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By: Pyrosin, Matt Rossi
Jul 09 2008 12:26am
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Grand Prix Buenos Aires

The famous Teatro Colón Opera House in Buenos Aires

Hi there Magic Fans and welcome to the latest edition of the Highlight Reel where today we'll be looking at the Grand Prix event that took place last weekend in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  This time around, the format was Standard, which we haven't seen since Charles Gindy took the top prize back in Pro Tour Hollywood with his  Elves deck.

Most would consider Buenos Aires a "little" out of the way compared to most of the other GP and PT tournament locales, so it was no surprise that a smallish 563 players, of which over 97% of were from South America, was all the tournament could muster for the start of Day One.  Still, there were a couple of big name Pros that decided to make the trip, including Brandon Scheel and

Steve Sadin from the USA, reigning PotY Tomoharu Saito and current PotY leader Shuuhei Nakamura from Japan, and the French contingent of Guillaume Wafo-Tapa, Olivier Ruel, Rapheal Levy, and Remi Fortier who were back with their wacky 5-color controlling Quick'n Toast deck.  And, of course, there's Paulo Vitor da Rosa, who gets to play in the closest thing this Brazilian is going to get to a hometown event this year.

See where the metagame has gone since PT Hollywood, and find out who triumphed after two grueling days of standard Magic.

Buenos Dias

Back at Pro Tour Hollywood the word on everyone's lips was Faeries.  What's the best deck?  Faeries.  What's the most popular deck? Faeries.  Which deck can you not stand playing against?  Faeries.  What we found out at PT Hollywood was that even though it was far and away the most popular deck, there are plenty of ways to beat Faeries as long as you have the proper sideboard.  And as long as you were willing to pack said hate, then you had a number of options when choosing which deck to play.  Several weeks later here at Buenos Aires, we find that much of our conclusions regarding Hollywood still hold true.  Check out the metagame breakdown for Day Two from GP Buenos Aires.  You can see all 64 decks that made Day Two here

Colors Deck Name Number Percentage

Faeries

21%

Elves

18%

Reveillark

12%

Big Mana

12%

Merfolk

12%

Doran

6%

Red Deck Wins

4%

Rock

3%

Tokens

3%

Elves

3%

 

Quick'n Toast

1%

Gassy Knoll

1%

 - Made Top 8   - Made Day Two

 Faeries is still number one, but not by the margin we've seen over the past couple of tournaments.  Two players, Santiago Guzzetti and Divaldo Domicent, were able to finish Day One with a perfect 8-0 record piloting this deck, and Paulo Vitor da Rosa found himself on 7-1 with the same deck that saw him make Top 8 at PT Hollywood.  But at the end of the Day Two, PVDR fell one win short finishing on 30 points in 20th place.

Behind Faeries was  Elves, which had one perfect record on Day One in the form of Francisco Braga.  Most of the Elves decks were very similar to the Charles Gindy version that won at Hollywood (meaning Chameleon Colossus.  Then we have standard mainstays Reveillark,   Big Mana, and Merfolk.

Doran decks still seem to be on the decline, as more players choose to go the more streamline approach with Elves.  We'll have to wait and see whether an infusion of Eventide can help this deck return to prominence.  Next, we have the latest incarnation of Red Deck Wins, designed by Tomoharu Saito, played by him and Shuuhei Nakamura.  

Red Deck Wins
Tomoharu Saito & Shuuhei Nakamura, 22nd & 28th GP Buenos Aires
Creatures
4 Ashenmoor Gouger
4 Blood Knight
4 Demigod of Revenge
4 Magus of the Moon
4 Magus of the Scroll
4 Mogg Fanatic
24 cards

Other Spells
4 Flame Javelin
4 Incinerate
4 Shock
12 cards
Lands
2 Ghitu Encampment
3 Keldon Megaliths
19 Mountain
24 cards

Ashenmoor Gouger
 

RDW, straightforward as always.  Efficient creatures, efficient burn, use Magus of the Moon to screw up your opponent's mana long enough to burn them out.  When asked about the deck, Shuuhei Nakamura said he was really unhappy with Ashenmoor Gouger, and would have preferred Tattermunge Maniac in the spot.  Apparently, playing a 4/4 is not what this deck wants to be doing on Turn 3, and he said it needs more early game.  So that's just something to think about if you're looking to tinker with this deck.  Anyway, both players had respectable Top 32 finishing allowing Shuuhei to make a little more room in the PotY race, but more on that later.

