Saturday, November 20 : 10:02 am - Welcome to Porto Alegre!
Finally, the Grand Prix circuit returns to South America!
Deprived of local Grand Prix for years, and after the demise of their continental championship, South Americans were forced to endure the giant leap from Pro Tour Qualifier to Pro Tour with no intermediate steps. The more resilient endured, but many went back to their "real" lives.
Today all is forgotten. In the lovely southern city of Porto Alegre, close enough to the borders to be invaded by buses full of Magic players, 343 players are ready to crack some boosters and unleashed the power of the Legends.
Saturday, November 20 : 10:44 am - Introductions
So, a South American Grand Prix. For most, all the names the players list fail to ring any sort of bells. Well, that´s what I´m here for. Let me give you a quick guide of some of the names you should be looking out for. Some of them you should really know by now...
Carlos "Jabaiano" Romão
Well, you might remember this one. Very tall brazilian, World Champion? Psychatog? A former Brazilian Grand Prix Champion - defeating Alex Shvartsman in the finals of Grand Prix Rio way back in the Invasion Block period - and still a crowd favorite he´s back for another trophy.
From Argentina, the man who helped crack the Tog mirror match. Stopped only by Jabiano himself at Worlds, Diego as gone on to become a fixture at the top tables on Pro Tour events.
Rafael Le Saux
Rafael Le Saux
Well, I'm sure Rafael won't take it personally if you don't know him. Despite being one of the continent's best players he has yet to post a result good enough to register in the Pro Tour radar. So why should we keep an eye on him? Drama.
Rafael is known locally for his ability to self-destruct dramatically at Grand Prix. He starts out neatly, often surviving the first day with a clean sheet and then completely implodes on the second day.
I don't really know if I should call him Argentinean or French. Barbero is perhaps the South American who best escaped the exodus of premier event: he moved to Europe. Once a part of the team the steamrolled through Worlds he now works with some of the best players in the old continent. Now a fixture of the European circuit, he clearly couldn't pass on the chance to visit his old friends.
The last Brazilian Grand Prix champion, in the lovely city of Curitiba, the quiet Guilherme is playing on his home turf this weekend. In the first ever Grand Prix in his city he´s sure to be extra pumped to take the whole thing.
And finally... the man who took the last South American - and Brazilian - Grand Prix. Playing in São Paulo, a few days after Brazil the last Football World Cup, the argentinean Caligaris calmly destroyed the hometown favorite Felipe Desiderati after surviving a grueling Tog-on-Tog battle against Antoine Ruel.
Saturday, November 20 : 2:13 pm - Round 5: Carlos "Jabaiano" Romao vs. Pedro "Meleka" Motta
The first rule of Brazilian Magic is everyone has a nickname. And they use them. So Carlos Romão is actually Jabaiano and Pedro Motta is actually Meleka. They were both Champions in the same year. Motta won the Brazilian Championship and Carlos won Worlds.
They set a personal goal to play fast enough to beat the two reporters. Apart from "Hayabusa" Fujita I'm not sure anyone can do that, but I'm always up for a challenge.
Pedro wasn't too happy about his first hand but still managed to trade a few jokes while taking his mulligan. They both dropped a creature on their second turn, with Carlos playing a Kabuto Moth on his third turn.
The flying trick didn't please Motta at all. They both kept hitting their land drops and playing creature after creature. To break things up Romao announced a bomb: Honden of Infinite Rage.
Motta laughed it off but Romao kept the pressure. A Cage of Hands showed up to contain Carlos' Nezumi Cutthroat but the damage was already done. At ten, Pedro Motta stopped to think. He had three creatures to Carlos' five (although the Cutthroat was neutralized).
A second Cage of Hands showed up to lock another of Carlos' creatures. The giant shot if down with his own Honden to make sure Pedro didn't get a chance to bounce back the second Cage.
Pedro fought it out but it was clear to the whole crowd that he was no match for Carlos' amazing army.
Carlos 1-0 Pedro.
