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Martinez Salvages Victory in Guadalajara

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The letter I!n two days, Mexico City resident Andres Martinez went from local Magic player to the nation's newest Magic celebrity, navigating his innovative take on Junk Reanimator to a victory in Grand Prix Guadalajara.

Martinez's deck choice, which included multiple copies of Acidic Slime in the Unburial Rites deck that has had a prominent place in Standard, proved to be fruitful. The 2/2 deathtouch creature closed out game after game after game, as the Slime proved pivotal in his wins against all three of his opponents in the Top 8. The Slime quickly became the deciding card against Brazilian pro Willy Edel in the third game of the Finals, where three triggers of Acidic Slime left Edel without lands and without a way to mount a comeback.

Edel, who recently achieved Platinum status in the Pro Players Club, may not be returning home with the first place trophy, but he's kicking off the 2013-2014 season with a very impressive finish. Edel has proven in the past year that he is truly is one of the game's finest.

In just a few matches, Martinez went from aspiring Magic player to the country's newest Magic superstar, with his victory in the finals leading to an overwhelming array of cheer and support from friends, family, and fans.

The passion and excitement exhibited by Mexico's players showcases something very special about this country. Grand Prix Guadalajara has proven that Mexico and its community can make Magic something very special.




Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Ken Yukuhiro   Ken Yukuhiro, 2-1        
8 Emiliano Sanchez   Andres Martinez, 2-1
       
4 Andres Martinez   Andres Martinez, 2-1   Andres Martinez, 2-1
5 Monge Hernandez    
       
2 Gonzalez Delgado   Willy Edel, 2-1
7 Willy Edel   Willy Edel, 2-0
       
3 Emmanuel Sanchez   Juan Castillo, 2-0
6 Juan Castillo mata    







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EVENT COVERAGE INFORMATION

  • by Nate Price and Mike Rosenberg
    Top 5 Cards of Grand Prix Guadalajara

  • by Mike Rosenberg
    Finals
    Willy Edel vs. Andres Martinez

  • by Nate Price
    Semifinals
    Andres Martinez (Junk Reanimator) vs Ken Yukuhiro (Naya Zoo)

  • by Nate Price
    Semifinals
    Juan Castillo (The Aristocrats) vs Will Edel (Naya Zoo)

  • by Nate Price
    Quarterfinals
    Ken Yukuhiro (Naya Zoo) vs Emiliano Sanchez (Junk Reanimator)

  • by Nate Price
    Quarterfinals
    Emmanuel Sanchez (Junk Reanimator) v Juan Castillo Mata (Aristocrats)

  • by Mike Rosenberg
    Quarterfinals
    Andres Martinez vs. Manuel Monge Hernández

  • by Mike Rosenberg
    Quarterfinals
    Willy Edel vs. Mervyn Gonzalez Delgado

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 9-16
    Decklists

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8
    Decklists

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8
    Player Profiles

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 2 Blog
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 1 Blog
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Fact Sheet
 1.  Andres Martinez $3,500
 2.  Willy Edel $2,300
 3.  Ken Yukuhiro $1,500
 4.  Juan Castillo mata $1,500
 5.  Gonzalez Delgado $1,000
 6.  Emmanuel Sanchez $1,000
 7.  Monge Hernandez $1,000
 8.  Emiliano Sanchez $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
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  • Top 8 - Players

    by Event Coverage Staff


  • Emmanuel Ramírez Sánchez

    Age: 25
    Hometown: Mexico D.F.
    Occupation: Student

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    World Cup 2011, 2012, and an actual national team.

    Where do you usually play Magic?
    Magic Online

    What guild are you? Why did you choose that guild?
    Azorius. Blue and White are my favorite combination in Magic.

    What deck did you play and why?
    Junk Reanimator, because my friends Dany Hernandez and Hector Alonso gave me the approval.

    How did you prepare for this event?
    I played a little bit on Magic Online and with Team Zuberas. Go Go Zuberas!

    What do you think the biggest impact Dragon's Maze has had on Standard?
    Ola ke ase (It's the Mexican nickname for Voice of Resurgence. Google it.)




    Andrés Martínez

    Age: 30
    Hometown: Mexico City
    Occupation: Engineer

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    None.

    Where do you usually play Magic?
    The store Cerebrum

    What guild are you? Why did you choose that guild?
    Simic. I like the combination of colors and what they represent. And I identify myself with blue and green. That's what I like to play.

    What deck did you play and why?
    Junk Reanimator. I considered it a very good deck once I saw it. It's quick, consistent, and has powerful spells.

    How did you prepare for this event?
    I didn't really prepare a lot because I didn't have much time, but I played with friends, at Friday Night Magic, at trials, and at the WMCQ.

    What do you think the biggest impact Dragon's Maze has had on Standard?
    On one side, Voice of Resurgence, which is important now and will continue to be in the future. There are some other spells as well, like Sire of Insanity, Sin Collector, and others.




