ROUND 10 FEATURE MATCH: Fernando Dominguez Roldan vs. Axel Martinez

Posted in GRAND PRIX MEXICO CITY 2015 on February 1, 2015

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

Of the 626 players that came to Grand Prix Mexico this weekend, only two undefeated players remain.

Axel Martinez has been winning an alarming amount of matches at Mexican Grand Prix events over the last few years. Martinez finished, 9th at last year’s Grand Prix Mexico City, 9th at Grand Prix Guadalajara, and 9th at Grand Prix Mexico City in 2012. Coming off an astounding three heartbreakers, Martinez is determined to break through and secure his first Grand Prix Top 8 this weekend.

His opponent, Fernando Dominguez, has been a staple of the Mexican Magic community for a very long time. Dominguez has the second most lifetime pro points of any Mexican and his undefeated record from Day 1 at this event puts him in excellent position to Top 8 this event and inch closer toward carrying the title of most lifetime pro points in Mexico.

The first game looked like it might come to a quick end when Martinez failed to hit his fourth land drop with only a single morph in play. Dominguez tried to leave his opponent without nonland permanents by using Bring Low on Martinez’s morph. Martinez tapped two lands and flipped up Sidisi’s Pet, stealing tempo and a card from his opponent for simply using mana that he wouldn’t have otherwise.

Fernando Dominguez

From there, lands ceased to be an issue and both players advanced their boardstate with each passing turn.

The game degenerated into a staring match as the battlefield continued to grow.

Dominguez tried to play some game breaking spells in Jeskai Ascendancy and Citadel Siege, but Martinez seemed to have an endless stream of answers for even the hardest to remove permanents. Still, with Scroll of the Masters slowly gaining counters, it looked like Dominguez would be able to grind out Martinez in a long game.

Dominguez went for a big attack and the board got cleaned up a bit. Now, it looked as if Martinez would be chump blocking until he ran out of bodies to do so.

Then, something strange happened. Oftentimes, we regard some cards as unplayable, but the best players can pinpoint the deck where one of these particular cards has the ability to shine. Molting Snakeskin came down on Sidisi’s Pet and proved to be a nearly insurmountable blocking force.

Armament Corps was next for Martinez, and Sidisi’s Pet picked up a +1/+1 counter. Still, Martinez was on the backfoot and unable to attack.

A few turns later, a 4/5 regenerating Sidisi’s Pet attacked, and Dominguez happily took the damage with the ability to swing back for lethal thanks to the Arrow Storm in his hand.

But Martinez wasn’t done, Ivorytusk Fortress stomped its way onto the table and untapped Sidisi’s Pet to thwart Dominguez’s lethal swingback.

From here, Sidisi’s Pet kept attacking and untapping, gaining four life at a time. Dominguez could block it indefinitely with help from Scroll of the Masters, but Martinez’s life total rose well above 40 in the coming turns.

Eventually, Dominguez was able to get Sidisi’s Pet off the table with two removal spells and a Scroll of the Masters activation. Now, with Scroll of the Masters having five counters and Leaping Master being the only potential flyer on the table, it looked like he was pulling ahead.

More lifegain from Martinez pushed him further out of reach, though, and it soon became clear that Dominguez, despite being ahead, wouldn’t have time to finish off his opponent before decking himself.

Martinez 1 - 0 Dominguez

Time was dwindling as they shuffled up for the second game. Both players shuffled quickly after sideboarding and presented their decks. Rodriguez was visibly frustrated with the time constraints, his deck was clearly the more powerful of the two, but it seemed unlikely he would be able to win two games with less than ten minutes remaining in the round.

Axel Martinez

Again, both players curved out nicely, Rodriguez had a healthy board of attackers, but Archer’s Parapet and some morphs on the other side of the table made attacking very difficult. Still, the pressure was on and Dominguez would need to win quickly if he was going to win at all.

Dominguez stuck Scroll of the Masters and started chaining spells. The artifact quickly built up counters and was soon able to grant +6/+6 to the creature of his choice every turn. If there was more time, Dominguez would be able to frugally work his way through the game while maximizing the power of his artifact, but he had no such luxury. He repeatedly attacked with his team, throwing bodies away to force through damage.

Martinez just needed to survive to take the match, but he quickly turned the tides and started swinging back. In Dominguez’s reckless abandon, he suddenly found himself behind in terms of race math and a timely Kill Shot in response to a Scroll of the Masters activation was enough for Martinez to survive and swing back for lethal on the following turn.

Martinez 2 - 0 Dominguez

Axel Martinez defeats Fernando Dominguez Roldan in two games to be the last undefeated player at Grand Prix Mexico City!