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Chilean Navas shows off (Madcap) Skills

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The letter J!ust one year ago, Luis Navas was learning how to play Magic. Today, with his countrymen cheering and shouting and calling out his name, he can call himself a Grand Prix Champion.

There was so much at stake for Navas that one has to wonder if he was too new to the high-level tournament scene—it was his first Grand Prix ever—to even feel the pressure. First he was playing for a Top 8 berth at his first major tournament. Then he was playing for an invite to the Pro Tour. By the end, he was playing for the national pride of his fellow Chileans.

And there he was, holding the trophy on home soil as the watching crowd erupted. Players talked all weekend about the pride of winning a South American Grand Prix, and Chilean players especially emphasized keeping the trophy at home after losing it in 2011. And out of everyone, Navas, a relative rookie, was the one to hoist it at the end.

His aggressive Rakdos Deck certainly exploited a metagame heavy with Devotion and Esper control, running through a Top 8 with three Mono Blue decks, several control builds, and more than a few Polukranos.

But Navas's triumph wasn't the only story. Jonathan Melamed added to his sterling resume, as did several former National Team members, such as Brazilian Carlos Davi Montenegro and Argentinians Luis Salvatto and Nicolas de Nicola

Still, the day belongs to Chile and Luis Navas, Champion of Grand Prix Santiago 2013!




Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Cristian di Silvestro   Cristian di Silvestro, 2-0        
8 Vil Barbosa Destri Jr.   Luis Navas, 2-0
       
4 Luis Navas   Luis Navas, 2-0   Luis Navas, 2-0
5 Carlos Montenegro    
       
2 Matias Soler   Matias Soler, 2-1
7 Jonathan Melamed   Matias Soler, 2-0
       
3 Lius Salvatto   Nicolas De Nicola, 2-0
6 Nicolas De Nicola    









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EVENT COVERAGE INFORMATION

  • by Blake Rasmussen
    Top 5 Cards of GP Santiago 2013

  • by Marc Calderaro
    Finals
    Luis Navas (Rakdos Aggro) vs. Matias M. Soler (Gruul Monsters)

  • by Marc Calderaro
    Semifinals
    Matias M. Soler (Gruul Monsters) vs. Nicolas De Nicola (Esper)

  • by Blake Rasmussen
    Semifinals
    Cristian di Silvestro vs. Luis Navas

  • by Marc Calderaro
    Quarterfinals
    Luis Navas (Black-Red Aggro) vs. Carlos Davi Montenegro (Mono-Red)

  • by Marc Calderaro
    Quarterfinals
    Luis A Salvatto (Azorius Master) vs. Nicolas De Nicola (Esper)

  • by Blake Rasmussen
    Quarterfinals
    Cristian (Valdivia) Di Silvestro vs. Vilmar Barbosa Destri Junior
    Jonathan Melamed vs. Matias Soler

  • by Blake Rasmussen
    Top 8 Profiles

  • by Blake Rasmussen
    Top 8 Decklists

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 2 Blog
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 1 Blog
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Fact Sheet
 1.  Luis Navas $3,500
 2.  Matias Soler $2,300
 3.  Cristian di Silvestro $1,500
 4.  Nicolas De Nicola $1,500
 5.  Luis Salvatto $1,000
 6.  Carlos Davi Montenegro $1,000
 7.  Jonathan Melamed $1,000
 8.  Vil Barbosa Destri Jr. $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
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  • Top 8 Decklists

    by Blake Rasmussen


  • Matias Soler
    GP Santiago Top 8






    Vilmar Barbosa Destri Junior
    GP Santiago Top 8





     

  • Top 8 Profiles

    by Blake Rasmussen


  • Luis "Scott" Navas

    Age: 25
    Hometown: Columbus, OH
    Occupation: Half-time employed, half-time boyfriend, half-time Magic player. Yes, three halfs!


    Where are you from?/De donde eres?
    Santiago, Chile

    Occupation/Ocupación:
    Civil Industrial Engineer

    Previous Magic Accomplishments/Pasados logros de Magic:
    2nd at WMCQ 2013, Vina Del Mar

    What deck did you play and why?/Que mazo jugaste y por qué?
    Rakdos Aggro. I played it because it plays very well against Mono Black, Esper, and Devotion Decks, and because it's new to the metagame.

    What was the most interesting play you saw or made all weekend?/Cual fue la jugada más interesante que viste o hiciste durante el fin de semana?
    Topdecking Mogis's Marauder, Erebos and Exava always felt really good. Also, Thoughtseize always felt like the best play possible.

    What are the five most important cards in Standard right now?/Cuales son las cinco cartas mas importantes de Standard en éste momento?
    Blood Baron of Vizkopa Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx Hero's Downfall Detention Sphere Burning-Tree Emissary

    What would it mean to you to win this trophy for your country?/Que significaría para ti ganar éste trofeo para tu país?
    Pride. This is a refreshing time for Magic here in Chile, and to win an event like this could be the spotlight to make more players in this country confident about doing big things.




