Day 1 of GP Santiago gave a glimpse of the impressive performance that the South American teams will surely bring to the upcoming World Magic Cup.
Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa (12), Captain of the Brazil team, piloted his Black-Green Delirium deck to a 3rd place finish on 24 points. Likewise, Marcelino Freeman, Captain of the Mexico team, made his Grixis Zombies perform to a 24 point finish and 4th place. Luis Salvatto, Captain of the Argentina team, also achieved 24 points with Black-Green Delirium, 11th place on breakers.
Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa
There were also solid performances from PT Khans of Tarkir Top 8 player Thiago Saporito, who made 22 points and 21st place with Grixis Zombies; recent PT Kaladesh 2nd place winner Carlos Romao, who took 20 points and 69th place with Black-Green Delirium; and Eduardo dos Santos, who won GP Santiago in 2014, and today hit 22 points and 27th Place.
Rodrigo Lopez, last years' GP Santiago winner and Captain of the Chile team, barely scraped into Day 2 on 18 points in 156th place. Paul Dean, the Canadian who made Top 8 at PT Battle for Zendikar, ended up dropping after Round 8, with a 4-3-1 performance.
9-0 Undefeated Players
There were two players who achieved the coveted 27 point spot at the end of Day 1 - Cristian Cespedes in 1st place, and Jonathan Melamed in 2nd place.
Jonathan Melamed & Cristian Cespedes
Christian Cespedes has seen Pro-Play before, having been the National Champion of Chile in 2010 and recently playing at Pro Tour Kaladesh. Cespedes took a relatively stock Black-Green Delirium deck to the GP, having tested it thoroughly on Magic Online. “I like testing on Magic Online because I don't have time to go to the local store,” said Cespedes, “With Magic Online I can play fifty games, when in the store I can only play four.”
I asked Cespedes how he felt about his performance today. “I'm a man of few words - I feel great, very good.”
Cespedes' counterpart at the top is Jonathan Melamed. Melamed, who is @insidemtg on Twitter, owns a store, Inside Games, and is himself at Tournament Organiser and a Level 1 Judge. His team made the finals of GP San Paolo. He also achieved Top 8 of GP Santiago in 2013 and made Top 16 at Pro Tour Austin in 2009. Melamed took a rogue approach to deckbuilding for this GP, running Blue-Red Fevered Visions.
“The deck was under the radar,” Melamed explained, “It has a great matchup against the midrange decks. I wanted a deck that would not lose to itself - and this deck always has above average draws thanks to the card selection. Plus the field was not prepared for the namesake card, Fevered Vision. It's like I'm playing Modern and they're all playing Standard.”
Also, a quick shout-out to Nahuel Roson, who technically went undefeated at 6-0-3. Kodos.
Tomorrow the 197 players who made Day 2 at GP Santiago face off against each other again. Will the BG Delirium decks continue to dominate the top tables, or will the rogue Fevered Visions deck break through? Only 6 Swiss rounds and a Top 8 on Sunday will tell.