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World magic championship qualifier II Uruguay – Tripping like a zombie

The second WMCQ is in the books and this is my report of the tournament.

I will actually start the story at a previous tournament, held at a comics convention “Montevideo Comics” 2 weeks prior to the qualifier, which gave the entry money as price to the winner. There I played a rouge blue red deck, commonly referred to u/r delver. I split the prize at the finals as I was not really in the mood to play that day. I wont post the list I played that day, but its fairly similar to this one (

So for the reminder of the two weeks I kept testing that deck, cutting and adding cards to make it more of my liking. But I was never convinced of it. There was just something wrong with it. It had good hands, but it lost a few too many matches. So Saturday night while testing a friend tells me he has another deck he wont be playing. A zombies deck. I took a quick look at it, added a few cards and decided to give it a shot. With less then 15 hours to the tourney I changed my deck. I don’t like to play deck I did not get to test, but I certainly felt a lot more comfortable with zombies than with with the blue red deck, specially because the games against one of the most played decks (blue white delver, expected 40% of the field) was fairly easy.

I was still missing some cards for the complete deck though, so I sent some messages to friends, sadly got no positive responses, and ended up finishing the decklist on Sunday morning with cards I had to spare.

Here is the list I played:

4  Diregraf Ghoul
4  Highborn Ghoul
4  Geralf’s Messenger
4  Gravecrawler
4  Blood Artist
3  Fume Spitter
2  Falkenrath aristocrat
2  Phyrexian metamorph

3  Geth’s Verdict
2  Mortarpod
2  Tragic Slip
2  Incinerate
1  Go for the throat
1  Killing wave

4 dragonskull summit
4 blackwave cliffs
14 swamps

SB: 2 Manabarbs
2 combust
2 bonfire of the damned
1 arc trail
1 nihil spellbomb
1 surgical extraction
1 wrack with madness
2 mind rot
2 distress
1 zealous conscripts

So I started the day, with a incomplete untested deck, I was hoping I would make a positive result, more wins than losses would have been enough to keep me happy. A top8 appearance was my top goal.

33 players started at 10am on Sunday, 7 rounds and a cut to top8.

Round 1 Gabriel Barna, RG aggro

Yay, my almost worst match up to start the day. First game we played he came out blazing, I started to stem the bleeding and was able to play a killing wave with a blood artist in play. He misspoke and didn’t pay any life, thus sacrificing all creatures. I made him stay with that and not back up. He got mad like hell, but finally ended winning this game anyway. I won the second game fast and we were on to the last match.

I started well and he was stuck on lands. When he finally got the lands he played all his awesome cards and I was defenseless, so I again played my killing wave, he paid life and lost life from my blood artist and ended up on 4 life. He attacked and left me at 2 life. I had one chance of drawing out, and I slowly peeled off the top card of my library…. it was a land….wait…. no it was not, there was another on top. I called the judge on myself, I had looked at a card that I should not have, the second from the top. The judge told me I should draw normally and shuffle the land and the rest of my deck. The top of my deck was actually a 4/1 flying hast creature. I WIN! My opponent jumps off his chair, runs around pissed and screaming. I keep my calm and pack my cards in. My first luck out!  and I am off to a 1-0 start.

Round 2 Gaston Comtesse, UB zombies.

Another aggro deck, another bad matchup. There is not much to tell, I draw only 4 spells in the first game and lost. Drew some more spells in the second and won, and only drew 2 lands in the third. He didn’t have to do much, and won an easy game. 1-1

Round 3, Felipe Araujo, WR humans

Whats up with this matchups?? My worst match up comes up, with one of my testing friends piloting it. I just hate this tournament now. He starts as he has to the first game and takes it in a fast fashion. I play pretty well the second game and he has no good response and we are even.

In the third game I come out really fast, beat him a little, he strikes back and gets me down to 5, and plays a creature that will kill me next turn. I look at the top of my deck again, like in the first round (only one card this time though) and I rip the miracle you see on the right. I kill all his guys and swing in for the win.

Another luck-out and 2-1. If lucking out is the only way I can win I don’t think I will get far.

Round 4 – Martin Castillo, GW humans

Yes, amazing. I build a deck against control and all I get is aggro. Its not my worst match up as it is not as aggressive as me, but has a better late game and a few protection from black guys. He kicks my butt the first game swinging for 12 in the air on turn 4 and finishing me on turn 5. I come out pretty sweet in game 2 and roll him over. Game 3 is the grueling one again. He plays a protection from black guy, I make him sacrifice it and beat him with my small zombies. He plays another pro black guy and a huge threat in form of a Hero of bladehold. I kill the hero and keep attacking, but lose a creature to his pro-black guy every attack. At least he can not deal damage to me this way and I finally outdraw him for the win. A not topdecked win for once? 3-1 and on to the next round.