    Vilmar Barbosa Destini Junior

    Age: 31
    Hometown: Boston
    Occupation: Masters Student


    Where are you from?/De donde eres?
    Brazil

    Occupation/Ocupación:
    Administrator

    Previous Magic Accomplishments/Pasados logros de Magic:
    Nada

    What deck did you play and why?/Que mazo jugaste y por qué?
    Mono Blue, because it's a good deck.

    What was the most interesting play you saw or made all weekend?/Cual fue la jugada más interesante que viste o hiciste durante el fin de semana?
    Having an opening hand with four Judge's Familiar, two lands and one Tidebinder Mage and easily winning.

    What are the five most important cards in Standard right now?/Cuales son las cinco cartas mas importantes de Standard en éste momento?
    Thoughtseize, Thassa, Jace, Nightveil Specter, Mutavault

    What would it mean to you to win this trophy for your country?/Que significaría para ti ganar éste trofeo para tu país?
    I don't know how to explain it. Just making the Top 8 I wanted to cry.




    Jonathan Zobo Melamed

    Age: 27
    Hometown: New Brunswick, NJ
    Occupation: Student


    Where are you from?/De donde eres?
    Brasilia, Brazil

    Occupation/Ocupación:
    Ph.D Student

    Previous Magic Accomplishments/Pasados logros de Magic:
    Top 16 PT Austin '09, Top 50 PT San Diego, Top 8 Nationals '11, and a few GP top 16s.

    What deck did you play and why?/Que mazo jugaste y por qué?
    Mono Blue, because it's by far the best deck in the tournament and I had zero byes, so I could not make a metagame choice.

    What was the most interesting play you saw or made all weekend?/Cual fue la jugada más interesante que viste o hiciste durante el fin de semana?
    Playing 2 Bidents to activate Thassa.

    What are the five most important cards in Standard right now?/Cuales son las cinco cartas mas importantes de Standard en éste momento?
    Nightveil Specter, Jace, Nykthos (Devotion), Gods and Detention Sphere

    What would it mean to you to win this trophy for your country?/Que significaría para ti ganar éste trofeo para tu país?
    No words to describe. I represent Brazil, my real life clan mates (Brasilia's on the jungle) and my MTGO clan Small Talk Big Play. So there's a lot on the line.




    Carlos Davi "Cisne" Montenegro

    Age: 24
    Hometown: Duxbury, MA
    Occupation: CTO of an Ecology Services Company


    Where are you from?/De donde eres?
    Campinas, Brazil

    Occupation/Ocupación:
    Computer Engineer

    Previous Magic Accomplishments/Pasados logros de Magic:
    Top 16 in World Magic Cup 2013 with the Brazilian Team

    What deck did you play and why?/Que mazo jugaste y por qué?
    Big Red Devotion with White. A friend told me it was strong. I tested and won a lot!

    What was the most interesting play you saw or made all weekend?/Cual fue la jugada más interesante que viste o hiciste durante el fin de semana?
    Against Mono Red Aggro, he started very fast and had me at 2 and was at 17 life. With 2 Nykthos activations I made a Rakdos Cackler, Hammer of Purhporos and a Fanatic of Mogis an dkilled attacking with everything.

    What are the five most important cards in Standard right now?/Cuales son las cinco cartas mas importantes de Standard en éste momento?
    Thoughtseize, Nightveil Specter, Fanatic of Mogis, Sphinx's Revelation, Gray Merchant of Asphodel

    What would it mean to you to win this trophy for your country?/Que significaría para ti ganar éste trofeo para tu país?
    It would be incredible, because Brazil has a lot of good players and deserves it!




    Luis Salvatto

    Age: 24
    Hometown: Lancaster, PA
    Occupation: Student


    Where are you from?/De donde eres?
    Argentina

    Occupation/Ocupación:
    Poker and Magic player

    Previous Magic Accomplishments/Pasados logros de Magic:
    Top 8 Nationals 2011, Top 32 GP Buenes Aires 2006, Top 32 GP Santiago 2011

    What deck did you play and why?/Que mazo jugaste y por qué?
    I played UW Devotion because it is the best deck and I came to demonstrate that.

    What was the most interesting play you saw or made all weekend?/Cual fue la jugada más interesante que viste o hiciste durante el fin de semana?
    A flood bluff with Cyclonic Rift as the only card in hand. And a Syncopate Bluff against a Revelation.

    What are the five most important cards in Standard right now?/Cuales son las cinco cartas mas importantes de Standard en éste momento?
    Thassa, Master of Waves, Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, Sphinx's Revelation, Thoughtseize

    What would it mean to you to win this trophy for your country?/Que significaría para ti ganar éste trofeo para tu país?
    Pride!




