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2010 Magic: The Gathering World Championships Semifinal Match: Zombie Jamboree

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Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa (Blue-Black Control) vs. Guillaume Matignon (Blue-Black Control)

We like to talk about Player of the Year implications, but we rarely get a match where things are so stark. If Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa won this Worlds Semifinal match, he'd be the Player of the Year. If Guillaume Matignon won, he could go on to win in the Finals, at which point he would not only be the 2010 Magic World Champion but would tie Brad Nelson for Player of the Year, forcing a playoff at Pro Tour–Paris in February. If Matignon won in the Semifinals but lost in the Finals, Brad Nelson would be Player of the Year.

Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa and Guillaume Matignon are both potential World Champions and both potential Players of the Year, but only one can get there.

Both players are playing Blue-Black Control decks with slightly different land and spell configurations. Damo da Rosa has a Mystifying Maze that Matignon doesn't, and Matignon has a main-deck Duress that Damo da Rosa doesn't. In their sideboards, Damo da Rosa has Mindbreak Trap, Skinrender, Spell Pierce, Stoic Rebuttal, and Vampire Nighthawk; Matignon has Memoricide and Sorin Markov.

Game 1

Things started, as Blue-Black Control Mirrors often do, with an Inquisition of Kozilek. This one was from Matignon, since Damo da Rosa had started the game with a land that entered the battlefield tapped (Creeping Tar Pit). The Inquisition took out a Cancel, and then it was Dama da Rosa's turn to play Inquisition of Kozilek on Matignon, hitting a Preordain.

Matignon had another one, and was soon Preordaining to his heart's content. Damo da Rosa played Spreading Seas on a Matignon Creeping Tar Pit and tried to cast Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Matignon Mana Leaked it and played one of his own, thus establishing Jace Superiority. After some Brainstorming, he Duressed an Inquisition of Kozilek out of Damo da Rosa's hand and Preordained again.

Damo da Rosa also Preordained, which is the sort of thing that happens in a mirror match. When Damo da Rosa activated a Creeping Tar Pit and sent it after Matignon's Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Matignon had a Disfigure. And he kept up the pressure on Damo da Rosa's land by using Tectonic Edge on another Creeping Tar Pit, and a Spreading Seas on a third.

Matignon used another Preordain, which you may or may not be interested to know is called "Predestination" in French. He proceeded to Tectonic Edge a land, but Damo da Rosa was still at five land. Matignon was Brainstorming every turn, keeping his hand full of only the finest cards. Another Spreading Seas deactivated Damo da Rosa's fourth Creeping Tar Pit.

With three Swamps and two Islands (via Spreading Seas), Damo da Rosa now played Spreading Seas on his own Swamp, This got Cancelled, and Matignon could tell that Damo da Rosa wanted blue mana for something, so he used Tectonic Edges to kill the two Creeping Tar Pits that were Damo da Rosa's only source of blue mana. Down to three lands (all Swamps), Damo da Rosa drew a Misty Rainforest and soon turned it into an Island.

Matignon at this point had eight land and a Jace, the Mind Sculptor with four loyalty counters. He his Damo da Rosa with Inquisition of Kozilek and took a Disfigure before sending in a Creeping Tar Pit to put Damo da Rosa at 14. Another Inquisition of Kozilek took out a Mana Leak, and Matignon played a Grave Titan unmolested.

This was enough to convince Damo da Rosa to scoop.

Matignon 1, Damo da Rosa 0

Game 2

Damo da Rosa's first land was an Island, which is not conducive to an early discard spell. Matignon had a Swamp, which powered a Duress. He looked at Jace Beleren, two Jace, the Mind Sculptors, Mindbreak Trap, Mana Leak, and a land. He chose Jace Beleren.

Matignon makes his move.

When Matignon put Spreading Seas on Damo da Rosa's Drowned Catacomb, it didn't appear to bother Damo da Rosa at all, since he just played the mono-blue Sea Gate Oracle with the blue mana. Matignon's card filtering came in the form of two Preordains on consecutive turns. Once Matignon had rearranged his hand, Damo da Rosa hit him with an Inquisition of Kozilek. The hand that was revealed had an Inquisition of Kozilek, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Mana Leak, Preordain, and land. Damo da Rosa chose to win the discard war and removed the Inquisition of Kozilek. Then he cast Preordain with only two mana open, but Matignon chose not to Mana Leak it.

Matignon cast a Preordain of his own and agonized over his decision. It's plays like this, on the biggest stage of Magic, that separate the top players, so Matignon wanted to be absolutely sure he had the decision correct. After selecting a card, Matignon activated a Tectonic Edge to destroy Damo da Rosa's Spreading Seas–enchanted Drowned Catacomb.

Damo da Rosa cast a Sea Gate Oracle and started to attack with it. And with his Tectonic Edges, he began to whittle at Matignon's lands. At this point, each player had seen Jace, the Mind Sculptor in the other's hand, so neither wanted to play one just to have it destroyed. The Sea Gate Oracle got Matignon to 14, then stopped attacking.

Matignon counted his eight land and went with Jace Beleren, leaving five mana untapped. Damo da Rosa Mana Leaked it, and Matignon paid the three mana, leaving himself with two untapped Islands. Damo da Rosa tried another Mana Leak, but Matignon had a Mana Leak of his own, and Jace Beleren resolved. Matignon drew a card to put the loyalty at 2, and Damo da Rosa took his turn to attack Jace with the Sea Gate Oracle, dropping it to 1.