Then at the bottom of the metagame, we have a couple of Rock decks that are basically Elves decks that wanted to play more removal and less creatures, versions of the  Tokens deck popularized by Stuart Wright back at PT Hollywood, and two  Elf decks that traded in their Profane Commands for Flame Javelin.  We also find the fourth and final undefeated player of Day One, Olivier Ruel, who was the only French player to find success on Day One with the Quick'n Toast deck.  You could see it was going to be a rough day for fellow Frenchman Guillaume Wafo-Tapa when he got steamrolled in his first match against Damian Llorente playing  Big Mana.  That's two tourneys in a row that Guillaume doesn't make Day Two, after the preceding two tournaments where he fell just short of Top 8.

Last, but not least, we have a single copy of Gassy Knoll, which not only made Day Two, but went all the way to the Top 8.  Remember the deck that Pat Chapin and Gab Nassif showed up with at Worlds 2007 and got them all the way to the Semifinals where they faced off in one of the greatest matches of the last couple years?  Yeah, well it's back.

Gassy Knoll
Felipe Alves Pellegrini Grand Prix Buenos Aires Top 8
Creatures
0 cards

Other Spells
4 Empty the Warrens
4 Grapeshot
4 Lotus Bloom
4 Manamorphose
4 Pyromancer's Swath
4 Rift Bolt
4 Rite of Flame
4 Shard Volley
4 Shock
4 Tarfire
40 cards
Lands
4 Fungal Reaches
4 Molten Slagheap
8 Mountain
4 Spinerock Knoll
20 cards

Pyromancer

 It's the deck everyone forgot about.  In this version, Felipe choose to play Empty the Warrens as the alternative win condition in place of Dragonstorm.  But the questions he was asking were the same as with Chapin's deck: Can you kill me before my Lotus Bloom comes into play?  And for most, the answer was... No.  Following 14 rounds of Swiss, this Brazilian sat on 35 points (11-1-2), tied at the top of the standing with 3 other players.  Joining him in the Top 8 were fellow countrymen Ivan Fox playing  Big Mana, Francisco Braga with   Elves, and Adrian Degaspare playing Rock.  From Argentina, we had both Nicolas Bevacqua and Sebastian Pozzo playing Reveillark, and Damian Buckley with Faeries.  These 7 men had a combined total of ZERO GP/PT Top 8's before this event, and standing in their ways was Olivier Ruel with the French concoction, Quick'n Toast, and his 26 previous Top 8's.  You can find the player profiles here and Top 8 decklists here. 

Top Ocho

Quaterfinals
Damian Buckley ( Faeries) vs Ivan Taroshi Fox (  Big Mana )

Both players started slow with suspend Ancestral Vision and Harmonize.  Fox had Chameleon Colossus, which was bounced and then sent to the bottom of his library by Cryptic Command into Vendilion Clique.  Ivan got a second Colossus on board, and tried to pump it for lethal damage, but Buckley had another Command, and some Scion of Oona-enhanced Faerie tokens flew in to take Game 1.  Buckley had Scion of Oona followed by Bitterblossom to begin Game 2 while Fox accelerated his mana.  An evoked Cloudthresher promised to buy Fox a couple of turns, but with no answer to Bitterblossom, Faerie tokens and counter magic from Buckley was enough to take Game 2 and advance 2-0.

Sebastian Pozzo ( Reveillark ) vs Francisco Braga (  Elves )

Pozzo had to mulligan twice to start Game 1, while Braga had Wren's Run Vanquisher, Civic Wayfinder, and Imperious Perfect.  Game 1 quickly goes to Braga.  Game 2 saw a much slower start for Braga, while Pozzo had Sower of Temptation, which stole a Vanquisher, and a Mulldrifter allowing him to be the beatdown.  A removal-less hand for Braga forced him into unfavorable blocks on several turns until he finally conceded.  In Game 3, Braga had the good start with a Llanowar Elves, Treetop Village, and Tarmogoyf.  The players traded creatures for several turns, leading up to the following scenario: it was Braga's turn with Mutavault and two Llanowar Elves, while Pozzo was on 2 Life with a Faerie Conclave and a Greater Gargadon sitting in limbo with 2 suspend counters on it.  Braga sends in the team, Pozzo activates the Conclave, then sacrifices his mana sources to the Gargadon.  As the Gargadon hits play, Braga has the Terror to take care of it, allowing him to force through 2 damage and take the match 2-1. 