    Nicolas Javier de Nicola

    Age: 24
    Hometown: Baltimore, MD
    Occupation: Student


    Where are you from?/De donde eres?
    Argentina

    Occupation/Ocupación:
    Judicial System Employee

    Previous Magic Accomplishments/Pasados logros de Magic:
    National Champion 2011, top 64 GP Buenes Aires 2008, Top 64 GP San Paulo 2009, Captain of the National Team 2012

    What deck did you play and why?/Que mazo jugaste y por qué?
    Esper. I like to play with it and it is a deck that can beat everything.

    What was the most interesting play you saw or made all weekend?Cual fue la jugada más interesante que viste o hiciste durante el fin de semana? /

    What are the five most important cards in Standard right now?/Cuales son las cinco cartas mas importantes de Standard en éste momento?
    Sphinx's Revelation, Jace, Architect of Thought, Nightveil Specter, Thoughtsieze

    What would it mean to you to win this trophy for your country?/Que significaría para ti ganar éste trofeo para tu país?
    Pride.




    Cristian Di Silvestre Vidal

    Age: 27
    Hometown: Newark, DE
    Occupation: Personal Assistant


    Where are you from?/De donde eres?
    Pto. Montt, Chile

    Occupation/Ocupación:
    electronic Engineer

    Previous Magic Accomplishments/Pasados logros de Magic:
    FNM Winterland. Top 8 National Vuna

    What deck did you play and why?/Que mazo jugaste y por qué?
    Mono Blue. Between Mono Blue, Mono Black and Esper, I think it was better not to worry about playing Esper, and Mono Blue wins against Mono Black.

    What was the most interesting play you saw or made all weekend?/Cual fue la jugada más interesante que viste o hiciste durante el fin de semana?
    Won on turn four against Naya Control, after time was called, against a friend from the Winterland.

    What are the five most important cards in Standard right now?/Cuales son las cinco cartas mas importantes de Standard en éste momento?
    Sphinx's Revelation, Thassa, Master of Waves, Nightveil Specter, Gray Merchant of Asphodel

    What would it mean to you to win this trophy for your country?/Que significaría para ti ganar éste trofeo para tu país?
    It would be the best, and it would be the biggest one I've won in Magic




    Matios Soler

    Age: 30
    Hometown: Dirty Jersey
    Occupation: Tourist


    Where are you from?/De donde eres?
    Mar del Plata, Argentina

    Previous Magic Accomplishments/Pasados logros de Magic:

    What deck did you play and why?/Que mazo jugaste y por qué?
    Gruul Aggro. I armed myself against the Mono Black metagame

    What was the most interesting play you saw or made all weekend?/Cual fue la jugada más interesante que viste o hiciste durante el fin de semana?
    Attack with Polukranos, play Ghor-Clan Rampager's Bloodrush, and then play the split spell Flesh/Blood.

    What are the five most important cards in Standard right now?Cuales son las cinco cartas mas importantes de Standard en éste momento? /
    Witchstalker, Sphinx's Revelation, Thassa, Master of Waves, Gray Merchant of Asphodel

    What would it mean to you to win this trophy for your country?/Que significaría para ti ganar éste trofeo para tu país?
    A lot of pride.




     

  • Quarterfinals
    Cristian (Valdivia) Di Silvestro vs. Vilmar Barbosa Destri Junior
    Jonathan Melamed vs. Matias Soler

    by Blake Rasmussen

  • Cristian (Valdivia) Di Silvestro vs. Vilmar Barbosa Destri Junior

    For all of Mono Black's perceived dominance throughout the weekend, despite its numerical advantage and its multiple appearances on the top tables, it was Mono Blue Devotion that was left standing at the end, with three copies in the Top 8.

    Two of those Mono Blue decks just happened to be paired in the first round, as top overall seed Cristian di Silvestro (Valdivia in the standings, but he goes by di Silvestro) was paired against Vilmar Barbosa Destri Junior. Di Silvestro led the standings most of Day 2, but Destri had to win his last round to secure even a chance to make the Top 8. He did so as the only player on 36 points.

    But now that he was here, it was anyone's Top 8 to win.


    Cristian di Silvestro

    Game 1

    Both players had nearly identical starts, with two drops into Thassa. With Di Silvestro on the play, his Thassa was the first to activate, crashing in for five. Destri returned serve, activating his Thassa with her own Bident before losing Devotion to a Rapid Hybridization.

    Both players began to mirror each other's actions, flooding the board with more and more Blue creatures. It was really only Di Silvestro's ability to stay ahead on tempo thanks to being on the play that gave him the advantage. Utilizing Thassa's unblockable ability, Di Silvestro carefully worked on Destri's life total until he attacked for enough damage to end the game. And when he was able to use a Judge's Familiar to counter a Cyclonic Rift on his Thassa, he took game one on the back of his tempo advantage.