Round 5 – Guillermo Gruszka, UW delver

Yes!! Finally. A match up that is favorable to me. I can win this, sadly, its against one of the best local players, last year he won the national championship and has had some good results in previous international tourneys. I do lose the first game against his delvers and angels and am down to almost losing the second one, but have an awesome card to race him with in my blood artist and finally get there for exactly 4 life when he is at 4 thanks to my my double 2/1 attackers that he has to block with his 2/1 mage, sending 2 creatures to the grave and making him lose 2 life to my blood artist. The third and last game game saw him stuck on blue and colorless mana the whole game, and even if it was not an easy match I took it home without a big sweat. 4-1 and very hopeful. 1 more win and I am in.

Round 6 – Pablo Visconti, Wbr control

After an odd pairing chaos I finally sit down against the only 5-0 player left in the field. Pablo “Portu” Visconti is well known for his rouge deckbuilds and original creations. He came with a white based control deck, with red and black splash for removal and Olivia Voldaren. Seems to have worked for him so far as he has only lost one game and never a match. I hate to not know what I am playing against, it makes taking any long game decision a lot riskier. I come out blazing the first game and get my board sweeped a few times. I manage to get some big guys in and he makes a blocking mistake allowing me to take the lead in games.

In the second game I’m a lot more careful with my plays and go for the long run. Eventually I get a nice board and am going in for the kill. He plays a Gideon Jura and makes me attack it, I make a misplay for misreading the Gideon and leave myself open to be killed by him swinging back at me and leaving me at 2 life, a shock would have done the job, but he does not have it.He has to sweep the board and plays out a creature to remove one of the two guys I have standing that survived the sweep (Falkenrath Aristocrat and Geralf Messenger). I draw and attack with my last guy. He does not block and I play out a blocker. He does not draw it and I move to 5-1 beating the only perfect record player in the room.

Round 7 – Guillermo Suhr, UW delver.

We are both in and could draw and take a rest. We prefer to play it since the top seed in the rounds will be able to choose to start or draw in all the games of the top8. Starting is a very important factor for my and his deck, so drawing might actually make us both end up in the middle of the top8 and not be able to choose the starting game. We do split the booster prizes so there is not much more on the line than mentioned starting factor and game on.

I get the lead first game pretty fast, he takes the second and I tell him we could still draw if he decides to. He chooses not to and I beat him in the final match. 6-1 and first seed into top8.

Top8 are:

1- Me (Zombies)
2- Pablo Visconti (Wbr control)
3- Diego Prato (RG ramp)
4- Guillermo Suhr (UW delver)
5- Gaston Comtesse (Zombies)
6- Carlos García (uw delver)
7- Patricio Coutinño (uw delver)
8- Martin Sagastume (ub control)

This is almost a dream top 8 for me. For three reasons. First, my match ups are favorable against 5 of the 7 opponents, and about 50-50 with the other two (zombies and ramp). Second, seeds 1, 3, 7 and 8 are from my testing team!! 4 of the 8 players tested together, and the other 2 players in the team made top 16 missing put for just one win. A incredible performance for the whole crew. Third, my testing friend Diego Prato, with whom I had made the top4 last nationals and we almost met in the finals playing the same deck, was in the top8 again, and our matches were so that we could only meet in the finals again. The game was on again. Finals with Diego were possible.

To the matches:

Top 8, Martin Sagastume, UB control.

If this is not the easiest one for me, its very close. He is on my testing team and we both know this game is almost a walk in the park for me. And so it went. First game he had no real answer for my beats and even if he came up with a good sideboard plan for game 2 playing sangromancer to my removal light post board deck, I was able to play around it, and finally kill it for the win.

The other top8 matches were:

Pablo Visconti (Wbr control) wins against Patricio Coutinño (UW delver)
Diego Prato (RG ramp) wins against Carlos García (UW delver)
Guillermo Suhr (UW delver) wins against Gaston Comtesse (Zombies)

This last one was my favorite, since the only player who beat me in the rounds was out and my match ups were looking a lot better.

Top 4, Pablo Visconti, Wrb control

I won 2-0 against him in the rounds. I know I can beat him again. This should not be too hard. We both had some misplays in our previous match I was not expecting to happen again.

