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Round 8 Draft: Venga Venga Carta Roja vs. Two on Three

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Carlos Romao and Diego Ostrovich have been on something of a World Tour lately. You may have seen them pop up at European and North American Grand Prix events, with Romao putting up a big win with his team at Amsterdam. Today they are joined by Ostrovich's fellow Argentinean Matias Gabrenja to try their luck at the Team Pro Tour. Standing in opposition to them this round are Gabe Walls, Jordan Berkowitz and Mike Hron, calling themselves "Two on Three," much to Hron's chagrin. They're also finally getting to draft, after oversleeping the first round.

The South Americans won the flip, and chose to receive. Walls was more than happy to oblige.

Pack 1: Onslaught

Walls Catapult Squad Taunting Elf
Berkowitz Prowling Pangolin Kaboom!
Gabrenja Barkhide Mauler Lonely Sandbar
Ostrovich Sunfire Balm Renewed Faith
Romao Wellwisher Naturalize
Hron Haunted Cadaver Wave of Indifference

Prowling Pangolin was enough to direct Berkowitz. Going into the draft, their plan was to have Berkowitz in two of blue, black and red. White would go to Walls and green to Hron. If the remaining color was deep, Walls and Hron would split it, otherwise one would dip into Berkowitz's colors.

Pack 2:

Berkowitz Choking Tethers Taunting Elf Reckless One
Gabrenja Voidmage Prodigy Crown of Awe Sea's Claim
Ostrovich Shieldmage Elder Renewed Faith Goblin Sky Raider
Romao Haunted Cadaver Barren Moor
Hron Grassland Crusader Charging Slateback
Walls Gustcloak Harrier Aven Farseer

Here the other half of Berkowitz's plan became clear. Gabrenja's pick of Kai indicated green-blue, and with Ostrovich looking for Clerics thanks to the mighty Elder, that meant that Romao would probably have to move to red. Walls's wheel was insane.

Pack 3:

Gabrenja Towering Baloth Grand Coliseum Naturalize
Ostrovich Dirge of Dread Gustcloak Runner
Romao Shock Walking Desecration
Hron Krosan Groundshaker Crown of Fury
Walls Renewed Faith Wave of Indifference
Berkowitz Imagecrafter Aphetto Dredging

Ostrovich naturally moves to black for his Clerics, and Romao makes the shift to red.

Pack 4:

Ostrovich Daru Lancer Sandskin Demystify
Romao Venomspout Brackus Reckless One Discombobulate
Hron Cover of Darkness Taunting Elf
Walls Wirewood Pride Charging Slateback
Gabrenja Symbiotic Elf Mage's Guile

Romao is forced to cut a Brackus out of a mediocre pack. Hron picks up the possibly-outrageous Cover of Darkness, and Walls stops Gabrenja from getting Wirewood Pride in the green-on-green match. He was rewarded with The Heiss on the way back.

Pack 5:

Romao Venomspout Brackus Goblin Taskmaster Sage Aven
Hron Vitality Charm Leery Fogbeast Discombobulate
Walls Pacifism Righteous Cause Gustcloak Runner
Berkowitz Swat Slipstream Eel
Gabrenja Severed Legion Endemic Plague
Ostrovich Daunting Defender Misery Charm

Another Brackus throws a wrench into the South American's plans. Maybe Romao is green after all, and Gabrenja is audibling to blue-black? He keeps a Severed Legion that might have been better in Ostrovich's pile.

Pack 6:

Hron Symbiotic Beast Fever Charm Crown of Vigor
Walls Daru Lancer Starlit Sanctum
Berkowitz Doubtless One Screaming Seahawk
Gabrenja Ixidor, Reality Sculptor Barren Moor
Ostrovich Daunting Defender Dirge of Dread
Romao Spined Basher Demystify

Berkowitz didn't want to cut the Doubtless One, but Walls was insistent. Ostrovich doubles up on Defenders and Dirges. Not too shabby. The packs won't cooperate with Romao's green cards, though.

Pack 7: Legions

Hron Needleshot Gourna Dark Supplicant
Romao Flamewave Invoker Dermoplasm
Ostrovich Vile Deacon Wall of Hope
Gabrenja Shifting Sliver Hundroog
Berkowitz Voidmage Apprentice Crookclaw Elder
Walls Lowland Tracker Goblin Grappler

Not much to see here. Hron gets him self a big caboose to stop potential blue fliers and Ostrovich gets his first Deacon.

Pack 8:

Romao Crested Craghorn Goblin Clearcutter Hunter Sliver
Ostrovich Skinthinner Gempalm Avenger Gempalm Polluter
Gabrenja Timberwatch Elf Crafty Pathmage
Berkowitz
Echo Tracer Riptide Mangler
Walls Vile Deacon Stoic Champion
Hron Krosan Vorine Wirewood Hivemaster

This one was busty. Ostrovich really wanted the second Deacon, but couldn't say no to Skinthinner, having no removal so far. Walls wasn't about to let him get a second chance. The Timberwatch goes to Gabrenja and Romao is now cemented in red-black. He was lucky to get the Clearcutter on the way back. Walls almost took the Avenger over Stoic Champion, but Berkowitz pointed out that it was nearly no use to Ostrovich.

Pack 9:

Ostrovich Windborn Muse Dark Supplicant
Gabrenja Timberwatch Elf Merchant of Secrets
Berkowitz Skinthinner Gempalm Polluter
Walls Aven Warhawk Daru Sanctifier
Hron Krosan Vorine Goblin Grappler
Romao Crested Craghorn Wirewood Hivemaster

Here's another case of "too many good cards". Ostrovich obviously has to take the Muse, and Gabrenja isn't about to pass on the second Timberwatch, but the Americans certainly weren't hurting for picks.