Romao kept a tricky hand. Three lands, and four Red spells. The lands? Two Swamps and one Plains. Like the Champ he is he peeled a Mountain to start unloading his Red creatures.
Accross the table Pedro Motta was looking around for a Baywatch babe. He was flooded. Even after using Komoda's Reach he could find a spell to save his life. Eventually he found a third creature but Jabaiano's side of the table was a ticking away like clockwork.
There was nothing he could do. Without spells, his initial Green creatures where no match for Romao's army.
Carlos 2-0 Pedro.
Saturday, November 20 : 3:08 pm - Round 6: Guilherme Svaldi vs. Diego Ostrovich
The last Brazilian Grand Prix champion against one of the biggest stars in the southern hemisphere. They know their way around a Feature Match table. I'm not sure how good their decks are. They both started with three byes, yet they are 4-1 so far. The loser here could be in a lot of trouble.
Svaldi was the first to blink with a turn three Kabuto Moth, but Ostrovich had Glacial Ray just waiting for it. The Brazilian returned the favor by icing Ostrovich's first creature with Rend Flesh.
At five mana Guilherme started unloading his White creatures. Two Kamis later Diego's army seemed destiny to sit still. Until he found a broken Legend. The horribly named Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker.
If Svaldi was scared he didn't showed it. Then again, Guilherme Svaldi's expression hardly changes throughout a Magic tournament. Although he does crack a smile when he wins. He dropped two extra creatures, hoping to race Diego's army.
But the Argentinean was in no mood to let anyone catch him. He found another legend: Komoda of the Southern Tree. A rule doubt arose involving Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and the end of turn phase/step/whatever.
Basically Ostrovich wanted to keep a token around after Svaldi's turn. Evantually they decided to call the Head Judge and a few minutes later he got to keep it. And Svaldi asked for extra time. Not that he needed it for this game. A turn later he was at a mere four staring down Diego's huge army. He scooped.
Diego 1-0 Guilherme.
Diego sent his first hand back without even taking a second look at it. The second one gave him a turn two Humble Budoka and a land of each color by his third turn. Not bad at all. Svaldi dropped some creatures to trade, and the Argentinean upgraded to Sokenzan Bruiser.
Despite's Guilherme's trades Ostrovich still managed to squeeze a few points of damage in every turn, hoping to ride the momentum. The Brazilian was soon at ten. The Bruiser gained a Serpent Skin and a legendary equipment but Svaldi had the answer for all of that: Reciprocate.
That put a stop to Ostrovich's rush with Svaldi at seven. Slowly the Brazilian returned fire. The Argentinean seemed unable to draw another creature and Guilherme's Innocence Kami kept his equipped Moth tapped at all times. A few turns later, it was over.
Diego 1-1 Guilherme.
Again Ostrovich had a turn two Budoka followed by another creature, but again he failed to follow it up. Meanwhile Guilherme Svaldi was all about the curve, dropping a turn two, turno five and turn six creature with a Rend Flesh on turn four.
With each draw Diego sunk deeper into his chair. The game was clearly running away from him as Guilherme Svaldi again lay down the law with a serene sureness. Ostrovich tried Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker but with no other creatures on his side of the table it really couldn't help him at all. A turn later he extended his hand.
Guilherme 2-1 Diego.
Saturday, November 20 : 4:56 pm - Law and Order
A Grand Prix, like any big event, can't really work unless someone does all the hard work. As I type this the players are long gone. Still, a bunch of zebras... erh judges, are pushing tables around trying to set up for tomorrow's draft. Here are their names:
Juan Del Compare
Edilson da Silva
Sunday, November 21 : 11:07 am - Round 9: Marco Zimmer vs. Jose Barbero
Zimmer is the last X-0 player. That makes him a perfect candidate for a Feature Match. Especially when his opponent is just two points behind him and happens to be one of the best players in Latin America.
They joked about the matched being a mirror match, since their decks are quite similar and Zimmer shook off Barbero's attempts to label his deck the favorite by reminding him that Jose had the best creatures.