    Mervyn Cesar Gonzalez Delgado

    Age: 21
    Hometown: Puebla
    Occupation: Student

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Top 8 at two Puebla Grand Prix Trials

    Where do you usually play Magic?
    Collector's Lair in Puebla

    What guild are you? Why did you choose that guild?
    Gruul, because I like to play aggro. Hit and hit, that's my thing.

    What deck did you play and why?
    Gruul Blitz, because it's the best aggro deck right now.

    How did you prepare for this event?
    I played in four GPTs, then I went to Mexico City at the Magic weekend.

    What do you think the biggest impact has had on Standard?
    There haven't been many major changes in Dragon's Maze, so I don't have much to say about that.




    Ken Yukuhiro

    Age: 29
    Hometown: Wakayama
    Occupation: Card Shop Staff (Manasource)

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    PT Top 4, GP Champion, three Top 8s

    Where do you usually play Magic?
    Mana Source Card Shop

    What guild are you? Why did you choose that guild?
    Orzhov. (Shuhei said that Yukuhiro said "absolute power" first and "wealth" second to answer the second part, but he erased it so he wouldn't ruin his image as a nice guy.)

    What deck did you play and why?
    Naya Midrange. It's good against all kinds of beatdown decks.

    How did you prepare for this event?
    five days

    What do you think the biggest impact Dragon's Maze has had on Standard?
    Voice. All green/white decks advance to the next level.




    Willy Edel

    Age: 33
    Hometown: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Occupation: Store owner

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    4 PT Top 8s, 5 Nationals Top 8s, 4 GP Top 8s (5 now), Current Brazilian National Champion.

    Where do you usually play Magic?
    Magic Online and Point HQ Ipanema

    What guild are you? Why did you choose that guild?
    Boros. Fits my style.

    What deck did you play and why?
    Naya. I like aggressive midrange decks.

    How did you prepare for this event?
    Spent a week testing with the other Brazilians in San Diego and on Magic Online.

    What do you think the biggest impact Dragon's Maze has had on Standard?
    Voice of Resurgence is a card, not close.




    Manuel Monge Hernández

    Age: 26
    Hometown: Delicias, Chihuahua
    Occupation: Software Developer

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Several promo cards on FNM JThis is my first GP!

    Where do you usually play Magic?
    Local store in Chihuahua

    What guild are you? Why did you choose that guild?
    Golgari. There is great synergy between black and green.

    What deck did you play and why?
    Junk Rites, lots of options and synergy.

    How did you prepare for this event?
    A lot of testing, and a lot of energy bars in my bag.

    What do you think the biggest impact Dragon's Maze has had on Standard?
    Voice of Resurgence.




    Juan Carlos Castillo Mata

    Age: 29
    Hometown: Mexico D.F.
    Occupation: Government work

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Winner of three "Feliz tournaments" (organized by a friend named Felix)

    Where do you usually play Magic?
    UAM campus in Iztapalapa, Phoenix Comics, and Delta CU

    What guild are you? Why did you choose that guild?
    Dimir, because it decks and it's an alternate way to win.

    What deck did you play and why?
    Aristocrats because it's good against both midrange and aggro decks.

    How did you prepare for this event?
    Training with the UAM Team, to which I belong.

    What do you think the biggest impact Dragon's Maze has had on Standard?
    It powered down tradition counter control.




    Emiliano Sanchez Gonzalez

    Age: 26
    Hometown: Mexico City
    Occupation: Psychology student, bodybuilding.

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    One PTQ Top 8s, 4 Nationals appearances

    Where do you usually play Magic?
    The Internet.

    What guild are you? Why did you choose that guild?
    Azoruis, it has good colors.

    What deck did you play and why?
    Junk Reanimator. It competes and has good matchups.

    How did you prepare for this event?
    Watching the SCG open streams.

    What do you think the biggest impact Dragon's Maze has had on Standard?
    It turned Magic into a more aggressive game.






     

  • Top 8 Decklists

    by Event Coverage Staff

  • Ken Yukihiro's Domri Naya
    Standard – Grand Prix Guadalajara


    Mervyn Gonzalez's Gruul Blitz
    Standard – Grand Prix Guadalajara





    Juan Carlos Castillo Mata's Aristocrats
    Standard – Grand Prix Guadalajara


    Willy Edel's Domri Naya
    Standard – Grand Prix Guadalajara






     

  • Top 9-16 Decklists

    by Event Coverage Staff






  • Luis Daniel Monriquez Pedraza's Jund
    Stantard – Grand Prix Guadalajara





     

  • Quarterfinals: Willy Edel vs. Mervyn Gonzalez Delgado

    by Mike Rosenberg

  • While student Mervyn Gonzalez Delgado bought himself some hope with a Skullcrack off the top in the second game, it was Platinum pro Willy Edel that ultimately won out in the Stomping Ground slugfest 2-1, with his Domri Naya deck overpowering Gonzalez's Gruul Blitz deck in creature size.

