branat11

Camargo No. 1 Brazilian Pod Caster

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It took almost seven hours - and that was just his top 8 journey. In the end, it was unbelievable perseverance and skill under pressure that navigated Marcus Camargo to a National Title here in Brazil. In the quarter final, his Bant Birthing Pod deck had needed the full five games. The semi final, five games. The final, five games. At every turn it seemed that he was ready to make the right move from many, many choices. He thought, and he fought, and he caught opponents at the right moment to stay in the games he needed to, and win the ones that really mattered - the game five with a place at Worlds on the line. The game five with a place on the team on the line. The game five with history on the line.

Igor Sousa played his part in an epic final. He too will go to San Francisco with head held high. Guilherme Medeiros Merjan completes the team after a tremendous weekend, with Marcus Pacheco going to Worlds as the Alternate team member.

Congratulations to all of them, after 12 rounds of Standard and Draft separated them from a field of 164. The big five decks in Standard were Caw-Blade, Splinter Twin, Red Deck Wins, Blue-Black Control, and Valakut. By the time the top 8 rolled around, it looked as if Splinter Twin would be dominant, but the semi finals saw three Blue-Black Control decks, and Camargo - inching his way towards triumph, one birth at a time.

Congratulations to all the players, the judges, and the staff, who have put on another brilliant weekend here in Brazil. Most of all, though, congratulations to Marcus Camargo, the No. 1 Brazilian Pod Caster, and the Brazil National Champion 2011!



Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals Champion
  Reinaldo da Silva Guilherme Merjan
3-0
  Guilherme Medeiros Merjan Marcus Camargo
3-2
  Luiz Henrique Miguel Marcus Camargo
3-2
Marcus Camargo
3 - 2
  Marcus Camargo
  Allison Abe Igor Sousa
3-0
  Igor Sousa Igor Sousa
3-0
  Joanthan Melamed Marcus Pacheco
3-1
  Marcus Pacheco

3rd Place Playoff  
Guilherme Merjan Guilherme Merjan
Marcus Pacheco



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  • Sunday, 7:30 p.m. - The Judges

    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Here are the fine gentlemen who have been presiding over all the fun and games this weekend. This is a big weekend for the judges, as they don't often get the chance to congregate - Brazil is a very large country. They are:

    Head Judge Thales Bittencourt Lvl 3
    Henrique Amigo Lvl 2
    Rodrigo Gimenez Lvl 2
    Eudardo Beraldo Lvl 1
    Paulo Henrique Martinello Lvl 1
    Daniel Dutra Lvl 1
    Bruno Santos Lvl 2
    Guilherme Figueira Lvl 2
    Alejandro Raggio Lvl 3
    Caue Hattori Lvl 2
    Andre Brito Lvl 1
    Lucas Coppio Lvl 1
    Carlos Rangon Lvl 2
    Douglas Oliveira Lvl 1
    Diego Zarate Lvl 1
    Lucas Horta Lvl 2
    Jorge Franco Lvl 1
    Paulo da Silva Lvl 2
    rafael dei Svaldi Lvl 2

    Our thanks go to each of them for great work all weekend long.

     
  • Top 8 - Player Profiles

    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Guilherme Medeiros Merjan

    Name/Nome:

    Guilherme Medeiros Merjam

    Age/Idade:

    21

    Home City/Cidade:

    São Paulo

    When did you start playing Magic/Quando começou a jogar Magic?

    2003/2004

    How many Nationals (including this year) have you played in/Em quantos Nacionais (incluindo o deste ano) você já participou?

    5

    What’s your best-placed (not incluiding this year) Nationals finish/Qual foi sua melhor colocação (não incluindo esse ano)?

    17/th

    What’s your best Magic achievement/Qual é a sua maior conquista no Magic?

    Pro Tour San Juan Top16

    What deck did you play in Standard/Qual deck você usou no Padrão?

    UB Control

    What was your record in Standard/Qual foi seu resultado no Padrão?

    5-1-0

    What was your record in Draft/Qual foi seu resultado no Draft?

    4-2-0




    Reinaldo da Silva

    Name/Nome:

    Reinaldo Gomes da Silva Jr.

    Age/Idade:

    25

    Home City/Cidade:

    Ananindea - PA

    When did you start playing Magic/Quando começou a jogar Magic?

    When Mirrodin was released

    How many Nationals (including this year) have you played in/Em quantos Nacionais (incluindo o deste ano) você já participou?

    2

    What’s your best-placed (not incluiding this year) Nationals finish/Qual foi sua melhor colocação (não incluindo esse ano)?

    Top32

    What’s your best Magic achievement/Qual é a sua maior conquista no Magic?

    Last MtGO PotY Top10

    What deck did you play in Standard/Qual deck você usou no Padrão?

    Twin

    What was your record in Standard/Qual foi seu resultado no Padrão?

    3-2-1

    What was your record in Draft/Qual foi seu resultado no Draft?

    6-0




    Igor Sousa

    Name/Nome:

    Igor Souza

    Age/Idade:

    22

    Home City/Cidade:

    Salvador - BA

    When did you start playing Magic/Quando começou a jogar Magic?

    2004

    How many Nationals (including this year) have you played in/Em quantos Nacionais (incluindo o deste ano) você já participou?

    4

    What’s your best-placed (not incluiding this year) Nationals finish/Qual foi sua melhor colocação (não incluindo esse ano)?

    Top64

    What’s your best Magic achievement/Qual é a sua maior conquista no Magic?

    Nationals 2011 Top8

    What deck did you play in Standard/Qual deck você usou no Padrão?

    UB Control

    What was your record in Standard/Qual foi seu resultado no Padrão?

    4-1-1

    What was your record in Draft/Qual foi seu resultado no Draft?

    5-1




    Marcus Vinícius Camargo Prates

    Name/Nome:

    Marcus Vinícius Camargo Prates

    Age/Idade:

    20

    Home City/Cidade:

    São Paulo

    When did you start playing Magic/Quando começou a jogar Magic?

    2002

    How many Nationals (including this year) have you played in/Em quantos Nacionais (incluindo o deste ano) você já participou?