I started game one too slow and he was able to play his Gideon Jura and get it well into the high numbers. I had a reactive hand, but ended up losing the game to the planeswalker. Suddenly, memories of losing to this planeswalker in the last national championship came to me. I lost top4 against a rouge deck with this card in it. Please don’t let this happen again, a 3rd consecutive top4 at nationals is not what I want. I don’t want to lose this being so close and having the edge on this deck again.

In game 2 I come out fast, I get a look at his hand thanks to my sb distress and see he has a wrath but no land to play it. I overextend in the hopes he wont be able to wrath away. He does draw the land he needs, but elects to shock one of my creatures and play a creature of his own. Puzzled by the play I keep drawing and playing spells until both sides of the board are full of creatures. I know he has a wrath and I have a killing wave. I need a blood artist. And we all know what happens when I need a specific card….. I draw it. Play the artist and cast a killing wave for 2. I pay life only for one of my guys, he pays for 2 of his, he loses 4 life to the wave and the artist triggers 7 times….. he dies. If he had paid for only one guy he would have ended on 1 life, still in a very tough spot to my 2/1 intimidate guy. In retrospective, if he had played the wrath he most likely would have won, as he would have the creature advantage and I wouldn’t have has as many guys to kill with the wave.

I take down the third game with 3 Geralf Messengers and a zealous conscript on his blocker.

I win the match and quickly turn around to see if Diego had won his and the dream of playing a final with him would be finally accomplished. He did not. He lost his game to Guillermo Suhr.

Finals, Guillermo Suhr, UW Delver

Now well, playing someone you beat during the rounds for the final match must feel good.

Playing against a deck you built your deck to beat in the finals must feel good.

I started and kept a slow but powerful hand. Played a land and passed. He played a land a dropped delver of secrets.

I played my second land and passed again leaving mana up for an incinerate on his delver. He looked at the top card in attempt to flip the delver and missed, played a ponder main phase, to which I responded with the incinerate. He shuffled his deck and played a land.

I played land and geralf messenger, leaving life totals at 18-20. He played land and geist of saint thraft. I played Falkenrath Aristocrat and swung in with both creatures for 7 damage. 11-20

He attacked with the geist and his angel buddy and took me to 14, played a snapcaster mage on ponder.

I attacked for another 7 and he elected to block the messenger. His life total was down 7 from the damage and to 5 from the returned messengers life loss, then played my second geralf messenger and a second incinerate to finish him off.

Winning the first match turn 5 feels good.

The second game begun with a mulligan on his side, matched by one on my side. I did not want to keep a slow hand an decided to take the risk.

He had to mulligan down to 4 cards and kept. I kept my 6. I came out fast with turn 1 gravecrawler, turn 2 gravecrawler and fume spitter, turn 3 geralf messenger. He could only get a geist into play on turn 3, but was not able to attack due to my impending force on the table. He played a sword and passed. I attacked with everything and he had to block and play a divine offering on his sword to survive. He drew and extended the hand.

That was it, I won a Trip to Gencon to play for Uruguay at magic world cup!! It feels good.

On Saturday night when I got home with the zombies deck I was not happy with the change, not because it was a bad deck, but because I had not tested it enough. My girlfriend told me that I could get the inspiration I need Sunday morning and finish the deck and go on to win the tourney. I told her: “Magic does not work that way”…. apparently it does 🙂


World magic qualifying championship I Uruguay – Titaning to the top

Last week was the first of three world magic the gathering cup qualifying championship.

This means there was a trip to the Gen Con® in Indianapolis, Indiana on August 17-19 and the entry to the world magic the gathering cup at stake.

This means, winning was a big thing, second place was almost nothing.

With this in mind I started testing some week prior to the tourney, playing a deck my brother had suggested. I didn’t really like it much, didn’t think it was the best deck to play. So I was always trying to get my hands on another deck, and luckily, and thanks to a friend (joaquin fuentes) I got my hands on a different one which I list here:

Wolf run Ramp


4 Rampant Growth
4 Sphere of the Suns
2 Green Sun´s Zenith
4 Galvanic Blast
1 Whipflare
4 Slagstorm
1 Beast within

1 Birds of Paradise
1 Thrun, the Last Troll
2 Solemn Simulacrum
4 Huntmaster of the Fells
1 Acidic Slime
2 Inferno Titan
4 Primeval Titan

2 Kessig Wolf Run
1 Ghost quarter
4 Inkmoth Nexus
4 Copperline Gorge
4 Rootbound Crag
4 Mountain
6 Forest

The deck revolves around playing big spells fast.

It tries to play some spells to accelerate in the first turns and then drop big spells like the titans (like the one you see in the image) generating insane card advantage. It also uses the kessig wolf run land to make its creatures deadlier on each attack.

