STAGE TWO ROUND 3: BRAZIL VS. SLOVENIA

Posted in 2014 WORLD MAGIC CUP on December 6, 2014

By Adam Styborski

Stybs has played Magic the world over, writing and drafting as part of the event coverage team and slinging Commander everywhere his decks will fit.

It wasn't quite winner take all, but clinching a World Magic Cup Top 8 was a key piece of what every team this weekend wanted. Making the Top 8 of the World Magic Cup earned players a few benefits, such as invitations and airfare to the next Pro Tour (in this case, Pro Tour Fate Reforged in Washington, D.C.), Pro Points, and a hefty cash prize.

What it also earns is the right to say one's team was among the best in the world.

That's what both the Brazilian team, headlined by World Championship competitor Willy Edel, and the team from Slovenia had their eyes on. For Brazil, winning to make the Top 8 would be their fifth in history and the second featuring Willy Edel as a member. For Slovenia, making Top 8 would shatter their Top 16 finish at the 2012 World Magic Cup. With the rising Robin Dolar, winner of Grand Prix Boston-Worcester earlier this year, it was a chance to cement themselves as one of great nations of Magic.

Brazil (1-1-0) vs. Slovenia (1-1-0)

A: Matheus Rosseto (Red-White Tokens) vs. Davor Detecnik (Mardu Midrange)

B: Thiago Saporito (Red-Green Midrange) vs. Robin Dolar (White-Blue Control)

C: Willy Edel (Sidisi Whip) vs. Nejc Juric (Sidisi Whip)

The Decks

Both teams used fairly typical configurations of popular decks for Unified Standard, and it even set up a mirror match.

Brazil

Seat A: Matheus Rosseto with Red-White Tokens, an aggressive deck with Hordeling Outburst and Wingmate Roc (among other token-makers) that features Heliod's Pilgrim to fetch up Chained to the Rocks or other powerful Auras.

Seat B: Thiago Saporito using Red-Green Midrange, a Boon Satyr and Polukranos, World Eater deck with a touch of Elvish Mystics to pressure forward quickly.

Seat C: Willy Edel using a Sidisi Whip, a powerful Whip of Erebos deck with Hornet Queen, Doomwake Giant, Eidolon of Blossoms, and Sidisi, Brood Tyrant to optimize the value of every creature entering the graveyard.

Slovenia

Seat A: Davor Detecnik armed with Mardu Midrange, the Butcher of the Horde and tokens deck that uses Planeswalkers like Elspeth, Sun's Champion and Sorin, Solemn Visitor to go over the top.

Seat B: Robin Dolar using White-Blue Control, a deck that used one-for-one removal like Banishing Light and wide creature removal like End Hostilities, some countermagic and a handful of creatures to take over the game.

Seat C: Nejc Juric equipped by Sidisi Whip.

Team Slovenia, captained by Robin Dolar

The Games

The games in Seat B ran a blistering pace. Saporito and his Red-Green Midrange deck wasted no time getting to work against Robin Dolar with White-Blue Control. In the first game Boon Satyr and Polukranos, World Eater were early threats from Saporito, and he wasted no time crashing into Dolar. In the span of just seven turns the control deck was overwhelmed before it could take control of the game.

In the second tussle, Saporito again pressed in. While Polukranos met a Banishing Light, his Xenagos, the Reveler began producing 2/2 Satyr tokens with haste. Without an answer for the Planeswalker, the Dolor-Saporito match was over before the first games from either of the others' finished.

Brazil was up to a quick 1-0. Those games, however, were the only speedy results in the match. The match in Seat A was a slog of creatures, Planeswalkers, and removal.

Rosseto's red and white aggressive deck was off to a slow start in the first game. Detecnik's Mardu deck matched, and traded threats one-for-one along the way until it put an Elspeth, Sun's Champion onto the battlefield. Sorin, Solemn Visitor soon joined Detecnik's party too.

Rosseto used a Wingmate Roc and companion token for the counter-attack. Sorin fell first, then Elspeth, but the tokens they left behind for Detecnik worked well with the lifelink the second Sorin provided for a turn.

With enough tokens Detecnik was able to keep the pressure on despite losing his Planewalkers. Eventually, however, Wingmate Roc triggers and a growing force of his own pulled Rosseto's life out of the range of Detecnik's tokens. Without a way to replenish his forces, Rosseto took the first game.

Brazil now had the point and was up a game for another.

Team Brazil, captained by Willy Edel

Nearly two games in the Seat C match had been settled at that point. The first of the mutual Sidisi Whip match up games was a faster slog of an affair. Both Edel and Juric had Sidisi, Brood Tyrant in play early, yet neither had strong attacks for some time. Slow positioning, and protecting a Whip of Erebos when one drew it, was what mattered.

While Edel's Pharika, God of Affliction meant if Juric did find the Whip the Brazilian would be ready. Trying a different angle, Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver was working to advance the game for Juric by taking away card from the Brazilian's library. Edel pushed forward into Ashiok with an active Pharika and his Sidisi repeatedly, looking to stop the Planeswalker before it was too late.

Eventually, the Brazilian cleared out the Planeswalker and began to take over. Edel built a small army of enchantments and Doomwake Giants that removed most of what Juric could block with. Team Brazil was up another game for moving forward.

Their second game featured Edel in command of an early Ashiok, and Juric pushing to get damage in against the powerful ally. Edel was much more successful protecting it, at least until Juric found Hero's Downfall.

However, Edel managed to be the only controller of Sidisi which, when paired with with Pharika, seemed to take control. Then Juric found Silence the Believers and Whip of Erebos, tilting the scales back somewhat. Edel held a second Pharika, leaving Juric's Whip only adding enchantment Snake tokens instead.

After several turns of standing off, Edel destroyed the Whip of Erebos with Reclamation Sage and exiled Soul of Innistrad from his graveyard to return another Pharika, Doomwake Giant, and the Reclamation Sage to hand.

While Edel was slowly taking control and was well-positioned to set up some attacks shortly, it was the damage from self-milling and a third Ashiok for Edel that concerned Juric. As Juric's library inched smaller and smaller, Edel worked to protect his Planeswalker once more.

Eventually, with just three cards left in his library, Juric made his desperate final attack. Edel turned Pharika upon his own graveyard to nullify the attack with Doomwake Giant triggers.

"Drawing dead" was more than a catch phrase for team Slovenia as Juric extended his hand. A celebration erupted across team Brazil as the beginning of the second Rosseto-Detecnik game stopped.

Another Top 8 team for the 2014 World Magic Cup had earned its place.

Brazil 2 – Slovenia 0