    1

    What’s your best-placed (not incluiding this year) Nationals finish/Qual foi sua melhor colocação (não incluindo esse ano)?

    none

    What’s your best Magic achievement/Qual é a sua maior conquista no Magic?

    National Qualifier Winner

    What deck did you play in Standard/Qual deck você usou no Padrão?

    Bant Pod

    What was your record in Standard/Qual foi seu resultado no Padrão?

    3-2-1

    What was your record in Draft/Qual foi seu resultado no Draft?

    6-0




    Allison Abe

    Name/Nome:

    Allison Abe

    Age/Idade:

    26

    Home City/Cidade:

    Maringa - PR

    When did you start playing Magic/Quando começou a jogar Magic?

    1996

    How many Nationals (including this year) have you played in/Em quantos Nacionais (incluindo o deste ano) você já participou?

    7

    What’s your best-placed (not incluiding this year) Nationals finish/Qual foi sua melhor colocação (não incluindo esse ano)?

    Top8 in 2009

    What’s your best Magic achievement/Qual é a sua maior conquista no Magic?

    GP Gothenberg 2010 Top4
    GP São Paulo 2009 Top8

    What deck did you play in Standard/Qual deck você usou no Padrão?

    UR Splinter Twin

    What was your record in Standard/Qual foi seu resultado no Padrão?

    5-0-1

    What was your record in Draft/Qual foi seu resultado no Draft?

    4-2




    Jonatham Melamed

    Name/Nome:

    Jonatham Melamed

    Age/Idade:

    25

    Home City/Cidade:

    Brasília - DF

    When did you start playing Magic/Quando começou a jogar Magic?

    1997

    How many Nationals (including this year) have you played in/Em quantos Nacionais (incluindo o deste ano) você já participou?

    7 or 8

    What’s your best-placed (not incluiding this year) Nationals finish/Qual foi sua melhor colocação (não incluindo esse ano)?

    10th

    What’s your best Magic achievement/Qual é a sua maior conquista no Magic?

    Pro Tour Austin 2009 Top16

    What deck did you play in Standard/Qual deck você usou no Padrão?

    UR Twin

    What was your record in Standard/Qual foi seu resultado no Padrão?

    5-1-0

    What was your record in Draft/Qual foi seu resultado no Draft?

    4-2-0




    Luiz Henrique Miguel

    Name/Nome:

    Luis Henrique Miguel

    Age/Idade:

    20

    Home City/Cidade:

    Londrina - PR

    When did you start playing Magic/Quando começou a jogar Magic?

    2003

    How many Nationals (including this year) have you played in/Em quantos Nacionais (incluindo o deste ano) você já participou?

    3

    What’s your best-placed (not incluiding this year) Nationals finish/Qual foi sua melhor colocação (não incluindo esse ano)?

    None, I droped all last Nationals

    What’s your best Magic achievement/Qual é a sua maior conquista no Magic?

    National Qualifier Winner

    What deck did you play in Standard/Qual deck você usou no Padrão?

    UR Twin

    What was your record in Standard/Qual foi seu resultado no Padrão?

    5-0-1

    What was your record in Draft/Qual foi seu resultado no Draft?

    4-2-0




    Marcos Vinicius Azevedo de Oliveira Pacheco

    Name/Nome:

    Marcos Vinicius Azevedo de Oliveira Pacheco

    Age/Idade:

    21

    Home City/Cidade:

    Salvador - BA

    When did you start playing Magic/Quando começou a jogar Magic?

    2002

    How many Nationals (including this year) have you played in/Em quantos Nacionais (incluindo o deste ano) você já participou?

    1

    What’s your best-placed (not incluiding this year) Nationals finish/Qual foi sua melhor colocação (não incluindo esse ano)?

    None

    What’s your best Magic achievement/Qual é a sua maior conquista no Magic?

    Nothing great

    What deck did you play in Standard/Qual deck você usou no Padrão?

    UB Control

    What was your record in Standard/Qual foi seu resultado no Padrão?

    5-0-1

    What was your record in Draft/Qual foi seu resultado no Draft?

    4-2-0

     
  • Top 8 - Decklists

    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Reinaldo Gomes da Silva Jr.
    Brazil Nationals 2011



    Luiz Henrique Miguel
    Brazil Nationals 2011









    Allison Abe
    Brazil Nationals 2011





    Jonathan Melamed
    Brazil Nationals 2011


     
  • Quarter Final Round-Up

    by Rich Hagon
  • Reinaldo da Silva vs. Guilherme Medeiros Merjan
    Luiz Henrique Miguel vs. Marcus Camargo
    Allison Abe vs. Igor Sousa
    Marcus Pacheco vs. Jonathan Melamed

    So here's how this here 'one of me, four matches' thing is going to work. First of all, it's only three matches, since Reinaldo da Silva, having got to 9-0 and paced the field all weekend, can't go to Worlds, and has conceded to Guilherme Medeiros Merjan, making him a very happy man. That leaves three matches to look at. Our good friend Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa is keeping an eye on Miguel v Camargo and Abe v Sousa, leaving me to concentrate on the match between Jonathan Melamed and Marcus Pacheco. Oh, and don't forget that this is Nationals, so it's best three-out-of five.

    Pacheco opened with Drowned Catacombs, while Melamed was straight into action with Halimar Depths. Gitaxian Probe found Jace Beleren, Solemn Simulacrum, Into the Roil, Black Sun's Zenith, Tectonic Edge, and Go for the Throat in Pacheco's hand. Spell Pierce dealt with Jace Beleren the following turn.

    Already the first game was over in Luiz Miguel v Marcus Camargo. A turn three Deceiver Exarch followed up by turn four Splinter Twin was enough for Miguel to take the opener.

    Luiz Miguel 1 - 0 Marcus Camargo

    Melamed spent his fourth turn casting Shrine of Piercing Vision, and didn't take long to crack it in search of more goodness for his Splinter Twin combo. He added Spellskite to the board, the only non-land between the two players. At end of turn he aimed for Deceiver Exarch. Go for the Throat from Pacheco was met with Dispel. Now Pacheco went for a second Go for the Throat, and that resolved, killing the Exarch threat.

