Posted in NEWS on December 9, 2013

Willy Edel, Brazilian superstar was unsurprisingly running the tables here at Grand Prix Santiago.  He’s been on an amazing streak since his Pro Tour Return to Ravnica Top 8.  And though he was not voted in to the Hall of Fame this year, he is adding more to his resume seemingly every month.  Edel has been a bastion for South American Magic, running his own tournaments when no other stores were around, lending money to players for flights, and playtesting with PTQ winners, helping them ready for international competition.  “I have never practice with a foreign team before, because I am always teaching.”  To Edel, teaching is his playtesting.

Though he has been playing almost exclusively midrange decks for the last year, he brought a straightforward Mono-Red Aggro, and has been smashing face. Repeatedly.  Edel said he thinks the deck is well-positioned in the current metagame.  Though it was terrible at Pro Tour Theros because of all the Selesnya Aggro decks, it has a strong game against both Mono-Black Devotion and Esper which have appeared in spades today.

Caption: Willy Edel

His next opponent was Jose Velarde, part of the gigantic Team Peru, is on the RWU control deck, which better positioned against Mono-Red Aggro than Esper.  Velarde, along with over 20 other Peruvians, took the big flight to come down here, and he had performed amazingly so far, navigating the various pitfalls that Grand Prix events have lying in wait.  However, this round, he missed one of the most overlooked, dangerous pitfalls out there; it’s overlooked because it doesn’t come from your opponent.  But that didn’t happen until the third game.

In the first game, Velarde effortlessly blunted everything that Edel could muster.  Starting with Syncopate on a second-turn Burning-Tree Emissary, Velarde had an answer every turn for every two-powered threat.  Edel was barely able to take away anything from his Peruvian opponent’s 20-point total throughout the entire game.

The saddest turn was once Edel drew his third Shock and placed it alongside the other two in his hand.  Staring down a Jace, Architect of Thought at five loyalty, he knew the Planeswalker would take over the attack step.  So Edel cast each Shock in succession, taking two counters off the Jace each time.  But on the last one, with Jace at only one remaining loyalty, Velarde cast Dissolve.  And when Edel tried to attack Jace to death, Velarde had the Azorius Charm for that as well.

That turn Edel used his whole hand and saw basically nothing for his efforts, just a Dissolve and Azorius Charm in Velarde’s graveyard.  Edel sat back in his chair, and lethargically drew one card each turn.  He knew he was drawing dead.  Velarde’s hand, and board position grew until Edel finally said enough.  The Brazilian scooped up his cards and went to the next game.

Jose Velarde 1 – 0 Willy Edel

The second game saw two Foundry Street Denizen, a Gorehouse Chainwalker, and a Mutavault as Edel’s opening salvo.  Velarde was able to wipe them all away with a Supreme Verdict, but not before sinking to 11 life.

Chandra’s Phoenix followed up the board sweeper, and Edel still had three cards in his hand.  Removing the creature would be a gamble for Velarde.  If Edel could simply return it, the removal would be completely wasted.  And precious cards like Turn // Burn aren’t easy to come by.  Velarde used an Azorius Charm to get it out of the red, and Edel’s followed with a Chainwalker.

Velarde then decided the best defense was a good offense.  He cast Stormbreath Dragon and activated monstrosity soon after.  But Edel already had his opponent to 7, thanks a Burning-Tree Emissary, Chandra’s Phoenix, Gorehouse Chainwalker, Firedrinker Satyr, and an activated Mutavault ready to assault.  He then took his opponent to one by pumping the Satyr and the Gorehouse unleashed counter blunting the Turn side of Turn // Burn.

Things seemed to go Velarde’s way for a few turns.  He began singing to himself out of frustration, but he bought a turn off Azorius Charm giving his giant Dragon lifelink, bringing him to 2 life.  Then, a suicidal Jace activation found the Supreme Verdict he was looking for.  He immediately straightened up from hunching over the table and a big smile came on his face.

He was confident that without burn from Edel, he could swat away whatever the Brazilian could throw.  Then the lands came.  Both players proceeded to draw land after land.  After land after land.  The two could only smirk at each other as they continued, both unable to make board position any better.

Finally, the insane stalemate broke as Edel was able to draw something, anything, that tied the series up at one.

Jose Velarde 1 – 1 Willy Edel

It was in the third game that Velarde learned of the most nefarious of all pitfalls—the one you avoid as much as you can because its consequences are so dire.  I’m talking of course about the judges.

Caption: Jose Velarde
The last game started with more early assault form Edel.  Velarde’s turn-two Frostburn Weird was whisked to the graveyard with a Mizzium Mortars and the Peruvian was quickly into single digits.  It was quickly 9-20 in Edel’s favor.

The turn-four Supreme Verdict was a good start, but Mutavault still brought beats in.  Another Firedrinker Satyr and Firefist Striker continued sucking up the one-for-one removal.  Azorius Charm and Detention Sphere stemmed the bleeding.  Jace, Architect of Thought helped too, but that first damage was hard to overcome.  Edel merely had to plink one or two damage per turn to cause Velarde fits.

At his opponent at two life, Edel, afraid of a Sphinx’s Revelation, tried a winning Lightning Strike into one open mana, but Velarde did have the Dispel and untapped into a Sphinx’s Revelation to go to four life.  It was 4-20.  And that’s when the problems started.

Velarde activated the +1 on his Jace and passed the turn to Edel.  Edel turned on his Mutavault and swung with it and a Foundry Street Denizen.  Velarde cast Last Breath on the changeling, then wrote down one damage to go to three.  A spectator lamented Velarde missing the Jace trigger and Velarde quickly tried to correct the mistake.  Edel called a judge to reconcile Velarde’s life total:  Edel said 3; Velarde said 4.

The judge eventually ruled it as a missed trigger, and said was Velarde at 3.  But there was a lot of confusion on all sides.  And Velarde ended up with 4 on his life pad.  A fairly heated, five-minute judge conference, things were a little confusing, but they were about to get more so.

A few turns later, with the totals the same,  Velarde saw it safe enough to tap down for a Sphinx’s Revelation.  Edel took the opportunity to Skullcrack.  Velarde changed his life total to 1, and Edel immediately corrected him.  Edel said Velarde was dead.

And so we were in for the second round of judges, now talking about the situation after the last judge call.  The judges deliberated for a long time.  They called in Velarde and tried to suss out the situation. Head Judge Carlos, after about ten minutes of deliberation, came down with the final review.  Jose Velarde would be disqualified.

He had this to say, “It is my belief that the mistake [Velarde] made was honest,” but the investigation revealed enough to convince the judges to disqualify him.  Velarde had fallen into a classic Grand Prix pitfall:  Always be 100% honest with a judge, especially if you did nothing in bad faith.

Velarde returned to the table and shook Willy Edel’s hand, wishing him good luck in the rest of the tournament.

Willy Edel 2 – 1 Jose Velarde