Posted in GRAND PRIX MANILA 2015 on January 3, 2015

By Chapman Sim

Both Filipino players found themselves in the unfortunate position of having to win the final round of the day to advance. Pro Tour Valencia 2014 Competitor Ogie Jaro was piloting a Mardu Midrange deck, while his opponent Carl Louise Santos Almendarez was in Green Red Devotion.

With identical 6-2 records, only the victor would live to see another day.

Game 1

Jaro kicked off with Hordeling Outburst and Goblin Rabblemaster, but Almendarez was able to stem the beats with Elvish Mystic, triple Sylvan Caryatid and Courser of Kruphix. Genesis Hydra (for 4) netted him a second Courser of Kruphix.

Clearly very behind, Jaro had to find a way to break through Almendarez's defenses. It wasn't going to be easy now that Almendarez had gummed up the board. Perhaps a flyer would do the trick?

Regardless, Chained to the Rocks dealt with the hydra, forcing Almendarez to trade a Courser of Kruphix with the 7/2 Goblin Rabblemaster. Despite taking 5 damage from the horde of Goblin tokens, it seemed like he was in firm control of the game.

Xenagos, God of Revels clinches a swift victory for Alamendarez.

Activating Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, he was able to power out Polukranos, World Eater and Xenagos, God of Revels on the same turn. Jaro declined to chump with Seeker of the Way, preferring to take ten damage from the hasty beast, going down to just 3 life. He was going to lose his board to Polukranos on the next turn anyway, might as well play to win.

Genesis Hydra (for 10 this time) found Almendarez his copy of Nylea, God of the Hunt, putting Jaro's chump blocking plans to an abrupt end. Despite having Utter End, Jaro eventually succumbed to the immense pressure.

Ogie Jaro 0 - Carl Louise Santos Almendarez 1

Game 2

Jaro had a slow start but managed to put up Goblin Rabblemaster on Turn 3. Almendarez had the perfect foil for it though, double Hornet Nest, and because all of Jaro's Goblin tokens were forced to attack each turn, this could provide him an endless stream of Insect tokens every turn.

Fortunately, Jaro had Chained to the Rocks for the first Hornet Nest, and Murderous Cut for the second and Almendarez quickly found himself down to 8 life in a matter of two turns.

Pretty good against Goblin Rabblemaster, in general.

Almendarez offered Polukranos, World Eater to block the enormous Goblin Rabblemaster, but a hasted Butcher of the Horde in conjunction with three Goblin henchmen ended things there and then.

Ogie Jaro 1 - Carl Louise Santos Almendarez 1

Game 3

Almendarez's deck did what it was supposed to do, powering out Polukranos, World Eater on Turn 3 with the help of Elvish Mystic. The attack took Jaro down to 14, Almendarez added the potentially problematic Nylea, God of the Hunt to the board.

Crackling Doom dealt with Polukranos, but Almendarez was able to awaken the god with the aid of Arbor Colossus, reaching the crucial threshold of 5 devotion. Jaro berated himself for the misplay, explaining that if he had held back Crackling Doom, he would have been able to deal with either Nylea or the Arbor Colossus instead.

Thankfully, Jaro's sideboard cards showed up to save the day. He used End Hostilities to wipe the board (and devotion count) clean. When Almendarez threw out Sylvan Caryatid and Elvish Mystic, Jaro wasted no time sweeping the battlefield again, this time with Anger of the Gods.

Jaro brings in Anger of the Gods and End Hostilities to keep his opponent's Devotion count in check.

Nissa Worldwaker was great recovery, but Jaro chumped the 4/4 “manlands” with Seeker of the Way and Wingmate Roc.

This bought him enough time to summon Elspeth, Sun's Champion and Butcher of the Horde, two excellent cards in this matchup. Almendarez sighed at the sight of the mighty Planeswalker, and extended his hand in gracious defeat. The demon simply flew in for the win over the course of a couple of turns.

Ogie Jaro 2 - Carl Louise Santos Almendarez 1

Ogie Jaro defeats Carl Louise Santos Almendarez 2-1 and advances to Day 2!