Things did not start well for Zimmer, who had to take a mulligan. He shuffled assidiously for his next hand, hoping to fix whatever mana clumps he had in his deck. Finally the dreaded Blue-White on Blue-White match started.
Zimmer went for the turn three Kabuto Moth but Barbero had the crucial counter. The Argentinean started pouring out creatures and Marco tried to slow him down with Cage of Hands while he fought hard to draw a spell.
Jose used Kami of Twisted Reflection to get rid of the Cage but that slowed him enough to give Zimmer time to find two creatures. Barbero pressed on but on the next draw Zimmer got Honden of Seeing Winds. Would that give him a chance to recover from his mulligan?
Another swing from Jose Barbero left the Brazilian at a mere five with a single creature on the table. He dropped two extra blockers but it was too little, too late. Barbero bounced one out of the way and Marco scooped.
It was all over in ten minutes. Quite fast and bloody for a Blue-White mirror match.
Jose 1-0 Marco.
This time both hands were just fine and they got of to the usual slow start. Marco played two creatures and used Cage of Hands on Barbero's first. While that seemed pretty tame Jose took his own sweet time to decide his next play. He begged for help with Petals of Insight. The three cards he drew led to some complicated math that he muttered over and over while staring at Marco Zimmer's creatures.
The Brazilian struck back and passed the turn, waiting to see what Barbero would come up with. Jose destroyed the Cage of Hands, dropped another blocker and Kitsune Diviner. That could spell the end of Zimmer's attacks.
The giant untapped and equipped one of his creatures with Hankyu. He was out of steam, and the table apparently now belonged to Jose Barbero. The Argentinean tried to solve the Hankyu problem with Weave Again but Zimmer showed him a counter.
Barbero's creatures struck back, putting him ahead in the damage race but he kept shaking his head. Zimmer gave him a reason to, with a Mystic Restraint on his best attacker. Jose bounced it back and replayed it.
With the game tied at nine, they both tried to flood the table with as many creatures as possible. Zimmer sat back behind his growing army and gave the turn back to Barbero, dropping down to five. A turn later Jose Barbero showed him Mystic Restraint and after checking the math the Brazilian conceded.
Jose 2-0 Marco. The last undefeated player has fallen.
Sunday, November 21 : 11:30 am - Meanwhile...
While the 64 lucky ones pour over their 45 cards looking for the perfect build for their Rochester Draft in perfect silence the floor below is a borderline riot. A room full of Brazilians and Argentineans are trying to trade, sign and draft cards. Like most Latins, they are doing it in the most disorganized and noisy way :)
While the judging staff battles to keep them in some sort of control, Darrell Richie again set up shop in a nearby table. Yesterday a lot of players were commenting on how he kept on signing cards for most of the afternoon, hardly taking any breaks, and goofing around with the players.
He hasn't been blessed - or cursed - with too many popular cards, but here are the highlights for tournament players:
Arcbound Worker - Darksteel
Bonesplitter - Mirrodin
Leonin Abunas - Mirrodin
Battlefield Forge - Apocalypse
Wayfarer's Bauble - Fifth Dawn
Wirewood Hivemaster - Legions
Rorix Bladewing - Onslaught
Lava Dart - Judgment
Mother of Goons - Unhinged
Sunday, November 21 : 12:55 pm - Rulers of the First Draft
The players are currently busy staring at cards in the drafting tables so I decided to go through the standings and figure out who is feeling really confident about his drafting skills right now. Here are the eight players who 3-0'd the first draft, with the respective pod number (so you can see who won the table "rare drafting" and who won table one) and deck colors:
Table 1 - Jose Barbero - Blue-White
Table 2 - Rafael Mendonça - Blue-Red
Table 3 - Gabriel Caligaris - Blue-White
Table 4 - Emilio Raggio - Black-White
Table 5 - Pedro de Diego - Green-Black with a White splash
Table 6 - Guilherme Fonseca - Blue-Black with a Red splash
Table 7 - Diego Ostrovich - Blue-Black
Table 8 - Renato Wohlers - White-Red with a Black splash
So a few names we expect to see doing well (Barbero, Caligaris, Ostrovich...) and a glaring MIA for Green. Black, White and Blue seem to be the strongest colors, at least in Porto Alegre.