    Game 2

    It was Destri's turn to start on the play, hopefully, for his sake, reversing the massive advantage Di Silvestro had enjoyed on the play.


    Vilmar Barbosa Destri Junior

    In a way, he did, leading Cloudfin Raptor into Thassa. But he was also clearly short on Blue mana, playing an Island and two Mutavaults as his first few lands.

    Di Silvestro, on the other hand, started with a pair of Tidebinder mages and a Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, threatening to go large if left to his own devices. Only the lack of a fourth land really kept him from exploding and dropping his entire hand on the table. Instead he had to "settle" for a Master of Waves and five Elemental tokens.

    But Destri had found and activated Jace, Architect of Thought in the meantime to try and stall, but he had no immediate answer for the Master of Waves. Nor did have an answer the following turn. Cyclonic Rift attempted to solve the problem, but a Gainsay kept it at bay.

    Destri tried to hold back waves, but Di Silvestro's Master advantage and the mana gained from Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx left Destri unable to mount a comeback.

    Jonathan Melamed vs. Matias Soler

    Jonathan Melamed and Matias Soler are studies in contrasting styles. Melamed, a Brazilian with fans among the Pro Tour elite (Martin Juza Tweeted at him to win the whole thing), was playing Mono Blue Devotion, a deck that put three copies in the Top 8 with a plethora of tiny creatures.

    Standing in his way was Soler, an Argentinian with no previous high-level experience and an aggressive Green Red Monsters deck full of the biggest, baddest creatures in Standard today.


    Matias Soler

    Interestingly enough, both players had some maindeck hate for their opponent. Soler was playing Witchstalker while Melamed had access to four Tidebinder Mages to tap down almost all of Soler's creatures...the Witchstalker the lone exception.

    Game 1

    Soler came out about as fast as you possibly can, with two Elvish Mystics giving way to a third-turn Stormbreath Dragon. Not only was the start punishing under normal circumstances, but Melamed was stuck on one land for multiple turns, unable to summon much resistance for a few turns.

    Eventually, he was able to evolve his Cloudfin Raptors up to 3/4s and turn the tide with an appropriately named Tidebinder Mage. That gave him enough room to get in a few hits, but eventually Polukranos showed up to fully punish Melamed's land-light draw.

    Game 2

    Now with plenty of mana and the play, Melamed seized the early initiative, tapping down an Elvish Mystic with Tidebinder Mage and following up with Nightveil Specter and a Nykthos, Shrine of Nyx. That, in turn, let Melamed zip ahead and out-mana the otherwise explosive Green Red deck.


    Jonathan Melamed

    Soler put up a fight—literally—with Domri Rade, but more mana, a Bident of Thassa and a Master of Waves (all of this happened by Melamed's fifth turn, by the way), let him storm far into the lead.

    Far enough that, after looking at his next card, Soler scooped up his cards without much resistance.

    Game 3

    For the final game, Melamed once again found himself short on land in the early turns, almost immediately facing Witchstalker, Domri Rade, and a very angry Strombreath Dragon with only two lands to work with. Even when he found a third land, a second Stormbreath Dragon immediately after sealed Melamed's fate and sent Soler onto the semifinals.




     

  • Quarterfinals - Luis A Salvatto (Azorius Master) vs. Nicolas De Nicola (Esper)

    by Marc Calderaro

  • Esper's best matchup is any other control deck that doesn't play Thoughtseize. If this holds true, Nicolas De Nicola has a big edge in this matchup. The addition of black, though taking away consistency with lands, provides additional power and options. The one-mana black Sorcery Thoughtseize was just the type of spell that added extra value to an already-value-laden Esper deck. Luis A Salvatto and his Azorius Master deck have great matchups against much of the field, but this one is a bit tough. It was going to be an uphill battle.

    Game 1

    The first game showed itself to be exactly that—an uphill battle. And like the Battle of Little Big Horn, the army on the bottom didn't so much win. Two early Thoughtseize came from Nicolas De Nicola, helping him dominate the early game, and sculpt a solid position for the mid-to-late game. Both Master of Waves and Sphinx's Revelation were ripped from Salvatto's hand, and he sat despondently in his chair, trying not to let the Esper deck command the game.


    Nicolas De Nicola

    After watching De Nicola take over the board state, the two Detention Spheres De Nicola left in Salvatto's hand came down nabbing two Planeswalkers (Jace, Archtiect of Thought and Elspeth, Sun's Champion). But De Nicola still had complete control. He was able to stick another Jace, Architect of Thought and protect it with Dissolve and Detention Sphere. Salvatto could never amount enough of an offense to knock the Esper deck off balance. Its center of gravity was low and secure, and it moved forward despite Salvatto's best efforts.