    Melamed cast Sea Gate Oracle, now holding six cards in hand. Pacheco too had a grip full of cards. Next up was Grim Lavamancer from Melamed, which persuaded Pacheco to try Black Sun's Zenith to wipe the board. Mana Leak was a teaser. Pacheco could pay, but then leave only two mana open. He elected to let his board sweeper hit the graveyard instead. Melamed cast Splinter Twin, not on an Exarch as normally happens, but on Sea Gate Oracle. That was a hideous engine to have to overcome, and virtually forced Pacheco to do something about it. Into the Roil was that something, which Melamed redirected to his Spellskite. Mana Leak from Pacheco met Spell Pierce, and the Splinter Twin resolved. Advantage Melamed. Spellskite reappeared too.

    Now Pacheco had Doom Blade, causing Melamed to get some value by casting Into the Roil with Kicker on his own Sea Gate Oracle. He was still six cards to three up.

    Elsewhere, Igor Sousa had taken his opener against Allison Abe. Although Abe had played a cagey game, having used Gitaxian Probe to see early on that Sousa had a lot of removal, in the end Sousa always had one more removal available than Abe could avoid, and Sousa led 1-0.

    Igor Sousa 1 - 0 Allison Abe



    Back at Melamed v Pacheco, and Pacheco had landed his first Grave Titan of the match. Melamed cast Sea Gate Oracle once more, a second Spellskite, and a second Grim Lavamancer. He didn't have an answer to Grave Titan, however. Pacheco attacked Melamed down to five before casting Solemn Simulacrum. For Melamed, at least Grim Lavamancer was shooting down Zombies, but Melamed would need something more. Splinter Twin attached itself to Sea Gate Oracle, and it was back to the Titan Pacheco.

    This time he had Consume the Meek. Melamed responded by activating his Splinter Twin to see deeper into his deck, but there were no answers. The board was swept away, leaving Grave Titan to waltz in unopposed to claim the opener.

    Jonathan Melamed 0 - 1 Marcus Pacheco

    In Miguel v Camargo, Luiz Miguel had gone for his Splinter Twin combo on turn four, but Marcus Camargo was ready with Nature's Claim. Camargo followed up with Linvala, Keeper of Silence, which stops the combo, and Miguel couldn't find a way back. All square once more.

    Luiz Miguel 1 - 1 Marcus Camargo

    Melamed opened game two with Gitaxian Probe. Pacheco didn't want him to see, so cast Mental Misstep. Melamed really wanted to look, so cast Mental Misstep too! He found Inquisition of Kozilek, Spellskite, and four land. When Pacheco cast the Inquisition of Kozilek, he found Spell Pierce in the way, so couldn't get the same level of information that Melamed had. Pacheco cast Spellskite, leaving the way clear for Melamed to begin the Planeswalker battle with Jace Beleren, who promptly drew Melamed a card.

    Despise finally got Pacheco a look at Melamed's hand: Ponder, Mana Leak, Dispel, and Misty Rainforest. Little changed over the next few turns, with Spellskite for Pacheco and Grim Lavamancer for Melamed, who was nevertheless advantaged by the status quo thanks to his Jace Beleren, which he had restocked to 3 loyalty. Pacheco tried for a Jace of his own, but Mana Leak resolved. At end of turn, Melamed went for Deceiver Exarch. Was the Jace a mana-sapping fatal mistake from Pacheco?

    He was down to three mana, and let the Exarch resolve. Melamed untapped. He drew an extra card with Jace Beleren. Then he attacked with his Exarch and Grim Lavamancer. Pacheco fell to 16, and then Melamed passed the turn. Jace Beleren continued to draw him extra cards, pulling further ahead of Pacheco. Even so, the presence of Spellskite on the board was stopping Melamed from pulling the trigger on his Splinter Twin.

    Pacheco cast Inquisition of Kozilek, and again the Mana Leak trap was set. If Pacheco paid, he would be back down to two mana. He declined to pay, laid a Creeping Tar Pit, and passed back to Melamed. Sea Gate Oracle resolved, as Melamed hit the ten mana mark. Jace drew him another card, and the same dance occurred again, Spellskite blocking Deceiver Exarch, and Pacheco taking one from Grim Lavamancer.

    On the back table, Igor Sousa took a 2-0 lead when he cast Memoricide on Allison Abe, removing all the Deceiver Exarchs from the deck.

    Igor Sousa 2 - 0 Allison Abe

    Meanwhile Luiz Miguel was able to find his Splinter Twin combo to take a 2-1 lead over Marcus Camargo.

    Luiz Miguel 2 - 1 Marcus Camargo

    Pacheco once again wanted Inquisition of Kozilek to resolve, and this time it did, Pacheco taking Dispel and finding all four copies of Splinter Twin in Melamed's hand. With SpellskiteShattered by Melamed, he was in great shape. He cast Splinter Twin on his Sea Gate Oracle, rather than his Exarch, ready to bait Pacheco into a counterspell war. Pacheco responded with Doom Blade, and the Sea Gate Oracle was no more. Now Pacheco had three cards. Melamed couldn't cast Splinter Twin and pay for a Mana Leak. If Pacheco didn't have Mana Leak, or a way to kill the Exarch in response, the win was sitting there right before Melamed's eyes.



    Intriguingly, Melamed reset Jace to three loyalty, getting both players a card, allowing Pacheco one extra card to have an answer. He cast Shrine of Piercing Vision, and passed, having avoided putting the possible win to the test. Deceiver Exarch turned sideways for one damage, putting Pacheco to 14, and Melamed was done.

    Finally Pacheco had a way to deal with Jace, casting one of his own. Melamed, now free of the constraints of a Spellskite across the table, used Grim Lavamancer to drop Pacheco to 12 at end of turn. This time he went for the Splinter Twin onto Exarch combo. Pacheco had Deprive to stop the combo. The Exarch attacked, and Pacheco was at 11. That said, Melamed was down to 12 himself...

