Hall of Famer Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa is the most accomplished name in the Top 8. Coming fresh off a Top 8 at Grand Prix Krakow two weeks ago, he once again registered his trusty Esper Dragons deck, and it served him well.
Ricardo Nunes Martins, on the other side of the table, is running one of the most interesting decks in the Top 8 today: an Esper Dragons deck with Monastery Mentor and Sorin, Solemn Visitor. He mentioned that it improves his matchup against red decks and megamorph decks, but would it also help in the Esper mirror?
The first game was all about Monastery Mentor. Nunes Martins used Thoughtseize to force it through and subsequently protected it from removal with his own Silumgar's Scorn. A couple of turns later, the Mentor had made an army of tokens, and Damo Da Rosa's Foul-Tongue Invocation was ineffectual. With several spells to trigger prowess, Nunes Martins quickly overwhelmed the Pro Tour Champion.
Ricardo Nunes Martins (left) and Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa (right)
Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa 0 - Ricardo Nunes Martins 1
In the early turns, a bunch of threats such as Monastery Mentor and Dragonlord Ojutai came down, but all of them were answered immediately. The Esper Dragons deck is filled with so many answers that it is generally hard to stick anything on the table.
Ricardo Nunes Martins
Nevertheless, Damo Da Rosa found an opening because Nunes Martins was lacking double black mana and was stuck with 2 Hero's Downfall in hand. Damo Da Rosa resolved Tasigur, the Golden Fang, got a free card, and proceeded to drop Dragonlord Ojutai.
Nunes Martins used Dig Through Time to find his second black mana, but at that point it was already too late: Damo Da Rosa's board advantage has translated into card advantage, and the game snowballed out of control.
Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa 1 - Ricardo Nunes Martins 1
If you thought that the Esper Dragons mirror match was all about Dragons, then you may be mistaken. Already very early in the game, there were a lot of threats on the battlefield, but none of them had the Dragon creature type! Nunes Martin's side of the table featured Mastery of the Unseen and Monastery Mentor, while Damo Da Rosa's board included Tasigur, the Golden Fang and an Ashiok…which had put Monastery Mentor in play as well!
It was an interesting sight, but the Mentors didn't get out of hand as they traded in combat and for removal spells.
Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa
Nunes Martins tried to fight back with double Mastery of the Unseen, but failed to race Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver and Dragonlord Ojutai as the game snowballed out of control in favor of Damo Da Rosa. Maybe the Esper Dragon mirror is about Dragons after all…
Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa 2 - Ricardo Nunes Martins 1