    The Planeswalker created endless card advantage for De Nicola, allowing him to easily take the first game.

    Nicolas De Nicola 1 – 0 Luis A Salvatto

    Game 2

    The second game was not much better for Salvatto, who had to mulligan to five cards. Against another control deck, each card would be vitally important. And De Nicola showed his opponent exactly why that was the case in the turns that followed.

    An early Gainsay blunted Nightveil Specter, Salvatto's only gas, save an Omenspeaker. Seemingly out of nowhere, all Salvatto had in his hand was a Sphinx's Revelation. If he could resolve that for a decent amount, he could completely negate the mulligans and start over from scratch, but De Nicola still had a large hand.


    Luis A Salvatto

    There was another problem. Not only did De Nicola not mulligan, his hand was also awesome. He had two Negates, two Jace, Architect of Thought, and another Gainsay to stop anything Salvatto would try to do. With three counterspells left in his hand, it was quite unlikely that the Sphinx's Revelation from Salvatto would do much of anything at all. De Nicola would have to play pretty loosely for that to happen.

    Unsurprisingly at this level, he didn't, and De Nicola was able to cruise to a second victory. He waited patiently to resolve two card-drawing spells of his own with mana to spare. Salvatto called it quits when De Nicola cast a second Sphinx's Revelation for four cards and was still able to counter Salvatto's own big instant at the same time.

    Nicolas De Nicola 2 – 0 Luis A Salvatto

    Congratulations to Nicolas De Nicola who advances to the semifinals!




     

  • Quarterfinals - Luis Navas (Black-Red Aggro) vs. Carlos Davi Montenegro (Mono-Red)

    by Marc Calderaro

  • This matchup was setting up to be the most exciting of the quarter finals. Luis Navas has been turning heads all day with his innovative Black-Red Aggro deck. It combines all the hits each of the colors offers, often closing the game with a Mogis's Marauders, giving his whole team intimidate and swinging for the fences.

    Carlos Davi Montenegro was sporting a mostly-mono-red deck, save some Chained to the Rocks in the maindeck, and Assemble the Legions in the sideboard for control. Though his deck is brutal, it sports less removal than Navas's deck, and fewer evasive creatures. Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch would be particularly painful.


    Carlos Davi Montenegro

    Game 1

    The first game started as you might expect—tons of small creatures from each direction, getting blown up and traded at will. Navas took an early lead, using Spike Jester and Rakdos Cackler to take his opponent to 11 without taking any damage himself. Frostburn Weird and Boros Reckoner from Montenegro tried to keep up and mount some defenses. But Xathrid Necromancer was turning those 1-for-1s into profit.

    Most of Navas's creatures started to look at bit worse into the midgame, but not Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch. Though the Legendary creature had not seen much love during the Return to Ravnica block, since the release of Theros it has been popping up here and there, punishing Sorcery-speed removal like nobody's business. The creature swung in and made the score 18-3 in Navas's favor.

    Though Montenegro had his own help, a Hammer of Purphoros was cast to provide him some late-game gas (late game for these decks starts around turn six), Navas had just the right amount of removal. He used a Doom Blade to push through enough blockers to take the last three life from his opponent.

    Luis Navas 1 – 0 Carlos Davi Montenegro

    Game 2

    For Navas, the second game started just as well as the first. A Tormented Hero into two Xathrid Necromancers, mixed in with a Thoughtseize to take away an early Chained to the Rocks from Montenegro.

    Montenegro's start was also very good, with two Ash Zealots and a Frostburn Weird to act as a wall. The totals were 18-18 when Navas again dropped his Exava again. Montenegro created an important-looking boardstall. Adding the unleash ability to his black-red witch without much thought, Navas had creatures charge into the red zone. Though the unleashed hasted Legend died shortly after to a Mizzium Mortars, the two Necromancers quickly turned the body into two Zombies keeping up the pace.


    Luis Navas

    But Navas couldn't attack profitably into the 1/4 and the first-strikers, so he slowly bided his time. He added Rakdos Cacklers, and other little annoying guys, slowing building his field. Like Navas himself, his creatures sat stoic, waiting when they could be best used. Navas had his opponent at 10 life and the board was stabilized. He knew his opponent couldn't overload Mizzium Mortars and he was playing for the blowout himself.

    Montenegro could see what was coming, but he hoped Navas hadn't drawn it. And with more than 12 power on the board, Navas cast the Mogis's Marauder, making his black Zombies, Necromancers and the Marauder himself all unblockable. It was enough damage for the win.

    Luis Navas 2 – 0 Carlos Davi Montenegro

    Luis Navas and his evil army advance to the semifinals!




