Grand Prix Porto Alegre might not have be the biggest Grand Prix ever but it was certainly filled with exciting stories. When all was said and done, Victor Fernando Silva emerged victorious from among the field of 570. What were the top moments of the weekend?
5. Magic: Touching Lives Since 1993
The YouTubing Community of Brazil
The concept is that you're a planeswalker and you're roaming the world while unlocking achievements, gathering companions, seeking treasures and solving quests. It is the first time that anything like this has ever been organized at Premier Events, and the fact that it was spearheaded by a group of community-loving YouTubers makes it even more worthwhile of commendation.
Emilia Aratanha and her Aether Cupcake
You don't necessarily need to be a prominent personality to move mountains. The power of one is not to be disregarded. Emilia Aratanha's inspiring story about how a lady forged lifelong relationships through Magic and cupcakes, is also featured over at the Day 1 Highlights. It is also a story of how she found strength – through Magic – to deal with the adversities in her life, and how a close-knitted community can be so impactful to our lives.
Giberto and William Bielenki, father and son against the world.
Gilberto and William Bielenki (father and son) were also in attendance and it is yet another example of how Magic can enhance relationships.
Gilberto shared, "I've been playing Magic with my son since 1997. I watched him grow up and we grew up with Magic together. To be honest, the reason I picked up Magic was because he wanted to play and I eventually got tired to waiting for his tournaments to end. That's why I decided to join in and now it has been almost 20 years since we picked up our first cards together."
These human interest stories are the heart of soul of our robust Organized Play programs. If you stick around long enough, you'll realize that Magic is not all just about winning with your cards.
4. Brazilian Hall of Famers Sit Out and Pitch In
Grand Prix Porto Alegre is also very special for another reason. This event marks the first time that live video coverage was being broadcast in the continent of South America, in addition to the usual text coverage.
Hall of Famers Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa and Willy Edel
Being stalwarts of the Brazilian community, Pro Tour Hall of Famers Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa and Willy Edel have decided lend their expertise in this inaugural implementation. Even though what they do best is competing, sitting out once in a while to jointly produce over twenty four hours of media content – to the entire world, no less – seemed like a rather meaningful endeavor.
Damo da Rosa was in front of cameras all weekend, while Edel was diligently working behind the scenes. Despite minor hiccups (this is our first time after all), this is an important step for players in this region and the feedback was generally well-received. Whatever it is, we're certainly appreciative of the efforts of the entire production team and the tournament organizers.
3. Mardu Vehicles, Survivor of the Fittest
It's a been crazy couple of months ever since the release of Aether Revolt and Grand Prix Porto Alegre is significant for another reason. It is the final Standard Grand Prix in the Premier Events schedule prior to the release of Amonkhet.
There are a few reasons why expansions are timed the way it is. In the first couple of weeks, players figure out what to do with the new cards and experiment with new brews. By the first month, the metagame stabilizes, becomes a little less muddy, and the pillars of the format begin to emerge.
By the second month, these key players solidify as format leaders and there is usually a phase where some new archetypes will emerge to prey upon them. Sometimes, it succeeds, and other times a deck is so resilient it triumphs over the format during this three-month period.
Magic Darwinism, if you will.
Thereafter, the community generally comes to a consensus on what the best decks are. The puzzle reaches a state where it is solved and everyone awaits a new puzzle.
Collating results from from Pro Tour Aether Revolt all the way to this weekend, here are the archetypes which made the Top 8 at all Premier Events utilizing Standard (up to Aether Revolt):
The trend is your friend and patterns don't lie.
You'll notice how Mardu Vehicles emerged as the format leader, tapered a way for a week and then re-emerged stronger than ever before. You can also see that Saheeli variants were virtually non-existent in the beginning, but slowly rose near to the top despite never really dethroning Mardu Vehicles. As for Black-Green variants, they started out near the top of the food chain but were unable to adapt and keep up with the evolving climate, and eventually went extinct.
By looking at the big picture, we can quite safely assume that Mardu Vehicles will be forever remembered as the king of this current Standard format It evolved by replacing Veteran Motorist with Walking Ballista. It evolved with a transformational planeswalker sideboard. It evolved by reintroducing Archangel Avacyn again. It evolved and it survived whatever was thrown at it.
Just imagine, in a couple of weeks or so, Amonkhet cards will be previewed and in four weeks' time, you could be ripping open Amonkhet booster packs at a Prerelease Event near you! When Amonkhet cards arrive and populate the new Standard format, a new circle of life begins.
Until then, Mardu Vehicles is probably overall the best deck and your also best bet.
2. Vagner William Casatti is two for two.
Vagner William Casatti is one of the most experienced players in the Top 8. Aside from coming in Top 4 at the 2008 World Championships Team event, he was also crowned the Brazil National Champion that very year.
And of course, he also came in 2nd place at Grand Prix Porto Alegre 2015, and 2nd place at Grand Prix Porto Alegre 2017. To say that Casatti was "two out of two" would be quite befitting. Despite falling short, Casatti stayed positive and couldn't be happier with his result.
"I now have two of these finalist plaques. I hope I can win the next time. If you told me I would come in 2nd place yesterday, I would still have taken it!"
As soon as he finished his match, he rushed off to the airport to catch his flight back home, but not before grabbing a group photo with all his friends, his supporters, and Progenitus.
1. Dynavolt Tower (and Longtusk Cub) Reigns Supreme
When Victor Fernando Silva decided he was going to bring Temur Tower for Grand Prix Porto Alegre, it was met with doubt and disdain by four of his friends and travel companions.
"Shouldn't you just play Mardu Vehicles or Copycat?"
"Is that even a deck? It sounds terrible."
Well, Fernando Silva decided he wanted to proved them wrong and...
...indeed he did!
Despite dropping the first game in the finals against Casatti, he managed to fight back in Game 2 by cleverly allowing two of Casatti's Vehicles to resolve, preferring to save his counterspells and removal to eliminate any potential pilots. With no creatures to crew either vehicle, that allowed Fernando Silva to retaliate with a 7/6 Tireless Tracker against Casatti's empty board.
When it all boiled down to the last game, it was where the Temur Tower's transformational sideboard had its moment in the sun.
Expecting his Fatal Pushes to be sideboard out, an unchecked Longtusk Cub proved pivotal in helping Fernando Silva maintain control. A last-ditch effort Archangel Avacyn from Casatti met with Void Shatter and Longtusk Cub was able to go on the offensive. When Casatti extended his hand in defeat, Fernando Silva had a 10/10 Longtusk Cub on the battlefield.
Despite a lifetime of "I told you so's" coming their way, Fernando Silva's friends were overjoyed to watch him lift the trophy when all was said and done. This is also a story about how betting on yourself is the best wager you can make.
If you don't believe in yourself, who will?
Once again, congratulations to Victor Fernando Silva, Grand Prix Porto Alegre 2017 Champion!