Sunday, November 21 : 1:36 pm - The Other Lonely Troopers
As in most Brazilian Grand Prix, I'm not the only reporter around here. The distributor for Brazil - Devir - sent Silvio Compagnoni to do coverage - you can check his coverage here, and we also have Bruno from Rio de Janeiro doing coverage for a local site here. Both coverages are in Portuguese (well, Brazilian) but you can check a lot of pictures and videos.
Sunday, November 21 : 2:44 pm - Round 11 - Victor "Boi" Galimbertti vs. Guilherme Svaldi
Guilherme you should know by now, the Brazilian to win a Grand Prix. Victor was the Brazilian National Champion a few years ago (2002), so they know each other very well by now.
Svaldi urged Victor to shuffle slowly in the hopes that someone might show up to match this strangely unannounced Feature Match. It was somewhat weird to sit in the Feature Match area with no public at the start of the round especially since Features are so popular in South America.
Guilherme opened with Kitsune Diviner, which came out handy to slow down Victor's first creature. Still Galimbertti kept hitting the curve with a creature every turn while Svaldi could only find an artifact, Jade Idol.
Still, he wasn't out of the game yet. He used Blind With Anger to steal one of Victor's creatures and turned a apparent free attack with two dead creatures. Nice. To further grab control of the table he played Firewielder and started slapping Galimbertti's creatures around.
By now, we had a large crowd watching the game. I doubt this pleased Victor, who was steamrolled by Guilherme Svaldi. A few turns later, six minutes into the round, the first game was over.
Guilherme 1-0 Victor.
Victor thought long and hard about keeping a hand with two Mountains and spells (most of which he could cast with any other land). As someone who managed to lose a game by keeping a similar hand, I know how enticing the hand can be.
Svaldi didn't even blink. He sent his first hand back. By turn three Galimbertti started shaking. He could find his third land. Luckily a third Mountain popped up on the next draw. Out came the Red creatures.
Unfazed, Svaldi dropped his fourth land and a blocker. Victor found a Plains and Cage of Hands took care of the blocker. At least for a turn, because Guilherme had Blessed Breath. He used during his turn to get rid of the Cage.
Across the table Victor's efforts to rebuild his army were going on at full steam, he brought Svaldi down to ten and played Firewielder. Guilherme tried desperately to stall the ground quickly enough, so he could focus on finding a way to stop the Firewielder from pinging him out.
To make matters worse for him Galimbertti found a Honden of Infinite Rage. Svaldi's eyebrows actually moved for a change. He was four turns away from losing the game with his opponent at nineteen. When Victor found a second Honden - Honden of Cleansing Fire - they were just going through the motions.
Guilherme 1-1 Victor.
Judge: "Guilherme, I hope you have Tranquility in the sideboard."
This time they bought kept their hands but for a change Guilherme Svaldi came out smoking. Galimbertti's turn three creature put a stop to that rush, but Victor now needed a way to get rid of Kami of Ancient Law so he could play his Honden of Infinite Rage and Cage of Hands to control the table.
So the nest few turns were quite uneventful, with the creatures piling up on the table. The only thing moving was Svaldi's Firewielder. At this point Victor's hand was Indomitable Will, Honden of Infinite Rage and Cage of Hands. His deck was apparently mocking him for failing to find a way to convince Svaldi to lose the Kami of Ancient Law.
Tired of this, Galimbertti send his crew in and used the Indomitable Will. Svaldi stared at him, but decided to let the creature live and save the Kami for bigger targets. Next Victor tried the Cage of Hands, with open mana to bounce it back.
A few turns later, Guilherme Svaldi played a second Kami of Ancient Law. Victor shook his head. with the table slipping totally out of his control, Victor played his Honden of Infinite Rage just to stop one of the Kamis.
