Though not quite a household name yet, Argentine Nicolas De Nicola is one of the best players in Argentina, and has a storied, veteran status. In fact, he also finished in the Top 8 of the last two Grand Prix Santiago events, in 2013 and 2014.
His opponent, Marcus Paulo De Jesus Freitas hails from Brazil. Though he has multiple Top 32 and Top 64 finishes to his name, he’s yet to make a big name for himself. But as a self-admitted ramp lover, he’s playing with a big deck, and that can help make a big name very quickly.
If Freitas can keep ahead of De Nicola’s Esper Dragons, he can aggro him out. But if the Argentine can keep the board clear in the early turns, and rip apart Freitas’s hand, there’s not much the Brazilian can do.
Marcus Paulo De Jesus Freitas
The first game was no fun for Marcus Paulo De Jesus Freitas. He threw back his hands twice, and kept a five-carder with three mana dorks and one land. Then he proceeded to simply never draw the second land. Nicolas De Nicola just went Thoughtseize, Thoughtseize, Anticipate, and earned the concession just for showing up.
The second showing looked more like a real game. Freitas had two Elvish Mystics to power out Polukranos, World Eater and Xenagos, the Reveler. He put strong pressure on De Nicola and got him to 4 life before De Nicola had the opportunity to cast his Crux of Fate and reset things.
But it was too late for De Nicola anyway. The extra damage the Argentine would take from his Polluted Delta to cast the board sweeper would put him to two life. And with hasted Satyr tokens from the planeswalker coming the very next turn, that wouldn’t really help that much. De Nicola scooped up his cards for the last game.
They were even at one a piece.
Nicolas De Nicola
In the final confrontation, Freitas had mana dorks for days, so even with an Ultimate Price on his Elvish Mystic, he still had a Sylvan Caryatid for the ramp. De Nicola had counterspells and kills spells, and got to seven mana relatively unscathed, but with Genesis Hydra, Genesis Hydra, Arbor Colossus in Freitas’ hand, it was still going to be a battle.
De Nicola was desperately missing card-draw spells, and was going down in hand size quickly. He was keeping his life total high, but eventually he ran on of creature kill, and Freitas hadn’t run out of creatures. After everything was gone from De Nicola’s hand, Freitas still had out a Whisperwood Elemental and a 2/2 Genesis Hydra. The first creature was more than enough to sew things up.
There was nothing De Nicola could do, and he had to extend his hand.
The Brazil/Argentina feud captured its first victim as Marcus Paulo De Jesus Freitas advanced to the Semifinals.