Matignon cast Grave Titan, which Damo da Rosa tried to counter with a full-price Mindbreak Trap. Unfortunately, Matignon had a Cancel, so the Grave Titan resolved. On Damo da Rosa's turn, he cast a GraveTitan of his own, and the board became a zombie jamboree.

Matignon worked on Damo da Rosa's lands with Tectonic Edge and Spreading Seas, took Jace Beleren's last loyalty counter to draw a card, then cast Jace, the Mind Sculptor and bounced the opposing Titan. An attack reduced Damo da Rosa to 13, and a Duress helped keep the way clear. Damo da Rosa was able to afford a Jace, the Mind Sculptor of his own to kill Matignon's, but he was losing the Grave Titan race.

The next turn, Matignon sent in the Grave Titan, Spreading Seas, and three Zombies. Damo da Rosa worked on his blocks and ended up only taking 4, but Matignon was left with Grave Titan and five Zombie tokens, and he added Jace, the Mind Sculptor to the mix.

Damo da Rosa cast a Grave Titan of his own, and Matignon proceeded to do combat math. He bounced the opposing Grave Titan with Jace, the Mind Sculptor and attacked with everything. This turned out to be the correct play, as Damo da Rosa scooped up his cards.

Matignon 2, Damo da Rosa 0

Game 3

Damo da Rosa led with a Creeping Tar Pit, and neither player cast any discard spells until Matignon's third turn. And that met with a Mana Leak from Damo da Rosa. Damo da Rosa used a Spreading Seas to neutralize the danger of Matignon's Tectonic Edge, and Matignon used it for the honorable purpose of fueling a Preordain. Matignon's next Tectonic Edge went unchallenged, as Damo da Rosa was more interested in casting a Sea Gate Oracle and putting one card on the bottom of his library.

The man they call PV (among other things) is unruffled as always.

Matignon traded his Tectonic Edge for Damo da Rosa's Drowned Catacomb and cast Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Damo da Rosa attacked with his Sea Gate Oracle, and he dealt damage to Matignon, not Jace. This made Matignon assume that his opponent was going to do something to kill Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and he was correct: Damo da Rosa cast Jace Beleren. All Matignon could do on his turn was Spreading Seas something.

Damo da Rosa continued to attack with the Sea Gate Oracle and went for an Inquisition of Kozilek. And it landed, so he saw Consume the Meek, Deprive, two Mana Leaks, and a Sea Gate Oracle. He chose the Sea Gate Oracle to be discarded. On Matignon's turn, he answered with a Duress, hitting Jace, the Mind Sculptor but seeing a Sea Gate Oracle and a Grave Titan.

Damo da Rosa Tectonic Edged away a Creeping Tar Pit and continued the Sea Gate Oracle beatings, which had reduced Matignon to 16, then 15. Damo da Rosa played a Creeping Tar Pit that could possibly have joined the attack, but it fell victim to Spreading Seas. Matignon was able to use Inquisition of Kozilek to knock a Sea Gate Oracle out of Damo da Rosa's hand, but the one on the battlefield got him down to 14.

Matignon went for a Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and it resolved. He invoked the +2 ability to look at the top of Damo da Rosa's library, and allowed the card to stay. After going up to 5 loyalty, Jace fell to 4 after the Sea Gate Oracle's attack. Then Jace switched to Brainstorm Mode and the Sea Gate Oracle got him to 3.

Damo da Rosa cast an Inquisition of Kozilek, and Matignon allowed it. He had two Mana Leaks, Deprive, Consume the Meek, and Spreading Seas. Damo da Rosa chose the Deprive.

With a great deal of mana untapped, Damo da Rosa cast Jace Beleren, which Matignon declined to counter. Matignon's Jace, the Mind Sculptor died, and the Sea Gate Oracle continued its attacks, putting Matignon at 13. Another of Damo da Rosa's lands was targeted with Spreading Seas, and he gave Matignon some of the same. The Sea Gate Oracle dealt another point of damage to Matignon. 13.

Matignon cast a Jace Beleren and used it to draw a card. He had six cards in hand and five lands untapped when Damo da Rosa went for a Grave Titan. This drew out both of Matignon's Mana Leaks, but Damo da Rosa had a Mana Leak of his own. Damo da Rosa had no cards in hand, but he had gotten a Grave Titan to enter the battlefield. The Sea Gate Oracle attacked Matignon's Jace Beleren down to 1 loyalty, and Matignon used that final point to draw a card for himself.

Matignon cast a Grave Titan of his own. Damo da Rosa sent his Grave Titan in, but kept his Zombies at home. All of Matignon's creatures died while blocking. But he had a Duress for the last card in Damo da Rosa's hand, and a Consume the Meek for all the creatures on the battlefield.

Matignon cast Jace, the Mind Sculptor and was feeling confident. But Damo da Rosa, with no cards in hand, drew a Jace, the Mind Sculptor of his own and destroyed it. Damo da Rosa's next draw was a Grave Titan, but Matignon Cancelled it.

Matignon makes a topdeck ....

Matignon had a Grave Titan of his own, and displayed a killer elbow. But Damo da Rosa wasn't done drawing great cards off the top of his deck. He drew and cast a Grave Titan himself! But Matignon had far more cards in hand and cashed in his massive Zombie advantage to put the game away. Then he ran over to the other Semifinal match to scratch Guillaume Wafo-Tapa's head, and took a victory lap, high-fiving the front row of the crowd.

... and the crowd goes wild—Brad Nelson, whose Player of the Year chances now hinge on a loss for Matignon in the Finals, emphatically among them.

Guillaume Matignon 3 defeats Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa 3-0 and advances to the Finals!

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