Round 7: Christian Calcano (Bant Company) vs. (23) Brad Nelson (Red-Green Goggles Ramp)

Posted in Event Coverage on April 22, 2016

By Josh Bennett

It must be hard not to get ahead of yourself when you kick off a Pro Tour with a perfect 3-0 Draft and then three straight wins in Constructed. You're locked for Day 2 and fighting for pole position. Of course, these two are old hands. They know to take it one match at a time.

Christian Calcano is best known as a fixture on the North American Grand Prix circuit. His resume boasts seven Grand Prix Top 8s, including two wins. Still, he has yet to play on a Pro Tour Sunday. This weekend, he's playing the Pro Tour's most popular deck, Bant Company.

Former Player of the Year Brad Nelson has a reputation as one of the winningest players in Standard Constructed. He's played with a variety of teams over the years, but most recently he ventured across the Atlantic to join up with Team EUreka. He's playing their Red-Green Goggles Ramp deck, which has made quite a stir.

Two famous American players, globetrotter Christian Calcano and former Player of the Year Brad Nelson, showed how they got as far as they did unscathed in Round 7.

The Games

Game 1 kicked off with Nelson playing the control role, burning away Calcano's first two plays. Calcano managed to stick a Tireless Tracker, but unfortunately had no fourth land. Nelson played Nissa's Pilgrimage, netting three lands thanks to having Spell Mastery, and then pitched one to Magmatic Insight. All Calcano could do was hit for three and pass the turn.

Nelson dropped his sixth mana and brought out Chandra, Flamecaller, who immediately cleared out the Tracker. Nothing was coming from Calcano, and now the door was slamming shut. Chandra dealt 6 with a pair of elemental tokens, and World Breaker set Calcano even further back. Unable to mount a defense, Calcano scooped.

Nelson sent back his opening seven in the second game, but stayed on six. Both players doled out their lands, and Nelson was first on the board with Tireless Tracker. Declaration in Stone sent it packing before it could get out of hand. Nelson spent his fourth turn on a Hedron Archive and cracked the clue after Calcano played Jace, Vryn's Prodigy.

Nelson blasted the Planeswalker-in-training with Dragonlord Atarka. Calcano could only buy time with Reflector Mage. Nelson spent a turn on two Nissa's Pilgrimages and passed. Calcano passed it back. Again, Atarka made her appearance, burning the Mage. Calcano tapped the Dragonlord down with Bounding Krasis, but that fell to Fiery Impulse. He replaced it with yet another Reflector Mage.

Nelson's Red-Green Goggles Ramp deck is simply monstrous.

Nelson brought out Pyromancer's Goggles. Calcano hit for 2 and passed the turn back. Once again, Dragonlord Atarka hit play, but Calcano was ready with yet another Krasis and got in for t3 damage on his turn. For a moment, it looked like he might manage to tempo Nelson out. Nelson hit for 8 in the air, but another Krasis attack took him down to 8 life.

Calcano sleeved up the deck with a target on its head—Bant Company—this weekend.

Unfortunately for Calcano, Nelson had found additional action to force things along. He brought out World Breaker. Calcano risked tapping out for Collected Company, but it did not go well. Nelson surged out a Fall of the Titans for 8, doubled through the Pyromancer's Goggles. Calcano nodded and extended the hand in defeat.

Calcano 0 – Nelson 2

"I think I messed up with the Declaration in Stone on your Tracker," said Calcano. "I should've just bounced it with Mage."

"Yeah, I think that would've given you a better chance of winning that game," agreed Nelson.

I asked Calcano about his decision to play Bant Company this weekend. "You know, I looked at tournament results, my own testing, and it just seemed like Company was the best deck," he said. Was he concerned about coming into a tournament playing a deck with a target on its head? "Sure, people are going to try to metagame against it, but that's what I was trying to do and I couldn't figure it out, so hopefully neither did they." He shook his head and gestured where Nelson had been sitting. "That deck is just beautiful."

Christian Calcano – Bant Company

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Brad Nelson – Red-Green Goggles Ramp

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