    Pacheco cast Grave Titan, Melamed responding with two damage to the face, Pacheco at 9. Then he cast Deceiver Exarch, tapping down a possibly-critical mana. Splinter Twin for Exarch met Mana Leak, but the final Splinter Twin on the second Exarch resolved, and we were heading for game three all tied up. With just over an hour gone, it was down to a best of three.

    Melamed 1 - 1 Pacheco

    Igor Sousa meanwhile had booked his place for San Francisco, defeating Allison Abe by a convincing 3-0. Abe had tried to get his combo together in game three, but once again found a combination of Doom Blade, Flashfreeze, and other inconvenient spells ready to stop him in his tracks. Sousa advanced to the semi finals.

    Igor Sousa 3 - 0 Allison Abe

    In the early going in game three, there was all the usual fencing, before Pacheco cast a turn four Inquisition of Kozilek, taking out a Deceiver Exarch. Melamed went for another in response to another Inquisition of Kozilek, starting a Mana Leak war, which he ultimately lost when Pacheco paid. Shatter, Spell Pierce, and Mana Leak were left in Melamed's hand, while Pacheco had Jace Beleren, and Liliana Vess, something Melamed discovered with Gitaxian Probe.



    Pacheco was attacking each turn with Creeping Tar Pit, and had Melamed down to 10. He cast Spellskite, then attacked with his Creeping Tar Pit. Twisted Image from Melamed turned Spellskite into a 4/0, killing it, but still took three from the Tar Pit, falling to 7. Pacheco cast Jace Beleren, and here we were again, Melamed casting Mana Leak which successfully countered the Planeswalker.

    At end of turn Melamed cast Deceiver Exarch. He untapped, but needed help from the top of his deck. No Splinter Twin. Pacheco activated both his Creeping Tar Pits, and led by 2-1.

    Melamed 1 - 2 Pacheco

    In the other remaining match, Miguel found his combo far too late, and Camargo was able to nibble away at his life total, eventually edging it to send them into a deciding game five, something Melamed would very much like to do here.

    Miguel 2 - 2 Camargo

    Melamed had early counterspels in game four, Spell Pierce for Inquisition of Kozilek, and Mana Leak for Jace Beleren. Gitaxian Probe from Melamed met Mental Misstep, before Ponder resolved. It was all very cagey stuff, as Malemed cast Deceiver Exarch and untapped a land. Memoricide form Pacheco met Spell Pierce, Melamed bouncing Spellskite with Into the Roil before Pacheco replayed it.



    Down came Jace Beleren, drawing Pacheco an extra card. Melamed took Shatter off Preordain, giving him a route to killing the Spellskite. He wasted no time in aiming the red instant at Spellskite, which duly bit the dust. Still Pacheco had Jace Beleren, ticking down to one loyalty as he presented Pacheco with another bonus card. Doom Blade took out Deceiver Exarch, and Melamed was faced with a ton of trouble.

    He topdecked Jace Beleren to at least stop the drawing engine, but Pacheco was into Creeping Tar Pit territory, and couldn't be stopped. Almost two hours, and Pacheco had triumphed, taking the match by 3-1, and guaranteeing himself a slot for Worlds.

    Jonathan Melamed 1 - 3 Marcus Pacheco

    By this time, Luiz Miguel and Marcus Camargo were deep into their game five. Miguel was very tentative, deciding to wait until he had Dispel to protect it, but Camargo had Birthing Pod, and started fetching Spellskite, then Linvala, Keeper of Silence. The window had passed for Miguel, and it was Camargo who had made it to the semi finals, with a place at San Francisco for Worlds.

    Luiz Miguel 2 - 3 Marcus Camargo

     
  • Semifinal - Guilherme Medeiros Merjan vs. Marcus Camargo

    by Rich Hagon
  • Semi final time then, and the pressure is off, since both these two will be going to Worlds in San Francisco. We already know who one of their team-mates will be, since Marcus Pacheco conceded in the other semi to his friend and fellow traveller Igor Sousa. Pacheco will go to Worlds anyway, and conceded on the basis that his friend Igor is a much better player, and will give Brazil a better chance in the team event. Whether or not Pacheco proposes to try to make the team via the 3rd/4th playoff is unclear.

    Game One

    Preordain opened the match for Merjan, one of three Blue-Black players to reach the final four. Camargo was the exception, piloting Bant/Pod. He started with Birds of Paradise, with Seachrome Coast leading to Preordain on turn two, with a second Birds of Paradise right behind. Despise revealed Razor Hippogriff, Viridian Corrupter, Phyrexian Metamorph, and two land, with Razor Hippogriff going to the graveyard. Viridian Corrupter arrived next for Camargo, not to kill an artifact, but to begin the beats. Birds of Paradise number three was next. Merjan had Go for the Throat at end of turn to deal with the Viridian Corrupter.

    Having untapped, Merjan began a card advantage war with Jace Beleren, drawing him an extra card. Camargo continued to filter through his deck with Preordain, laying Blade Splicer next. The Splicer aimed for Jace, which brought out Doom Blade from Merjan, who wanted to protect his Planeswalker. Sea Gate Oracle was next for Camargo, who was free from the threat of Mana Leak thanks to his many Birds of Paradise.

    A second Sea Gate Oracle followed, and Tectonic Edge destroyed Merjan's Mystifying Maze, Jace succumbing to the attacks of Oracles and Blade Splicer token. Wall of Omens drew Camargo a card, and his team battered in once more. Merjan had fallen to nine, and now Sun Titan was coming down for Camargo, fetching back Blade Splicer. At least, that was the plan, but Merjan had Surgical Extraction to prevent it. He was probably going to lose the game, but could at least have another good look at Camargo's deck.

    Guilherme Medeiros Merjan

    Doom Blade dealt with the Sun Titan. Three mana meant a fresh version of Jace Beleren, drawing Merjan a card, who knew the Planeswalker would likely die the following turn. Until, that is, he cast Black Sun's Zenith, and totally swept the board! Suddenly it was two cards each, Merjan with Jace in play, and Camargo with nothing. What a turnaround.