     

  • Semifinals - Cristian di Silvestro vs. Luis Navas

    by Blake Rasmussen

  • I'm not going to say I called it, but I kind of called it. Luis Navas, playing in his first Grand Prix, is now qualified for the Pro Tour. And he owes much of that qualification to this guy:


    You remember Marauder from 1) Passing it at your local draft, 2) Getting crushed by it out of someone's aggressive Black draft deck, 3) Ari Lax's Pro Tour deck, 4) Nowhere else because it's Mogis's Marauder.

    Cristian di Silvestro was also something of a novice, having put up at Chilean Nationals in the past, but never on a stage this big. And now he was facing a matchup that was decidedly not in his favor, as Navas had been crushing Mono Blue decks all weekend long.

    And now both of them were qualified for the Pro Tour. But there was still a ton on the line, including money, a trophy, and only a small amount of national pride (both players are Chilean).

    Game 1

    Di Silvestro put being on the play to good use, curving Judge's Familiar into Frostburn Weird and Tidebinder Mage to lock down an otherwise strong start by Navas. A second Frostburn Weird pretty much put the brakes on Navas' first three turns and left Di Silvestro at a healthy 18 life.


    Cristian di Silvestro

    If Navas had his way, di Silvestro would have been much, much lower at this point.

    But that doesn't mean the Rakdos mage was out of tricks. Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch quickly became the biggest, baddest creature on the table as soon as it hit play running. And though di Silvestro had an impressive team of blockers, Navas was holding Mogis's Marauders to potentially make him pay for holding back.

    Aware he was in quite the race, di Silvestro didn't even bother holding back, especially after Master of Waves gave him a whopping nine tokens.

    But Navas had an answer for that as well, as Doom Blade took out di Silvestro's "trump" card and all of the Elementals alongside it. That turn of events left the Blue player, well, blue, and thumping the top of his deck looking for an answer to the pressure he suddenly faced.

    Instead he found an Island.

    That left the door open for Navas to resolve a second Xathrid Necromancer, which, in turn, led to four zombies and a very, though not quite fully, lethal attack the next turn. Navas did have a Nightveil to block one incoming intimidating Zombie, but he still dropped to just two life.

    Di Silvestro, needing a Master of Waves, flipped the top of his library onto the table only to find...another Nightveil Specter.

    Game 2

    It appeared di Silvestro was starting strong. A pair of Cloudfin Raptor to kick things off looked dangerous, they looked like they could grow quickly and out of hand if given the chance. It appeared di Silvestro could counter aggression with aggression.

    Instead, the Cloudfin Raptors sat there, stranded by a lack of Blue mana. Di Silvestro had kept a single Island and two Mutavaults, but failed to find a second Island for several turns. By then, he was already at 15 life facing a bevy of two-powered creatures. And while Thassa was better than nothing, it couldn't block anything without any minions to devote to her cause.

    Eventually the Cloudfin Raptors died, but that only stalled for time until di Silvestro found his fourth land—and the Domestication needed to, hopefully, turn the tide. He used it to steal a Xathrid Necromancer and up his Devotion, threatening to turn on Thassa.

    Meanwhile, Navas was running out of gas. He had drawn six lands, an unusually high number for his 22 land deck.


    Luis Navas

    However, he was able to put those lands to good use, as the one card he had left after the initial onslaught was Mizzium Mortars. But, instead of using it immediately, he held it patiently and waited for di Silvestro to commit more to the board, even as the Rakdos Mage's own forces dwindled to nearly nothing. It's not like a Devotion deck can sit on its heels and not play Nightveil Specter when it draws it.

    And when Navas did pull the trigger on Mizzium Mortars, it not only cleared the way, but turned off Devotion to Thassa and let him attack di Silvestro to five life.

    However, he himself was at a precarious six life thanks to Thassa attacks when di Silvestro had intermittent Devotion over the past several turns. And when Master of Waves and two Elementals hit the battlefield, it looked like we'd have a photo finish.

    And that it was. Facing a lethal attack the following turn, Navas needed something to deal just two damage off the top of his library, as he was holding Lightning Strike in hand.

    He drew for his turn, surveyed the table, asked how many card di Silvestro had in hand and calmly tapped four mana.

    Two Lightning Strikes and the rookie from Chile was onto the finals.

    Navas 2 – di Silvestro 0




     

  • Semifinals - Matias M. Soler (Gruul Monsters) vs. Nicolas De Nicola (Esper)

    by Marc Calderaro

  • One of the most painful aspects of Matias M Soler's deck against Nicolas De Nicola and his Esper deck are the three maindeck Witchstalker. Though not as powerful as the Great Sable Stag of yore, it confined what the Esper deck could do and when it could act with its answers. It titled the field just enough in the Gruul deck of Soler's favor such that it could take advantage a strike again.

    But De Nicola's Esper deck had a decent game against just about everything in the field. If it got the right mix of discard, removal, and card draw, it would be easily able to take the match. Nicolas De Nicola cruised through the quarterfinals on his way here and he wasn't afraid to do it again.