    The first game started out as anything but fair. Gonzales not only had to mulligan to five, but what little of a force he could mount was stopped cold by a brutal combat step involving Restoration Angel blinking out and untapping Loxodon Smiter to block both of Gonzalez's attacking creatures. The resulting combat gone wrong left Gonzalez with no momentum, as Edel's larger creatures attacked in turn after turn until the game was his.


    Willy Edel

    In the second game, Gonzalez continued to punch through Edel's efficient creatures, including a Voice of Resurgence and the token it left behind, with a Burning-Tree Emissary powered up by Ghor-Clan Rampager bloodrushes in back-to-back turns.

    Hellrider from Gonzalez could go nowhere for fear of Restoration Angel immediately putting an end to the game, which Edel represented with an attack from Loxodon Smiter and four open mana. He simply cast it and passed, only to lose it to Oblivion Ring.

    As the Restoration Angel attacked in, Gonzales was running out of options. He cast another Hellrider, and sent in the team. The resulting combat step left Gonzales with only one Burning-Tree Emissary, while Edel had Loxodon Smiter and Restoration Angel.

    However, Edel was only left with 5 life, and when Gonzalez drew a Skullcrack to go with his Pillar of Flame, the match moved to a third game.

    And it was in that third game that this little guy really shined for Edel.


    The Experiment One looked rather awkward when it came down on the second turn, staring down a Stromkirk Noble. However, the Flinthoof Boar that followed evolved the human mutant into a 2/2, and stopped the Noble and a Firefist Striker in its tracks. Gonzalez, however, was ready to push through with two unleashed Rakdos Cacklers.

    However, when Gonzalez's team attacked in, Edel unleashed a brutal Restoration Angel. The Restoration Angel triggered Experiment One's evolve, but Restoration Angel's blink effect resolved first on Flinthoof Boar. The Boar, which was previously kept from blocking due to Firefist Striker, came in fresh and able to block...

    ...and also evolved Experiment One to a 3/3. The Restoration Angel coming in triggered evolve as well, and the Experiment One grew to a 4/4, with the effects properly stacked to make this a thing. Once blocks occurred, Gonzalez was left with two lowly Rakdos Cacklers.

    The Experiment One became a 5/5 on the next turn when Edel cast Thragtusk, bringing his life total back up to a comfortable 10. When nothing critical turned up on top of Gonzalez's deck, he offered the handshake to Willy Edel, who advanced on to the Semifinals.




     

  • Quarterfinals: Andres Martinez vs. Manuel Monge Hernández

    by Mike Rosenberg

  • The Reanimator mirror match is not an easy one, and winning can come down to very unique lines of play. This was seen first-hand when Andres Martinez was able to battle through Manuel Monge 2-1 thanks to a very specific gameplan: stranding Monge without any white mana.

    But before that took place, the two traded blows in two games that were, for lack of a better term, lopsided.


    Andres Martinez

    Monge was the first person to get a win on the scoreboard when he was able to build up his board with multiple Thragtusks. While Martinez had an Angel of Serenity to clear away both Thragtusks and a Lotleth Troll, Monge one-upped that with an Angel of Serenity of his own, exiling Martinez's angel and a Fiend Hunter that had exiled an Arbor Elf from much earlier in the game. When Martinez had no follow-up, Craterhoof Behemoth from Monge wrapped things up.

    While Monge was in the driver's seat in the first game, Martinez mounted a quick comeback. While Reanimator is often about gaining advantage and winning the Unburial Rites war with Angel of Serenity, this game was all about Martinez's fliers.

    Well, let me correct that statement. The game was more about Garruk Relentless. The angels that followed simply sealed the deal. Garruk Relentless first came down for Martinez, which fought Monge's Avacyn's Pilgrim.

    After that, the planeswalker, now transformed, starting churning out 1/1 wolves, sacrificing creatures to find the right creature for the right time when ideal. While Monge tried to clear out the planeswalker with Restoration Angel on the next turn, Martinez had his own copy of the 3/4 flash flier to keep the planeswalker alive and ticking. Monge tried to clear a path again with Fiend Hunter, but another Restoration Angel jumped out and blocked Monge from taking Garruk out.

    Once that happened, Garruk ticked down to one loyalty the turn after it made a wolf, letting Martinez sacrifice his 1/1 deathtouch wolf for Angel of Serenity, which quickly cleared away Monge's board. This included that Fiend Hunter, which brought back Martinez's Restoration Angel. The overwhelming flying force was rough enough for Monge, but Obzedat, Ghost Council after that quickly put things out of reach, and both players moved to the third game.


    Manuel Monge Hernández

    In the final game, Martinez again leaned heavily on Garruk Relentless to power his way through the game. While Monge was able to gain up to 40 life at one point, thanks to multiple copies of Thragtusk and an Obzedat, Ghost Council, Martinez focused instead on a different gameplan: blowing up any source of white mana that Monge played.

    That plan began to become the focal point of the match on turn two, when Monge used Grisly Salvage to find an Isolated Chapel, foregoing a mirror-breaking Deathrite Shaman and Lotleth Troll.