    Camargo went back to work with Sea Gate Oracle, then replicated an Oracle with Phantasmal Image. Jace drew for Merjan and Camargo, Merjan choosing to send his Planeswalker out of immediate range of the two Sea Gate Oracles (one a Phantasmal Image) across the table. Jace drew Merjan into a Preordain which had nothing useful. Creeping Tar Pit came off the top, and Merjan passed.

    When Camargo cast Birthing Pod Merjan forced him to pay three extra with Mana Leak. Having done so, Camargo sacrificed his Phantasmal Image to the Birthing Pod, searching up Solemn Simulacrum, netting him a land. The Birthing Pod shenanigans had begun.

    Creeping Tar Pit attacked for Merjan, taking Camargo to 13. He used his Birthing Pod to sacrifice Solemn Simulacrum, heading up the chain to Acidic Slime, which destroyed Creeping Tar Pit. Phyrexian Metamorph was next, becoming an Acidic Slime and destroying a second Creeping Tar Pit. Into the Roil with Kicker sent the Birthing Pod packing, but a lot of damage had been done.

    Camargo sent his team in once more, Merjan now down to just two. Birthing Pod came down once more, and Camargo used it to find Wurmcoil Engine. That should have been more than enough, and it was.

    Merjan 0 - 1 Camargo

    Game Two

    A turn two Inquisition of Kozilek found Sun Titan, Birthing Pod, Celestial Purge, Blade Splicer, and three land in Camargo's hand. The Blade Splicer, which had been so good for him in game one, went to the graveyard. Merjan followed with Torpor Orb, Camargo casting Birthing Pod. He added Solemn Simulacrum, then used Birthing Pod to find Razor Hippogriff. That met with Go for the Throat. Acidic Slime was an expensive 2/2, since Torpor Orb prevented it doing anything exciting. It also died to Doom Blade immediately after, Merjan wanting to prevent Camargo from more Birthing Pod action.

    Merjan cast Jace Beleren and drew a card, and after Camargo had cast Sea Gate Oracle, Merjan cast Consecrated Sphinx. Now that guy is a beating. Phantasmal Image copied the Sphinx, and met Go for the Throat from Merjan. Inquisition of Kozilek revealed Celestial Purge, Sun Titan, and Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, with Celestial Purge heading to the graveyard. Consecrated Sphinx continued to pound away in very efficient fashion, and Camargo was down to just two life. He activated Birthing Pod, sacrificing his Sea Gate Oracle to find Phyrexian Metamorph, arriving as a Consecrated Sphinx.

    Creeping Tar Pit activated for Merjan. No Consecrated Sphinx, Metamorph or otherwise, could get in the way, and it was 1-1.

    Merjan 1 - 1 Camargo

    Game Three

    Merjan was forced to start with six, Sea Gate Oracle improving things for Camargo early. Obstinate Baloth was next, drawing out a Doom Blade from Merjan. Flashfreeze then countered Birthing Pod, Merjan recovering somewhat with Jace Beleren getting him a card back after his mulligan. Sea Gate Oracle attacked Jace down to one loyalty, with Razor Hippogriff next for Camargo. The Sea Gate Oracle finished off Jace the following turn. That was fine with Merjan, who had another Planeswalker ready to go.

    Having returned his Birthing Pod with Razor Hippogriff, Camargo set about getting it back onto the battlefield. He sacrificed Sea Gate Oracle to fetch up Solemn Simulacrum, and he was well and truly back in business. Black Sun's Zenith wiped the board, Camargo restocking with Viridian Emissary, promptly sacrificed to Birthing Pod for Sea Gate Oracle. Across the table, Jace was still working well for Merjan. Triple Preordain brought him something he liked, a Wurmcoil Engine.

    Having seen one Sea Gate Oracle die to Doom Blade, Camargo cast another, sacrificed it to Birthing Pod, and sent Obstinate Baloth onto the battlefield. He was up to 27 life, while Merjan was at 19. After drawing another card with Jace, Inquisition of Kozilek was up next, seeing Preordain, Sylvok Replica, Sun Titan, Llanowar Elves, and Misty Rainforest. Away went Preordain. Knowing it would arrive, he cast Wurmcoil Engine, secure in the knowledge that even Sylvok Replica wasn't that big a deal, when he'd get two creatures out of his Wurmcoil being destroyed.

    Marcus Camargo

    The Replica duly appeared, the Wurmcoil duly died. Sun Titan returned the Sylvok Replica to play. Merjan decided to let Jace die rather than give another card to Camargo. Doom Blade destroyed Sun Titan, leaving Merjan to activate Creeping Tar Pit and attack with his 3/3 lifelink in tow. The game had been going on for a long while now, and neither player was below 20 life.

    Acidic Slime sent Creeping Tar Pit packing. Llanowar Elves was next, perfect fodder for Birthing Pod to find Phantasmal Image, once again becoming Acidic Slime, this time killing Mystifying Maze. Merjan came right back with Consecrated Sphinx. Camargo traded in his Phantasmal Image for Wurmcoil Engine (since it was 'really' an Acidic Slime). Inquisition of Kozilek revealed only a land in hand for Camargo.

    In came the Consecrated Sphinx. Wurmcoil Engine and Acidic Slime attacked back. Now it was haymaker Magic. The Consecrated Sphinx attacked again, setting Camargo back to 18. Merjan, though, was down to 10, and would need to deal with the opposing Wurmcoil very soon. Eight more damage came down, leaving him at 2 life. Camargo cast Birds of Paradise to sacrifice to Birthing Pod for Phantasmal Image. That became a second Wurmcoil Engine. Now it really was time for Merjan to do something drastic, if he could. For seven mana he cast Black Sun's Zenith for five, and passed the turn. His -1/1 Consecrated Sphinx drew him two more cards before he blocked and fell to 1. Birthing Pod resolved yet again, the Phantasmal Image/Wurmcoil Engine finding Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, which brought a very swift Doom Blade from Merjan.

    Still, Birthing Pod had been simply stellar for Camargo, who was now one up with a maximum of two to play.

