Round 8: Marco Cammilluzzi (Naya Zoo) vs. Andrew Cuneo (Infect)

Posted in Event Coverage on February 6, 2016

By Corbin Hosler

As players entered Friday's final round of Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch, there was plenty on the line for nearly all of the players in the main event, and none moreso than two-time Pro Tour Top 8 competitor Andrew Cuneo and the reigning World Magic Cup champion, Italy's Marco Cammilluzzi, who met in Round 8 with 5-2 records.

A win in the final round of the day would send one player into Saturday with a live shot at Top 8 and in great position to make a run. The loser would enter Day Two with much more work to do.

The Decks

Cuneo arrived with one of the Modern format's trickier decks: Infect. The green-blue shell made use of Glistener Elf, Blighted Agent, Inkmoth Nexus and a host of pump and protection spells to try and send one of those creatures in for 10 points of Infect damage to poison opponents out of the game. The deck is one of Modern's most powerful engines, capable of poisoning out opponents as early as turn two. However, the deck's creatures all have a base power and toughness of 1, so without protection, they are vulnerable to nearly every removal spell in the format.

Cammilluzzi's deck had plenty of those, especially because his Lightning Bolt and Lightning Helix doubly served as reach to finish off opponents after his Naya Zoo deck had delivered the beatdown over several turns. Starting with Wild Nacatl and curving up to Knight of the Reliquary, in the right circumstances the deck could apply plenty of pressure while dominating the ground.


Marco Cammilluzzi and Andrew Cuneo were both playing fast decks, but both had slightly different approaches to their game plans.

The Games

Game 1 saw Cuneo lead with his best open: Glistener Elf on the first turn. And while the first one fell to a Lightning Bolt, the American had a second copy to follow. That too met a removal spell, and Cuneo was out of creatures.

"Normal" creatures, that is. He activated an Inkmoth Nexus and attempted to attach Rancor to the animated land, and even had the Vines of Vastwood to protect it from a Lightning Bolt, but Cammilluzzi responded with another Lightning Bolt to finish it off.

That was enough for Cuneo, who was finally out of both protection and attackers. Scavenging Ooze arrived for Cammilluzzi and played cleanup duty to hand the Italian Game 1.

Gitaxian Probe led off the second game for Cuneo, and it revealed a hand with only one land but Birds of Paradise and a grip of removal spells for Cammilluzzi. With full knowledge of what he must play around, Cuneo followed with Glistener Elf while Cammilluzzi just played the Bird and passed.


Cuneo's never one to let up, as his experience at the Pro Tour continues to carry him far.

A second Elf joined Cuneo's team, though both were felled by removal spells on the next turn. A third threat in Blighted Agent came next, and when Cammilluzzi untapped, he faced an interesting decision: With two removal spells in hand, he could burn one to take out the Blighted Agent but wouldn't draw anything from Cuneo's hand. If he waited, he could beat one protection spell from Cuneo and try to prevent the Rancor from ever returning.


Bolt that. Helix that. Path that. Attack you.

Cammilluzzi opted for the second option, throwing a Lightning Helix at the Blighted Agent when Cuneo tried to attach Rancor. When Cuneo responded with Might of Old Krosa to protect the Agent, Cammilluzzi was ready with Path to Exile. But a second protection spell in Spell Pierce rendered the plan moot, and the now-huge Blighted Agent finished the game in one swing.

That sent the pair into the decider, and it was decided in a flash. Lightning Bolt removed Glistener Elf from Cuneo, and a Blood Moon followed to shut off both of the Inkmoth Nexus the two-time Pro Tour Top 8 competitor had in waiting. A few swings from a 5/5 Knight of the Reliquary later, and it was Cammilluzzi who wrapped up the victory to head into Day Two with a 6-2 record.

Cammilluzzi 2 – Cuneo 1

 

 


Infect—Andrew Cuneo


Zoo—Marco Cammilluzzi

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