Finals: Lucas Esper Berthoud (Mardu Vehicles) vs. Márcio Carvalho (Mardu Vehicles)

Posted in Event Coverage on February 5, 2017

By Tobi Henke

This was it. After sixteen rounds of Swiss and three rounds of elimination matches, with 423 others eliminated, only two players remained to fight for the title and trophy, for a place in the history books and the grand prize of $50,000.

There was a very big and even louder crowd of spectactors who had answered every game won by either of these players throughout the Top 8 with chanting in Portuguese. Now, for the finals between Portugal's Márcio Carvalho and Brazil's Lucas Esper Berthoud, they didn't know whose victories to celebrate, and simply decided to cheer at every win.

Carvalho and Berthoud had more than just their native language in common. Both were part of the DEX collective, Carvalho as a member of Team DEX Army, Berthoud as a member of DEXThird, and both were playing nigh identical decks too, the version of Mardu Vehicles which eschewed blue completely in favor of getting to play more, namely non-white, one-drops. The deck had been built by none other than Hall of Famer Frank Karsten who said, "Lucas is playing my 75 from Tuesday that I shared with Pedro Carvalho."

Karsten—who had recently decided not to put as much time into professional Magic and testing anymore—told me that he had been happy to give his list to others, adding, "I wasn't expecting it to do so well, though."

At least, Karsten had made it to the final table, in a way. Even now a note sat on the table which read, "Thanks, Frank."

As for things Berthoud and Carvalho didn't have in common: For Carvalho, this was the second finals appearance at a major event this season. After coming in second at the 2016 World Championship, he was the new leader in the Player of the Year race, and he had crossed the threshold to Platinum several matches ago.

Berthoud, meanwhile, had but one Grand Prix Top 8 to his name and had entered the weekend with literally zero Pro Points in the season so far, qualifying via Regional Pro Tour Qualifier. The Pro Points he already secured now would get him to Silver, sure, but he obviously wanted the trophy and the immediate advancement to Platinum that came with it.


The finals of Pro Tour Aether Revolt came down to two players from two different countries that had two distinct bonds: A shared language, and a shared squad of cheerleaders out in the crowd.

The Games

After the first creatures had been cast and killed, an interesting situation developed when Carvalho was able to take down the opposing Gideon, Ally of Zendikar with the help of the damage from Unlicensed Disintegration. On the backswing, however, which involved an Unlicensed Disintegration from Berthoud, Carvalho already fell to 12.

Two turns later, Berthoud summoned a Thraben Inspector which gave him exactly what he needed: another point of power to crew his Heart of Kiran alongside a Knight Ally token as well as an artifact to sacrifice to Pia Nalaar to prevent Carvalho's Thopter token from blocking the Vehicle. This put an end to a blisteringly fast first game.

For the second game, Berthoud kept a hand with three lands, three Vehicles, and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. For a while, Carvalho looked to be in a position to take advantage of Berthoud's potentially slow draw, with Scrapheap Scrounger, Thraben Inspector, and Heart of Kiran.


Berthoud was only one game away from a lot of money and a lot more Pro Tours to play in.

But Berthoud drew creatures to crew his own Heart of Kiran and Aethersphere Harvester soon enough, and successfully stalled the game. Eventually, his Heart and two Aethersphere Harvester, helped along by a Gideon emblem, ended a game which had been over in all but name for a long time.

Down two games now, Carvalho found himself with his back against the wall, and set off to do something about it, a look of grim determination on his face as he shuffled up for the next duel.

Here, in true mirror fashion, one Shock apiece killed each player's first creature. Following that, both summoned Veteran Motorist and Pia Nalaar. Carvalho had Heart of Kiran and got back the Scrapheap Scrounger which had been his first creature. Berthoud on the other hand was very much out of gas. He simply activated and attacked with Needle Spires. To make matters worse, an end-of-turn Shock even got rid of his Pia Nalaar. Carvalho was moving in for the kill and reached his goal soon after.


Carvalho has been this close before to a trophy this season. He was unwilling to stop now.

The fourth game began with a series of trades: Carvalho's Heart of Kiran versus Release the Gremlins, Berthoud's Heart versus Fragmentize, Pia Nalaar and token versus Pia Nalaar and token, Shocks versus various creatures. Eventually, however, Carvalho got Gideon, Ally of Zendikar going and buried Berthoud in 2/2 Ally Knights, forcing a fifth and final game.

Here, Berthoud had Veteran Motorist on turn two, Heart of Kiran on turn three, Unlicensed Disintegration on turn four, and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar on turn five. At this point Carvalho only controlled a Thraben Inspector and the Thopter token Pia Nalaar left behind. Things were looking quite bad for him.

However, the Thopter attacked Gideon and, when Heart of Kiran tried to get in the way, Unlicensed Disintegration made it so that Gideon lost all his loyalty rather than one counter, or none. When Carvalho's next turn saw him cast Skysovereign, Consul's Flagship, the turnaround was complete: Suddenly Carvalho had the upper hand!

But it didn't last long, as Berthoud had the perfect answer yet: Release the Gremlins killed the Vehicle and Carvalho's Thopter, and released some Gremlins as well, of course. Carvalho succumbed not much later.

Naturally, Carvalho was disappointed, especially since he could probably lay claim to having gotten the short end of the variance a couple of times throughout the match. But he still was happy for Berthoud.


There is no bitterness among friends and testing partners.

There was a high five, and I heard the word "Platinum" and the phrase "no hard feelings" in between the Portuguese.


Congratulations to Lucas Esper Berthoud, who defeated Márcio Carvalho 3-2 in the finals to become champion of Pro Tour Aether Revolt!

Carvalho, Marcio - Mardu Vehicles

Esper Berthoud, Lucas - Mardu Vehicles

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