    Merjan 1 - 2 Camargo

    Game Four

    In total, Camargo had used his Birthing Pod seven times during game three, and he had been able to get it into play through all the efforts of Merjan, whose Mana Leaks were particularly ineffective against a pile of mana in very long games. An early Inquisition of Kozilek saw Phyrexian Metamorph, Preordain, Birds of Paradise, Viridian Emissary, Sylvan Ranger, and a land. Preordain left Camargo's hand. He gradually built up his forces, with Sylvan Ranger, Birds of Paradise, and Sea Gate Oracle all hitting the battlefield, while Phantasmal Image was stripped by a second Inquisition of Kozilek from Merjan.

    When Camargo attacked, Merjan activated Creeping Tar Pit to kill the Sea Gate Oracle. He then Mana Leaked Acidic Slime. Creeping Tar Pit attacked for three, Merjan seemingly trying to be more proactive having lost a long game three. He had Mana Leak at the ready again, this time for Venser, the Sojourner. In came the Creeping Tar Pit again, with Camargo now at 13. That was still a long way off dead, however, with Merjan down to just one card in hand.

    The Semifinal crowd

    Birthing Pod! Merjan couldn't stop it. Sylvan Ranger turned into Blade Splicer, and Merjan couldn't stop it. He activated his Creeping Tar Pit once again, Camargo now at 8. Doom Blade killed off the Blade Splicer. Birthing Pod turned Birds of Paradise into Spellskite for Camargo. He was 12-8 behind, which became 12-5 when Creeping Tar Pit attacked yet again. Now dead wasn't nearly so far away.

    Spellskite became Sea Gate Oracle. Blade Splicer 3/3 token attacked Merjan to 9. Creeping Tar Pit, in again. Camargo at 2. Doom Blade ate the Sea Gate Oracle, denying a potential Birthing Pod escape. Was Creeping Tar Pit about to go the distance? It was.

    Merjan 2 - 2 Camargo

    Game Five

    Six cards each. Five cards for Merjan. Not the way to start a deciding game. Still, Creeping Tar Pit, Swamp, Island, Mana Leak, and Consecrated Sphinx aren't the worst imaginable five. Turn two from Camargo, however - Birthing Pod! Now that wasn't a good sign for Merjan. Birds of Paradise became Viridian Emissary. Despise from Merjan saw Spellskite and Phyrexian Metamorph in hand, plus a Plains. The Spellskite vanished, promptly followed by the Viridian Emissary to Doom Blade.

    Camargo piled on. He cast Blade Splicer, sacrificing it to Birthing Pod to fetch Solemn Simulacrum. Merjan was stuck with Consecrated Sphinx, Grave Titan, and Mana Leak in hand. He kept on with his Creeping Tar Pit plan, though, knocking Camargo to 11. Phyrexian Metamorph arrived as a Solemn Simulacrum. It sacrificed to Birthing Pod, finding Razor Hippogriff, returning back to Camargo's hand, and sending him up to 13 life, after a fetchland had taken him to single figures.

    In came Camargo's team - the Razor Hippogriff, Solemn Simulacrum, and 3/3 Blade Splicer token. The Solemn Simulacrum turned into Acidic Slime, killing a Creeping Tar Pit, leaving Merjan with one more. Phyrexian Metamorph was countered by Mana Leak, but it didn't matter. The Birthing Pod was inexorable, and now Camargo would take part in the championship match.

    Guilherme Medeiros Merjan 2 - 3 Marcus Camargo

     
  • The Final - Marcus Camargo vs. Igor Sousa

    by Rich Hagon
  • They're going to go to Worlds in San Francisco. They're going to be on the Brazilian National Team. Now they're going to decide who carries the flag, who gets the trophy shot, and who writes a little piece of Magic history for themselves as National Champion.

    Game One

    After a turn one Birds of Paradise, Camargo had Blade Splicer ahead of schedule on turn two. Sea Gate Oracle was turn three for the man who had just finished two five game sets to get here. The Camargo squad piled in for five damage, dropping Sousa to 11 in double quick time. Sousa knew, thanks to Inquisition of Kozilek, that Camargo was basically out of gas, but there was still a lot of damage on the table. He cast Spellskite, then saw Tectonic Edge keep him low on mana.

    In came the team again, Spellskite eating the damage from the 4/4 token. Acidic Slime continued the pressure, and the highly grinding Birthing Pod deck had suddenly become an aggro rush deck of doom. You know what happens to aggro rush decks? They get burned by Wrath effects, like Black Sun's Zenith. Still, Sousa could only cast it for two, so the board wasn't completely clear. It was, however, a much more manageable clock, with the '3/3' token dealing just one a turn, and the Sea Gate Oracle literally powerless.

    Sousa cast Jace Beleren. Camargo attacked the Planeswalker, Into the Roil returning it to Sousa's hand, who now had reached six mana, enough for Wurmcoil Engine. That made Camargo halt his attacks. Wurmcoil had no such qualms. Sousa wasn't done, either. Another powerhouse came along right behind it, in the shape of Grave Titan.

    Marcus Camargo

    Camargo had Birthing Pod next, turning Sea Gate Oracle into Phyrexian Metamorph into Grave Titan (you still with me, right?) The more the top 8 went on, the more you realized that the innocent-looking Birthing Pod was probably the biggest bomb out there. Titan? Wurmcoil? Huh, try this on for size...

    Sousa activated Creeping Tar Pit, dealing the first three damage of the match to Camargo. Llanowar Elves was grist to the Birthing Pod mill, Phantasmal Image becoming another Grave Titan. Have you ever noticed that Magic is an incredible, mind-blowing game? Wondrous, absolutely wondrous.

    Camargo attacked with his first Grave Titan, taking him up to six Zombie tokens, all of which were generously provided by Sousa, who was meant to be getting them himself. Wurmcoil Engine blocked and traded, sending Sousa back to his box of tokens for Deathtouch and Lifelink 3/3s. There were now thirteen creatures on the table, almost certainly the most I'd seen all weekend. Thirteen became fourteen as another Wurmcoil Engine hit the table.

