Deck Tech: Atarka Red with Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

Posted in Event Coverage on October 17, 2015

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

Hall of Famer and eighteenth-ranked Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa has been regarded as one of the best control players in the game for the last decade. That's why it came as such a surprise to everyone that he chose to battle with a hyper aggressive strategy like Atarka Red this weekend. Damo da Rosa just clinched a seat in his tenth Top 8 here at Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar, becoming the third player ever to Top 8 ten separate times at the big show. I decided to sit down with Damo da Rosa in hopes of learning why he chose to be on the other side of the aggro/control coin for this event.

When I asked Damo da Rosa what could make a control master like himself sleeve up red cards, he just shrugged. "Well, I guess the deck is just very good," he admitted. "I tried testing it against all the other decks in the format and I felt like nothing could consistently beat it. This deck is different than other red decks because it's very difficult to play against. The Become Immense combo with Temur Battle Rage forces opponents to not attack and it often gives us two or three extra turns to draw the cards we need to finish them off. Sometimes it's a mistake to give us extra draw steps. Other times, they attack and I just kill them. It's more than a red deck because of all the angles of attack."

We've already seen a lot of Atarka Red in the new Standard, but I wanted to know what differentiated Damo da Rosa's deck from the other red decks we've been seeing recently. "The other red strategies are usually playing Thunderbreak Regent and Outpost Siege, but I didn't want to play with clunky four mana cards," he explained. "We don't want to tap out against the mirror because we usually just die to Temur Battle Rage. The controlling decks of the format seem to turn the corner fast enough that a card like Outpost Siege is rarely more than a Divination. Our version of the deck doesn't bother with the four-drops and I feel like that's been a big advantage."

Here it is! Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa's Atarka Red:

Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa—Atarka Red

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