Profiles by Brian David-Marshall
This ballot has toughened considerably over the past two seasons of the Pro Tour as the addition of airfare to PTQ prizes has allowed a new crop of talented players to flood the Pro Tour scene and take up their fair share seats at the Sunday table. The infusion of new blood has also reinvigorated the career of at least one staple of the Latin American ballot and pushed other familiar names off the ballot.
Winner: Willy Edel (39.3% of votes)
Brazil’s Willy Edel did not come to the first two Pro Tours in 2006 but that did not stop him from stamping his Players Club membership card with Level 5 status for 2007, thanks to back-to-back second-place finishes (Charleston and Kobe) and a Top 32 at Worlds down the stretch. He leapfrogged right into an elite class of players with three Top 8s when he started off the current season with yet another Sunday finish in Geneva. His first Pro Tour would likely not have happened without the addition of airfares to PTQ prizing in Brazil, but with three Pro Tour Top 8s in just six events it doesn’t look like his last PT is going to happen anytime soon.
Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa (37.0%)
Despite barely attending any Grand Prix tournaments in the 2006 season, this Brazilian still became the first Level 6 mage from Latin America with 51 Pro Points—50 of which came from his Pro Tour results alone picking up his odd point at the one Grand Prix he attended in Phoenix. The bulk of Paulo’s points stem from a finals appearance at Pro Tour–Charleston, a Top 8 individual finish and fourth-place team finish at Worlds (where he represented his home country as its national champion). The fact that he did not fail to cash in the 2006 season didn’t hurt matters either—a streak he ran to six straight events with a money finish in Geneva. With appearance fees offsetting the cost of travel, Paulo has begun globetrotting for GPs earning money on multiple continents.
José Luis Echeverría Paredes (15.3%)
Another country heard from! Jose Luis Echeverria Paredes of Chile just missed the Sunday spotlight at Pro Tour–Yokohama with a ninth-place finish. Piloting a blue-black Teachings deck that also featured the Pickles lock, Jose was at the top tables throughout the tournament and was the only player to go 8-0 on Day One. His finish put him as the top Latin American at the event—could this be the start of a Chilean invasion, like we saw from Brazil in 2006?
Carlos Romão (5.3%)
Brazil’s Carlos Romão has been a fixture on this ballot for years, ever since he became the first Latin American player to win a Pro Tour at the 2002 World Championships (blazing a trail for countrymen like Paulo Vitor and Willy). In turn his countrymen seem to have reinvigorated the career of the former World Champion. He traveled to Phoenix with the youngbloods and showed them all how it was done when he blew past a star-studded Top 8 to earn the third Grand Prix trophy of his historic career. The old and new came together on the Brazilian National team in 2006, when Carlos teamed with Paulo Vitor (and Elton Fior) for a fourth-place finish in the team event.
Celso Zampere (3.1%)
Celso Zampere was the third member of the Brazilian Raaala Pumba team that reached the finals of Pro Tour–Charleston, but like his teammates from that event, he has begun to work on his individual resume. He stampeded through the Montreal field—including a semifinal victory over Kenji Tsumura—with his Green-White Time Spiral Block Constructed deck that literally enjoyed the Thrill of the Hunt. It was the second Grand Prix Top 8 of Zampere’s career.
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