Posted in NEWS on March 15, 2014

By Mike Rosenberg

Mike Rosenberg is a writer and gamer and has been part of the Magic text coverage team since 2011. He joined Wizards as organized play’s content specialist in June 2014.

As Mattias Leveratto approached the feature match area, Grand Prix Santiago 2009 Finalist Andres Monsalve shook his head.

"We always play against each other in every event," said Monsalve about this match-up. It does not matter how large or small the event is; these two happen to get paired against each other a lot.

The two gave each other a heartfelt handshake before the match quickly got underway.

The Decks

This match-up is not one that you will be unfamiliar with if you've been following Standard prior to Born of the Gods. Leveratto was sporting a traditional White-Blue Control deck, with all of the recognizable cards such as Sphinx's Revelation and Jace, Architect of Thought. Monsalve's Blue Devotion deck was more the white-blue variety, sporting Detention Spheres as a catch-all for anything that troubles him.

The Games

Monsalve led off early with Judge's Familiar, while Leveratto started slow with his Temple of Enlightenment. Monsalve matched scry lands with his own Temple of Enlightenment before attacking in for 1. An attack before any lands or action on the next turn though elicited a decision for Monsalve: before damage was dealt, Leveratto attempted to draw a card with Azorius Charm. Monsalve thought for a moment before sacrificing his bird to counter Leveratto's draw, following this up with Thassa, God of the Sea. Another Judge's Familiar came down on the next turn, and Monsalve kept the pressure up with an attack from Mutavault.

Andres Monsalve

This was enough pressure to warrant Jace, Architect of Thought from Leveratto, but the planeswalker was quickly dispatched with Detention Sphere. Leveratto had no follow up on the next turn, while Monsalve added a third Mutavault to his board. He spent his turn waking two of them up, sending them in along with Judge's Familiar. This prompted Leveratto to trade one of his Mutavaults away, replacing it with another on the next turn in a game that emphasized the lands more than the actual spells. The same thing happened on the next turn, with Leveratto now out of Mutavaults compared to Monsalve's one.

That second Mutavault was also when Leveratto stopped playing hands, as he was now stuck on four mana. When Rapid Hybridization from Monsalve on his own Judge's Familiar prompted Dissolve from Leveratto, who was struggling to stay afloat, a Nightveil Specter on the next turn sealed the deck, as Monsalve attacked in with Judge's Familiar as well as his now-active Thassa.

Tidebinder Mage was the first attempted play of the second game from Monsalve, and it was met with Essence Scatter. Thassa, God of the Sea ran into Leveratto's Gainsay on the next turn, leaving Monsalve to maintain offense with only a Mutavault attack on the turn following that. However, Leveratto stopped drawing lands, giving Monsalve some breathing room. The two Mutavaults crashed in while Leveratto was missing land drops, forcing him to pop a Sphinx's Revelation for a card. Jace, Architect of Thought came after he played his fifth land, opening up a window for Monsalve to resolve Jace, Memory Adept, which quickly got to work on Leveratto's deck.

While Leveratto had Detention Sphere to keep from having his deck plunged into his graveyard, Monsalve had a trump with Revoke Existence to free his five-mana Jace from detention, and it got to work once again. Leveratto dug for an answer with his Jace, but only found three lands as he took the two-card pile. He had Detention Sphere at the ready regardless, and also had Gainsay ready to stop Monsalve's copy of the counterspell. Pithing Needle came down naming Mutavault, and suddenly Monsalve went from a dominating position to struggling.

Mattias Leveratto

Supreme Verdict shut down Monsalve's only mustered offense in the form of Frostburn Weird. A Thassa from Monsalve ran straight into an Essence Scatter, and with eight lands in play and enough cards in his deck, Leveratto's chances continued to improve. Elspeth, Sun's Champion met its fate to a Dissolve from Monsalve, and play passed back, who took the opportunity to resolve Judge's Familiar and Bident of Thassa with his opponent's mana tapped too low. Leveratto reloaded with Sphinx's Revelation, while Monsalve attempted to mount more offense with Rapid Hybridization on his Judge's Familiar, giving him a creature large enough to punch through Jace's plus one activation.

When Monsalve drew after his attack, Glare of Heresy was found and quickly used to dispose of the Detention Sphere locking away his Jace, Memory Adept. An activation sent Leveratto down to only four cards left in his deck.

Despite Leveratto having another Detention Sphere for Jace, Leveratto tapping out for Elspeth, Sun's Champion cleared the path for Monsalve to show the Memory Adept waiting in his hand, giving him the game and the match.

Leveratto 0 – Monsalve 2