Top Stories of Grand Prix São Paulo 2017

Posted in Event Coverage on August 13, 2017

By Chapman Sim

While many interesting tales were shared in the Day One Highlights, here are some more stories that shaped Grand Prix São Paulo 2017.

Feliz Dia Dos Pais!

Willy Edel and family

Some of the most precious things in the world are family and love. Father's Day is a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood. It is a holiday which is observed by over forty countries. Though different countries have different dates, the Brazilians celebrate it three months after Mother's Day, which usually results in Father's Day being celebrated on the second Sunday of August, which is today!

Traditionally, families gather together for all-you-can-eat barbecues or churrascos, either at home or at a Brazilian steakhouse, a churrascaria. To make things even better, you could also play some Magic before that! With Grand Prix taking place on Father's Day, many families were sighted all around the tournament hall.

Edel: "Now you know why there are so many children running all over the place!"

Many of you are going to be fathers one day, but today, we wish all Brazilian fathers feliz dis dos pais!

Dan Frazier: Dazzling Us Since 1993

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Of the hundreds and thousands of amazing artifacts from our multiverse, none amaze us as much as the Moxen (plural of Mox). While the Black Lotus might be the game's indisputable icon, the set of five treasures (Mox Pearl, Mox Sapphire, Mox Jet, Mox Ruby, and Mox Emerald) are not far behind. They continue to dazzle us, thanks to the one and only Dan Frazier.

Dan is 72 years old this year and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Colorado. He lived there and taught art in public schools. After two decades, Frazier left the teaching profession and started illustration in the gaming industry, starting around 1990. The Moxen were printed between the period of 1993 - 1994, which meant that Frazier was one of the original twenty five Magic: The Gathering artists to directly influence the look and the feel of the game. Thereafter, he was also given the opportunity to illustrate Mox Diamond, Jack-in-the-Mox and nearly 150 other cards!

Dan Frazier illustration a custom Moxen playmate as wife Kathy Frazier watches on!

Dan: When Magic first started, I was approached by Jesper Myrfors, the original art director of Magic . He rattled off the names of a few cards and I heard names like Mox Ruby and Mox Sapphire. I said that I could take the commissions but then I asked him what a Mox was. It was a funny moment, because he said he didn't know yet!

One year later...

Well, we all know now!

As a Magic player for over 20 years, our desire for these "ancient relics" continues to astonish me. Maybe because they're really powerful cards, or maybe because they're a slice of history, I can't speak for everyone. They are restricted in Vintage and banned everywhere else due to their sheer power, so you couldn't use them in a tournament. You'd have to get into a brawl just to even put them in your casual Commander decks (which, for your information, isn't allowed either). Yet, it remains the holy grail for any aspiring Magic player or collector. Perhaps not all twenty million of us, but if we polled each and everyone and asked you if you would be happy to own a Mox, I'd say more than three quarters of you wouldn't mind.

There are a few psychoanalytical explanations to explain why the Moxen are so amazing and desired. Like a football fan who collects club memorabilia, it is a way to express loyalty. We're proud of our involvement in Magic and we wear our badges proudly. For others, like the stamp collector proud of rare finds, it is a sense of pride and achievement. To dig a little deeper into the abyss of our hearts, we seek comfort in our personal items and sometimes even form an important part of our personal legacy. The rich and famous can line the walls of their homes with great works of original art or fill their garages with expensive, flashy cars or jets. Others are content with more humble collections that might be worth less material value but give us as much pleasure.

This is why we collect what we collect!

I collect tons of Commander cards myself. I have friends who collect limited edition playmats. I have friends who collect every single expansion as it is being released (sometimes, Magic Online redemption can be so convenient).

For the most of us, being a collector has nothing to do with financial gain - even though it may or may not result in some - it is an emotionally driven action that connects fellow enthusiasts positively and emotionally during particular times in the lives. For others, seeking out amazing artifacts is all about the thrill of the chase. The hours spent searching for yet another elusive item becomes a truly enjoyable experience.

