Quarterfinals Stage 1: Joey Manner (White-Blue Flash) vs. Carlos Romao (Jeskai Control)

Posted in Event Coverage on October 16, 2016

By Melissa DeTora

Melissa is a former Magic pro player and strategy writer who is now working in R&D on the Play Design team.

It's been nearly fifteen years since Carlos Romao made it to the Sunday Stage. With a World Championship title back in 2002, Romao was no stranger to high level play. Despite his long gap in Sunday play, he had been on a tear recently, dominating his last two Grand Prix: São Paulo back in July, and Atlanta just last weekend. He is arguably the hottest player in the game right now.

His opponent was 21-year old Joey Manner, owner of the The Only Game in Town (TOGIT) in Somerville, New Jersey. Pro Tour Kaladesh was the fifth Pro Tour for the young player, and his first Top 8.

The Decks

In a world of aggression and Vehicles, both of these players brought different decks to fight them. Romao was piloting Jeskai Control, a typical control deck with plenty of removal and sweepers. The key card for Romao was Torrential Gearhulk. The Gearhulk could attack from many angles, allowing Romao to recast the spell he needs, and the 5/6 body could end a game quickly.

Manner brought a different style of deck to Pro Tour Kaladesh. White-Blue Flash was not a deck that was expected this weekend. While tempo creatures like Spell Queller and Reflector Mage dominated last season, it was not clear if they would make an impact in this hyper-aggressive world. Smuggler's Copter was the breakout card for Manner, giving the deck a way to end games quickly.

Representing a new era of TOGIT, one of Magic's dominant east coast forces from the early 2000s, Joey Manner faced off against Carlos Romao, the 2002 World Champion, in a match that almost feels like a trip back in time.

The Games

Manner started things off with Smuggler's Copter, followed by Rattlechains on Romao's end step. Rattlechains got in the Copter and Manner looted, and all Romao could do was take the hit and cast Glimmer of Genius.

Manner cast two more 2/1 aerial creatures at Romao's end step, and he was clearly in the driver's seat. The Copter and 2-power flyers entered the red zone, Romao cast Immolating Glare on the Copter, and Manner sacrificed his Selfless Spirit to save it. A Blessed Alliance forced Manner to sacrifice another flying creature, and Romao took a hit for 5.

Gideon, Ally of Zendikar entered the battlefield post combat and created a 2/2 Knight Ally token. Manner sent Gideon, Copter, and Rattlechains into combat. Romao cast Torrential Gearhulk before blockers and Immolating Glared the Copter. Stasis Snare from Manner took care of the Gearhulk, and Romao fell to 5.

Quarantine Field for two took out Stasis Snare and Gideon, which returned the Gearhulk to the battlefield. Gearhulk cast a Blessed Alliance for life, and Romao had begun to turn the corner.

The players traded creatures for removal, while Manner continued to beat down with his Rattlechains, plucking away at Romao's life. Romao finally found a Dovin Baan, which nullified the Rattlechains and allowed him to stabilize.

Romao remains sharp with his understanding of control decks.

Gideon came down on Manner's side and made a token, but a Radiant Flames for three cleared the board. A second Gearhulk prompted a concession out of Manner.

Manner was on the play and kicked things off with a Selfless Spirit. Carlos immediately targeted it with Harnessed Lightning, and Manner sacrificed it to deny Romao the energy. Reflector Mage was Manner's next play, an underwhelming card in this matchup. “Three-mana 2/3,” He said.

Manner played a second Reflector Mage with no target, and a Radiant Flames for three from Romao took them both out. A tapped-out Romao prompted Manner to go for a main phase Archangel Avacyn, and Romao had to Anticipate to find a fourth land.

Manner chose to not add any more threats to the board. He was in the driver's seat with Avacyn in play, and he had Westvale Abbey to produce more threats without actually casting cards from his hand. Manner continued to swing in with the Angel and Cleric tokens, chipping away at Romao's life total.

Romao found a Torrential Gearhulk which flashed back a Harnessed Lightning. Spell Queller countered the removal spell, and Selfless Spirit came down to protect Manner's creatures from potential sweepers. An attack from Manner dropped Romao to four and caused Archangel Avacyn to trigger.

Archangel Avacyn transformed, and Manner sacrificed his Selfless Spirit to save his creatures, but Romao had Harness Lightning to take care of Avacyn. The three damage from transformed Avacyn dropped Romao to 1 life.

Romao's next play was Dovin Baan. “The name is Baan, Dovin Baan,” said Manner lightheartedly.

The 21-year-old store owner made a memorable weekend out of this trip to Hawaii with his first Pro Tour Top 8.

Dovin Baan began to gain Romao life and draw cards, and all Manner could do was activate Westvale Abbey to make Clerics. Romao was now in control of the game and cast a second Torrential Gearhulk, casting a removal spell on Spell Queller, Manner's last flying creature.

Manner found a Gideon, but it was too little too late as Romao's board full of Gearhulks continued to smash in. A desperation Stasis Snare from Manner was met with Summary Dismissal, and Archangel Avacyn from Romao sealed the deal.

Manner was on the play for Game 3 and started things off with Spell Queller. Gideon came down next, and Immolating Glare and Quarantine Field took out both permanents. Archangel Avacyn and Smuggler's Copter gave Manner some threats, and he began beating down.

Romao tried for Harnessed Lightning on the Avacyn, but Manner had Spell Queller ready. In response, Romao cast a second Harnessed Lighting on the Avacyn. The Copter attacked, and Romao was down to 9.

Romao cast Radiant Flames for three, which took out all of Manner's creatures, but Romao still had a Smuggler's Copter to deal with. Manner went for a main phase Avacyn to crew the Copter, and Romao responded with Torrential Gearhulk, casting a Harnessed Lightning on the Avacyn.

Manner had Stasis Snare for the Gearhulk, and a few more swings with Smuggler's Copter gave Manner the win.

Manner began Game 3 with the first mulligan of the match. He found a six he was happy with and scryed a card to the bottom.

Manner kicked things off with Thraben inspector, but missed his second land drop. An attack prompted a Spell Queller out of Romao and the Inspector hit the graveyard. Manner found a land and made a Selfless Spirit, but with a Spell Queller and four lands on the other side of the table, he was already really far behind.

Manner attacked with Selfless Spirit and Romao responded with Immolating Glare. Manner had the Rattlechains to give it hexproof but a Blessed Alliance from Romao caused the Spirit to get sacrificed anyway.

Romao played land six and cast Linvala, the Preserver and all Manner could do was summon another Selfless Spirit. Romao untapped and activated his Wandering Fumarole and attacked, and Manner fell to three.

Still with only two lands in play, all Manner could do was sacrifice his clue. Romao made a lethal attack and Manner extended his hand.

Carlos Romao defeats Joey Manner 3-1 and advances to Stage 2 of the quarterfinals!

Joey Manner - White-Blue Flash

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Carlos Romao - Jeskai Control

Download Arena Decklist

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