    After that, Martinez made sure that his Acidic Slimes would keep Monge from ever reaching seven lands. With Garruk on deathtouch wolf-making duties, Monge could gain all the life he wanted, but had very few good attacks. Obzedat, Ghost Council from Monge gave him some way to pressure Martinez's life total, but Martinez was busy casting Acidic Slime, using Restoration Angel on Acidic Slime, casting another Acidic Slime, and then casting Unburial Rites on a dead Acidic Slime when Monge attempted to push with his Thragtusks.

    The result? Four dead white sources, and the only form of white that Monge could produce was from Cavern of Souls for angels. His Unburial Rites was left stranded in the graveyard when Martinez used Garruk to tutor up his own copy of Obzedat, Ghost Council to force the legends to bomb. Deathrite Shaman also shut the window on Monge when he was unable to draw a white source for his Unburial Rites.

    From there, winning was elementary. Monge leveraged his mana and graveyard advantage, flashing back Unburial Rites for Obzedat and eventually tutoring up Angel of Serenity to put the game out of reach. Monge couldn't reanimate anything due to Deathrite Shaman, and couldn't push through in time due to Martinez's overwhelming force.

    While Monge may have reached 40 life, the only two totals that ultimately matter in this attrition war is A life total, and 0. And for Martinez, his Acidic Slime plan let him keep pace and ultimately take down Monge in the final game.




     

  • Quarterfinals – Emmanuel Sanchez (Junk Reanimator) v Juan Castillo Mata (Aristocrats)

    by Nate Price

  • Considering how much of the offense comes from meager 1/1 creatures, it never ceases to amaze me just how much reach The Aristocrats actually has.

    By abusing the many synergies inherent in the core of the Aristocrats deck, Juan Castillo breezed past Emmanuel Sanchez 2-0 on his way to the Semifinals. Both games took advantage of different uses for the many 1/1s Castillo was capable of generating, but both relied on Blood Artist to provide the extra damage and lifegain needed to close things out.

    Game 1 was slow to get underway. Spending much of his early mana to keep Sanchez from developing his board, Castillo was unable to put much effort into developing his own board. Landing an early Blood Artist, it took until the fourth turn before Castillo found a creature capable of dealing damage alone, a Falkenrath Aristocrat. Sanchez had a Thragtusk to immediately negate the damage, as well as giving him a vehicle to race.


    Juan Castillo Mata

    Castillo shored up his defenses with a Lingering Souls, filling his board with sacrificial blockers, and giving him the extreme edge in the game. Combined with a whopping six damage from Sanchez's own pain lands, Castillo was looking good. Eventually, he found a second Aristocrat, attacked, and used Lingering Souls tokens like a machine gun to finish the game with Blood Artist.

    The second game was even faster from Castillo. Playing in a deliberate silence, Castillo built his board with a Cartel Aristocrat and a Doomed Traveler. After using the Traveler and his Spirit to protect the Cartel Aristocrat from both a blocking Sin Collector and a Fiend Hunter, the Aristocrat began to stay home.

    But he would not be forgotten. After a brief switch to the skies and a Falkenrath Aristocrat, Castillo found that option blocked by a Restoration Angel, resetting the Fiend Hunter to exile the flying Vampire. A Thragtusk after boosted Sanchez's life total, but it was immediately negated by a Thundermaw Hellkite.


    Emmanuel Sanchez

    Sanchez opted to attack with his Thragtusk, but leave his Angel back home for defense. This gave Castillo the window he needed. Despite the Angel's defense, he was able to use Doomed Traveler and its token to give both Aristocrats protection from white, letting them attack past the Angel and Fiend Hunter. This resulted in enough damage dealt that Castillo could sacrifice his remaining creatures to finish Sanchez off. Throughout the match, Castillo managed to deal an impressive fifteen loss of life with his Blood Artists.

    Due to the combined efforts of Blood Artist and the many haste creatures in Castillo's deck, this match did not last long at all. Even with the reasonable amount of life gained by a pair of Thragtusks, Sanchez was still unable to slow Castillo down enough to take control. Castillo's pressure also forced Sanchez to use his Restoration Angels simply to stay alive, rather than using them to flicker Thragtusk and gain an advantage.




     

  • Quarterfinals – Ken Yukuhiro (Naya Zoo) vs Emiliano Sanchez (Junk Reanimator)

    by Nate Price

  • After a veritable showcase of some of the most powerful cards in Standard, Ken Yukuhiro was able to eke out a victory against Emiliano Sanchez in a very close three game match.

    Sanchez's Junk Reanimator deck is the epitome of the haymaker potential of Standard. Stocked with cards like Angel of Serenity, Blood Baron of Vizkopa, and Obzedat, Ghost Council, Sanchez's deck tends to ride one of these fantastic creatures to victory. Despite this, it would be the big things in small packages that would mark this match, from Domri Rade to Voice of Resurgence.

    Things began in an incredibly bizarre manner. After running through a few turns of the first game, Yukuhiro drew his card and flipped over a Ground Seal.

