QUARTERFINALS: BRAZIL VS. ENGLAND

Posted in 2014 WORLD MAGIC CUP on December 7, 2014

By Josh Bennett

Brazil may have had the advantage in team strength thanks to Edel and Saporito, but England had already bested them in Standard. Now they would play to advance to Top 4.

Team England

A Seat: Fabrizio Anteri (Blue-Black Control)
B Seat: David Inglis (Abzan Whip)
C Seat: Francesco Giorgio (Mardu Midrange)
"Coach": Riccardo Reale

They were relaxed and rested at the player breakfast, cautiously optimistic of their chances."We tested a bit last night. It's good to have the decklists, of course, but I think we were mostly ready anyways," said team captain Fabrizio Anteri.

Team Brazil

A Seat: Gabriel Fehr (Red-White Tokens)
B Seat: Thiago Saporito (Red-Green Midrange)
C Seat: Willy Edel (Sidisi Whip)
"Coach": Matheus Rosseto

Brazil knew they faced an uphill battle here, and Captain Edel put it in stark terms: "Basically, we have one pretty good match-up, one even match-up, and one impossible match-up, so it doesn't look good. Anything can happen, of course." I asked if his team did any preparation the night before. "No, we just made sure to rest and be ready for today."

With one match-up seemingly impossible, Brazil understands the risks going into their quarterfinal match against England.

The Games

Action was fast in the C-Seat, where Francesco Giorgio answered Willy Edel's Sylvan Caryatid into Sidisi, Brood Tyrant opening with Goblin Rabblemaster, then showed Chained to the Rocks for Sidisi and Lightning Strike for the token, suddenly swinging for a lot of damage at a time.

Over in A, Fabrizio Anteri had resolved an early Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver before Gabriel Fehr could establish a board presence. The first activation revealed Goblin Rabblemaster, and when Fehr spent a turn on Hordeling Outburst Anteri was free to put it into play.

Giorgio, along with coach Rosseto, attempt to close a first game against Brazil's team captain.

Back in C, Edel had been powerless to stop Giorgio's onslaught, and Team England were the first to put up a game win.

Giorgio 1 - Edel 0

In the B Seat, David Inglis and Thiago Saporito had been running monsters into each other but Inglis was pulling ahead on the board. He had Polukranos, World Eater, and then Doomwake Giant, converting Saporito's Ashcloud Phoenix into a morph alongside his Boon Satyr.

Back to A, where Fehr had decided on a bold line: Raise the Alarm, then tapping the soldiers and one goblin for Stoke the Flames targeting Goblin Rabblemaster. If successful, he would be free to swing at Ashiok for the last two loyalty. Unfortunately for him, Anteri was ready with Disdainful Stroke, essentially costing Fehr his whole turn and letting Ashiok rebuild.

Inglis leaped ahead in his match with a turn of Whip of Erebos and Murderous Cut. It was a massive shift on the board and one that made racing impossible for Saporito. It wasn't long before they were shuffling for Game 2.

Inglis 1 - Saporito 0

Having spent so much trying unsuccessfully to oust Ashiok, Fehr was slipping behind. Anteri animated a Seeker of the Way and finally let his planeswalker to go an attack, but he was at a very high life total and had a grip full of cards. Soon Pearl Lake Ancient showed up and stomped to victory

Anteri 1 - Fehr 0

Giorgio kept a speculative hand for his second game against Edel, featuring just two mountains for lands and plenty of multicolored spells. I asked Coach Riccardo Reale about the decision. "This match often goes long and his hand had some of the most impacting spells. Obviously he would need to hit a third land on turn 3 for Goblin Rabblemaster, but that's not unlikely on the draw. Even if he misses a little after that, it can often work out." Unfortunately for Giorgio, Edel had a fast Ashiok and answers for Giorgio's Rabblemaster and Chandra, Pyromaster. His animated Goblin Rabblemaster threatened to make quick work of Giorgio.

In the B Seat, Saporito led off with Heir of the Wilds, but a tapped land on turn three put a hitch in his development. Inglis rolled out the textbook Caryatid into Courser opening, taking a bit of damage. Saporito summoned Fanatic of Xenagos which hit play as a slow 4/4. Inglis had the Siege Rhino trump at the ready.

Back in A, Anteri was under pressure from Hordeling Outburst, taking damage while he answered Fehr's next few plays. On turn six he was able to cast Drown in Sorrow and leave three mana open, pulling the game in his direction.

While Edel was battling to stave off elimination, Saporito was enveloped in a rough match-up.

Giorgio's deck had been kind to him, serving up a Temple of Triumph, which set up the second white mana he needed for Elspeth, Knight Errant. Edel did not have Hero's Downfall, but he took his battle to the skies on the back of Hornet Queen. Giorgio had no immediate answer, and his low life total made that a fatal shortcoming.

Giorgio 1 - Edel 1

And then more good news for Brazil - Anteri had risked tapping out at the end of Fehr's turn to refuel with Dig Through Time, a move that would almost certainly lock up the game. However, Fehr was holding Lightning Strike and Stoke the Flames, enough for exactly lethal.

Anteri - Fehr 1

Unfortunately for them, Inglis was strolling to victory in his lopsided match against Saporito. Coach Reale slapped him on the back as he gave England the first match win.

England 1 - Brazil 0

Brazil would need to win both remaining games to take the match. Anteri and Fehr were off and running, so Edel and Giorgio took their time sideboarding and shuffling to see what would come of it.

Fehr started with Seeker of the Way, then Arc Lightning to the chops and an attack for 3. Anteri mitigated the damage with Radiant Fountain. Fehr crossed his fingers and bestowed Eidolon of Countless Battles, but Anteri had Bile Blight. He passed back to Fehr with five open mana, and after taking a hit from the Eidolon cast end-of-turn Jace's Ingenuity. All Fehr could do was fire off Stoke the Flames.

Anteri was still at 11 life and now had a full hand of seven cards. Another Fountain made it 13, and Fehr tried to claw back into the game with Raise the Alarm. Bile Blight took care of that problem, and Anteri started to chain together copies of Dig Through Time. The game was slipping irrevocably away from Fehr. Pearl Lake Ancient came down to shut the door. Anteri was free to pay seven on his turn bouncing and replaying it to get extra life off his Fountains. A few more attacks and Fehr extended the hand.

Brazil 0 – England 2