Pro Tour–Austin Round 4: All the Wrong Answers

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Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa (Hexmage Depths) vs. Osyp Lebedowicz (Thopter Combo)

Osyp Lebedowicz, the man in black.
American Osyp Lebedowicz and Brazilian superstar Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa sat down for their fourth round with a feature match in the arena. Osyp, known as much for his boisterous personality on the Tour as for his Pro Tour championship in Venice, brought a Thopter Foundry / Sword of the Meek combo deck to the table. His opponent was playing one of the hits of the weekend, blue-black Dark Depths.

Game 1

Academy Ruins and Plains led the way for the American, who could only watch as his opponent came bursting out of the gates with Chrome Mox to enable Dark Confidant on his first turn. Lebedowicz considered his options, then used a Path to Exile to kill the 2/1. The Conflux instant would have been a powerful answer to a Marit Lage token from Damo da Rosa, but Osyp couldn’t allow Paulo to accrue card advantage from Dark Confidant so early.

Trying to pressure his opponent, Paulo cast Thoughtseize forcing Osyp to discard Wrath of God. Following the discard spell Paulo cast Vampire Hexmage, then passed the turn. Osyp drew a card but didn’t find a source of blue mana. Instead, he played Ghost Quarter to join Academy Ruins and his Plains, unable to play Gifts Ungiven nor the twin copies of Thirst for Knowledge in his hand. Damo da Rosa played the second half of his combo in the form of Dark Depths, but rather than cash in his Hexmage to make a 20/20, he cast Vendilion Clique targeting himself. He was happy to beat down with a 2/1 and a 3/1 instead of comboing out and allowing Osyp an opportunity to use Ghost Quarter on the Dark Depths.

Lebedowicz found a Chrome Mox to provide him with blue mana, and used Day of Judgment to wipe out his opponent’s team. That left Damo da Rosa ticking counters off his Dark Depths the hard way, though he started getting back onto the board with a Vendilion Clique. The 3/1 served as a solid plan B for the Brazilian, who had soon whittled his opponent to just 2 life. The American used Engineered Explosives to deal with the flier, getting a free source of black mana from his opponent’s Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth. His portion of the battlefield contained only lands that could tap for blue, white, or colorless mana. Paulo cast a Dark Confidant as backup.

Returning Engineered Explosives with Academy Ruins, Osyp set out to destroy the Confidant as well, but there was a dispute concerning when he was attempting to activate his Explosives. A judge was called in, then there was an appeal, and the two players sat in silence waiting for the head judge to make his call.

After fifteen minutes of debate, the ruling was made that Osyp had activated his Engineered Explosives at the end of his own turn, and the two opponents were back to a game of draw-go. Meddling Mage made an appearance for Osyp, who equipped Sword of the Meek to the 2/2. The Equipment was a critical part of his combo engine, as it allowed him to generate infinite mana and life when combined with Krark-Clan Ironworks and Thopter Foundry. Unfortunately for the American, he was short those two pieces of his combo.

Paulo attempted to grind his Dark Depths all the way down manually, but in doing so forced his opponent’s hand on Ghost Quarter, which Strip Mined the Coldsnap rare. Looking for yet another backup plan, Damo da Rosa used Repeal to bounce Lebedowicz’s Meddling Mage, which was set to Vampire Hexmage, and cast the 2/1. He also played Dark Depths, threatening a very large, angry token the following turn, but Osyp promptly ripped Path to Exile as a counter.

Showing the patience that has allowed him to succeed at such a high level of play for so long, Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa opted not to combo out, instead simply attacking with his Hexmage. Post-combat, Paulo transmuted Tolaria West to find Chalice of the Void, then cast it for one. Osyp’s Path wasn’t going to protect him from the Marit Lage combo after all. Lebedowicz responded by casting the instant targeting Paulo’s Hexmage, but Paulo simply comboed in response. He then cast a second Chalice, this time set to two, and essentially locked his opponent out of the game. Osyp peeked at his top card, then scooped up his board for the second game.

Damo da Rosa 1, Lebedowicz 0

Game 2

Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, the ... other man in black.
Paulo Vitor started the second game off with a mulligan, but had Chrome Mox and was able to cast a first-turn creature for the second time in the match. Instead of Dark Confidant, however, he had Vampire Hexmage. He did follow that up with Dark Confidant and then Dark Depths, while Osyp cast Engineered Explosives on two counters. Paulo’s Dark Confidant revealed Vendilion Clique, and the second game of the match was threatening to be as short as the first game was long.

With the 3/1 hand-disruption spell, Paulo could clear the way for his on-the-board combo to go off. When he failed to play a second source of blue, however, he opened up an opportunity for his opponent to take advantage. Osyp untapped, drew, and activated his Explosives for two. Paulo responded by using Hexmage on his Dark Depths, which forced Osyp to crack Ghost Quarter targeting the land. That found Paulo a Swamp, which, combined with his Sunken Ruins, would allow him to cast his Vendilion Clique. He did exactly that, seeing a hand of Krark-Clan Ironworks, Muddle the Mixture, and double Meddling Mage from his opponent.

One of the Mages was sent to the bottom of Lebedowicz’s deck, and Osyp passed the turn after casting a Chrome Mox. Paulo attacked with his Clique, then dropped his combo for the second time in the game. When Osyp passed the following turn, Paulo considered his options before finally deciding to activate his Vampire Hexmage targeting Dark Depths. That drew a response of Gifts Ungiven from Osyp, who forced Paulo to decide between Path to Exile, Repeal, Sword of the Meek, and Thopter Foundry. When Paulo gave Osyp the missing parts of his combo rather than an answer, Osyp conceded, dead to Paulo’s combo the next turn.

Damo da Rosa 2, Lebedowicz 0

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