    "Sideboard card," he said quizzically as he called over the judge. After some conference, the judge ruled that Yukuhiro's deck was illegal, issuing him a game loss. Yukuhiro pleaded his case that his deck had been handed off for a deck check before the Top 8, and had been handed back to him without any issues, so there shouldn't have been a sideboard card in his maindeck. Head Judge Carlos Ho agreed, and overturned the game loss. Still, the players had picked up their cards before the ruling could be overturned. As such, it was ruled that the players would restart the match, this time with no sideboard cards snuck in.

    "This is an incredibly unique occurrence," Head Judge Ho said to the players. "This is the only course of action I can see being fair and correct given the circumstances."

    The players seemed pleased with the ruling and proceeded to Game 1.2.


    Ken Yukuhiro

    Game 1.2 showcased Boros Reckoner and Huntmaster of the Fells. Yukuhiro landed a third-turn Huntmaster, which flipped on the following turn. Sanchez had opted not to play his Restoration Angel until his upkeep, incorrectly believing that by removing the creature targeted by the Ravager of the Fells, the ability would be countered. Since it targets the player as well, Sanchez still took the hit. It was the third such two point hit he had taken, being forced into playing two of his lands untapped to keep up. This Ravager got some serious damage in over the coming turns, only slowing down once Sanchez played an Acidic Slime, killing Yukuhiro's only red source and providing him a deathtouch blocker.

    At this point, Yukuhiro switched gears. Boros Reckoner was the story of Pro Tour Gatecrash, but he has been channeling his inner Milford man recently, being seen and heard from increasingly less as Junk Reanimator began to dominate. With combat once again taking center stage, Reckoner is back on top, and Yukuhiro demonstrated why, attacking right past the Slime over the next couple of turns.

    Sanchez almost managed to stabilize with another Restoration Angel and a Blood Baron of Vizkopa, but Mizzium Mortars cleared the way for a lethal attack, giving the first game to Yukuhiro.


    Emiliano Sanchez

    Sanchez wasn't disheartened, though, as Game 2 was all about his Voice of Resurgence. Sanchez made two consecutive copies of the new marquee card of Standard on turns three and four, and the assault began. After taking care of Domri Rade, the Voices began to call for Yukuhiro's blood. Yukuhiro found himself in the uncomfortable position of having a Mizzium Mortars in his hand and the mana available to overload it, but wasn't sure if he could survive the following turns. Leaving Sanchez with two effective Scion of the Wilds didn't appeal to Yukuhiro, so he just tried to race. A pair of Thundermaw Hellkites seemed like a good way to do exactly that, but a Sever the Bloodlines and its flashback prevented them from hitting more than once apiece, as the Voices finished things off.

    The final game was all about a third card that costs less than four mana: Domri Rade.

    Yukuhiro used Domri's "fight" ability to great success, using it to let a Boros Reckoner kill an Angel of Serenity, following that with a Restoration Angel fighting a Fiend Hunter to free up a Thundermaw Hellkite. This freed the Hellkite up to finish things with help from another inexpensive card: Selesnya Charm. The +2/+2 was exactly enough damage to finish Sanchez off. Domri managed to kill two creatures, draw to creatures, and generally win a game for Yukuhiro that might have been otherwise impossible.

    "I missed with Domri more than I drew this weekend, but he is still so good," Yukuhiro smiled before scooting off for a quick break before beginning his Semifinal match.




     

  • Semifinals – Juan Castillo (The Aristocrats) vs Will Edel (Naya Zoo)

    by Nate Price

  • The Aristocrats is capable of some very depraved and disgusting things. As terrible to behold as these things may be, it still didn't manage to be half as offensive as Willy Edel's Naya Zoo deck was en route to a 2-0 drubbing of Juan Castillo in this Semifinals match.

    Perhaps nothing demonstrates the utter dominance of creatures in Standard like Edel's attack for 9...the turn after having his board "swept" by Blasphemous Act. Well, swept might be a bit of an overstatement.

    Edel was racing his Experiment One, Restoration Angel, and Voice of Resurgence against an armada of Lingering Souls tokens early on in Game 1. Correctly figuring that he was likely to lose this race, Castillo decided to use Blasphemous Act to wipe away what he could. Edel's Experiment One was a 3/3, so he removed counters to regenerate it. When the Elemental token from his Voice came into play, the Ooze Human evolved again. After untapping, Edel added a Flinthoof Boar to his side, evolving the Experiment one final time, and then sent his team over for nine points of damage. The turn after a Blasphemous Act. You want to talk about blasphemous, I think we've seen its true face right there.


    Willy Edel

    Game 2 didn't go much better for Castillo. Having made it to the Semifinals on some incredibly intricate and elegant juggling of Spirit Tokens, Aristocrats, and Blood Artist triggers, Castillo had proven his adeptness with his weapon of choice. Still, it matters very little when you simply get overrun.