The very same deck was played by another player of my group (Diego Prato), who had had some success with it before, so I thought it would be a nice deck to play. We tested together and built the deck together and finished it on Saturday together.

On Sunday morning we started the day of 7 rounds and top8 for the trip.

The tourney started well for me. I played the national champion from 3 years back (Juan Ordiozola) in the first round. He was playing the same deck I was and I managed to beat him. (1-0)

Second round I played one of the guys who tested with me (Layron) and managed to beat him too. (2-0)

The third round I lost to the local store owner (Zeta, playing zombies), against which I has a very slim chance of winning anyway, so I didn’t worry too much. (2-1)

Fourth round was coming along and I was paired with a player piloting a deck that was hard to beat for me too ( Santiago Rivero playing UB control), luckily I managed to outplay him and get out with the win. (3-1)

Next round I played against a somewhat new player,  Juan Ignacio Cor a about 14 year old kid who apparently played very well already. To be honest, he seemed to had run out of luck, as he could not master any good defense and I run him over very quickly. (4-1)

Round 6 paired me with Diego, the one playing the same deck I was playing, the one I built and tested with, the one I told we would meet in the finals. I did not want to play him, as this would mean one of us would go away with a defeat and his chances of getting to the top would be reduced drastically. We played, I won. I moved to 5-1 and was almost guaranteed to make the cut to the top8 single elimination rounds, but he had to play with the rope around his neck.

Round 7 and final round of the day I was paired with Carlos Garcia, a well known older player of the game. His position was well worse than mine, but he could still draw into top8 if I accepted. But since I had beat my friend and even if I lost I was almost guaranteed in, I chose to play. I won in a pretty quick fashion, playing two very fine games. I ended up 6-1, second place to enter the elimination rounds for the real prize.

The awesome thing was that of my play-testing group of 6, 3 of us made the cut to top8. One of which was Diego, who won his last round and was able to make the cut.

The standings were as follows:

Christian Alico 6-0-1 (frites)
Me 6-1 (wolf run ramp)
Leandro Cabrera 5-1-1 (ub control)
Diego Prato 5-2 (wolf run ramp)
Felipe Araujo 5-2 (humans)
Fabian Velazquez 5-2 (wolf run ramp)
Adrian García 5-2 (delver)
Federico Bigally 5-2 (white run ramp)

So the top 8 started. Only 3 matches were between me and a trip to Indianapolis. The guy who beat me in the round was already out, I felt good. I felt we could make it. On top of this, the brackets (1st plays 8th, 2nd plays 3rd, etc.) would make me not play Diego until the finals of we both got there.

Quarterfinals I played an incredibly nice, long and grindy two games against Adrian Garcia, a friend and player I respect. I know he thinks he is not such a good player, but he has some very consistent finishes, and is a respectful, calm and focused player. To be honest, it was the game I enjoyed most of the tourney. I beat him and advanced to the semis.

Diego Prato won against our other testing friend and advanced too. The chance of meeting in the finals was still possible.

Semifinals I had to play Federico Bigally, a player who has been playing for some years too now. I actually remember losing to him in a top8 5 years ago due to a BIG misplay on my part. I did not know what he was playing before the match, and was pretty puzzeled of how to play against him. I didn’t know the cards he had in the deck, and he knew perfectly what I had brought. His deck was prepared to beat my deck.

This worked against me in game 1, in which I had two lines of play (killing him with damage, or killing his creatures to let mine damage him), being on the aggressor side I finally chose the one that fit the current board better, but was incorrect in the long run, as he played a card that nullified my attacks (Gideon Jura). If I had damaged him he would have been dead by the time he could stabilize. So he won this game.

Second game was completely different. I rushed him out and he conceded 5 turns into the game with lethal damage from me next turn.

Third game is where I had no chance. He started very well and I was behind. I managed to stabilize, but when he drew his wolf run from the top with no cards in hand and a creature in play, he was able to finish me off.

That was it for me. Sad and disappointed for losing when I could have won I went to watch my friend Diego´s game.  He was down a game and was against the ropes. He would lose pretty quickly. Although his opponent managed to make a few bad played and Diego drew a few good cards in a row and he turned the tables, winning his match.

So Diego was in the finals, I wasn’t. I let him down. If I had won it would have been so amazing….a final between the two. Like predicted….He ended up losing to the player who beat me… and finished in second place.

All in all I can say it was an awesome tourney, with my testing group showing they can play, and me proving to myself I can win constructed events, I just have to play it right till the end. I will remember my misplay for a long time, but I will also remember that I won 7 matched and lost only 2, without much testing and on pure skill.

I hope you enjoyed my short report.