Round 7: (7) Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa (Atarka Red) vs. Yuta Takahashi (Red Abzan)

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 seventh-ranked Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa is one of the greatest Magic players ever. There's little left for PV to accomplish in this game. With a staggering nine Pro Tour Top 8s and seventeen Grand Prix Top 8s under his belt, it's no surprise that he's undefeated with six rounds in the books. Damo da Rosa is armed with an Atarka Red deck that can win the game seemingly out of nowhere by combining Become Immense and Temur Battle Rage.

We checked in with Yuta Takahashi back in Round 4 and, three rounds later, he's still undefeated with his Red Abzan deck. Takahashi is a known Constructed master and him making it out of the draft portion with an untarnished record means that he'll be a dangerous force to be reckoned with here at Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar.

Two storied Pro Tour veterans face off. Would Hall of Famer Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa's Atarka Red win in explosive fashion, or would Takahashi's Red Abzan out-muscle the competition?

The Games

Takahashi won the roll. "Yes!" He paused to collect himself. "I'll play."

Takahashi got things started with Warden of the First Tree, which immediately met a fiery death on Damo da Rosa's turn.

Hangarback Walker came next and Takahashi declined to trade it with Damo da Rosa's dashed Lightning Berserker. Damo da Rosa further augmented his board with Zurgo Bellstriker, but a Hangarback activation and Dromoka's Command dealt with that in short order.

Hangarback Walker continued to grow and, despite being stuck one mana shy of Siege Rhino, Takahashi looked to be in dominating position.

Dragon Fodder helped Damo da Rosa start rebuilding his board, but Takahashi had another Dromoka's Command and started getting aggressive with his now 5/5 Hangarback Walker. Paulo got in for a decent hit with a dashed Zurgo Bellstriker and Goblin token, but Takahashi found his fourth land and was able to close the game out with another attack from Hangarback Walker and a Siege Rhino trigger.

Takahashi's always been known for his powerful Constructed deck building, and this tournament was no exception at showing that skill off.

Takahashi went to six cards at the beginning of the second game, but, thanks to the new mulligan rule, he was able to scry and try to assemble the necessary cards to beat red on the draw, which would not be an easy task.

Damo da Rosa started going wide with a pair of dragon fodders and Takahashi found himself stuck on two lands. Atarka's Command threatened to do a lot of damage, but Takahashi had Ultimate Price to deal with one of the three remaining goblins.

Takahashi found a pair of running lands and stuck Siege Rhino, bringing him back to 12, but Damo da Rosa had assembled the Become Immense/Temur Battle Rage combo to seal up the second game in the blink of an eye.

Warden of the First Tree and Monastery Swiftspear started the third game, and Silkwrap from Takahashi was able to deal with Damo da Rosa's first threat. Damo da Rosa followed up with Dragon Fodder.

Damo da Rosa's deck choice packed a powerful one-two punch.

Takahashi had Duress to take Become Immense out of Damo da Rosa's hand, but Warden of the First Tree started to grow and put pressure on Damo da Rosa's life total.

Damo da Rosa started to pull ahead with Abbot of Keral Keep and Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh, but Takahashi had Anafenza and started applying pressure of his own when Warden of the First Tree gained lifelink and trample.

The following turn was huge for Damo da Rosa, who was able to use Atarka's Command to get in for a whopping 13 damage to finish the game in one fell swoop. Takahashi looked confused, and started going through the game turn by turn with Damo da Rosa, trying to figure out if he had any path to victory.

"Next time, I win," he said.

Damo da Rosa 2 – Takahashi 1

Yuta Takahashi—Red Abzan

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Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa—Atarka Red

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