Semifinals: Mateus Batista de Melo (Esper Dragons) vs. Maximiliano Ramiro Sanchez (R/G Dragons)

Posted in Event Coverage on May 4, 2015

By Frank Karsten

Both players are in their first Grand Prix Top 8, and they had already advanced to the Top 4. An impressive feat for sure, but only one of them would be able to make it to the finals.

Game 1

The game started with mana-efficient answers for Sanchez's creatures in Bile Blight, Silumgar's Scorn, and Ultimate Price. Heir of the Wilds went on unanswered, however, and quickly took Batista de Melo down to 12.

A major turning point was when the third (!) Stormbreath Dragon of the game was cast…and resolved. Heir of the Wilds protected it from Foul-Tongue Invocation, and Batista de Melo found himself without an answer to the dragon.

Looking over at the control player's hand, there were a lot of lands, with no Dig Through Time or Dragonlord Ojutai in sight. Two attacks later, he had fallen to Stormbreath Dragon.

Maximiliano Sanchez 1 - Mateus Batista de Melo 0

Game 2

Early on, Thoughtseize, Dissolve, and Silumgar's Scorn dealt with Xenagos, the Reveler, Surrak, the Hunt Caller, and Goblin Rabblemaster. So far, it looked similar to the first game in that Batista de Melo had plenty of mana-efficient answers to Sanchez's threats, but something was different this time around: the control player actually drew Dig Through Time.

This allowed him to get ahead on cards, and soon after Dragonlord Ojutai came down. This gave Sanchez an opening to resolve Stormbreath Dragon, but would it be enough? When Ojutai attacked, a Plummet was countered by Silumgar's Scorn while Ultimate Price dealt with Stormbreath Dragon. After that exchange, the game quickly got out of hand.

Sanchez's Heir of the Wilds and Elvish Mystic kept on pecking away, but it was an unfair race against Dragonlord Ojutai. The next trigger found Foul-Tongue Invocation, and the life-gain ensured that Batista de Melo would stay alive long enough for his dragon to finish the job.

Maximiliano Ramiro Sanchez 1 - Mateus Batista de Melo 1

Game 3

After mulligans, Batista de Melo settled on a one-lander with Temple of Enlightenment as his only land. With Sanchez on the play and with an extra card to scry into, he had plenty of draws for more lands, but fortune was not on his side: He missed his second land drop.

By then, an Heir of the Wilds and Boon Satyr were already pressuring him, and Batista de Melo was on the ropes. His deck then gave him a second and third land, allowing him to claw back with removal spells, but Sanchez was adding a creature with haste to the board turn after turn. So every turn Batista de Melo would answer a new threat, he was still taking seven.

A couple turns later, it looked like Sanchez might stabilize at one life, but Batista de Melo still had some threats remaining, and a lowly Rattleclaw Mystic moved in for the kill.

Maximiliano Ramiro Sanchez 2 - Mateus Batista de Melo 1

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