    Castillo had a Blood Artist on the third turn, giving him one part of his grinding victory condition. What he lacked were other defenders. He had a Boros Reckoner, but it was matched by Edel's. He had a Tragic Slip in hand, but no enablers, and no pawns to sacrifice in any case. He managed to get a good chunk of damage through when he used that Tragic Slip to shrink Edel's Reckoner, taking two from combat, three from the Reckoner's ability, and then sending that whole five damage at Edel. Combined with the Blood Artist triggers, that dropped Edel to 10.


    Juan Castillo

    That's where it ended, though. Edel made a pair of other Reckoners over the next turns, and they teamed up with a Thundermaw Hellkite to destroy the gassed out Castillo, sending Edel to the finals.

    While it's possible that the Blasphemous Act from the first game was a misplay on Castillo's part, it was certainly clear that he was well behind at the point when he decided to cast it. Clearing his board certainly hurt, as it removed his own potential chump blockers, but it also gave him another chance to find his way back into the game. Edel was nearly out of cards, and without a haste creature, the swing back that turn isn't that bad. After watching Castillo play well all weekend long, I'm not one to second-guess his decisions.

    In any case, this match did nothing if not highlight an important point: the creatures in Standard are ridiculously resilient to board sweepers, adding to the decline of control. Investing an entire turn to effectively do nothing isn't something that decks can afford to do when there is so much aggression around.




     

  • Semifinals – Andres Martinez (Junk Reanimator) vs Ken Yukuhiro (Naya Zoo)

    by Nate Price

  • Andres Martinez should consider moving into real estate the way he absolutely owned both his and Yukuhiro's mana over the course of this thrilling three-game match.

    From his fourth-turn Angel of Serenity to his triple Acidic Slime that sealed the match, Martinez displayed complete control over his and his opponent's resources in the two games that he won en route to the finals.

    Angel of Serenity is already one of the most difficult cards in the format to deal with. As the top end for Control and Reanimator decks alike, the Angel represents a threat with a larger body than any other commonly played creature in Standard. Even if they manage to remove it once it has hit play, its ability completely resets the board, giving the Reanimator deck time to set something else up.


    Andres Martinez

    But let's be honest: reanimation is for suckers. Real men, like Andres Martinez cast their fourth-turn Angels of Serenity from their hands. After a triple mana critter start, Martinez dropped the Angel on the table, taking a Boros Reckoner along with it, and setting Martinez up for the win. The Angel nearly blanked Yukuhiro's hand. His Domri Rades did nothing other than potentially cycle. His Thundermaw Hellkite could do nothing but attack once, and even then, it was losing that fight. Since the Angel came down so early, it even took away Yukuhiro's ability to cast Hellkite and use Domri to trade the Hellkite and Angel. He never had two in play at the same time. It was an utter beating, and Yukuhiro was never able to recover.

    In the final game, Martinez turned his gaze to Yukuhiro's lands. Acidic Slime did a number on the already mana-light Yukuhiro. The Japanese pro didn't have any offense in play before Martinez began to stymie him, keeping him on the back foot all game. When a second Slime ate a second land, it became clear how this game was going to go. When Yukuhiro missed a land drop and a Restoration Angel came down to reset one of the Acidic Slime, Yukuhiro nodded, admitting his defeat. He shook Martinez's hand.

    "Good luck in the finals," Yukuhiro wished him before standing off to disappear into the crowd.


    Ken Yukuhiro

    For his part, Yukuhiro had done an admirable job of taking the match to the third game. Taking advantage of the incredible synergy between Boros Reckoner and Domri Rade to utterly crush this game, even in the face of multiple copies of Voice of Resurgence.

    Yukuhiro used the combo to begin sniping mana critters and Fiend Hunters before getting in to attack with his two Reckoners. One attack in particular highlighted the strength of Reckoner for just closing out games. Sending both Reckoners into a board with two Voices and an Acidic Slime, Yukuhiro looked a little surprised when Martinez lined all of his creatures up in front of one Reckoner. After some thought, Yukuhiro just put the Reckoner in the graveyard, trading it with a Voice. He then sent the six damage dealt to the Reckoner right at Martinez's face, making an effective nine-point attack. This put Martinez to four. Domri Rade made like Don King, arranging a fight between the remaining Reckoner and the now 4/4 Elemental, sending that four damage over to finish things off. It was an incredible burst of damage, and something that few cards other than Boros Reckoner can pull off.




     

  • Finals: Willy Edel vs. Andres Martinez

    by Mike Rosenberg

  • Despite starting out the match up a game, Platinum pro Willy Edel ended up with slime in his face by the end of his match, as Andres Martinez defeated Edel's devastating Domri Naya deck 2-1.

    Martinez's innovative look at Junk Reanimator used the power of Acidic Slime, a seemingly innocuous utility creature, to fantastic effect all weekend, ending Edel's run in Grand Prix Guadalajara in the third and final game of the tournament. Martinez's key green creature deprived Edel of any lands when the handshake was offered, as the Slime destroyed not one or two, but three lands in the final game to lock Edel out of the match.