It was a clear sign. More than an omen. The match was over.
Guilherme 2-1 Victor.
Sunday, November 21 : 5:07 pm - The Top 8 Player Profiles
Name: Mauro Kina
City: Buenos Aires
Best results before the GP: Argentina National Champion 2004, 65th at Worlds.
Result yesterday: 6-0-1
First draft: 2-0-1
Second draft: 1-0-2
Draft strategy: I mostly improvise.
Destination for the prize money: Enjoy it and save a bit.
Name: Rafael Mendonça
City: Belo Horizonte
Best results before the GP: Top 8 at Nationals 2003, 2 top 8s at PTQs.
Result yesterday: 6-1
First draft: 3-0
Second draft: 1-2
Draft strategy: Take whatever is underdrafted and open the best cards.
Destination for the prize money: Save it in the bank.
Name: Gabriel Caligaris
City: Buenos Aires
Best results before the GP: Winner Grand Prix Sao Paulo, 3rd at Argentina Nationals 2002, 34th at Worlds 2002.
Result yesterday: 5-1-1
First draft: 3-0
Second draft: 1-1-1
Draft strategy: Win.
Destination for the prize money: Travel, hopefully to the first PT I can get my hands on.
Name: Jose Barbero
City: Buenos Aires
Best results before the GP: Top 8 Pro Tour Yokohama, Winner Grand Prix Amsterdam, Winner Argentina Nationals 2003.
Result yesterday: 6-0-1
First draft: 3-0
Second draft: 1-0-2
Draft strategy: No strategy, just draft the best.
Destination for the prize money: No.
Name: Guilherme Fonseca
Best results before the GP: Top 64 at Grand Prix Curitiba
Result yesterday: 5-1-1
First draft: 3-0
Second draft: 2-0-1
Draft strategy: Take whatever I can.
Destination for the prize money: None yet.
Name: Paulo Rosa
City: Porto Alegre
Best results before the GP: Top 64th Worlds 2003, Top 64th Worlds 2004.
Result yesterday: 6-1
First draft: 2-1
Second draft: 2-0-1
Draft strategy: Open bombs.
Destination for the prize money: Save it to travel but not to Yokohama because it's too far away.
Name: Adilson de Oliveira
City: Rio de Janeiro
Best results before the GP: 27th at Nationals.
Result yesterday: 5-1-1.
First draft: 2-1.
Second draft: 3-0.
Draft strategy: Get a good deck.
Destination for the prize money: Save it for Worlds.
Name: Renato Wohlers.
City: São Paulo
Best results before the GP: 10th at Nationals 2004.
Result yesterday: 5-2
First draft: 3-0
Second draft: 2-0-1
Draft strategy: Any two colors that fit.
Destination for the prize money: Either buy a car or invest in Magic.
Sunday, November 21 : 5:52 pm - Quarterfinals: Paulo Rosa vs. Rafael Mendonca
This Top 8 is the pure image of South American Magic: five Brazilians and three Argentineans. The eternal battle. In this quarterfinals we have a battle between two Brazilians. Rafael Mendonca is from Belo Horizonte.
Paulo Rosa is the absolute hometown favorite, not only because he's from Porto Alegre but also because he has the biggest credentials amongst the Brazilians in this Top 8. He has back-to-back Top 64th at Worlds, which is pretty good for most countries but especially good in Brazil.
Rafael's Black-White deck came out fast with a second turn creature followed by Kabuto Moth. Paulo's Blue-Red had no immediate answer to the flying nuisance and he was forced to let it live, messing up the combat math.
Slowly Mendonca started pouring out his army, using Waking Nightmare to hit Rosa's hand. Paulo found Soul of Magma to stem the bleeding but it was of no use. Rafael's army had no fear and no mercy. It pounded on and on, despite Rosa's Azami, Lady of Scrolls feeding him extra cards.
