Team Inside Games (Jonathan Melamed – Mateus Martins – Paulo Martinello)
Team Barciella Romao Pattaro (Francisco Barciella – Carlos Romao – Eloi Pattaro)
Hundreds of teams had gathered, but only two teams remained. The good news for Brazil is that this was an all-Brazilian finals. Team Inside Games were locals and would love to win it all, not just for themselves but also for the city of São Paulo. Team Barciella Romao Pattaro are from Brasília, and would attempt to wrest the title from them.
Some of the highlights of the finals draft included Paulo Martinello ripping open a foil Archangel Avacyn, which I hoped he was wise enough to first-pick (P.S. he did). This pushed him into white-blue, coincidentally the same archetype his opponent, Eloi Pattaro, was on.
Another key juncture was also when Mateus Martins opened his first booster, consisting of Jace, Unraveler of Secrets and a foil The Gitrog Monster. After making an agonizing decision, he decided that the Frog was better and passed the planeswalker to Eloi Pattaro.
Match 1: Paulo Martinello (WU) vs. Eloi Pattaro (WU)
Eloi Pattaro delivers a swift beating, thanks to his opponent's mana troubles.
Pattaro was quick to mount an assault, opening with Town Gossipmonger, Devilthorn Fox, and Daring Sleuth. Hanweir Militia Captain was the crucial fourth creature, transforming itself, and the Inspiring Captain on turn five signaled a lethal blow.
Martinello had nothing but Aberrant Researcher and five Islands, unable to cast any of the other spells in his hand.
Martinello 0 – Pattaro 1
So, it turned out that this was a white-blue mirror match because Martinello had finally found a Plains. This enabled him to summon Thraben Inspector and crack the Clue to find a fourth land for Aberrant Researcher.
Pattaro's Daring Sleuth was made a 3/2 thanks to Thalia's Lieutenant, and the following play of Inspiring Captain forced Aberrant Researcher to trade. This bought Martinello a little more time to cast and cash in Vessel of Ephemera, before sticking Invocation of Saint Traft on one of the Spirit tokens.
Having no solution to the evasive threat, Pattaro scooped, and Martinello evened things up.
Martinello 1 – Pattaro 1
Pattaro curved out nicely with Daring Sleuth, double Cathar's Companion, and Avacynian Missionaries, and tapped down Dauntless Cathar with Stitched Mangler. Aberrant Researcher and Silent Observer were Martinello's reply, forcing the dogs to stay at home. That wouldn't do, so Pattaro used Angelic Purge to clear the way.
However, Aberrant Researcher transformed into Perfected Form very soon, making Pattaro regret his decision. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Pattaro used Open the Armory to find Gryff's Boon as the last line of defense.
No matter, Compelling Deterrence was the game-winner for Martinello.
Paulo Martinello tries very hard to fight back, and succeeds!
Now that he was the first to win his match, only one of his two teammates needed to win.
Martinello 2 – Pattaro 1
Match 2: Jonathan Melamed (BR) vs. Francisco Barciella (BR)
Now that Pattaro was down, it was Melamed's wish that he could defeat Barciella even before the third match could matter. While we saw a white-blue mirror match on the other end, this time we had a black-red mirror, which usually means that it boils down to an attrition war.
Both sides had a lot of creatures and ways to kill creatures, so card advantage and card quality would matter in the long run. Both decks were pretty similar to each other, but how would either player trump the either?
As expected, a flurry of exchanges and removal spells reduced the board to what mattered at the very end. Barciella had a single Stallion of Ashmouth, but Melamed was the one with the horde!
In the end all Melamed had to do was to swing with his entire team, comprising Stromkirk Mentor, Crow of Dark Tidings, and a pair of Zombie tokens granted by Gisa's Bidding. Sometimes, strength in numbers does work!
Jonathan Melamed clinches Game 1. If he wins the next game, the entire match is over!