In Dan's case, being the creator of the Moxen artwork is part of his legacy, a legacy appreciated by millions around the globe. This weekend was probably one of the most touching moments of his entire illustration career. When presented with a set of custom-created Moxen necklaces from a fan, both Dan and Kathy Frazier (his wife of over thirty years) were elated beyond belief. Naturally, Kathy was swamped with requests but she maintained that they were not for sale. However, she was glad to share her newfound gifts with everyone! Take a look at these breathtaking beauties!

Kathy: A lot of people asked me if they could buy them, but of course I turned them down. It was a gift from a fan. Besides, they're mine! Mine, mine, mine! Seriously though, I really respect Dan's artistic work and I would like to keep them as our memory.

As Dan continued to work on his playmat, onlookers marveled at the sight of the living legend. Dan Frazier will forever be part of our Magic culture, just like the Moxen will forever have a place in our hearts.

For more information on The Power Nine, click here to go back to an article from 2003 . To view a complete gallery of all Dan Frazier's illustrated cards, click here .


Cian Paiva Bareto and Bianca Papassoni Selmo

Every great dream begins with a dreamer or two. Cian Paiva Bareto, 23, and Bianca Papassoni Selmo, 27, are all about living life to the fullest and embracing the best moments. The sunrise in the morning. The sound of rain. Adventures with your favorite people. A good cup of coffee. Puppies and bunnies. Fresh air. Above all, being loved.

Their story goes back to the Comic Con Experience (CCXP). Cian attended this Brazilian convention together with one of his friends and visited the Magic: The Gathering booth there. On a random whim, he had this sudden urge to purchase a Modern Masters 2015 booster box and rip it open right on the spot.

Cian: I don't know what came over me, but I think it's one of those spur of the moment things. Modern Masters 2015 looked really exciting, plus I was having a really good day at the CCXP. That was why I decided to splurge a little.

He made his purchase and sat down by the booth, along a less-busy corner of the contested convention hall. At this moment, Bianca - who was in the cosplay area nearby - saw Cian removing the shrink wrap of his booster box. Walking right up to Cian, she broke the ice by telling him that she was a Magic player as well. Being the gentleman that he was, Cian invited her to sit down and share the experience together.

Cian: I remember I was halfway through the booster box and I handed some to Bianca. Within the next three or four boosters, she opened Tarmogoyf and Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite. She is really lucky when it comes to these boosters. Nowadays, whenever we open a booster box together, I would take nine packs for myself and hand the remaining twenty seven to Bianca.

Bianca: He knows I like to open boosters and he spoils me in that regard. Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite happened to be the Commander I was using at that time. I'm a casual player and I love Commander and other casual formats, which is why I can't wait for Commander 2017 to be released.

After the meet cute, Cian and Bianca started seeing each other. Cian lives in São Paulo, while Bianca lives in Rio de Janeiro, which is a six-hour drive or an eight-hour bus ride. Despite the distance between them, they've made things work between them and remain very close to each other to this day. In the two years they have been dating, they've attended numerous Grand Prix and other gaming conventions and traveled around the region together.

Cian: That day at CCXP was the best day of my life.

I'm sure it was. Dude, you got picked up by a girl.

Bianca: I have to admit that I found him really cute, which is why I decided to even sit down and approach him in the first place. It was probably one of the best decisions I've made because Cian is a great guy and we have common interests and hobbies.

One day, while they were at the beach lazing around, they decided to play some Mini Masters and open up the rest of the boosters. Two Shadows of Innistrad booster boxes later, their beach house was littered with hundreds of cards. Then, Bianca caught something at the side of her eye. A certain uncommon from SOI which sparked her interest.

Bianca: There was a tall cliff just next to the beach and I would say it was about 4 - 5 meters tall. It doesn't seem too high up, but for 'Hobbits' like us it was a lot. The rough waters of the seas crashed upon the cliffs and created very nice water patterns. I thought I could take a picture with Rise from the Tides together with the ocean.

Cian loved the idea instantly and asked Bianca to grab her camera (by the way, she's the master photographer who took all the great shots). Together, they climbed up the cliff together and spent three hours working on this photograph - well, you can't rush art - creating this masterpiece of a lifetime.

After the wonderful evening, Cian tossed and turned in bed, pondering overnight.

What if he could do this with Bianca forever?

Travel the world, play Magic, and take great photos which last a lifetime.