    Back to Camargo, who cast Birds of Paradise en route for Phantasmal Image via Birthing Pod. Oh look, another Grave Titan, and two more Zombies. Finally Sousa's box was out of Zombies, and that meant we were on to random cards to supply additional Zombies. Seventeen was now the count, eleven to Camargo, six creatures to Sousa, who used an eighteenth - Creeping Tar Pit - as his sole attacker, dropping Camargo to 13 against 19 for Sousa.

    Phantasmal Image went away to Birthing Pod. In its place, something even more fearsome than the Grave Titan it had been masquerading as - Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite. Now that really wasn't good for Sousa. He had Go for the Throat for the 4/7, which was a start to his survival. He was still facing Grave Titan and eight Zombies and a 1/1 token. With all his lifelink, he ended the turn on 17. On the backswing, all manner of nonsense occurred. In came two deathtouch 3/3s, two lifelink 3/3s, Creeping Tar Pit, Grave Titan...Sousa got two more Zombies...

    I swear, the whole thing was utter, utter carnage, and at the end of it Sousa had emerged with a crazy 1-0 lead.

    Camargo 0 - 1 Sousa

    Game Two

    There were no early fireworks in game two. Plenty of flurries, but no fireworks. The fireworks began with Venser, the Sojourner on turn five from Camargo. He cast Acidic Slime, activated Venser, and set Sousa back to just three mana. Phyrexian Metamorph became Acidic Slime, taking out a Swamp, Venser went to nine loyalty, phasing out the original Acidic Slime, and now Sousa was down to just two mana. Moments later, it was 1-1.

    Camargo 1 - 1 Sousa

    Game Three

    Sousa, looking to avoid a repeat of game two, opened with Inquisition of Kozilek, taking Spellskite, and Disfigure killing Birds of Paradise. Camargo had Sylvok Replica, which attacked for one. Birthing Pod? Not this time, as Sousa had Flashfreeze. He didn't have an answer for Venser, the Sojourner, however. Venser ticked upwards to seven loyalty, although Camargo wasn't doing anything useful with it, simply bouncing Sylvok Replica each turn. Venser went right down to one loyalty, going ultimate.

    Igor Sousa

    Inquisition of Kozilek revealed Phyrexian Metamorph, Devout Lightcaster, and a land. The Devout Lightcaster hit the graveyard. Camarga drew into Acidic Slime, which killed two land, a Mystifying Maze and Drowned Catacombs. Venser went to three to phase out the Acidic Slime, which at least Sousa was able to deny with a well-timed and much-needed Go for the Throat. He still had to pass though. Now Camargo cast Sea Gate Oracle, killing Darkslick Shores. Birthing Pod found Flashfreeze in the way, but Sousa was down to three mana again.

    Solemn Simulacrum was next for Camargo, taking Sousa down to just two mana. Venser went to nine loyalty, Solemn Simulacrum returned, finding Camargo yet another land, which can only have felt wretched on Sousa's side of the board. Camargo attacked for three, then created a second Emblem. That's Venser, ultimate, twice. Sun Titan got rid of two of Sousa's remaining three mana, and it was time for game four.

    Camargo 2 - 1 Sousa

    Game Four

    Sylvan Ranger, Sylvok Replica, Phyrexian Metamorph, and three land. That's what Sousa saw with Inquisition of Kozilek after Camargo had mulliganed to six. The Sylvan Ranger put him down to five cards. Inquisition number two took away Sylvok Replica. Birds of Paradise came off the top for Camargo, with Perordain sending one to the top, and one to the bottom. What was on the top was Venser, the Sojourner. He cast Spellskite then passed, reluctant to try for his Planeswalker straihgt away.

    Doom Blade destroyed the Spellskite, with Sousa passing the turn with no other play. Camargo went for Venser. Venser resolved. Camargo took a giant step towards the title. Sousa wasn't done, casting Consecrated Sphinx. At end of turn, Camargo used Tectonic Edge to blow up Drowned Catacombs. He cast Phyrexian Metamorph, turning it into a Consecrated Sphinx of his own. Venser went to seven loyalty, and it was back to Sousa.

    We now went into the fun and frolics of double Consecrated Sphinx draw steps. It was somehow appropriate that a day that had seen just about every type of situation would find itself deep into 'I draw, you draw two, I draw two for your first two, I draw two, you draw two for my first one, I draw nine off your first three' (I've started making this up, but you get the idea.) At the end of it all, Camargo had eight cards in hand, Sousa four hundred and sixty two. (I made that up as well, but once again the flavor is spot on).

    Finally, some action. Dismember and Disfigure killed the Phyrexian Metamorph masquerading as a Consecrated Sphinx. Birds of Paradise bit the dust to a second Disfigure. Consecrated Sphinx hit Venser down to three loyalty, and Inquisition of Kozilek took away Preordain, still leaving Camargo with a full seven. It was a good bet that Sousa's discard would take a while...

    Solemn Simulacrum resolved. It would thin Camargo's library, but wouldn't get in the way of the Sphinx that Sousa was relying on to kill Venser. Two more mana for Viridian Emissary found more land for Camargo. Venser went back up to five loyalty, just about out of range of the Consecrated Sphinx. Sousa cast three Preordain before attacking Venser down to one loyalty with his Sphinx.

    Back to Camargo. Birthing Pod? Flashfreeze. Well, Sousa had done a lot of digging. Venser went back to three loyalty, Solemn Simulacrum netting Camargo another free land out of his deck when it reappeared at end of turn. Camargo was 19-12 ahead in the race, but of course Sousa was annihilating him in terms of cards. Venser, finally, gone to the Sphinx. Despise saw Devout Lightcaster, Sun Titan, Acidic Slime, and Wurmcoil Engine. The artifact went away.

    Camargo again. In came the Viridian Emissary and Solemn Simulacrum. Sousa was down to 8. Camargo spent six mana for Sun Titan. Mana Leak? He could, and did, pay. Second Mana Leak? Now that was a hard counter. Sousa untapped, and cast a Wurmcoil Engine before attacking with Consecrated Sphinx. 15-8 ahead, could Camargo somehow navigate his way to victory, or was this test of stamina headed for a deciding game? Camargo had won his quarter final 3-2, his semi final 3-2, and now he was trying to avoid a third successive game five.

