Decklists will be published once Round 16 begins.
Antonino De Rosa might be an unfamiliar face to the newer Magic players, but he is in fact a grizzled veteran. By virtue of winning a Regional Pro Tour Qualifier, De Rosa finds himself back on the circuit, making Pro Tour Eldritch Moon his 53rd lifetime Pro Tour attendance. Aside from winning US Nationals multiple times, he's also made eleven Grand Prix Top 4s, winning four of them. Today, he resides in the Caribbean and doesn't get a lot of opportunities to play Magic, but he does find time to attend Grand Prix or Pro Tour Qualifiers in between work trips and vacation time.
On the other end of the spectrum, No. 20-ranked Brad Nelson is one of the most active players on the planet. He has already locked up Platinum for the season, but what was at stake was a seat at the World Championship. He is at a similar 9-3 record and would need to finish strong to improve upon the 48 Pro Points he had prior to this weekend.
Teaming up with EUreka, their Jund Delirium deck looked great against the metagame in general, but this was not a matchup that Nelson envied. Despite both decks being built around Emrakul, the Promised End, De Rosa's Red-Green Ramp deck was simply more effective at churning the titan out prematurely. To further complicate matters for Nelson, there was also World Breaker and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger in the mix. Still, Nelson had hand-disruption effects such as Transgress the Mind and Distended Mindbender to keep De Rosa's threats in check, so don't count him out just yet!
Nelson won the die roll, but had to mulligan to six. With a pair of Evolving Wilds, he found Swamps to go with a lone Forest for Liliana, the Last Hope. Nissa, Vastwood Seer helped him bounce back from the mulligan somewhat, but he was in danger if he failed to find some pressure. In this matchup, giving the red-green player too much breathing space will usually spell your doom.
Sure enough, De Rosa made use of his first few turns to set up a series of lethal plays. He popped Vessel of Nascency for Cinder Glade, and then a second vessel for Hedron Archive. Resolving the artifact on turn four brought him up to seven mana on the next turn, which enabled him to cast World Breaker.
Antonino De Rosa and his World Breaker look to bring about an end to this game.
"What's your delirium count?"
Nelson just had one of his lands exiled, and feared that he was within range of Emrakul, the Promised End.
In actuality, it didn't matter because a second Hedron Archive ensured that De Rosa had more than enough mana for the fearsome Eldrazi. De Rosa took over Nelson's turn and forced him to perform some self-destructive shenanigans, leaving Nelson nothing to do but reach for his sideboard when all was said and done.
In Game 2, Nelson spent his first few turns filling his graveyard and smoothing his mana with Liliana, the Last Hope and Pilgrim's Eye. De Rosa performed similar functions with Grapple with the Past, before casting Nissa's Pilgrimage and Shaman of Forgotten Ways. When Ultimate Price dealt with the Shaman, that put the sixth card into De Rosa's graveyard, conveniently of six varying card types.
Five lands in play for De Rosa.
Tick tock, tick tock, for Nelson.
Thankfully, he was able to sacrifice Pilgrim's Eye to emerge Distended Mindbender and cripple De Rosa's hand. Woodland Bellower searching out Tireless Tracker was De Rosa's form of defense and recovery. However, Nelson was able to use a duo of Den Protectors to reuse Ultimate Price twice, clearing the way for his horde to march across De Rosa's now-empty board and seal the win.
Brad Nelson has his eye on a victory...and maybe a seat at the World Championship.
In the third and final game, De Rosa used his first turn to cast Vessel of Nascency, his second turn to crack it, and his third turn to cast Nissa's Pilgrimage. That was a very solid opening, which put four card types into his graveyard and four lands on the battlefield. Since both players were constantly concerned with the number of card types in both graveyards, it was decided that they would use dice to represent the amount. Right now, it was 4-2 in De Rosa's favor.
As the game progressed, Nelson timed Transgress the Mind just before De Rosa could fire off Emrakul, the Promised End. He saw no Emrakul in sight, and picked away World Breaker instead. It looked like Nelson was safe, but the problem with discard spells is that you can never protect yourself from what's on the top of your opponent's library.
De Rosa proceeded to savagely topdeck Emrakul, the Promised End, plopping it on the table without delay. To make matters worse, Nelson only had two mana open, which meant that he was unable to cast To the Slaughter. In the end, De Rosa forced Nelson to use the instant on himself, while Emrakul mopped up the game in two quick attacks.
"Sorry about that, buddy. To be fair, I think this is one of my best matchups. Good luck in the next couple of rounds!"
Nelson could only nod and agree. "I just hope this loss doesn't kill my chances for the World Championship." He falls to 9-4, possibility eliminated from Top 8 contention, while De Rosa moves up to 10-3.
Antonino De Rosa 2 – Brad Nelson 1