Semifinals: Caio Amaral (Bant Zoo) VS. Vagner William Casatti (Naya Burn)

Posted in Event Coverage on November 1, 2015

By Chapman Sim

After winning his quarterfinals, Caio Amaral remains the lone existing Blue player in the entire tournament. To say that might sound a little misleading, considering that he is also really playing with a bunch of Naya cards, including Wild Nacatl and Lightning Bolt!

Amaral's deck was probably the most unique in the Top 8. Aside from powering out early Geist of Saint Traft and Knight of the Reliquary via Noble Hierarch and Birds of Paradise, he also had access to two copies of Retreat to Coralhem to steal wins.

Yet, the addition of this Battle for Zendikar uncommon did not comprise the essence of his deck, which is to win by combat. Even without Knight of the Reliquary, Landfall triggers could tap down blockers or fix his future draw steps.

Vagner William Casatti's burn spells will seek to seal the deal quickly before Amaral can hold the fort and overpower him in the late game. With a plethora of cheap creatures, coupled with effective direct damage spells at his disposal, it is entirely possible for Casatti to “out-tempo” his opponent.

The games will be pretty fast! Don't blink!

Game 1

Casatti started out with double Goblin Guide and Monastery Swiftspear, quickly applying pressure on Amaral. Even the least imaginative players should comprehend how scary this opening really is.

Vagner Wiliam Casatti is loving his Goblin Guides!

Geist of Saint Traft wasn't the best blocker in the format, but Knight of the Reliquary “could” hold back the fort. Regardless, the suicidal all-out attack from Casatti put Amaral at a low enough life total for Eidolon of the Great Revel to force him into a corner.

Amaral had no solution to it, and was took more than a couple of pings from it. Very often, an unanswered Eidolon is pretty much game over. Casatti wrapped things up with Lightning Bolt.

Caio Amaral 0 - Vagner William Casatti 1

Game 2

I told you the games would go fast. In aggro matchups such as this one, stumbling on mana can usually be the Achilles Heel.

Casatti was forced to go on the defensive this time, because he was most unfortunately stuck on one land. When the burn player is killing creatures defensively, that's usually a tell-tale sign that he's behind.

Casatti used Rift Bolt to kill Wild Nacatl, and pointed Lightning Bolt at Noble Hierarch. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben shut him out totally, until another suspended Rift Bolt killed it.

Caio Amaral returns the favor with a pair of Tarmogoyfs.

A pair of Tarmogoyfs convinced Casatti to move on to the third game.

Caio Amaral 1 - Vagner William Casatti 1

Game 3

Now that he was on the draw, Amaral wasted no time pointing Lightning Bolts at Casatti's Wild Nacatl and Grim Lavamancer, taking some damage from his manabase in the process.

When Amaral added Wild Nacatl to the board, Casatti roasted it with Searing Blaze. Lava Spike and Atarka's Command put Amaral down to six life, while he tried to race with Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Grim Lavamancer. Another Atarka's Command and Rift Bolt later, and Casatti was through to the finals!

Despite Amaral having the early defense against Casatti's early creatures, he was burned out entirely!

Burn, baby, burn!

Caio Amaral 1 – Vagner William Casatti 2

Vagner William Casatti burns Caio Amaral out, and moves on to the finals!

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