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2010 Magic: The Gathering World Championships Teams Round 4: Burning Rubber

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Australia vs. Mexico

The final round of team Swiss competition saw Mexico squaring off against Australia. The Mexican squad was led by Pro Tour veteran Gerardo Godinez and included Adad Quintero and Mario Flores. The Australian team was led by Jeremy Neeman, who made his first Pro Tour Top 8 earlier this season at Pro Tour–San Juan. Supporting him were Ian Wood and Adam Witton.

Standard
Ian Wood (Elves) vs. Adad Quintero (Valakut Ramp)

Mexico won the die roll, and Adad Quintero kept a somewhat risky keep of six lands and Cultivate. Fortunately for him, one of those lands was a Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, which functioned like a spell. Across the table Ian Wood was playing Elves and had a powerful early start. Though stuck on one land, he was able to use it to cast Joraga Treespeaker, Llanowar Elves, and Arbor Elf. That trio of 1/1s functioned like additional land drops and allowed him to quickly call forth Garruk Wildspeaker, then a Wolfbriar Elemental for four 2/2 Wolf tokens.

Ian Wood's elves scout out a path.

Adad's Cultivate had put him in reach of getting his Valakut online, and he cast a Primeval Titan to reach threshold for that option. Unfortunately for team Mexico, Adad couldn't go active until the following turn, and the Lightning Bolt in his hand could only stop the Garruk from turning into an Overrun via his five loyalty counters. That wasn't enough, and Australia chumped out to an earlier lead in the Standard match.

Wood 1, Quintero 0

The second game saw Adad open on a Pyroclasm, a very powerful card against his opponent's tiny Elves. Unfortunately for Quintero, he had only two Mountains for lands with a hand that otherwise contained only green spells. After conferring with teammate Gerardo Godinez, he opted to ship the hand back. His second set yielded him a better land mix but also rewarded him with Pyroclasm and Ratchet Bomb.

Adad Quintero brings the fire.

The Pyroclasm was put to good work in the early turns, clearing Wood's board of a bevy of Elves. Ian had landed a 4/5 Leatherback Baloth, however, and that monster was more than hefty enough to survive the mini-Wrath. It began dropping the elbow on Adad, who tried to stabilize by slowly cranking up a Ratchet Bomb. A Vengevine, however, joined his opponent's side of the battlefield and revealed Ian had shifted strategies from weenies to aggressively costed beaters for the sideboarded game.

Two members of Team Mexico put their heads together looking for a way out.

In no time, the 4/5 Baloth and 4/3 Vengevine put Quintero's back against the wall, but he managed to put seven mana together to cast Avenger of Zendikar. The 5/5 gave him an army of chump blockers and seemed to have bought him some breathing room. It was not to be, however, as Wood promptly exhaled regarding his next draw and plopped Eldrazi Monument to the battlefield. The artifact was too much for his opponent to overcome and Australia took the first match.

Wood 2, Quintero 0

Australia 1, Mexico 0

Extended
Jeremy Neeman (Pyromancer Ascension) vs. Gerardo Godinez (Merfolk)

Both team's leaders were piloting the Extended matchup with Jeremy Neeman on Pyromancer Ascension while Gerardo Godinez was playing Merfolk. The Mexican player got to start and opened on Coralhelm Commander, but saw the 2/2 immediately killed by Lightning Bolt. He replaced it with Cursecatcher and Stonybrook Banneret.

Jeremy Neeman knows the secret to a great team.

Jeremy spent the early turns casting cantrips after resolving his deck's namesake enchantment, Pyromancer Ascension. After the cantrips leveled the Ascension up to two counters he cast a Cryptic Command set to "bounce" and "draw" targeting his opponent's land. A free copy turned the spell into a mini-Upheaval, and Godinez didn't seem happy about it. The play meant he couldn't afford to cast any counters on his opponent's turn, and he conceded in the face of an overwhelming mass of copied spells.

Neeman 1, Godinez 0

For the second game, Gerardo Godinez had a strong start of Silvergill Adept and Cursecatcher. He added a Mutavault to his team and began slowly beating Jeremy down, but he was missing a second source of blue mana as well as any form of white mana. That meant he couldn't cast the half dozen cards in his hand and was powerless to his opponent's whims.

Gerardo Godinez brings the fish, but Neeman grilled them.

As for those? Jeremy used Lightning Bolt to grind his opponent's mana base by taking out Mutavault. With Gerardo on only a single source of blue mana, Neeman cast a surprising spell from a backup combo out of his sideboard: Pestermite! The 2/1 tapped the Island meaning Godinez couldn't cast any counters on Jeremy's turn, and the Australian untapped for a second surprising spell: Splinter Twin! With the enchantment on his 2/1 he was able to activate it over and over again to create an arbitrarily large number of hasty 2/1 Pestermite tokens. When his opponent realized what was happening, he conceded.

Neeman 2, Godinez 0

Australia 2, Mexico 0

Legacy

In the third match, the Legacy players were Mario Flores for Mexico and Adam Witton for Australia. Mario started on the play, and his white-blue-green Survival of the Fittest deck landed its namesake enchantment on the second turn. Adam's Merfolk deck was ready using a Spell Pierce to counter. He then cast Coralhelm Commander and began getting his beat on.

Mario Flores makes a noble effort.

A Waterfront Bouncer for Mario allowed him to buy some breathing room against the Commander, and to expand his board presence by discarding Basking Rootwallas. The seemingly innocuous Lizards soon became a lethal threat as they were joined by Wild Mongrel and Qasali Pridemage and Witton failed to find an army that could get through his opponent's Bouncer.

Flores 1, Witton 0

The second game saw Team Mexico start on a mulligan, but Flores was able to cast Noble Hierarch on the first turn. Across the table Adam cast Lord of Atlantis. A Swords to Plowshares targeting the 2/2 started a counter war, but the Merfolk player came out on top. An Umezawa's Jitte a turn later spelled big trouble for Mario who was stuck on just one land and his Hierarch. He cast a Brainstorm to find some more, but when he didn't, he frustratedly conceded.

Flores 1, Witton 1

The last game of the match saw Adam use Wasteland on his first turn in an attempt to mana screw his opponent. A Silvergill Adept was met by Noble Hierarch from Flores, his 0/1 rendering the mana screw attempt moot. Lord of Atlantis met a Swords from Mario, but a second, then third copy were able to stick.

Witton's fish prove more successful than Godinez's.

That meant Adam's team was pumped and difficult to block. A Waterfront Bouncer hit for the Survival player, but the 1/1 was too hard pressed to keep twin copies of Lord of Atlantis off the battlefield. Mario made a game of it by stocking his graveyard with Vengevines, then getting them back by casting two creatures in the same turn. Unfortunately for him, Adam had Perish, and the one-sided board sweeper proved too much for the Survival player to overcome.

Adam Witton 2, Mario Flores 1

Australia 3, Mexico 0

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