The next day, he pitched the idea to Bianca, who decided it was an adventure worth embarking upon. With that, they started a Facebook group and Instagram page named LifeIsMagicMTG. In addition, the organizers of the Grand Prix was happy to support the cause, and graciously allowed them to display their (partial) gallery of works. With the permission of Cian and Bianca, we are happy to share some of their favorite pieces.

Bianca: This project is about Magic, but it is also about love and all the good things in life. I also believe in helping artists, whether you're a writer, photographer, or painter. Magic, for us, started out as a game, but now our lives revolve around it. We're making friends wherever we go, and there was never a dull moment in Magic . We soon realized that Magic was more than just a game. Magic is life.

Cian: If I never played Magic, I would never have met Bianca and my life would not be as amazing as it is.

Bianca: This is such a moving moment for me. I never expected our little photos have inspired others. Originally, all I thought about was creating something special with Cian. After today, I believe we can do even more.

Bianca is the rainbow of Cian's cloud and their joint works form an everlasting bond between them. If this initiative strikes a chord in your heart, be happy that you can also be part of the movement. Considering all the cards we own and the places we travel to, there are plenty of opportunities to create memories in the same way as Cian and Bianca. Think of the creative ways to compose your picture and bring a few of your favorite cards along with you whenever you go. You never know you might find a good photo opportunity. Even the simplest ideas can create the most interesting pieces. You can put Blessed Wine next to an actual bottle of blessed wine, or put a bunch of Sacred Cats around your actual sacred cat.

For myself, I decided to stick Birds of Paradise up a tree.


If you're passionate about Magic and life as much as we are, you can use the #lifeismagic hashtag on Social Media. How does a moment last forever? It takes just a minutes to create one. It starts with Cian and Bianca, it starts with the Brazilian community, and it starts with you and I.

Carlos Romao Takes Ten!

25th-ranked Carlos Romao was among the most esteemed players in the tournament hall this weekend. As one of four Brazilian Platinum Pros (can you name the other three?) and also a former World Champion, it was not surprising to see Romao make the Top 8. Starting out 8-1 in Day One and then going 4-0 early in Day Two, he quickly locked up his spot in the Top 8 after two intentional draws.

That marked this his tenth lifetime Grand Prix Top 8 (yay double digits!), making him 49th player to make the Top 8 of a Grand Prix ten times or more (can you name the other forty eight?)! As one of the Top 50 most successful players on the Grand Prix Circuit, Romao is also the player with the best conversion rate among them, winning five times in ten appearances (P.S. Kai Budde won seven times in fifteen appearances).

Interestingly, he could have been dropped from the Top 25 Rankings but this weekend's stellar performance took care of that issue. Now that the weekend is over, it was actually time for Romao to head home and take ten! Good night, sleep tight!

Joao Lelis Defends The Trophy

Joao Lelis could not have asked for a better day. Steamrolling through the competition to come up on top, Lelis hoisted the champion trophy by nightfall, with Knightfall!

Selecting a less-common archetype, he was able to surprise the field filled with Grixis Shadow, Titan Shift, Affinity, Eldrazi Tron, and other usual suspects. After taking down Julian Reyes in the quarters and eliminating Rafael Costa Zaghi in the semifinals, he was faced against Vitor Grassato's Titan Shift deck. While it was not the most horrible matchup in the world, Lelis professed that he did not enjoy "any Valakut-matchup".

The Finals between Joao Lelis and Vitor Grassato

After taking down Game 1, it would seem like Grassato could make a comeback, but he said that the "sideboard games were more difficult because of counter magic".

Lelis was ready with Flashfreeze to stop a game-winning Primeval Titan

Indeed, Lelis used two copies of Flashfreeze to counter both of Grassato's Primeval Titans, while still having a pair of Spell Quellers to stop Scapeshift. In the end, Grassato crumbled to the unbreakable army of Selfless Spirit, Knight of the Reliquary, and Spell Queller. When Grassato extended his hand in gracious defeat, the crowd roared and Lelis let out a sigh of relief against the roar of the crowd.

Hearty congratulations once again, to Joao Lelis, your Grand Prix São Paulo Champion!

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