Semifinals Report

Posted in Event Coverage on October 30, 2016

By Neale Talbot

Chavarria v Silva

Chavarria was participating in his first Grand Prix Top 8. Last year he reached Top 64 at GP Santiago, and prior to that had made Top 8 at Chile Nationals in 2010, but largely Chavarria spent his Magic time his local game-store in Santiago, Rivendale. Chavarria was piloting Blue-White Flash, one of the metagame defining decks this weekend.

Likewise, Silva is a relative newcomer to the profession stage. Silva made Top 16 at GP Porto Alegre and at Pro Tour Theros in Dublin in 2013, having won a Pro Tour Qualifier on Magic Online. He also qualified for the World Magic Cup in 2012, though he wasn't able to attend. Silva was playing Green-Black Delirium with Verdurous Gearhulk and a couple of Blossoming Defence in the sideboard, two which he credits a lot of his tournament success.

The Games

Semifinals #2: Victor Silva (BG Delirium) vs John Chavarria (UW Flash)

In Game 1 Chavarria cast a Turn 2 Smuggler's Copter, which Silva met with a Grim Flayer. Chavarria followed up with a Selfless Spirit, which Silva killed using Liliana, the Last Hope, who then died to the Smuggler's Copter. The two traded blows for a while, with the Smuggler's Copter slowly gaining card selection advantage for Chavarria. Between the copter and an endless stream of Thraben Inspectors and Clues, Chavarria turned the card selection advantage into real card advantage, with Silva continually on the back foot due to several Stasis Snares from Chavarria's. Eventually Chavarria found an Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and SIlva conceded the game.

In Game 2 Silva hit off a blistering start of Grim Flayer, Tireless Tracker, Grim Flayer. Chavarria's only defence was a Stasis Snare on the Tireless Tracker. Silva pushed forward with the Grim Flayers. Chavarria attempted a second Stasis Snare, but a surprise Blossoming Defenses ended that plan. The two Grim Flayers, now fueled by Delirium, closed out the game shortly after.

Game 3 was a more drawn out affair. Silva cast a Liliana the Last Hope, then Chavarria responded with a Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, creating a Knight Ally token. Silva killed the token at end of Chavarria's turn and cast a Tireless Tracker, land, then Clue. Chavarria bounced the Tireless Tracker with a Reflector Mage and attacked Liliana with Gideon to keep her loyalty manageable.

Silva casts a Verdurous Gearhulk with four +1/+1 counters. Chavarria exiled the menace with a Declaration in Stone to Gearhulk and then finished off Liliana with Gideon. Silva found another Tireless Tracker, while Chavarria continued to attack with Gideon.

Silva sacrificed a Clue at end of Chavarria's turn, then added another with Evolving Wilds, then attacked Gideon. Chavarria cast Archangel Avacyn, but Silva responsed with a Grasp of Darkness on both Avacyn and the Reflector Mage.

Chavarria casts a second Reflector Mage on Tireless Tracker and attacked with Gideon once more. Silva used Traverse the Ulvenwald to tutor for Noxious Gearhulk to kill the Reflector Mage. Chavarria used Stasis Snare on the Gearhulk to remove it from the battlefield and attack once more with Gideon.

Silva cast an Inshkanah, Grafwidow with Delirium, gaining three little spiderlings. Chavarria, in turn cast Bruna, the Fading Light, reanimating an Archangel Avacyn, balancing the board. Silva recast his Tireless Tracker, which Chavarria resumed his attack with Bruna.

Over the next two turns Silva tried to mount a comeback but it was in vain - Chavarria engineered a block in order to flip his Archangel Avacyn, clear the board, and attack for the win.

Chavarria 2 - Silva 1

Jonathan Melamed v Eduardo Dos Santos

Dos Santos is no stranger to the top tables at GPs. He won GP Santiago in 2014, made the finals of GP San Paolo in 2014, and made Top 8 in Mexico in 2015 and Denver in 2011. Dos Santos also achieved a Top 25 spot at Pro Tour Portland in 2014. His opponent, Jonathan Melamed, was no slouch, making Top 16 at Pro Tour Austin in 2009, and hitting Top 8 of GP Santiago in 2013 and GP San Paolo this year.

Both Brazilian, the two have known each other for a while; in face, Melamed had scooped to Dos Santos in Round 14 to assure his friend a Top 8 berth. “Eduardo is a great guy,” said Melamed, “We've been playing together since 2007.”

Dos Santos had chosen to battle with a relatively stock Black-Green Delirium deck. Melamed, as featured in a deck tech, was on a unique Blue-Red Fevered Visions deck.

The Games

Game 1 saw Melamed mulligan to 5 on the play, then found himself stuck on two lands.

Melamed tried to mount an assault, but everything he played was eaten by removal from Dos Santos.

Dos Santos continued to advance his own game plan. A Grapple With The Past filled his graveyard to the point of Delirium, after which he resolved a Grim Flayer. Melamed begun his own sequence of removing Dos Santos's creatures, but a Liliana from the Delirium player allowed Dos Santos to get his recursion engine going.

Melamed found a Fevered Visions which Dos Santos chose to ignore, as he had found a Kalitas and the lifegain would keep him in front of the lifeloss. Soon after Dos Santos resolved a Emrakul, to which Melamed instantly conceded.

In Game 2 both players got off to a fast start. A Turn 2 Grim Flayer was burnt alive by a Lightning Axe. Melamed resolved Fevered Visions, and Dos Santos resolved an unopposed Liliana, ticking it up to keep it out of the range of Fevered Visions burn. However Melamed immediately resolved Chandra, Torch of Defiance and used to to ‘fling' a land at Dos Santos.

Dos Santos, recognising the threat, killed the Chandra with a Ruinous Path. Melamed responded by killing the Liliana through Fevered Visions and a Wandering Fumarole attack.

Dos Santos cast Ishkanah, Grafwidow, but without Delirium there were no spiderlings in attendance. Melamed cast a second Fevered Visions, and then the following turn used Collective Defiance to deal 3 direct damage and discard two Fiery Tempers for their Madness costs, dealing another 6 damage and ending the game on the spot.

Both players kept their hands in Game 3, with Dos Santos on the play. He resolved a Turn 2 Grim Flayer, which Melamed chose to instantly kill with Lightning Axe. Dos Santos started to focus on building out his mana base to resolve a board stabiliser. Meanwhile Melamed resolved a Thermo-Alchemist, followed by a Stormchaser Mage.

Dos Santos cast a second Grim Flayer. Melamed used Collective Defiance to kill the Flayer, deal three damage to his opponent, and trigger both the Stormchaser Mage and Thermo-Alchemist.

On the back-foot, Dos Santos killed the Stormchaser Mage on his turn, so Melamed used the opportunity to spend his mana on a free Wandering Fumarole attack.

Dos Santos Grappled With the Past again desperately trying to find a fifth land for Iskanah, Grafwidow. However as Dos Santos tapped out, Melamed showed him 6 points of burn in hand. With the Thermo-Alchemist on board and Dos Santos at 6 life, Dos Santos conceded.

Melamed 2 - Dos Santos 1

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