Pack 10:

Gabrenja Krosan Vorine Glowering Rogon Cephalid Pathmage
Berkowitz Smokespew Invoker Synapse Sliver Hunter Sliver
Walls Wingbeat Warrior Wirewood Channeler Macetail Hystrodon
Hron Berserk Murlodont Patron of the Wild
Romao Gempalm Incinerator Goblin Turncoat
Ostrovich Stoic Champion Starlight Invoker

Hron needed to be shown his two Vorines to be convinced to take the Murlodont, and then Ostrovich took Starlight Invoker and let Synapse Sliver get all the way back to Berkowitz.

Pack 11:

Berkowitz Mistform Seaswift Covert Operative Merchant of Secrets
Walls White Knight Lowland Tracker
Hron Rockshard Elemental Wirewood Hivemaster
Romao Flamewave Invoker Sootfeather Flock
Ostrovich Deftblade Elite Crypt Sliver
Gabrenja Stonewood Invoker Wall of Deceit

Berkowitz was so busy arguing Walls's and Hron's picks that he didn't have much time to make his decision. Afterwards he was kicking himself for letting the Wall of Deceit get away. Walls emphatically took the White Knight as an answer to Vile Deacon, and forced Hron to cut the Rockshard Elemental.

Pack 12:

Walls Daru Stinger Goblin Grappler
Hron Bane of the Living Hundroog
Romao Noxious Ghoul Infernal Caretaker
Ostrovich Daru Mender Wingbeat Warrior
Gabrenja Mistform Seaswift Hunter Sliver
Berkowitz Embalmed Brawler Akroma's Devoted

Big bombs for the Americans here. Noxious Ghoul isn't as good against Berkowitz as Romao would like. Ostrovich finally got some air defense but his pick of Mender over Devoted seems suspect.

Pack 13: Scourge

Walls Noble Templar Hindering Touch
Berkowitz Zombie Cutthroat Krosan Drover
Gabrenja Shoreline Ranger Accelerated Mutation
Ostrovich Frontline Strategist Mercurial Kite
Romao Goblin Brigand Scornful Egotist
Hron Elvish Aberration Alpha Status

Berkowitz was surprised to see the Aberration still in the pack when it got to Hron's pick. Of course, he was busy preventing Gabe Walls from taking the Strategist. You could tell he was eager to shout "FOG GUY!" Fortunately, Berkowitz browbeat him into the correct pick, and when the realization dawned Walls tapped his forehead in understanding. Fog guy would do no good against his Bird-Soldiers.

Pack 14:

Berkowitz Zombie Cutthroat Rock Jockey
Gabrenja Rush of Knowledge Riptide Survivor
Ostrovich Aven Liberator Wipe Clean
Romao Carbonize Unburden
Hron Accelerated Mutation Daru Spiritualist
Walls Dragon Mage Spark Spray

Walls picked Spark Spray with a gleam he later explained ("It's an answer to Wingbeat Warrior!), but the Mage was the big prize.

Pack 15:

Gabrenja Frozen Solid
Ostrovich Dragon Scales Gilded Light
Romao Carrion Feeder Unburden
Hron Wirewood Guardian Kurgadon
Walls Zealous Inquisitor Scattershot
Berkowitz Vengeful Dead Dragon Wings

Not much to see here.

Pack 16:

Ostrovich Aven Farseer Guilty Conscience
Romao Carrion Feeder Rock Jockey
Hron Unspeakable Symbol Fierce Empath
Walls Coast Watcher Enrage
Berkowitz Call to the Grave Mercurial Kite
Gabrenja Clutch of Undeath Riptide Survivor

Lots to see here. Look at how Berkowitz gets Call to the Gravefifth. Romao later explained that he didn't want it for his deck, but felt that he at least had a chance against it with the Zombies he had. Berkowitz thought there was no question he should have taken it. They gave the Symbol to Hron on the off-chance he needed something to go with his Vorines.

Pack 17:

Romao Twisted Abomination Woodcloaker
Hron Dragon Shadow Sprouting Vines
Walls Carbonize Raven Guild Initiate
Berkowitz Undead Warchief Grip of Chaos
Gabrenja Coast Watcher Torrent of Fire
Ostrovich Zealous Inquisitor Carrion Feeder

The Warchief really throws Berkowitz's deck over the top, and would have done some good to Romao's as well.

Pack 18:

Hron Ambush Commander Fierce Empath
Walls Carbonize Bonethorn Valesk
Berkowitz Clutch of Undeath Scornful Egotist
Gabrenja Dispersal Shield Krosan Drover
Ostrovich Astral Steel Mercurial Kite
Romao Chartooth Cougar Unspeakable Symbol

The Americans were ready to get up, but then they realized they had one more pack to go. And what a pack it was! Three goodies for them, and next to nothing for the opponents. It was a demoralizing end.

Ostrovich, Romao and Gabrenja tried to keep a positive outlook. They knew Romao's match was almost a sure loss, but they felt they had play in the other two. Walls and Berkowitz were their usual models of confidence. They were surprised they'd been allowed to kick off, since that was what they wanted to do anyways, and they felt their plan had gone perfectly. They noted with smug satisfaction that they could play all their bombs, but their opponents were not so lucky. As for their predicted outcome, they were already tallying a win.

"After this, just three more!" -- Jordan Berkowitz

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