    Andres Martinez

    And it seemed like Martinez was going to win the first game as well. Martinez had what he needed the first game. Grisly Salvages let him sculpt a hand of two Restoration Angels, while binning a Thragtusk and an Unburial Rites. He was all set for turns four, five, and six.

    However, despite that sequence, Edel powered through with a third turn Restoration Angel thanks to his Avacyn's Pilgrim and then a fourth turn Thundermaw Hellkite. The flying force, combined with earlier beats from Avacyn's Pilgrim and Voice of Resurgence, had Martinez at 16 life despite gaining 10 life through Thragrusk triggers on turns four and five, the second trigger coming from Restoration Angel's effect.

    Edel, without slowing down at all in the first game, followed up his powerful fliers with a fifth turn Domri Rade, which forced Martinez's Restoration Angel to fight Edel's Hellkite. Attacks put Martinez to 8.

    Wondering what was up with Edel when he passed with two mana up and two cards in hand, Martinez chose to cast Sin Collector after finding the Orzhov creature with Grisly Salvage. When it came down, Selesnya Charm left Martinez without a Thragtusk, and the revealed Thundermaw Hellkite showed Martinez that he was dead to fliers on the next turn.


    Willy Edel

    The second game looked to be in Edel's favor, thanks mainly in part to a Rest in Peace, but Martinez had a devastating three Thragtusks to grind through Edel's options. Edel, undeterred, had a Boros Reckoner back on defense. When Grisly Salvage later found Sin Collector, Martinez cast it and found an interesting plan in Edel's hand: Blasphemous Act, along with Selesnya Charm and Thundermaw Hellkite.

    Martinez ridded Edel of the Blasphemous Act. Edel drew and passed with his mana open for the Charm.

    However, when Edel didn't immediately take out the Thragtusk with Selesnya Charm, Martinez forced the play. Abrupt Decay disposed of Reckoner, and when Martinez sent his team in, Edel was forced to Selesnya Charm the Thragtusk while Martinez had four mana open. Martinez's Restoration Angel turned a tight game into a blow-out, saving his Thragtusk and putting Edel out of the second game in a matter of two turns.

    In the third and final game, Martinez began on a mulligan to six. However, despite a start of Voice of Resurgence, Edel's deck refused to cough up a third land. Martinez meanwhile had whiffed on any lands with a second-turn Mulch, but he had sent a crucial Acidic Slime and Unburial Rites to the graveyard. Edel, not wanting to fall behind further, cast Selesnya Charm on the third turn to get a 2/2 soldier. Martinez dug for a fourth land with Grisly Salvage on his third turn, and followed that with Avacyn's Pilgrim.

    When Edel was unable to produce a third land on the fourth turn, Martinez placed his fourth land and flashed back Unburial Rites, bringing back Acidic Slime to rid Edel of his Stomping Ground. Edel responded by making another 2/2 soldier with a second Selsnya Charm. He attacked in with his creatures, and Martinez fell to 8. When Martinez chose not to block with the Slime, it had become clear what was waiting in his hand.

    Restoration Angel promptly came down and left Edel without any lands in play, as the angel blinked Martinez's Acidic Slime back onto the battlefield to do its job. Edel, despite dropping his opponent to 8, no longer had a way to push through the 3/4 flier. He drew a Stomping Ground a few turns too late, and simply played it tapped.

    However, when Martinez had another Unburial Rites to resurrect a Restoration Angel that was milled by the turn three Grisly Salvage, Edel saw the writing on the wall. He had no lands, and no longer had any live draws or ways through Martinez's field. He drew his card for formality's sake and offered the concession when no land or miraculous comeback card was waiting on top.


    Grand Prix Guadalajara Winner: Andres Martinez

    Before the Top 8 got underway, Martinez had mentioned to coverage writer Nate Price when he was gathering up profile pages that he always enjoyed reading the Grand Prix Top 8 profiles. "I've always wanted to fill out one of these," he said.

    Martinez achieved more than that this weekend. When the handshake was offered, his friends and fellow countrymen roared with applause. Mexico's Grand Prix trophy was staying home.

    Mexico only has one Grand Prix on the schedule for this year. Because of this, many Magic players from all over the country saved up and make the trip out to what was likely to be the only event they could afford to attend. It's here that they get to meet with fellow Magic friends that are normally too far away to see, and they get a chance to meet and get autographs from artists and Pros. Whenever Platinum pros such as Stanislav Cifka, Willy Edel, and Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa had a free moment, fans came up to them looking for autographs, as this was their one and only opportunity each year to see these players in-person.

    When Martinez won the pivotal third and final game of the tournament, he was bathed in goodwill and cheer. Countrymen came to him with playmats, Grisly Salvages, and Acidic Slimes to sign. He couldn't get away for the first few minutes after his victory, with fans wanting to get a photo of him with his trophy. His phone kept ringing with support from friends and family who wanted to wish him congratulations on his win.

    After three well-fought matches, countryman Andres Martinez had become a Magic celebrity as well.