He tried removal, he tried blocking, he tried Zuberas for both but between Mendonca´s creatures and his decks amazing ability to cough up lands he was soon at eight. Then he found Earthshaker and Rafael cut his attacking down to Kabuto Moth hoping to ride it out.
That wasn't enough to take Paulo Rosa down. Suddenly Azami started pumping huge creatures and in a few turns the tables had turned. In a big way. Out of steam Rafael Mendonca conceded.
Paulo 1-0 Rafael.
Again Rafael tried to come out quickly but he had no second or third turn play. By the time he played a turn four Moth Paulo Rosa had Yamazaki Brothers working on his life totals. Mendonca kept dropping creatures but each turn Paulo would produce a bigger blocker.
Secure on his side of the fray, Paulo Rosa started sending in his monsters. Rafael used every opening to return fire, keeping things balanced. He tried a second Kabuto Moth but this time Rosa had the counter for it.
With the score tied at eight, Rafael Mendonca brought forth his big gun: Cursed Ronin with five untapped Swamps. Paulo blocked it with two creatures. When the dust cleared the two creatures appeared to have traded with the the Ronin but a Call to Glory saved it. The attack brought Paulo down to four.
Paulo untapped and took his time. He could only play Azami, Lady of Scrolls. He used it to fish out an extra card but found no help. The Ronin-led team was too much for him.
Paulo 1-1 Rafael.
The decisive game started with a mulligan for Rafael Mendonca. He still came out quickly with creatures on his first two turns but one of them was Kitsune Diviner. Not the best of attackers but it proved quite useful when Paulo Rosa started dumping creatures like a madman.
Mendonca's combat tricks kept two of his creatures sneaking past Rosa's blockers and pretty soon he had his opponent at ten. Rosa tried hard to get rid of the Cage of Hands and Kitsune Diviner blockade but it was clear he had no chance against Mendonca's White army without some sort of plan.
Earthshaker showed up again and started messing with Rafael's plans. With his opponent at a mere five, Rafael Mendonca kept checking the table but he seemed to find no way to keep his army going. Finally he saw an opening. He sent his crew in and used Call to Glory to pump them for enough damage.
Rafael 2-1 Paulo.
Sunday, November 21 : 6:44 pm - Semifinals: Rafael Mendonca vs. Gabriel Caligaris
It's up to Rafael to stop Caligaris from getting another chance to steal the trophy in Brazil, especially because he would win back-to-back South American Grand Prix.
Caligaris wasn't too happy about his hand but he kept it. He wasn't happy about the start of the game either.
Gabriel: "You have too many good cards. I can't win like this."
Mendonca had two Kabuto Moths on the table which must have been especially hard for Caligaris Red-White deck. He stopped the first attacker (Cursed Ronin) with Cage of Hands but a second one soon showed up. That forced Gabriel to think and after a few minutes Mendonca asked if there really wasn't any time limit.
With one Moth backing him out, Rafael went to work on Caligaris' life totals while the Argentinean did his best to return fire on the ground. Mendonca found Kitsune Diviner and Gabriel was locked out of the Red Zone. To make matters worse he dropped the elbow: Junkyo's Bell with five creatures in play.
Thankfully Caligaris had Hearth Kami already in play with Indomitable Will on it. He tried to swing with it and give in another Indomitable Will to keep it alive but Mendonca had the Call to Glory to save his blocking Moth.
With the way clear Rafael Mendonca sent his crew in, but Gabriel Caligaris had a surprise: Masako, the Humorless. He traded Hatamoto Konda for the pumped Kitsune Diviner. He followed that with Soul of Magma and Blind With Anger. Suddenly Rafael's army started crumbling like a house of cards.
Mendonca sunk his head in his hand and stared with desbelief at the table. He could feel the game slipping out of his grasp, with his opponent at three. Caligaris brought forth another problem: Blood Rites.
Slowly, like someone living on borrowed time Caligaris made his moves, dropping creature after creature. Eventually he decided to attack. He sent five creatures in, Rafael worked and reworked his blocking assignments, looking for a way out. Between the creatures and the Rites Mendonca dropped him to four. It was enough for Rafael Mendonca, he conceded.
