It's a battle for national pride on this side of the bracket. Defending the honor of Brazil is the team of Cezar Choji, Marcus Paulo Santiago Brandt, and Eduardo dos Santos Vieira. Choji is one of the old guard, hoping to get one last shot at the brass ring. His teammates are up-and-comers looking to breakthrough to the Pro Tour scene.
They'll face stiff competition from the visiting team from Chicago, USA. Armando Bulnes, Stephen Berrios, and Ian Farnung are a trio of ringers who have managed to turn a week's vacation in paradise into a shot at big money and a seat at the Pro Tour.
The decks broke down like this:
Choji: Red-White Hyper-Aggro
Vieira: Black-Blue Control
Bulnes: White-Blue Heroic
Farnung: Black-White Control
Berrios: Green-Red Ramp
C-Seat: Vieira vs. Berrios
Game one started out strangely, as the only offense on either side of the table was a lone Baleful Eidolon from Vieira. They played out lands until Berrios started landing threats. First Stoneshock Giant, then Sedge Scorpion. The Giant fell to Sip of Hemlock and was replaced by Pheres-Band Thunderhoof. Vieira tried to get something going with Dreadbringer Lampads and then Abhorrent Overlord, but Berrios was ready. Fall of the Hammer let the Thunderhoof kill the Lampads, then he untapped and devoured the Overlord with Time to Eat.
Still, Vieira fought to stay in the game. His Harpy tokens gave him time to build up a force of Erebos's Emissary and a 5/5 Squelching Leeches. These he gave a Grisly Transformation to start pressuring Berrios. Berrios summoned Arbor Colossus and then went for a big play with a bestowed Noble Quarry, but Vieira stopped it with a timely Retraction Helix. Then he untapped and dropped Sudden Storm on Berrios's only two blockers, and before he knew what was happening Berrios had taken lethal!
Berrios had a faster start in the second game, chaining Sedge Scorpion into Golden Hind into Peregrination. Unfortunately for him, he was short on things to do with all that mana. When Vieira spent his third turn attacking with Returned Phalanx, Berrios gave his Scorpion a Fearsome Temper and hit back for five. Vieira's Pin to the Earth was just what the doctor ordered, and though Berrios was able to kill Thassa's Emissary before it could start drawing cards for the enemy, he couldn't find any gas of his own. Vieira summoned a motley crew of beaters and capped it off with an Abhorrent Overlord. Berrios's deck got in a last dagger by giving him Arbor Colossus when it was already too late.
Choji/Brandt/Vieira 1 - Bulnes/Berrios/Farnung 0
B-Seat: Brandt vs. Farnung
Brandt accelerated into an early Centaur Battlemaster with Font of Fertility and was soon attacking past Farnung's lowly Scholar of Athreos. Farnung dug with Read the Bones but couldn't find a solution to the monster creatures knocking on his door. Brandt added a pair of Golden Hinds and a Snake of the Golden Grove, and a turn later the first game was over.
The second game looked more to Farnung's liking. Brandts strike force of Charging Badger and Satyr Grovedancer weren't up to battering down Farnung's defenses. He was given ample time to resolve a pair of Read the Bones, and then started going overhead with Celestial Archon.
Unfortunately, their game had slowed down, because all eyes had turned to the other remaining match.
A-Seat: Choji vs. Bunles
Choji had mulliganed in the first game, but busted out a strong opening of Favored Hoplite into Oreskos Swiftclaw. Bunles first play was a Wingsteed Rider which he traded for the Swiftclaw. The Hoplite got a Dragon Mantle and kept swinging, joined by Vanguard of Brimaz. Bunles summoned Akroan Mastiff and took some more damage. The problem was that Choji kept piling on threats, and every turn that Bunles took to answer one of them brought him lower. Banishing Light stopped Kragma Butcher but he had no way of removing Akroan Line Breaker. He gambled that Choji was out of gas with his one card in hand and tapped down the Favored Hoplite only to learn that it was Rouse the Mob, bringing him to a precarious two life. He had to keep locking down the Hoplite because his deck refused to give him a three-power creature, and two turns later Choji drew Titan Strength to push through the Line Breaker for lethal.
They shuffled quickly and headed to game two. The pace of this one seemed to favor Bunles. The only early pressure was a lone Impetuous Sunchaser, and as soon as that put on a dragon Mantle it was removed with Excoriate. The troublesome Akroan Line Breaker fell to Dissolve. The board stabilized with just Ill-Tempered Cyclops and 0/4 Lagonna-Band Trailblazer for Choji, and Bunles sitting behind Sigiled Starfish and Breaching Hippocamp, pecking overhead with Eagle of the Watch.
Bunles added Wingsteed Rider to his board, with just one card left in hand. That spurred Choji to action. On his turn he tapped five and aimed Rage of Purphoros at it. Bunles responded with Triton Tactics, but Choji went one better with Searing Blood. Bunles had his scryfish working but could only ship cards to the bottom. He drew a land and passed back after hitting for two. Choji took a quick consult with his teammates, then tapped six to bestow Ghostblade Eidolon on his Cyclops. Bunles did his best not to slump in his chair. Choji turned the cyclops sideways, and after it went unblocked, shrugged his shoulders and piled on with Rouse the Mob for lethal.
With a shake of his head, Bunles extended the hand in defeat, and Choji's teammates let out a huge cheer. They were on to the finals!
Choji/Brandt/Vieira 2 - Bulnes/Berrios/Farnung 0