    Acidic Slime dealt with the first part of Wurmcoil Engine, triggering the arrival of parts two and three, the ones labelled 'deathtouch' and 'lifelink'. Creeping Tar Pit activated and joined Consecrated Sphinx in the red zone. 8-8. Disfigure destroyed Acidic Slime.

    Camargo drew, which yet again meant Sousa drew two. Birthing Pod? Deprive. Not a surprise, since there were less than twenty cards left in Sousa's library. Now he was on the verge of equalizing. He had Consecrated Sphinx and a Creeping Tar Pit. Go for the Throat took out Viridian Emissary, meaning Sousa had lethal.

    Camargo 2 - 2 Sousa

    Game Five

    Six and a half hours had passed since these two had started their top 8 campaigns. Now, however long it took, there could be only one more game. Marcus Pacheco would be going to Worlds. Guilherme Medeiros Merjan would be going to Worlds on the Team. Both these two would be on the team, but one as Champion.

    One more push, one more bullying of frayed nerves, tired limbs, sluggish thinking. 10.30 at night, and still this most wondrous and brutal of games continued to ask the most mind-shredding questions of the only two still left standing.

    Both players kept seven cards, which was a relief - nobody wants a Final game five decided by mulligans. Spellskite turn two from Camargo was the opening play. His Birds of Paradise were denied by Mental Misstep from Sousa, after a little thought. Inquisition of Kozilek saw Sylvok Replica, Devout Lightcaster, Phyrexian Metamorph, and Tectonic Edge. Bye bye Devout Lightcaster.

    Sylvok Replica arrived uneventfully, and began the beats. Tectonic Edge took out Darkslick Shores, attempting to stunt Sousa for mana. He continued to lay land, however. The Sylvok Replica attacked him to 16. Five mana - please sir, may I have Venser, the Sojourner? No, you may not, Mana Leak denying Camargo a huge step towards victory. Next turn, please may I have Birthing Pod? No, you may not, Deprive getting in the way.

    Surely a third must-counter threat would be Sousa's undoing. Llanowar Elves from Camargo was not that threat. Six mana for Sousa? Black Sun's Zenith for four, and the board was clear. He had survived Venser, and Birthing Pod, and now saw an empty board. How close was Sousa now to the finish line?

    He activated Creeping Tar Pit and attacked, Camargo now at 14. From the top? Sun Titan! It resolved, getting back Spellskite. Unbelievable Magic. Sousa untapped now facing a Titanic threat. He activated two Creeping Tar Pits, and hit with both. Camargo was down to 8 life. Sousa was at 15. What a climax. With Sousa tapped out, Camargo could do what he wanted. He used Tectonic Edge to blow up a Creeping Tar Pit. He cast Phyrexian Metamorph to create a second Sun titan. He attacked Sousa to 9.

    Sousa needed a land, and he needed Black Sun's Zenith for six. He passed the turn.

    Camargo untapped. He announced his attack. In came two Sun Titans. Sylvok Replica came back, Tectonic Edge took out Creeping Tar Pit. Mystifying Maze kept Sousa alive, but barely. Sun Titan returned Tectonic Edge at end of turn, blowing up Mystifying Maze. Surely Sousa was done?

    For one last time, he passed the turn. For one last time, Camargo attacked. For one last time, someone fell to zero life. For one last time, someone emerged victorious, and that man was Marcus Camargo.

    Marcus Camargo 3 - 2 Igor Sousa

    Congratulations to Marcus Camargo, Brazil National Champion 2011!
     
  • The Top Five Cards of Brazil Nationals 2011

    by Rich Hagon
  • Preordain - If ever there was a card that kicked off more games than any other this weekend, it was this innocuous little number. It's exactly the kind of card that newer players ignore utterly. It isn't a creature, doesn't deal damage, doesn't kill anything, doesn't force discard, doesn't gain you life, doesn't even counter a spell. It's just really, really good.




    Splinter Twin - It was interesting that so many players here in Brazil would have chosen to play Splinter Twin in Modern, if they'd been at Philadelphia. There's no doubt that infinite damage is quite a lot, and more than your average opponent is equipped to handle. Nonetheless, the quarter finals were a beating for the twin decks, with three losing, and the fourth losing by default when the pilot conceded. Even so, Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa would still play this if Nationals started again tomorrow, and that's a sign of how strong the card, and the deck, is.




    Torpor Orb - It's a negative card to be sure, but boy oh boy does it ever do good things. Time and time again it has been the last line of defense, and time and time again it gets a player over the finish line. Another great card that doesn't look super-exciting at first glance. It's Null Rod that has the priceless flavor text:
    "But it doesn't do anything."
    "No, it does nothing."

    Torpor Orb feels a bit like that. Flint-hearted spoilers rejoice, Torpor Orb is your friend.




    Jace Beleren - You know what's better than 'better than all'? Well, maybe not, but the disappearance of the Mind Sculptor has reminded us just what an utter kicking Jace Beleren is. There may be twenty Jace variants twenty years from now, but people will still talk about this guy. He draws you cards, and lots of them. He draws you a card for three mana, and draws opposing attackers like a moth to a flame. That's the worst that can happen, for three mana. A gentlemen's wager: when and if Planeswalkers reach three figures, Jace Beleren will still be in the top ten. Real men can admit it - Jace, we love you.




    Birthing Pod - Any time you see Kenny Oberg of Sweden coming to game with a deck, you know that it's probably going to be what's euphemistically known in the trade as a 'skill-tester'. Coming into Pro Tour Nagoya, Birthing Pod was a card that was getting a lot of under-the-radar interest. If anyone could work out just what the optimum build might be, maybe it was the sort of card that could 'break' a Pro Tour environment. That didn't happen, but Birthing Pod is still an awesome card to have fun with, and as Marcus Camargo showed, go a very long way with, if you can play it right.

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