Gabriel 1-0 Rafael.
Caligaris sent his first hand back and wasn't too pleased about his second one either. But he kept it. it seemed good enough when he came out smoking with Lantern Kami and Kami of Ancient Law before Mendonca played his first creature followed by the first Kabuto Moth.
Rafael stuck on three lands for a turn but had Cage of Hands to slow Caligaris down as well. They both recovered and soon the table was filled with creatures. Caligaris tried to speed things up by giving Uncontrollable Anger to his Lantern Kami, hoping to fly over for the win.
Mendonca fell to ten and on the following turn had a new problem to solve: Soul of Magma. He dropped a second Moth and took another swing falling down to seven... no make that six because the Lantern Kami picked up an Indomitable Will. So he was now very mad and willful.
Across the table Rafael seemed to belief that what you need is a huge army, not a huge creature. Caligaris surveyed the table and didn't feel safe enough sending his Kami into the "flyer and two Moths" problem.
They sat back for a few turns and begged their decks for a backbreaker. Caligaris found it: He spliced Blessed Breath on Unearthly Blizzard and used it again. That kept all the flyers out the huge Lantern Kami's way and gave Black and White protection to his Soul of Magma to deal the last few points of damage.
Gabriel 2-0 Rafael.
Sunday, November 21 : 7:31 pm - Finals: Jose Barbero vs. Gabriel Caligaris
It really won't be much of a final. For two reasons. First, they are big friends so there is no big rivalry to live up to. And second, and surely more important, everyone agress that Jose Barbero's Green-White deck is just flat out better. Caligaris' only hope is to race out of the gates with his Red-White deck like the proverbial bat out of hell or hope for mana screw.
And so Gabriel's quest for a back-to-back South American Grand Prix title ends? Let's see.
Caligaris came out quickly with Devoted Retainer and Frostwielder while Barbero used Sakura-Tribe Elder to jump ahead on the mana race. That enable him to power Hikari, Twilight Guardian and Kami of the Palace Fields while Caligaris jokingly complained about the quality of his opponent's deck.
Blind with Anger and a shot from the Frostwielder cleared Barbero's side of the table. Or at least Caligaris tried to but Jose Barbero had Serpent Skin to save Hikari, Twilight Guardian. Gabriel still dealt with it, but with Cage of Hands.
Still, Jose Barbero's creatures were just plain better. He dropped another legend in the shape of Nagao, Bound by Honor. They kept laughing and talking about the weird things they had seen during the Top 8 draft. It seemed obvious Caligaris had no way to deal with Barbero's plethora of monsters.
They were just going through the motions. Two turns later Caligaris scooped while starting down three huge monsters.
Jose 1-0 Gabriel.
Jose: "With the hand I had, I just couldn't lose."
Again Gabriel tried his best but by his fourth turn Jose Barbero was already laying down legends (Kodama of the Southern Tree).
Gabriel: "Don't think. If you stop to think, you'll surely win!"
The Kitsune Diviner kept the legend in check with the Brutal Deceiver and Frostwielder tried to work on Barbero's life as quickly as possible. The glimmer of hope was shortlived. Barbero poured creature after creature and in a few turns had made up for his late start in the damage race.
Gabriel surprised Jose with Masako, the Humorless and managed to trade it for the Kodama of the Southern Tree.
Gabriel: "They decided to broadcast the finals and I have such bad cards... it's amazing. People will think I'm some kind of random."
Caligaris' Kitsune Diviner was working overtime but Barbero still sent most of his army in. Caligaris gangblocked and begged his friend to stop playing creatures. Barbero answered with laughter and a second Feral Deceiver. Again he attacked.
Again Gabriel gangblocked but still fell to six. He seemed to enjoy blocking just to watch Jose Barbero trying to puzzle what tricks he might have. His next turn gave him no extra creature and all that he had left to do was extend his hand.
Jose Barbero wins the Porto Alegre 2004 Grand Prix!