While this was Dolar's fourth time to the Top 8 of a Grand Prix, his accomplishments were naturally dwarfed by those of his opponent. Then again, with nine Pro Tour Top 8s and fifteen Grand Prix Top 8s to his name, Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa was literally the most accomplished player in the tournament this weekend.
The deck with the best numbers at this Grand Prix was Esper Dragons. Five had made it to the Top 8, and both players were piloting very similar versions here.
As is typical for the matchup not much happened for the first seven turns or so. At about turn eight, the first Dragon made it as far as the stack, but it took another couple of turns before the first actually landed on the battlefield. Silumgar, the Drifting Death didn't stick around for long, though, but silently drifted to its own death at the hands of Foul-Tongue Invocation.
Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa
Meanwhile, Damo da Rosa had been able to resolve quite a few Dig Through Times, with one naturally leading to another, and was keeping a full grip, whereas Dolar hadn't even drawn one of the key card and was slowly running out of cards in hand. But then he got his first too and soon the two sides appeared to be on equal footing once again.
More and more Dragons entered and left the battlefield, and at some point, Dolar's untapped Dragonlord Ojutai was facing one Silumgar, the Drifting Death and one newly summoned Dragonlord Ojutai on Damo da Rosa's side. Damo da Rosa attacked with the former, used its triggered ability to give -1/-1 to the opposing Ojutai, and then pointed Bile Blight at his own Ojutai to kill the other. That was quite the interesting play and things turned even more curious once Dolar responded with his own Bile Blight, pointed at his own Dragon, finally killing both Ojutais.
Damo da Rosa's Silumgar, the Drifting Death continued to beat down until Ugin, the Spirit Dragon took it out which in turn was taken down by Hero's Downfall. By this point the players, who had been able to look at each other's decklist before the match, were every so often, and with increasing frequency, looking through each other's graveyard and exile: How many Dragons left? How many Haven of the Spirit Dragon? And how many counterspells? How about Hero's Downfall?
Dolar's Ugin, the Spirit Dragon rose from the grave via Haven of the Spirit Dragon. It resolved unimpeded, went to one counter to kill Silumgar, went to three, then five … Damo da Rosa was unable to do anything about it and could only watch in horror as the planeswalker went to eleven, then one, and back up to seven. Of course, Damo da Rosa's life total shrank as Ugin's loyalty rose, and finally Damo da Rosa went to draw his last card of the game. No solution presented itself and he picked up his cards in concession.
Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa 0-1 Robin Dolar
Where the first game had almost been an hour-long affair, the second was over in mere minutes. Damo da Rosa had kept a land-heavy opening hand and was unable to do anything about Dolar's face-down Stratus Dancer. On turn seven, Stratus Dancer helped to force Dragonlord Ojutai past Damo da Rosa's Dissolve, and the 8 power worth of fliers took the game in record time.
Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa 0-2 Robin Dolar