Nicolas Bevacqua ( Reveillark ) vs Felipe Alves Pellegrini ( Gassy Knoll )

In Game 1, Pellegrini got stuck on 2 lands, one of which was a Molten Slagheap that got bounced by a Venser, Shaper Savant after a few charges.  Bevacqua wins easily.  Game 2, Pellegrini got lands.  While tapped out, Bevacqua tried to stop Pellegrini from going nuclear with a Pact of Negation on Pyromancer's Swath, but double Tarfire, Grapeshot, second Swath, second Grapeshot meant we would see a Game 3.  A Magus of the Moon by Pellegrini saved his early game after having to mulligan to five.  He attacked with the Magus for several turns until Bevacqua found a couple of Coldsteel Hearts to cast two Reveillarks.  Facing lethal damage, Pellegrini went for the combo with Lotus Bloom, Tarfire, Shock, and then Ignite Memories.  At 10 life, Bevacqua did not survive when Reveillark and Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir were revealed.  Pellegrini advances 2-1.

Olivier Ruel ( Quick'n Toast ) vs Adrien Degaspare ( Rock )

 When last we saw Olivier Ruel in a Top 8, it was GP Shizuoka and Olivier was making his record setting 22nd GP Top 8 where he lost to Yuuta Takahashi in a Faerie mirror match.  This time around Olivier was playing the deck designed to beat Faeries at PT Hollywood.  Game 1, Olivier had no early game to contend with Degaspare's double Llanowar Elves, Treetop Village, and Kitchen Finks.  Olivier's Wall of Roots was removed, and his Firespout wasn't enough to stop the Finks and man-land.  Degaspare leads 1-0.  A less aggressive hand from Adrien in Game 2 allowed Ruel to setup.  That meant Degaspare's creatures were first stopped by a Teferi's Moat and then Damnation from Olivier after Adrien found a Krosan Grip for the Moat.  That's when Olivier played Platinum Angel.  Adrien tried to Profane Command the Angel, but Ruel had a Pact of Negation to stop the Command. Ruel didn't even need to pay for the Pact because of the Angel, what a deal!  Several beats from the Angel tied the match at 1.  Degaspare had the quick start in Game 3 with Turn 1 Treetop Village, Turn 2 Tarmogoyf, Turn 4 Chameleon Colossus.  Olivier had to Damnation.  Adrien used Mind Shatter to empty Ruel's hand, but Olivier had a Pact of Negation to keep his cards.  But this time Olivier did have to pay the cost, meaning he was tapped out for Degaspare's next turn, which was double Treetop Village pumped with Garruk Wildspeaker.  With no way to deal with the man-lands, Ruel lost to the next attack.  Sorry Olivier, that record-extending 23rd GP Top 8 does not end in victory; Degaspare advances 2-1.

Semifinals
Damian Buckley vs Felipe Alves Pellegrini

Game 1 started as one would expect from this matchup, with Buckley sitting on counter magic as a small army of Faeries dwindling Pellegrini's life total.  The first time Pellegrini tried to go off, Damian had a Spellstutter Sprite to stop a Rite of Flame.  The next turn, he had Cryptic Command to counter Felipe's Lotus Bloom and bounce a Spinerock Knoll.  On the following turn, all Pellegrini could muster was four measly goblin tokens from Empty the Warrens and a second Cryptic Command sealed Game 1 for Buckley. 

Game 2 saw a much better start for Pellegrini who had the perfect Spinerock Knoll and Lotus Bloom Turn 1 and then Magus of the Moon on Turn 3.  A Vendilion Clique from Buckley removed a Pyromancer's Swath from Felipe's hand.  Pellegrini drew, and Buckley tried to Mistbind Clique by championing his other Clique, but the card Felipe just drew was a Shard Volley, which he used on the first Clique to fizzle the second Clique.  Then Pellegrini went to go off; he sacrificed his Lotus Bloom, played Pyromancer's Swath, which met Flashfreeze, which met Guttural Response... Swath resolves.  Then Manamorphose got countered by Rune Snag, meaning Pellegrini was out of mana to play a massive Grapeshot and instead had to discard it to the Swath.  With both players now gassed, it was the Magus along with a top deck Tarfire that evened the match for Pellegrini.

The third game was a completely lop-sided affair, with Buckley missing land drops while Felipe built up mana on two Molten Slagheaps behind two Spinerock Knolls.  When Pellegrini when off, he burned for 5, then made 8 goblin tokens off Empty the Warrens and attacked for the win on the next turn.  Felipe Pellegrini advances 2-1.