Melamed 1 – Barciella 0
It was a classic Black-Red Vampires matchup, and the ground was soon flooded with creatures that couldn't attack profitably. The stalemate was broken temporarily when Melamed found Crow of Dark Tidings, but Barciella had Heir of Falkenrath to hold it back, and also Tooth Collector to start chipping away at the board. Slowly but surely, the X/1s begia to drop like flies, since Barciella had already achieved Delirium.
Unable to wait for his team to diminish, Melamed pulled the trigger on the Malevolent Whispers he had been sandbagging for a while and swung with his entire team. The attack put Barciella at 3 life, and Melamed hoped that there wasn't a lethal counterattack.
Little did he know that Barciella was also holding a copy of Malevolent Whispers and was simply waiting for him to budge. Stealing Melamed's best creature, Barciella was able to attack with his entire team to deal the exact 12 damage he needed.
One apiece now! Onward with the third!
Melamed 1 – Barciella 1
To refresh your memory a little, Melamed's teammate, Paulo Martinello, had already won his match. If Melamed could win this rubber match, then Carlos Romao's game wouldn't even matter!
Melamed's Ghoulcaller's Apprentice and Bloodmad Vampire were killed by Barciella's Dead Weight and Tooth Collector, respectively, but Melamed had Macabre Waltz (madnessing Bloodmad Vampire) to recover.
Barciella also had a similar play, using Pale Rider of Trostad to not only cheat out a Bloodmad Vampire of his own, but also mitigate the supposed card disadvantage. Stallion of Ashmouth and Twins of Maurer Estate were the followups.
Barciella was in trouble because his creatures were much smaller. Eventually, he was force to expend his entire team, in addition to Dance with Devils and Sinister Concoction, to restore some balance to the board, leaving him with no creatures and a single (useless) Magmatic Chasm in hand.
Francisco Barciella evens up the score for both teams!
Melamed 1 – Barciella 2
Both teams had one victory each, so the game would be decided by the third and final match!
Match 3: Mateus Martins (BG) vs. Carlos Romao (Bant)
By the time the other two matches had ended, both Mateus Martins and Carlos Romao were still in their first game! The reason was apparent because neither deck was particularly fast, and both had plenty of ways to generate resources and card advantage.
You'll see in a moment.
Carlos Romao quickly assembles a synergistic board state.
Romao started with double Erdwal Illuminator, making any form of investigations very scary for his opponent. Ongoing Investigate was insane, as was the Graf Mole that showed up later. This combination of cards not only gave Romao an endless stream of cards, but also a lot of life! Now you see what I mean about the game taking so long!
However, Martins put up a very good fight, producing Wicker Witch, Soul Swallower, and Epitaph Golem. After encountering a Fork in the Road, Martins was one card type away from Delirium, but he had to deal with a transformed Solitary Hunter from Romao.
Mateus Martins puts up strong defenses, but can't quite seal the game.
But the beatdown wasn't quite fast enough, because Martins was able to amass a huge board of Insect tokens thanks to Crawling Sensation. The Gitrog Monster showed up a while later, and both players were drawing so many cards that neither had a way to break through.
Slowly but surely, the pair of 1/3 fliers nibbled away to secure a win for the World Champion.
Martins 0 - Romao 1
Int retrospect, Game 2 didn't quite take as long as the first and the match was over in a matter of minutes. Carlos Romao had wisely sideboarded in the game-changing Odric, Lunarch Marshal because he knew that it would win the game, the match, the title, AND the trophy for him and his team.
Romao opened with Erdwal Illuminator and Duskwatch Recruiter, and a couple other creatures. What they were was irrelevant, because Romao's next play of Odric, Lunarch Marshal gave his entire team flying!
Martins slumped in his seat and slowly turned around to his teammates, who were both in as much shock as he was.
"There's no way I'm coming back from that," was Martins's response, and he extended the hand to the roar of the crowd.
Martins 0 - Romao 2
Team Barciella Romao Pattaro defeats Team Inside Games 2 to 1 and wins the finals match!
Congrats to Francisco Barciella, Eloi Pattaro, former World Champion Carlos Romao for winning Grand Prix São Paulo!