    Nicolas De Nicola

    Game 1

    However, it wasn't meant to be in the first game. Soler's maindeck Witchstalker proved to be exactly what it is meant to—an unstoppable killing machine. An early Thoughtseize from De Nicola revealed Witchstalker, Witchstalker, Flesh // Blood, and Stormbreath Dragon—every single one of these cards is a big threat in this match up. De Nicola took the first Witchstalker, but without a second discard spell, the second 3/3 came down right on time.

    The Witchstalker hit over and over again, taking De Nicola down to 11, then down to 5 thanks to the Flesh // Blood. De Nicola was scrambling to pull together anything he could to stay in the match and get something to wipe the board and start the game state over again.

    De Nicola thought he would be safe for a turn, gaining two life and going up to 7 with a Sphinx's Revelation, but a second Stormbreath Dragon off the top played cleanup and wiped the table with De Nicola's corpse. It was on to game two.

    Matias M Soler 1 – 0 Nicolas De Nicola

    Game 2

    Though in the second game Soler did not come out the gates close to as quickly as he had in the first outing, he still resolved an early Domri Rade. It relentless ticked up each turn, though Soler's other spells seemed barely effective. If this went unanswered, every single spell in Soler's deck would become a true must-answer threat. And on the Planeswalker's march up in loyalty, it drew two extra cards for Soler—helping to maintain a high threat count. This is extremely important as one thing that De Nicola's deck could do was consistently remove threats.

    When De Nicola resolved a Thoughtseize on his fifth turn, Soler first responded by casting a Boon Satyr (drawn off the Domri Rade earlier), then splayed this hand: Xenagos, the Reveler, two Ghor-Clan Ravager, Domri Rade, Pithing Needle and two Forest. It looked pretty darn scary. And De Nicola already had a problem, as there was nothing he could do about the Domri Rade already on the board. Kept moving up and up in loyalty, and there was no Detention Sphere in sight.


    Matias M Soler

    The Domri built up to the eight-counter threshold then killed himself so all of Soler's monsters could truly live. De Nicola still had a decent life total, but any threat from Soler would do at least seven damage immediately. The most giant monsters imaginable flow forth, as Soler seemed like a walking, talking Akroma's Memorial.

    It took a very short time before a Stormbreath Dragon hit for the game.

    Matias M Soler 2 – 0 Nicolas De Nicola

    Matias M Soler advances to the finals!




     

  • Finals - Luis Navas (Rakdos Aggro) vs. Matias M. Soler (Gruul Monsters)

    by Marc Calderaro

  • Argentine Matias Soler spoke emphatically while looking over Luis Navas's decklist; he was impressed. Quite frankly, most people were. Though the Chilean's Black-Red abomination certainly had its roots in Ari Lax's Pro Tour Theros deck, it was its own animal. And it had been behaving like one all weekend. It devoured any deck that even considered stumbling, and spit out reach-gaining spells like Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch to close out games that seemed already in the opponent's grasp.

    But his final challenge was to get through Matias Soler. An imposing man already—complete with a beard, shaved head, and a sleeveless Sons of Anarchy tank top revealing his ornate tattoos—Soler was playing a deck to match his style. The Gruul Monsters deck was chockfull of giant dudes that kept coming turn after turn, while using Domri Rade as a refill engine as well as a game-ender. Nicolas De Nicola learned that second part in the semifinals when a Domri emblem made his world turn upside down.

    Navas's deck was faster, but Soler's deck was bigger.

    A large crowd had gathered around them, both players and both decks were impressive to behold. And after each large play and turn, the crowd cheered. Latin American Grand Prixes always get intense near the end, and this was no exception. It was further intensified by the stoic expression on Navas's face. Soler kept trying to get him to crack, but Navas was in show-mode. It might have been his first time in the spotlights, but he was going to do it right.


    Luis Navas

    Navas's game started with a turn-one–turn-two Rakdos Cackler-Spike Jester combo. This maximum overdrive aggression was compounded on the third turn with a Madcap Skills on the 2/2. At the end of the third turn, after adding a Tormented Hero, Navas had Matias Soler at 7. The Chilean represented more than seven damage on the board. This deck was blazing.

    Soler used the Blood side of Flesh // Blood to take out the 5/2 Cackler with his Witchstalker. Then he traded the 3/3 with the Spike Jester. Technically Soler had stopped all the initial threats, but he was still way behind on the board and in life. His battlefield was empty and the totals were 18-7 in his opponent's favor. When Navas followed with another Cackler and a Xathrid Necromancer, Soler opened his eyes wide, as if to say, "How am I supposed to deal with all this?!"

    Soler added another Witchstalker, sending it in front of the Xathrid Necromancer next turn while sinking to three. Though the Hexproof Wolf killed the Necromancer, the black creature turned itself into a Zombie and there was still the same board imbalance when Soler got the turn back.