Adrien Degaspare vs Francisco Braga

Adrien had Llanowar Elves, Kitchen Finks, and Chameleon Colossus to Francisco's Llanowar Elves, Civic Wayfinder, Garruk Wildspeaker to make a Beast token in the almost-but-not-quite-mirror-match.  The two armies went smash and Braga was left with only the 1/1 elf and a diminished Planeswalker.  Garruk made another Beast and went away, and both players made Tarmogoyf.  Adrien smashed again, and when the dust settled, he was only left with Colossus, while Francisco had another Garruk.  When he found a Colossus of his own, Francisco attacked with everything, forcing a concession from Degaspare.  Braga opened up Game 2 with double Thoughtseize, forcing a Chameleon Colossus into the yard.  Adrien had Turn 4 Garruk, untap for Thoughtseize and dump Braga's Garruk.  Braga played Civic Wayfinder and passed.  Profane Command killed the Wayfinder, and brought Degaspare's Colossus back to life.  Then it was simply an Overrun from Garruk plus a pump to make the colossus a 14/14 trampler.. on to Game 3.

The decider saw Braga make an army with double Goyf and a Garruk, while using some Black removal spells to take down Degaspare's own Goyf.  This forced a Damnation from Adrien, but the Beast tokens kept coming from Francisco's Planeswalker, taking him to the 2-1 victory.

Congratulations to Francisco Braga, Winner of 
Grand Prix Buenos Aires!

Finals

Felipe Alves Pellegrini vs Francisco Braga

Pellegrini got stuck on 2 lands, while Braga built up to a Chameleon Colossus and Tarmogoyf.  A Thoughtseize from Braga removed a Pyromancer's Swath from Pellegrini.  Pellegrini tried to go off, but his draws offered him nothing and all he was able to do was kill the Colossus with burn.  A 5/6 Goyf quickly finished Game 1 in Braga's Favor.

Double Lotus Bloom and a Shock to kill a Turn 1 Llanowar Elves quickly depleted Pellegrini's hand.  The Lotus Blooms became twin Pyromancer's Swaths for Pellegrini and he ended the turn by suspending a Rift Bolt.  Braga had a Krosan Grip to get one of the Swaths, making his Goyf 5/6 in the process.  A Swath-enhanced Rift Bolt, then Shard Volley brought Braga down to 6 life.  An attack from the Goyf, now 6/7, evened the life totals.  Shock got Braga to 2, but when Pellegrini chumped blocked the Goyf with a Magus of the Moon, he was left with no Red mana sources, and fell to the Goyf.  Francisco Braga wins 2-0.

 

Top 20 in the 2008 Player of the Year Standings 
Following GP Buenos Aires

Ranking Player Points
1 Shuuhei Nakamura* 36
2 Jon Finkel* 28
2 Mario Pascoli 28
4 Jan Ruess 27
5 Guillaume Wafo-Tapa 26
6 Charles Gindy* 25
6 Olivier Ruel 25
8 Raphael Levy 24
9 Brandon Scheel 22
10 Martin Juza 21
11 Manuel Bucher 20
11 Marcio Carvalho 20
11 Marijn Lybaert 20
11 Nico Bohny 20
11 Jelger Wiegersma* 20
16 Joel Calafell 19
16 Paulo Vitor da Rosa 19
18 Paul Cheon* 18
18 Yuuta Takahashi* 18
18 Mateusz Kopec* 18

* 2008 Event Winner

Player of the Year Race

With that Top 32, Shuuhei Nakamura gained two more pro points and now stands eight clear of the field. 

Paulo Vitor da Rosa has now moved into the Top 20 with his third straight Top 32 finish encompassing 1 PT and 2 GPs. 

But the biggest mover in the Top 20 this week was obviously Olivier Ruel, who made Top 8 and now sits only 3 points out of second.

Well that's it for this week.  We've got to wait until after the release for the next event which will be another limited event with GP Madrid at the end of the month. 

 

0 Comments

by ShardFenix (Unregistered) 24.224.96.149 (not verified) at Wed, 07/09/2008 - 02:39
ShardFenix (Unregistered) 24.224.96.149's picture

Personally I enjoy the fact of decently affordable decks showing back up the metagame, mainly gassy knoll and rdw.  I understand the need to compete and has good cards but being a college student I like seeing affordable options that can do well outside of the normal metagame of Elves, Faeries, Lark, and R/G.  I know the decks still arent cheap but lacks of Bitterblossoms and Mutavaults certainly lessen the amount of meals I have to give up in order to be competitive.

Just as reference if you ever saw me you would know I dont like skipping meals though buying playsets of those would make my pants like me better.