Belgium and Argentina Nationals

Posted in The Week That Was on September 12, 2008

By Brian David-Marshall

Nationals season – that much-ballyhooed first step on the Road to Worlds – is winding down. There are only a smattering of events remaining to be played, including the star-packed Japanese Nationals, in the coming weeks. Now seems as good a time as any to take a look at a handful of recently in-the-books National Championships, the players that will be representing their countries, and the decks they played along the way.

Last Thursday Mike Flores brought you the Top 8 decks from Israeli Nationals along with the news that reigning World Champion Uri Peleg had just missed making the National team. It seems like National Championships are a tournament where the hungry new players emerge on top.

Perhaps it has something to do with Pros not playing as much Standard as the in-the-trenches PTQ players or perhaps it's just variance but the trend continued this past weekend in Belgium. With Pros such as Pro Tour-London winner Geoffrey Siron, PT veteran Bernardo Da Costa Cabral, and rising star Jan Doise having berths in the Top 8 you would have expected to see an all-star Belgian team after a couple of elimination rounds but when the dust settled only Bernardo was still standing alongside the newly crowned National Champion Pascal Vieren and teammate Sasha Bonroy.

For the 20-year old Vieren the event – and the recent addition of Pro Points at National Championships – left him within sprinting distance of being qualified for every Pro Tour next season. Assuming he attends the remaining Pro Tours this season he will have at minimum 16 points. If he can muster a strong Grand Prix finish along the way or just squeak out four extra points between Berlin, Worlds, and the Worlds Team Championship he can hop on board the Pro Tour gravy train.

I can't imagine that Vieren felt that way after his first five rounds of play when he found himself on the razor's edge of the tournament with a 2-3 record. Apparently the Lorwyn-Lorwyn-Morningtide draft format was not kind to him but he managed to get past his rough start and rattle off ten straight wins to go from a rough start to his tournament to what could potentially be the start of a Pro Tour career.

Here are the decks and match-ups from the event:

Pascal VierenBernardo Da Costa CabralSasha BonroyJurgen CleurenGeoffrey SironGilles GrandjeanBram MeuldersJan DoisePascal Vieren, 3-1Jurgen Cleuren, 3-0Bernardo Da Costa Cabral, 3-2Sasha Bonroy, 3-0Pascal Vieren, 3-1Bernardo Da Costa Cabral, 3-0Pascal Vieren
3rd Place Playoff
Jurgen CleurenSasha Bonroy wins 3-1!
Sasha Bonroy


Pascal Vieren

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Bernardo Da Costa Cabral

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Sasha Bonroy

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Jurgen Cleuren

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Geoffrey Siron

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Gilles Grandjean

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Bram Meulders

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Jan Doise

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Reveillark, Red Deck Wins, and Elves/Rock (whatever you want to call it) were the clear winners in the Belgian metagame. Pascal Vieren came very close to not playing the eventual winning deck of the tournament. He had been considering White Weenie but did not like that deck's match-up against the Wrath effects of the deck he ultimately played. That match-up was also a consideration in South America this past weekend but with a different outcome.

In Argentina, Adrián Saredo was on a run that would carry him to his fourth Top 8 appearance at his National Championship playing a White Weenie deck that had served him faithfully throughout the PTQ season in Block. Fearing the board sweeping ability of Reveillark decks he modified the list slightly to include Kinsbaile Borderguard. Here are the decks from that event, followed by an interview with the Argentinean Champion.

Adrian Saredo

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Matias Rodriguez

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Joaqun Alvarez Rivera

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Santiago Guzzetti

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Sebastian Pozzo

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Gonzalo Spampinato

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Damian Buckley

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Pablo Olejavetzsky

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