In the Finals of GP Santiago, relative newcomer John Chavarria faced off against his more experienced opponent, Jonathan Melamed. Jonathan had been tearing up the tournament with his rogue Blue-Red Fevered Visions deck, preying upon Green-Black Delirium decks all weekend. However Chavarria was playing Blue-White Flash, one of the most favoured decks of the tournament, his counter-spell and disruption packaging posing a unique threat to Melamed's burn plan.
In Game 1, Chavarria resolved a Turn 1 Thaben Inspector, followed by a Turn 2 Smuggler's Copter, forcing Melamed to kill the Inspector so the Copter could not be crewed. Melamed attempted to resolve a Chandra, Torch of Defiance on Turn 4, but his game plan was prevented by a Spell Queller from Chavarria. When Melamed attempted a Collective Defiance on the Queller, a second Spell Queller saved the first.
In Game 2 Melamed came out swinging with a Turn 2 Stormchaser Mage, while Chavarria struggled to find a fourth land. Even though the Stormchaser Mage was met with a Blessed Alliance, Melamed chose to play around Chavarria's suite of counterspells, simply playing draw-go in order to gain a large mana advantage. When Chavarria tapped out to cast a Smuggler's Copter, Melamed took the opportunity to resolve a Jace, Unraveller of Secrets with a single red mana up.
Chavarria continued to miss land drops, so Melamed pressed his advantage. A second Stormchaser Mage began a new assault. Out of options, Chavarria attempted to block with a flashed-in Spell Queller, but it met with removal. Back in his own turn, Chavarria cast a Reflector Mage to bounce the Stormchaser Mage.
In Game 3 Melamed considered long and hard before he finally mulliganed to 6. Regardless, he was off to the races with a Turn 2 Stormchaser Mage. When Chavarria passed the turn with two untapped mana, Melamed declined to attack, to play around the Blessed Alliance he had seen Game 2, though he had no follow-up play.
Chavarria used a Reflector Mage to bounce the Stormchaser Mage, and with that Chavarria began to press his opponent, attacking with Reflector Mage and casting a Thraben Inspector, leaving up three mana.
Melamed, acknowledging the likelihood of a Spell Queller, cast a Stormchaser Mage. Chavelleria took the bait to counter the Stormchaser. Once it had resolved Melamed used a Lightning Axe to kill the Queller, discarding a Fiery Temper with Madness to also kill the Reflector Mage. With his two Stormchasers on board, Melamed seemed like he had stabilised.
With Melamed tapped out, Chavelleria attacked with the Thraben Inspector, then cast a Selfless Spirit and a Smuggler's Copter. For the next few turns the two played draw-go, neither willing to attack into the other.
Inspecting his hand, Melamed decided he needed to break the deadlock quickly. He tried to cast Jace, Unraveller of Secrets, which he boards in against control decks. Chavelleria tried to Spell Shrivel it, to which Melamed responded with Negate. However Chavelleria has a second Spell Shrivel for the Negate and subsequently won the counterspell battle. Tapped out, Melamed used his now Prowessed Stormchaser Mages to attack for six, then passed the turn.
Chavarria untapped, attacked with the Copter and Selfless Spirit, then passed the turn back. Melamed sat still, considering his options. Finally he decided to attack with his Wandering Fumerole. Chavarria flashed in Archangel Avacyn - Melamed attempted to Galvanic Blast the Selfless Spirit - Chavarria Negated the Galvanic blast - and Melamed conceded.
Chavarria 2 - Melamed 1
“This is awesome.” Chavarria said afterwards, “It's like when you have a dream and achieve it. It's was weird today - when I woke up I thought to myself, I need to put on good clothes for the pictures - and it turns out I was right!”
Congratulations to John Chavarria, the Champion of GP Santiago 2016!