celestial Purge heading to the graveyard. Consecrated Sphinx continued to pound away in very efficient fashion, and Camargo was down to just two life. He activated Birthing Pod, sacrificing his Sea Gate Oracle to find Phyrexian Metamorph, arriving as a Consecrated Sphinx.

Creeping Tar Pit activated for Merjan. No Consecrated Sphinx, Metamorph or otherwise, could get in the way, and it was 1-1.

Merjan 1 - 1 Camargo

Game Three

Merjan was forced to start with six, Sea Gate Oracle improving things for Camargo early. Obstinate Baloth was next, drawing out a Doom Blade from Merjan. Flashfreeze then countered Birthing Pod, Merjan recovering somewhat with Jace Beleren getting him a card back after his mulligan. Sea Gate Oracle attacked Jace down to one loyalty, with Razor Hippogriff next for Camargo. The Sea Gate Oracle finished off Jace the following turn. That was fine with Merjan, who had another Planeswalker ready to go.

Having returned his Birthing Pod with Razor Hippogriff, Camargo set about getting it back onto the battlefield. He sacrificed Sea Gate Oracle to fetch up Solemn Simulacrum, and he was well and truly back in business. Black Sun's Zenith wiped the board, Camargo restocking with Viridian Emissary, promptly sacrificed to Birthing Pod for Sea Gate Oracle. Across the table, Jace was still working well for Merjan. Triple Preordain brought him something he liked, a Wurmcoil Engine.

Having seen one Sea Gate Oracle die to Doom Blade, Camargo cast another, sacrificed it to Birthing Pod, and sent Obstinate Baloth onto the battlefield. He was up to 27 life, while Merjan was at 19. After drawing another card with Jace, Inquisition of Kozilek was up next, seeing Preordain, Sylvok Replica, Sun Titan, Llanowar Elves, and Misty Rainforest. Away went Preordain. Knowing it would arrive, he cast Wurmcoil Engine, secure in the knowledge that even Sylvok Replica wasn't that big a deal, when he'd get two creatures out of his Wurmcoil being destroyed.

Marcus Camargo 

The Replica duly appeared, the Wurmcoil duly died. Sun Titan returned the Sylvok Replica to play. Merjan decided to let Jace die rather than give another card to Camargo. Doom Blade destroyed Sun Titan, leaving Merjan to activate Creeping Tar Pit and attack with his 3/3 lifelink in tow. The game had been going on for a long while now, and neither player was below 20 life.

Acidic Slime sent Creeping Tar Pit packing. Llanowar Elves was next, perfect fodder for Birthing Pod to find Phantasmal Image, once again becoming Acidic Slime, this time killing Mystifying Maze. Merjan came right back with Consecrated Sphinx. Camargo traded in his Phantasmal Image for Wurmcoil Engine (since it was 'really' an Acidic Slime). Inquisition of Kozilek revealed only a land in hand for Camargo.

In came the Consecrated Sphinx. Wurmcoil Engine and Acidic Slime attacked back. Now it was haymaker Magic. The Consecrated Sphinx attacked again, setting Camargo back to 18. Merjan, though, was down to 10, and would need to deal with the opposing Wurmcoil very soon. Eight more damage came down, leaving him at 2 life. Camargo cast Birds of Paradise to sacrifice to Birthing Pod for Phantasmal Image. That became a second Wurmcoil Engine. Now it really was time for Merjan to do something drastic, if he could. For seven mana he cast Black Sun's Zenith for five, and passed the turn. His -1/1 Consecrated Sphinx drew him two more cards before he blocked and fell to 1. Birthing Pod resolved yet again, the Phantasmal Image/Wurmcoil Engine finding Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, which brought a very swift Doom Blade from Merjan.

Still, Birthing Pod had been simply stellar for Camargo, who was now one up with a maximum of two to play.

Merjan 1 - 2 Camargo

Game Four

In total, Camargo had used his Birthing Pod seven times during game three, and he had been able to get it into play through all the efforts of Merjan, whose Mana Leaks were particularly ineffective against a pile of mana in very long games. An early Inquisition of Kozilek saw Phyrexian Metamorph, Preordain, Birds of Paradise, Viridian Emissary, Sylvan Ranger, and a land. Preordain left Camargo's hand. He gradually built up his forces, with Sylvan Ranger, Birds of Paradise, and Sea Gate Oracle all hitting the battlefield, while Phantasmal Image was stripped by a second Inquisition of Kozilek from Merjan.

When Camargo attacked, Merjan activated Creeping Tar Pit to kill the Sea Gate Oracle. He then Mana Leaked Acidic Slime. Creeping Tar Pit attacked for three, Merjan seemingly trying to be more proactive having lost a long game three. He had Mana Leak at the ready again, this time for Venser, the Sojourner. In came the Creeping Tar Pit again, with Camargo now at 13. That was still a long way off dead, however, with Merjan down to just one card in hand.

The Semifinal crowd 

Birthing Pod! Merjan couldn't stop it. Sylvan Ranger turned into Blade Splicer, and Merjan couldn't stop it. He activated his Creeping Tar Pit once again, Camargo now at 8. Doom Blade killed off the Blade Splicer. Birthing Pod turned Birds of Paradise into Spellskite for Camargo. He was 12-8 behind, which became 12-5 when Creeping Tar Pit attacked yet again. Now dead wasn't nearly so far away.

Spellskite became Sea Gate Oracle. Blade Splicer 3/3 token attacked Merjan to 9. Creeping Tar Pit, in again. Camargo at 2. Doom Blade ate the Sea Gate Oracle, denying a potential Birthing Pod escape. Was Creeping Tar Pit about to go the distance? It was.

Merjan 2 - 2 Camargo

Game Five

Six cards each. Five cards for Merjan. Not the way to start a deciding game. Still, Creeping Tar Pit, Swamp, Island, Mana Leak, and Consecrated Sphinx aren't the worst imaginable five. Turn two from Camargo, however - Birthing Pod! Now that wasn't a good sign for Merjan. Birds of Paradise became Viridian Emissary. Despise from Merjan saw Spellskite and Phyrexian Metamorph in hand, plus a Plains. The Spellskite vanished, promptly followed by the Viridian Emissary to Doom Blade.

Camargo piled on. He cast Blade Splicer, sacrificing it to Birthing Pod to fetch Solemn Simulacrum. Merjan was stuck with Consecrated Sphinx, Grave Titan, and Mana Leak in hand. He kept on with his Creeping Tar Pit plan, though, knocking Camargo to 11. Phyrexian Metamorph arrived as a Solemn Simulacrum. It sacrificed to Birthing Pod, finding Razor Hippogriff, returning back to Camargo's hand, and sending him up to 13 life, after a fetchland had taken him to single figures.

In came Camargo's team - the Razor Hippogriff, Solemn Simulacrum, and 3/3 Blade Splicer token. The Solemn Simulacrum turned into Acidic Slime, killing a Creeping Tar Pit, leaving Merjan with one more. Phyrexian Metamorph was countered by Mana Leak, but it didn't matter. The Birthing Pod was inexorable, and now Camargo would take part in the championship match.

Guilherme Medeiros Merjan 2 - 3 Marcus Camargo

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