    Matias M. Soler

    He drew his card, and saw there was nothing he could do. He smirked at Navas, now more impressed by how well his opponent's deck worked, and scooped up his cards.

    That match-up was fierce, and the crowd roared.

    Luis Navas 1 – 0 Matias M. Soler

    Sadly, that utter thrashing display was all the eager crowd would get. They cheered so much after the first game, and some even cheered after Soler took a mulligan and when to six cards. But nobody cheered the mulligans after that. Yes, that's right—with an "s".

    Soler maintained as jovially as he could after keeping a four-card hand. He shrugged; there were worse four cards to keep. But if Navas had anything close to the aggression he maintained in the first game, and had maintained throughout the rest of the weekend, it would be lights out right quick for the Argentine.

    Navas did have something close to the same aggression; in fact, he had the same aggression. Turn one Rakdos Cackler, turn two Spike Jester, and he was barely able to get to turn three. After Soler missed his second land drop for the second turn in a row, he knew there was no way he would stop the black-red onslaught. He congratulated Luis Navas and picked up his cards.

    Luis Navas 2 – 0 Matias M. Soler

    Luis Navas has won Grand Prix Santiago—Defending Chile's home turf and hoisting the trophy for Chileans everywhere! His friends accosted him while yelling loudly, "Lucho!" Navas piloted his deck with great ease all weekend, and though this was his first Grand Prix, by the looks of it, it will not be his last.




     

  • Top 5 Cards of GP Santiago 2013

    by Blake Rasmussen



  • 5. Stormbreath Dragon

    When Thundermaw Hellkite rotated several weeks back, control players everywhere sighed with relief. Finally, the hasty scourge of the skies was gone. And, sure, this Stormbreath Dragon thing looked like a thing, but it was only a 4/4. That's not a problem, right?

    Wrong.

    Stormbreath Dragon has certainly lived up to its predecessor's lineage, especially in the hands of Matias Soler in his run up to the finals. Not only did he get a hexproof, doublestriking dragon going thanks to a Domri Rade emblem, but he continuously cast early dragons—including one on turn three—to take down Jonathan Melamed in the quarterfinals. Stormbreath may not be 5/5 right off the bat, but that doesn't make anyone happy to see one across the table.





    4. Basic Land

    Seriously, all five of them. Swamps, Islands, Forests, Mountains, and even recently maligned Plains were all out in force this weekend as mono-colored and nearly mono-colored strategies dominated. In the Top 8, three decks were completely single colored, two had virtual splashes, and two more played healthy doses of basic lands. After getting use to the devil-may-care, splash everything Wild, Wild West of Innistrad, Ravnica Standard, it's refreshing to return to a format where most everyone is playing good old Basic Lands.





    3. Thoughtseize

    Though Mono Black Devotion ultimately missed out on the Top 8, it was easily the most popular archetype on the weekend, and Thoughtseize is a major reason why. The ultimate in disruption, Thoughtseize grabbed Planeswalkers, Creatures, spells and more all weekend. Giving Black the ability to deal with literally any non-land permanent is a powerful way to put the clamps on your opponent's plans. In fact, Champion Luis Navas said it was one of the key reasons he favored a Black base over a Red one in his aggressive Rakdos deck.

    Get your copies now, because no Black player will want to leave home without the most disruptive spell in Standard.





    2. Master of Waves

    It's impossible to deny it: The breakout deck of Pro Tour Theros is here to stay. Placing a whopping three players in the Top 8 is an impressive enough feat in and of itself, but doing so when it was being left behind by players opting for Mono Black Devotion is even more impressive. Master of Waves is easily the most important card in the deck, trumping even Thassa and Nightveil Specter. In fact, Master is so powerful players were branching out into more controlling decks, like Luis Salvatto, who played, essentially, a UW control deck with Master of Waves and a small Devotion subtheme. In fact, There were more copies of Master of Waves in the Top 8 than any other non-land card. Were it not for a few bad matchups, Master of Waves very well could have been number one on this list.

    Instead, we get powerhouse...





    1. Mogis’s Marauder

    Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch is going to get most of the press as one of the few rares in Navas's winning list, but anyone who watched more than a few games knows the true power behind the deck, and it's this unheralded uncommon from Theros. The Marauder has a lot of things going for it, but its primary benefit is giving Intimidate to a whole slew of small creatures. And Navas put it to good use all weekend. He used it to swing past an otherwise lethal horde of Elspeth Soldier tokens to stay in the hunt for the Top 8, he cast it to unstick a sticky situation against Mono Blue in the Semifinals, and he used it to turn heads all weekend. It's even a Human to synergize with Xathrid Necromancer. In a mono-colored world, Mogis's Marauder often reads "all of your creatures are unblockable," more than enough to make it the number one card at Grand Prix Santiago.






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