There’s a lot at stake in the coming month for many players, but for three Brazilians in particular. Four-time Pro Tour Top 8 competitor (24) Willy Edel, Pro Tour Hall of Fame member (18) Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, and Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir Top 8 finisher, Thiago Saporito. A trio I’ve unofficially dubbed “Brazil Nuts” (not to their faces, mind you, so shhh, don’t tell them).
These three are all hovering right around Platinum Player status for a year that will end after Pro Tour Magic Origins. Platinum status can mean everything to players, the perks are so good, you generally change your whole next year around it. Though that might seem like only one big stake, there are also two outcroppings. First is qualifying for the World Championship—the top two players here will be take both of the Latin American slots for the competition. And second is captaining the Brazilian World Magic Cup team. The top pro-point earner for Brazil gets to be the team captain, while the others will have to win a qualifying tournament to even participate.
All within a few points of each other, these three players took the flight to Grand Prix Buenos Aires to see if they can sew up all those loose ends. I talked with Willy Edel to tell me exactly what was going on here, because it gets a little technical.
Sitting on 42 points, both Edel and Saporito are not yet locked for Platinum and are just a couple points behind Damo da Rosa at 45. Paulo will get Platinum status just by showing up at the Pro Tour, but if he can get the few extra points this weekend, earning status before the Pro Tour would mean he gets the airfare and hotel perks for the Pro Tour. That’s a pretty penny.
About his necessities this weekend, Edel said: “So, I have all my Grand Prix points from six events, so I have to go 12-3 to get myself anything.” This puts Edel at a disadvantage to Saporito, who only has points from two Grand Prix events. Saporito can still get points without going 12-3, breaking his tie with Edel before the Pro Tour.
Whoever gets the most points will qualify for the Magic World Championship, the World Magic Cup and be a Platinum-Level pro. The second place finisher will also receive a World Championship invite, and will likely be Platinum. The third place finisher, who knows? Probably Platinum, maybe.
Edel said, “The most important thing for us is Platinum. We are all here this weekend to either get the couple extra points to earn it, or to lock it up before the Pro Tour.” Edel told me that though the other tournaments are important, but unless one of the three wins the entire thing this weekend, those qualifications “will be decided at the Pro Tour.” That’s not exactly true, but close. The Pro Tour is the best place to earn points, and you can earn a lot of them. But a Top 8 finish here with scrub-outs from the other two could force the players perform very well at the Pro Tour to have any hope of changing the order. Only time will tell.
The World Championship would surely mean a lot to Saporito. Though a seasoned Magic Online player, he has only recent had his coming out party on the Pro Tour. This would be his first World Championship appearance. He has had breakout success, but a World Championship would make him a certified star. But Edel has other things on his mind.
As a veteran to the tournament, and a large figure in fostering the Brazilian community in the country, Willy Edel yearns to be team captain of the World Magic Cup. “The World Championship is very nice, and for many people is the pinnacle of the game, but I always want to be a part of the next generation of players, and I love the team aspect of the Cup.” A recent father himself, Edel has been a father figure to much of the Brazilian community for a long time. The role of team captain is one that he enjoys thoroughly and it fits with his persona well.
He and Damo da Rosa have been basically trading off and on the role of Brazilian National Champion the last couple of years, but Edel’s commitment to captain Brazil has not wavered. For him, the goals are Platinum and WMC; if the World Championship happens, great. Heck, with four Pro Tour Top 8 finishes, his Hall of Fame credentials are looking better every year. He could become the second ever Hall of Fame member from Latin America.
So where is already-Hall-of-Famer Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa in all of this? The short answer is “at the top, right where he usually is.” He’s had a fantastic year after a lackluster couple, with three Grand Prix Top 8s, including a win in his home country in Sao Paolo. A veteran of almost every stage Magic has, Paulo is just happy to be back in a big way. Locking up Platinum, whether it’s this weekend or next month, will mean that his next Magic year can be filled to the gills.
Though only a short flight away from Brazil, these three have a lot riding on this weekend, and the next few to come. With premiere status, World Championship qualifying, World Magic Cup captainship and potential Hall of Fame recognition on the line, this is a packed few weeks indeed. Oh yeah, and that doesn’t even count the actually tournaments themselves.
To be able to juggle all these interests and still play top-notch Magic, this trio of Brazilians must be ... nuts.