Brazilian Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa is one of the most decorated players in Magic's history. A member of the 2012 Hall of Fame class, Damo da Rosa has a staggering nine Pro Tour Top 8s, including a win, and fourteen Grand Prix Top 8s, also including a win. Damo da Rosa enters the last round of competition with a record of 5-1-1. A very deep run this weekend could give Damo da Rosa a shot at passing Willy Edel in the race for the World Magic Cup captainship.
His opponent is no slouch either. New Yorker Zvi Mowshowitz is a member of the 2007 Hall of Fame class. Mowshowitz has four Pro Tour Top 8s of his own, including one of the most decisive wins ever in Tokyo 2001, and nine Grand Prix Top 8s, including two wins. Mowshowitz enters the final round of Day 1 competition with a 5-2 record.
Damo da Rosa won the roll and both players kept their hands at the start of Game 1.
Mowshowitz remarked on Damo da Rosa's deck choice while the players waited to start playing. "I thought about playing your deck, but I'm too old to learn how it works," he said.
Mowshowitz's Precinct Captain was the first play of the game, but Damo da Rosa had Detention Sphere to keep the board clear. Brimaz, King of Oreskos was next, but Supreme Verdict sent the legendary cat to the graveyard right away. Precinct Captain and Pack Rat came down in tandem, but Damo da Rosa had yet another Supreme Verdict.
Precinct Captain and Ajani, Caller of the Pride came down and managed to survive the following turn. Ajani ticked up and Mowshowitz continued playing creatures, but Azorius Charm stemmed the bleeding and the third copy of Supreme Verdict once again cleaned up the board. Damo da Rosa cast Jace, Architect of Thought, used the -2 ability and revealed the 4th Supreme Verdict, Detention Sphere, and Elspeth, Sun's Champion. Mowshowitz split the Elspeth and the other two. Damo da Rosa took Detention Sphere and Supreme Verdict. Mowshowitz's Mutavault had been silently growing and it attacked Jace as a 4/4. Detention Sphere finally dealt with Ajani, Caller of the Pride, but the Mutavault on Mowshowitz's side of the table continued to apply pressure.
Mowshowitz laughed, "five turns to draw an out!"
Pack Rat stuck on Mowshowitz's side of the table and Damo da Rosa was forced to use his fourth copy of Supreme Verdict. The 4/4 Mutavault continued to get into the red zone, but was dealt with via Azorius Charm on the following turn as Syncopate kept Desecration Demon off the table. Both players were running low on gas, but Damo da Rosa found Sphinx's Revelation and established a big lead. Elspeth, Sun's Champion came down and Mowshowitz was forced to use both Bile Blight and Hero's Downfall to deal with the activation and planeswalker. Mowshowitz continued attacking with Mutavault and tried to resolve Obzedat, Ghost Council, but Damo da Rosa had the obligatory counterspell. Mowshowitz's Precinct Captain resolved, but Damo da Rosa had another Sphinx's Revelation and drew six extra cards. Ætherling came down for Damo da Rosa. Mowshowitz cast Thoughtseize the following turn and, upon seeing Damo da Rosa's fist of relevant cards, he chose to concede and move on to a second game.
Damo da Rosa 1 – Mowshowitz 0
Both players kept their hands in the second game. Mowshowitz led off with a turn one Thoughtseize, plucking Azorius Charm out of Damo da Rosa's stacked hand. Mowshowitz followed the Thoughtseize up with Precinct Captain. Precinct Captain got in for damage and got his owner a Soldier. Duress took Supreme Verdict and Soldier of the Pantheon came down to continue applying pressure. Damo da Rosa cast one of the two copies of Jace, Architect of Thought in his hand and used the +1 ability, but Mowshowitz capitalized by using the opportunity to resolve Obzedat, Ghost Council.
Damo da Rosa continued to +1 his Jace and Mowshowitz resolved Desecration Demon. Sphinx's Revelation for two gave Damo da Rosa the sixth land he needed to cast Elspeth, Sun's Champion, giving him plenty of bodies to hold Mowshowitz's army at bay.
Elspeth and Jace continued to tick up, but Obzedat continued flickering and the race came down to the wire. Damo da Rosa only had two life remaining, but Elixir of Immortality or Sphinx's Revelation could easily give him enough time to survive and get to the point where he could ultimate both planewalkers.
Damo da Rosa held his head with his left hand while fanning his cards in the right. Staring, "I'm not dead yet."
Mowshowitz snapped back with a smile, "Of course not, you have Jace. I was at least hoping you would have to dig."
"You're at 24?" asked Damo da Rosa.
"I believe so. I hope I didn't miscount." Mowshowitz laughed.
"What could you possibly have where attacking with exactly those two creatures is your play? I know you're too good to attack with the wrong number of creatures."
Mowshowitz sent a bunch of creatures at Jace and a pair of 3/3 soldiers hopped in front of Obzedat, Ghost Council, giving Damo da Rosa a tremendous advantage. ticked down and found more gas, but it was soon replaced by another copy which ticked up to invalidate the army of 1/1s of Mowshowitz's side of the table. Ajani, Caller of the Pride came down for Mowshowitz soon after, but Damo da Rosa cast Sphinx's Revelation for six, effectively closing the door on any possibility that Mowshowitz could ever get back into the game. Ætherling came next and the writing was on the wall. One more attack was all it took.
With this win, Damo da Rosa puts himself in excellent position to make a deep run in the second day of competition. Could this be the return of one of the game's greatest players? Stay tuned to continuing coverage of Pro Tour Magic 2015 to find out!
Damo da Rosa 2 – Mowshowitz 0