     

  • Top 5 Cards of Grand Prix Guadalajara

    by Nate Price and Mike Rosenberg



  • 5. Unflinching Courage

    Bant Aura decks saw a Resurgence (heh) in play this weekend, but one of the new key cards that the deck gained wasn't just a powerful two-mana creature that punished decks wanting to interact with Bant Auras on its turn. Unflinching Courage also gave the deck a way to make dramatic swings in life that no aggro deck can feasibly race.

    The renamed Armadillo Cloak isn't just good for life swings either. It's also another way to give a creature enchanted up the powerful trample keyword. We saw this applied earlier in the tournament, when Stanislav Cifka pushed his 11/11 Fencing Ace over the top in his Round 5 feature match with Unflinching Courage, giving him a way from turning his stellar board state into an automatic win when his opponent had no way to stop all of that trample damage.





    4. Sin Collector

    While there are a couple of culprits that players can cite as the reason Sphinx's Revelation control decks have seen a dip in success, Sin Collector is arguably the biggest culprit of them all. Capable of stripping the key card-drawing spell out of player's hands, the three mana Orzhov creature has seen play in Junk decks of different varieties. It's also a key piece in the new Junk Reanimator decks, capable of rendering a control player out of gas, a Jund player without a key piece of removal, and an opposing Unburial Rites deck of its key reanimation card.


    In addition to the ability to strip key cards, the Sin Collector provides value against aggressive decks. Sometimes hitting a removal spell, the fact that a two-powered creature can still trade with many of the threats in the format makes sure that the Collector is very rarely a dead card. Good in every situation and a major defense against a format-defining card like Sphinx's Revelation, Sin Collector will likely serve as an important gauge of the metagame as Standard progresses.





    3. Domri Rade

    We're going on record with this: we have NEVER seen someone lose when Domri Rade's ultimate goes off. Ever.

    The reason for that? Well, when you build a deck around Domri Rade, the chances of you not having a relevant creature to attack with after all your creatures gain a dictionary full of keywords is very slim. For Ken Yukuhiro, the worst creature he can draw the turn he ultimates Domri Rade is Avacyn's Pilgrim. After that, you're more than content to have any other creature in your deck. If your Domri goes off, Jund can't stop you. Control decks won't stop you. Lingering Souls tokens won't stop you. Heck, even Boros Reckoners won't stop you.

    This is all added to the fact that Domri has two very relevant other effects. That said, it was his ultimate that really shined this weekend, with Ken Yukuhiro piloting his Domri Naya deck the whole weekend undefeated. And yes, when Yukuhiro went ultimate with his Gruul planeswalker, he never lost.

    On top of this, Domri is one of the only reliable sources of card advantage in the format, now that Sphinx's Revelation is on sabbatical. Drawing about a half a card a turn, it also combos incredibly well with cards like Boros Reckoner and Acidic Slime to dominate creatures even before he can go ultimate.





    2. Voice of Resurgence

    To quote what many of the top players have said this weekend: Voice of Resurgence has changed the metagame.

    The two mana powerhouse from Dragon's Maze has caused a dramatic shift in the decks seen in Standard. Gone are the days of Sphinx's Revelation pushing decks like Gruul Blitz and Jund out of the format. The decks that are capable of making full use of Voice of Resurgence have pushed decks such as these out of the environment, with control decks seeing one of its weakest performances in months.

    While the fact that it encourages players to avoid playing spells on opponents's turns is important, it is the Elemental that really pushes it over the top. Allowing decks to trade favorably with aggressive decks to keep even, or able to skirt mass removal spells and allow for massive swings, even in the wake of a Supreme Verdict, really pushes the Voice over the top. We saw it during Craig Wescoe's Pro Tour Dragon's Maze finals, and we saw it again throughout this weekend, culminating in Willy Edel attacking for 9 the turn after getting hit with Blasphemous Act





    1. Acidic Slime

    Mana is very important in Standard right now. Boros Reckoner requires a difficult mana commitment. Most of the top decks in the field are three colors, and they skew towards the greedy end of what their mana bases can support. Things like these can cause mana issues to arise when you least want them, and Acidic Slime is there to punish them.

    Five mana is not a very difficult proposition at all considering all of the Avacyn's Pilgrims, Arbor Elves, and Farseeks populating Standard right now. In addition to making it easier to cast the Slimes, they often are able to come down early, destroying the ability of many midrange decks to compete.

    Slime also serves a very important purpose against the hate cards of the day. As more people begin playing cards like Ground Seal and Rest in Peace, the Slime gives another way to remove those offense enchantments, freeing the deck up to do as it pleases.

    The Slime was an incredibly important part of Andres Martinez's path to the Grand Prix title. Using it in combination with Restoration Angel, Martinez was able to lock away Ken Yukuhiro in the third game of their semifinal match, preventing him from ever getting over four mana and getting into the game. In a nearly identical situation, he was able to pressure a land-light Willy Edel in the deciding game of the finals, destroying all three lands Edel played, resulting in a cacophony of cheers from the assembled onlookers.






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